Practice Note 7
* All referrals for Practice Note 7 must be done by legal counsel, unless the parent(s) are self-representing themselves. Click "Book a consultation" to initiate the process, or have your legal counsel email our office at firstname.lastname@example.org to initiate the intervention.
The Parenting Expert will evaluate the family and make recommendations to the Court concerning the type of intervention(s) that may best meet the needs of that family. The recommendations may be to provide various forms of therapeutic support to the family, to obtain additional information, to identify issues or needs that need to be addressed in more detail or to obtain an assessment under Practice Note 8 to determine parenting time, parenting responsibilities, custody or access.
The Voice of the Child
Canvassing the specific needs or, where appropriate, the wishes of the children. The Parenting Expert will generally interview each parent and each child separately with a view to identifying special needs or risk factors. Often the child is seen twice, once after being in the care of each parent. In some cases, a Voice of the Child intervention can be expanded to include examining the children for emotional, behavioral, academic/intellectual or other needs which would indicate that a child is in need of therapy or special programming and support. In some cases, a medical opinion may also be sought.
Parent Psychological Evaluation (Risk Assessment)
An evaluation of one parent. Under this procedure, a Parenting Expert cannot make recommendations to the Court regarding parenting time and parenting responsibilities, custody, access or relocation of the children; however, the Parenting Expert can examine if there are risk factors present that suggest the parent cannot adequately meet the needs of a child and what supports would be required.
Remedial Facilitated Access/Parent-Child Reunification
Facilitation remedial access between parent and child. This includes assisting a parent and a child to meet and become reacquainted when one parent has been out of a child's life for a long time. Depending on the complexity of the case and the presence of past allegations, it can take place with a single Parenting Expert working with the parent and child, two Parenting Experts (one for the child and one for the parents), or, in extreme cases, three Parenting Experts (one for the child and one for each parent).
In addition to the Parenting After Separation Course, the Court may order that family members attend education courses or sessions, including the Parenting After Separation High Conflict course and the Focus on Communication in Separation course, to assist the parents to understand the needs of their children, the roles of parents or other caregivers' and negative impacts on children of prolonged conflict.
Therapeutic Intervention with One Parent
For the purpose of changing the attitudes, beliefs and practices of an individual parent who is seen to be creating difficulties for the children through their actions or who is impeding the ability to reach resolution on parenting issues. In other cases, each parent is seen to need individual counselling to address their own issues which are impeding cooperation and progress.
Therapeutic Intervention with Both Parents
Therapeutic Interventions with both parents have the Parenting Expert attempting to resolve conflict, address parenting issues or disputes or build a parenting plan with the parents. The key difference between this form of intervention and mediation is that there is active teaching, modelling and guidance provided to the parents and that the emotional relationship between the parents can be addressed as much as the practical parenting issues. Therapeutic Interventions also serve to assist family members in the adjustment to changed circumstances and the restructuring of family roles.
This type of intervention is known by a variety of names including Parental conflict Intervention, Family Restructuring Therapy, Post-Separation/Divorce Counselling, or, in some cases when an arbitration component is not included, Parent Coordination.
In cases of extreme conflict, significant concerns pertaining to mental health of a parent or a history of violence, one Parenting Expert Expert may be appointed for each parent and all joint sessions will involve both Parenting Experts. The Court, in this case, should authorize the Parenting Experts to consult with one another.
Therapeutic Intervention with Parents and Children
The purpose of a therapeutic intervention involving both parents and children is for the Parenting Expert to actively work with the family in an attempt to increase cooperation, facilitate a change in relationships, meet the emotional needs of family members and/or develop a parenting plan. Often, there are separate Parenting Expert(s) for the parents and for the child with all Parenting Experts given authority to confer with one another. The individual therapist working with the child can provide information regarding the child's needs or opinions to the Parenting Expert(s) working with the parents. The child's therapist may also be part of a team working to unite children with rejected parents in remedial facilitated access/parent-child reunification.
The psychologist may provide various psychological services for litigation, commonly known as "litigation support," to clients, their legal representatives, or the Court, and are advised to ensure alignment between the nature of the issue(s) and their competencies before undertaking any request, as a Court Order or lawyer's request does not exempt them from this obligation; foundational values for this work include fair treatment, objectivity, neutrality, and competency, with psychological services for litigation broadly defined as the review of specific psychological factors or another mental health professional's work to determine its relevance to a particular legal matter.
Parent and co-parent coaching
Understanding that parenting, while incredibly rewarding, can also be challenging and complex, especially in a coparenting scenario. Our goal is to support you in navigating these challenges, enhancing your parenting skills, and fostering a positive and nurturing environment for your children. With a blend of evidence-based strategies and personalized attention, we're dedicated to helping you and your coparent establish a harmonious and collaborative parenting approach. Whether you're facing specific parenting dilemmas, seeking to improve communication and cooperation with your coparent, or simply aiming to be the best parent you can be, we're here to guide and support you every step of the way.
Mediation is a conflict resolution process where a mutually acceptable third party, who has no authority to make binding decisions, intervenes in a conflict or dispute to assist the parties to improve their relationships, enhance communications and use effective problem solving and negotiation procedures to reach voluntary and mutually acceptable understandings or agreements on contested issues. The procedure is seen as an extension of the negotiation process.