What is an assessment? Why would I want one?

4. Meet with the OCL lawyer or clinician

Lawyer

The Office of the Children’s Lawyer (OCL) may appoint a lawyer for your child. The role of the lawyer is to independently represent the interests of your child.

The lawyer is trained to work with children and to get their views and wishes on who they want to live with. They are trained to make sure your child has not been coached or pressured to say who they want to live with.

The lawyer:

  • meets with you and your partner
  • meets with your child as many times as needed
  • determines the child’s wishes, where possible
  • contacts other people such as teachers, doctors, day care providers, therapists to get more information
  • meets with you and your partner to give feedback and, when needed, suggest ways to resolve your issues
  • takes a position that includes your child’s wishes and other important information about your family

If a lawyer is representing your child, the OCL does not file a report with the court. The OCL also does not file a report when a clinician is helping a lawyer.

Clinician

The Office of the Children’s Lawyer (OCL) may appoint a clinician, usually a social worker. The clinician speaks to you, your partner, your child and other important adults in your child’s life such as teachers, doctors, new partners, and relatives. They observe how your child interacts with you and your partner.

The social worker puts together a detailed report that says:

  • who they talked to
  • what information they received
  • what they observed
  • what they recommend is best for your child

Once the report is ready, you and your partner, and your lawyers if any, meet with the clinician to have a disclosure meeting. At this meeting, the clinician tells you what will be in the report and what they recommend.

The goal of the disclosure meeting is to try to help you and your partner come to an agreement without going back to court.

If you’re not able to come to an agreement, the report is filed with the court and used as evidence at your trial.

If you don’t agree with the report, you have 30 days once you receive it to and a statement saying what you don’t agree with in the report. You can also cross-examine the clinician at your trial.

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