Canada Court Watch - Family Justice Review Committee
Policy and Position Statements

The conduct and practice of child custody evaluators
(Under public review)

Discussion

The Family Justice Review Committee has received a number of legitimate complaints from people who have reported that a child custody evaluator did not conduct a proper child custody evaluation and in many cases actually caused harm to their case and to their children.

Parents have complained of child custody assessors conducting themselves in an unprofessional and unethical manner.  Some of these include:

  • That child custody assessors have selected information during their investigation which allows them to tilt the outcome of their report towards one parent.

  • That child custody assessors have taken too long to conduct an assessment report.

  • That child custody assessors have refused to accept important collateral information.

  • That child custody assessors attempt to put pressure on a child to take sides agaisnt one parent or another.

In the matter of the conduct and practice of child custody evaluators it is the position of the Family Justice Review Committee:

  • That all child custody evaluators should provide a copy of their curriculum vitae to all involved parties prior to the commencement of their child custody evaluation.

  • That all child custody evaluators must be willing to provide for the record, a full detailed written report whenever evidence is to be presented to a court.  Under no circumstances will verbal evidence be submitted to a court without a written report to accompany what is verbally reported to any court.

  • That all custody evaluators provide an outline of their proposed custody evaluation procedure to all involved parties prior to the commencement of the evaluation so that all parties can be equally prepared for the evaluation.

  • That all custody evaluators permit their clients to record meetings by audio or video if so requested by their clients.

  • That all custody evaluators allow parents or children to have a support person present at any meetings or discussions if requested by the child or the parent.

  • That all custody evaluators provide a preliminary report to all parties involved and to provide time for parties to respond to material in the preliminary report before the report becomes final.

  • That all custody evaluators accept audio or video information from parties and to acknowledge receipt of this on their report.

  • That custody evaluators include reference to the specific information to support all opinions, conclusions and recommendation made in their report.

  • That child custody assessors should use identical procedures when obtaining information from all the parties involved.

  • That child custody evaluators must be willing to revise their reports