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The breakdown of marriage and divorce can be a stress-inducing endeavor that may give rise to emotional and mental problems for the parties involved. It includes the spouses, anyone (or both) who may be seeking the divorce, and any or all children involved. 

In Canada, the paramount, primary, or sole consideration of the court during divorce proceedings concerning decision-making responsibility is the ‘best interest of the child(ren).’ By deciding the ‘best interest of the children, the court does its best to shelter the child(ren) from the adversarial setting of the court.

Assessment Of Decision-Making Responsibility/Parenting arrangements

Therefore, in certain circumstances, it is advised to ask for an assessment with your Divorce Lawyer. An assessment is a detailed review of your family situation by a person such as a social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist.

The person carrying out the assessment is known as the assessor. The assessor is generally an impartial third party whose role is to assist the parties in negotiating an agreement regarding decision-making responsibility to an extent considered feasible in the circumstances. Where an agreement is not possible, the assessor is to prepare a report with recommendations for a parenting plan that is in the ‘children’s best interest’.

There is generally a 9-step procedure followed in the assessment of a parenting plan:

  1. The assessor meets the counsel of the parties in order to:
  • Allow for the counsels to explain which factors they feel are significant.
  • Ask counsels to provide affidavits, notices of motion, transcripts of evidence, professional reports, and any other relevant documents.
  1. The assessor meets with the parties together in order to:
  • Make the parents aware that the assessor’s role is impartial and objective in carrying out the assessment functions.
  • And make the parents aware that the primary concern of the assessor is to represent the ‘best interest of the child(ren).’
  1. The assessor meets with each parent individually in order to:
  • Deduce each parent’s plan of care related to the children
  • Determine each parent’s needs, interests, concerns, and goals related to their parenting plan
  • Assess and screen for any abuse.
  1. The assessor meets with the child(ren) individually and along with the parents as well in order to.
  • Determine suggestions and priorities from the child(ren)’s perspective.
  • Assess the child(ren)’s temperament, maturity, and ability to change
  • Assess and screen for any abuse
  1. The assessor meets with other significant adults involved in a caretaking role, such as grandparents or any new or common-law spouses.
  2. The assessor requests any relevant information from relevant sources such as schools, doctors and mental health professionals, etc.
  3. The assessor then conducts home visits in order to:
  • Observe the children interacting with each parent or any new partners
  • Assess and observe the neighborhood setting of the new homes
  • Assess and observe the factors such as the standard of cleanliness, nutrition, and disciplinary limits
  1. The assessor arranges for psychological testing of the children and adults (if deemed necessary).
  2. Upon carrying out the above functions, the assessor then prepares an assessment report which is submitted to the Courts.

Get In Touch With Us!

It is recommended that in order for the parties to a divorce proceeding to best reflect their positions during the assessment process please get in touch with our family Lawyers at Ayaz Mehdi Professional Corporation.

Disclaimer: Kindly note that sending or receiving information through this site does not establish a solicitor-client relationship. Legal matters are fact-specific, and the law is variably changing. The views expressed and the content provided on this blog are general guidelines and cannot substitute for proper legal advice. Schedule your legal consultation by clicking here: Let’s meet!

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