A Custody and Access Report is a document created by a professional that offers a recommendation regarding the best parenting arrangement for a child or children. They are sometimes referred to as a Section 211 Report or a Section 211 Assessment due to the fact S.211 of the BC Family Law Act authorizes the creation of these reports.
How is a Custody and Access Report Created?
Typically, the court will appoint an individual to create the report. They will investigate the needs and views of the child/children in question, as well as the ability and desire of the potential options to satisfy the needs of the child.
The professional meets with each party separately to interview them, before meeting again in the presence of the child/children. Sometimes, other people who are familiar with the child/children as well as the parties involved will also be interviewed.
The professional tasked with preparing the report isn’t necessarily a legal professional. They can be a Family Justice Counsellor, a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Once they have performed their due diligence and created the report it will be provided to the court and to each party involved.
What is the Timeline for a Custody and Access Report?
Unfortunately, there are a limited number of qualified Family Justice Counsellors in British Columbia leading to a backlog of Custody and Access Reports. Reports prepared by these professionals can take 8-12 months to obtain. The good news is their services are free.
If the report is being prepared by a psychiatrist or psychologist the delay will likely run 3-6 months. This is due to the more in-depth interviews and need for psychological testing. These reports typically cost $4,000-$15,000, depending on the individual circumstances.
What if You Don’t Agree with the Result?
If you find yourself negatively impacted by a Custody and Access Report there is a pathway to challenge the findings. With representation from an experienced family law expert you can challenge the findings of the report in court. In BC courts, plenty of precedent exists for a judge going against the findings of the report.
Steps involved in the challenge include:
- Cross examining the professional who wrote it
- Thorough review of all documentation involved
- Second opinion from another related expert.
Here to Help
Have any questions about the Custody and Access Reports process? You don’t need to prepare alone! At Westside, we’ve helped countless clients prepare for this. Contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you.