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About child representatives

Child representatives are trained professionals who are appointed by the court for the following:

  • Cases where a child is party to or subject of any action.
  • Cases that involve a child or the custody or welfare of a child.

Why a child representative is required

Child representatives represent the voice of the child and present an objective assessment of the care arrangements which are in the best interests of the child. The child representative helps you to refocus on what is objectively best for your child and provides as much available information as is required by the court to make a decision on the arrangements for your child.

They do not represent either parent's interests and cannot give parties legal advice.

The child representative will also explain to your child:

  • The choices the court may have to make about their future.
  • The final court orders made by the court.

Appointing a child representative

The court may appoint a child representative if it considers it necessary for your child's welfare and wellbeing.

You may also request the appointment of a child representative if you feel it is necessary for your case. This request can be made by filing a summons via eLitigation at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

You may choose to file the documents personally or through a lawyer. If you are represented by a lawyer, the documents will be filed by your lawyer. If you are representing yourself, you must follow the Rules of Court and the Family Justice Courts (FJC) Practice Directions to prepare your documents before heading down personally to do the filing.

You will need to let the court know why a child representative is important in your case, and both you and your former spouse will have to contribute towards the costs of the child representative.

What to expect

After the court appoints a child representative for your child, the child representative will contact you in one of two ways:

  • Through your lawyer (if any).
    • The child representative may discuss your child's case with your lawyer or with you together with your lawyer.
  • (If you do not have a lawyer) By directly contacting you through phone or in writing.
Note
You do not need to contact the child representative or instruct your lawyer to do so. The child representative will contact you when they are ready.

If the court appoints a child representative for your case, they may do any of the following:

  • Spend time with your child to understand your child's perspectives on the care arrangements.
  • Ask for reports from teachers, counsellors or other professionals who have contact with your child.
  • Arrange a conference with your former spouse and you or your lawyers (if any) to talk about issues affecting your child.
    • In some cases, this conference can resolve the dispute between parties. The parties' lawyers or the child representative may then inform the court accordingly to record a consent order.

At court proceedings

At court proceedings, the child representative will:

  • Ensure that the court has the relevant information to make a decision.
  • Make recommendations to the court on the arrangements that they believe are objectively in the best interests of your child.

The child representative's role will end shortly after the court makes its final order. If necessary, the child representative will prepare your child in advance before the final order is made.

Estimated fees

Your former spouse and you will have to bear the cost of engaging a child representative.

There are 2 tiers of costs of the child representative:

  • The first tier fixed at $1,000.
  • The second tier is payable if the child representative applies to the court for more costs to be paid due to the complexity of your case and the amount of work required.

The court has the discretion to make any cost orders, including the following:

  • How the first tier costs are divided between you and your former spouse.
  • The amount for the second tier costs applied by the child representative.
    • The court will also decide on how the second tier costs are divided between you and your former spouse.

Removal of a child representative

If you wish to have a child representative removed, you will need to file a summons via eLitigation at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau. You may choose to file the documents personally or through a lawyer. If you are represented by a lawyer, the documents will be filed by your lawyer. If you are representing yourself, you must follow the Rules of Court and the FJC Practice Directions to prepare your documents before heading down personally to do the filing.

The removal of a child representative is subject to the court's discretion and only in exceptional cases where the circumstances warrant it, for example, if there is evidence the child representative does any of the following:

  • Act against the child's best interest.
  • Does their job unprofessionally.
  • Having a conflict of interest.

You may seek legal advice if you want to ask the court to remove the child representative. Costs can be ordered against you if your application is unsuccessful.

Resources

Legislation associated with this topic includes Order 30 to 34 of the Family Justice Rules.

Refer to Paragraph 8 of the FJC Practice Directions for child representatives.

Related questions

Depending on the nature of your case, the court may also appoint a parenting coordinator to work with you and your former spouse to help both parties co-parent effectively and implement access arrangements smoothly.

Find out more about parenting coordinators.


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