Private social workers can play an important role, and have specific training and experience, in children and family law matters. One or both parties are free to hire a private social worker with a specific mandate, which can include the supervision of contact and handovers by one of the parties and the investigation as to what may be in the best interests of children with respect to care, contact and guardianship.
Private social workers, despite their mandate, act as an objective third party. The advantages of a private social worker are that they are a trained professional whose first priority is the best interests of the children at all times, and can deliver a report on their findings which can be used to assist the Court to make decisions in the matter.
Private social workers can also be directly involved in ensuring that a party is not abusing drugs or alcohol during their contact periods. They can ensure that the interactions between a party and the children are age-appropriate and not done in an effort to alienate the children from the other parent.
If one party objects to the appointment of a private social worker, an application can be made to Court for an order of court directing this appointment be made.
A common dispute between the parties, even if agreed on a private social worker, is that of who pays the costs of the private social worker, since the performance of their work is not free unlike those social workers who may be involved with the Family Advocate’s Office or Children’s Courts. What is appropriate in this regard will vary from situation to situation, but mainly depends on the respective means of each party.
Our offices have worked with and have extensive experience with many private social workers who we can recommend. Please feel free to make an appointment to come into our offices so that we can get an overview of your situation and refer you to the social worker who will be most suitable or qualified to assist.
For direct answers to your specific personal questions, please contact us directly.
Read more about our family law services.
Author – Murray Taylor