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The Family Advocate assists the parties to reach an agreement on disputed issues, namely custody, access and guardianship. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the Family Advocate evaluates the parties’ circumstances in light of the best interests of the child and makes a recommendation to the Court with regard to custody, access or guardianship.

Upon application by the parties, the Family Advocate institutes an inquiry during which the Family Advocate, assisted by a Family Counsellor (normally a trained social worker), interews the parties to ascertain their personal circumstances and the background details to their matter. The Family Advocate then interviews the children to allow them the opportunity to be heard.

Quick Facts:

  • The Family Advocate cannot become involved in any matter that has already been finalized by the Court.
  • The Family Advocate cannot be subpoenaed to Court as a witness to give evidence on behalf of any party even if his/ her recommendation is in favor of that party.
  • The recommendation of the Family Advocate is intended to assist the Court in adjudicating a matter and arriving at a particular order. The recommendation itself is not enforceable unless incorporated in a Court Order.
  • The Family Advocate is a neutral institution and cannot act as the legal representative for either litigant, in a matter.
  • The Office of the Family Advocate renders his/her services to the public FREE of charge.
  • The parties to a legal dispute may be required to pay for additional expert reports, e.g. psychological evaluation, and other forensic tests where those are critical to the determination of the child’s best interests.

For direct answers to your specific personal questions, please contact us directly.

Read more about our family law services.

Author – Jessica Gooding

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