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Old 01-25-2013, 01:42 AM
involveddad75 involveddad75 is offline
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Default Tips for dealing with OCL and Private Assessors

I post this here for those about to go through an OCL assessment or a private assessment, if anyone wishes to add to this then please do so.

Position to take for joint custody equal shared parenting.
Explain that the children have lost their family as they know it. That you feel the children shouldn't lose their relationship with either parent.
The only consern you have is that with all the aligations being thrown out there to cloudy and muddy the waters it makes the assessors job more difficult. How can an assessor award joint custody when things like this are happening. Assure the assessor that you won't be adding to the noise. And ask the assessor to ask you how things are working, and how things are likely going to improve once your family is out of court. Talk about seeking couselling for improving communication, and support dealing with stress due to seperation. And that you are dealing well.

Basically an assessor's job is to be a fotune teller, they don't care about the past (provided there isn't abuse) only about moving forward.
The position to take: Assessor's position is very hard they are only in the children's lives for a split second, we as parents are in it for the long haul.
An assessor is also doing the assessment at a time of high emotion and high stress, and high animosity. They aren't comming back to check up on their assessment 2, 4, 6 years down the road. and learn from their mistakes. It's a snap shot. No one can read the future.

Now for the factual stuff.
This is taken from what I have learned during my assessment and the case notes which were released to me. I should add that my OCL report recommended Sole custody to my ex. I did end up with paralle and equal shared at trial. So this is what I would do now if given a second chance.

OCL generally gets 20 hours to do an assessment give or take.
4 hours parent interviews (2 hours with each parent usaully in 1 hour sittings)
3 hours observing the children (1.5 hours with each parent)
3 hours collecting colateral evidence (talking to family and friends)
Note this is all heresay and is all untested evidence. remember that
when you question the assessor at trial if you are disputing it.
2 disclosure meeting
8 hours writting 40 page report.

Here is a list of questions the OCL will likely ask you. This is taken directly from the case note of my assessor notes. And althrough maybe worded different generally you get the picture. You should have answers to these questions before the start of your assessment.

Remember frame everything around how equal shared parenting benifits the children. Not you, focus on the benifits for the children.

How did you and your partner meet?
Relationship Background:
Court Activity:
Parenting Arrangement History:
Exchange Routines:
What is working well in this situation?
What is not working so well in this situation?
Was there any violence during or after relationship with ex-partner?
Did the child/ren witness violence?
What led to the separation?
How have you coped since the separation?
Are you involved in another relationship?
What are your strengths/weaknesses as a parent?
How do you discipline?
Has your children ever been abused by anyone? Was there CAS/Police involvement?
Do you have any worries about your child/ren?
What is a typical day like in your household with the child/ren?
Can you tell me about your child/ren?
Who do you think the child/ren would like to be with? Why?
What would you like to see happen in terms of custody? Why?
How do you plan to make it work?
How did this custody situation get to be such a mess?
What are you doing to avoid conflict?
What. if anything. do you wish you had done differently since separating?
Who has the child/ren been involved with? (babysitters. daycare. family members, school etc?
Has the child/ren ever been in hospital?
Have you ever been hospitalized?
Have you ever experimented with drugs?
How many drinks do you have in a week?
Have you ever been told you have a substance abuse problem?
Do you have a history of mental illness?
Have you ever gone to counselling? Have you ever seen a psychiatrist?
Have you ever been involved with the law?
Tell me about your education history:
Tell me about your work history:
What is your financial situation?
Where were you born?
Parents Names/Marital Status
Do you have siblings & what is your relationship like with him/her/them?