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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 06-12-2011, 02:58 PM
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Question To Assess or not to Assess? And what in Laymens terms is a section 30?

Help,

We were refused OCL involvement which from everything I have read about them being so mother biased may be a very positive thing for us.

Now opposing are proposing a parenting access assessment done. We do not have any money and know this can run from 12,000 to 30,000.

Can someone explain what a section 30 is in simple terms and if that effects the cost of an access assessment?

We don't really know what to do here.

Goal here is to retain joint custody as she is trying to oust my fiancee out of the kids lives or make him a bare minimum visitor. She doesn't believe in shared christmas/ holidays/ etc and thinks he only should get EOW plus 2 weeks to be approved by her. She has no cause to change Status quo other than she creates conflict to prove non cooperation. She keeps minimizing access, took him to FRO - he was paying so added confusion now as their is no court order, and she regularly threatens and dictates how and when we can see the children. She is a master manipulator and I think it would require a highly trained individual to see through her performance art or mental instability. There are multiple concerns about the children (we went to CAS - but they closed the case and won't tell us their findings) but we want to promote access to both parents and know our presence in their lives is necessary to counter balance the unstable controlling stuff they deal with weekly. (for example: if they misbehave she throws their toys out or locks them in their room).

It is our belief that she thinks she can outsmart any assessor and thinks she will be awarded sole custody because she is the mom. She has long ago begun her brainwashing of the kids - it is so sad to see them so confused with misinformation. This is a game of power and money.

To us, this is a fight to protect the kids and to maintain his rights as a father to be in their lives. We don't want to keep getting into further debt as we worry we will lose the house but we are stuck half way through this sticky horrible mess.

Do we chance it with a judge, case conference in July, then settlement conferences and then most likely trial as she agrees to nothing ever?

or do we pay the last of what we have available in credit to an assessor and hope that it leads to resolution within 3 months? If the assessor suggests continuing with joint custody she will fight it and then we'll have nothing left to pay for a trial.

Which path to take for fast and fair resolution???
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Old 06-12-2011, 04:00 PM
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Wow, I found it hard to believe how similar your case is to mine!! I am in your exact situation, with the exact same type of stbx. She has even gone and made many false allegations against me (over 10 police occurrences now, 3 cas investigations, and now firing off emails after every access suggesting some health concern that is our fault).

I am going to court at the end of the month, for another case conference (they have delayed/ adjourned without my consent 5 times now!!!) Anyhow, very interested in how you make out - I am preparing the documents for court right now, and have been planning to ask for the judge to order a parenting/ custody assessment as well. I know her lawyer is asking for OCL a second time, but I want to push for assessment. Not sure where the money will come from, but will probably have to break down and ask for help from family, etc.

Good luck!
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Old 06-12-2011, 04:10 PM
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Section 30 assessments are by definition much more comprehensive and detailed than an OCL report. You are very correct in the view OCL is mother centric. There is no doubt about that, none. With a section 30 assessment you can have a part in deciding who the assessor is.
The problem I see for you is the mother will likely not consent to a thorough section 30 assessment. Why would she? She will get every advantage with the OCL and lose advantage with a section 30. The only hope is she is delusional and thinks she will slide past a section 30 assessor you have chosen. It sounds like she is not that delusional.
The father is in a tough spot. Take it from me, if he decides to fight it WILL take all his money. The system is made for this to happen.
What I would do is this:
1) try and get the mother to agree to a section 30 assessment which you pay for and decide the assessor.( if you live in Ontario, private msg. me and I can recommend the assessor I used. I researched this topic extensively and share what I found out). Budget about 10 K for this
2) Be prepared to self represent for the rest of your case. This will save you 10-50 k easy.
3) This is the best use of your limited funds and puts you in a position of maximum gain.
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Old 06-12-2011, 04:19 PM
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I overlooked the point the opposing party is asking for a section 30 assessment and that if you agree on consent this can get underway.
If you can influence who the assessor is..go for it. Ask to share the costs down the middle.

A question: are there any substance abuse issues with the mother?
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Old 06-12-2011, 04:21 PM
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Unless the Judge sees a conflict with the current arrangement showing, conflicts amongst parties, they will NOT change the current court order for absolutely no reason. I am curious as to why the OCL involvement was refused? perhaps the Judge saw no conflict with the current arrangement and if so, why would an assessor be needed and spend this kind of money which could be spend on the children's education instead~

You say three months for the assessor to complete and write a full report? if you go that route, find out from the assessor before signing a contract that it will take no more than 3 months as they usually interview some members of the extended family, therapist, school, professional third parties. Most contract between the parties and the assessor do not have a set amount but approx. and by the hour, therefore, no set amount except a retaiiner to start with.
The Court looks at the Children's best interest and try to have both parents involved.
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Old 06-12-2011, 04:28 PM
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TLCRN,
The mother is pushing another father out of their children's life. Whether or not a Judge considers this important or not, it sounds like it is to THAT father.
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Old 06-12-2011, 05:50 PM
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Staysingle:
I agree it is extremely important to the father especially since the children are young, but as we all know, when it comes to the legal system, the Judge makes the last decision, not always the right one I may say; and why I advise anyone to avoid involving the Courts and deal with issues amongst yourselve if at all possible.
Once the ball gets rolling, it's difficult to stop it unless one party gives in and/or both parties come to an agreement~
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Old 06-12-2011, 05:58 PM
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Assessors are trained professionals who have seen all type of people- including liars, and manipulators. If unsure of the assessor, do your research prior to suggesting one.
Remember, the Judge will need an excellent reason for wanting to change order from joint to full custody. Think twice before bringing or requesting such order as you might end up having to pay the other parties costs. Good Luck!
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Old 06-12-2011, 05:58 PM
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An interesting finding in the divorce research starting to emerge is fathers fair much better with access to their children when they challenge the mother in court.
This makes sense to me and fits my experiance with family court. Family court is dominated by two forces 1) radical feminism 2) lawyers greed ( judges are appointed by lawyers and are obligated to keep the game going)
If fathers challenge and stand up for children's rights in court they get better results than a out of court settlement.
The problem is you need financial resources and b-lls of steel to see it through.
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Old 06-12-2011, 06:06 PM
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to correct some stuff.

Judge DID order OCL involvement. OCL refused. They have the right to decide to get involved regardless of what a judge thinks.

Opposing asking for private assessment - she wants to choose assessor and to share costs. She didn't mention section 30.

I am asking about section 30 because it looks like if it is court ordered then there is a possibility that we could avoid paying for this as she is financially sound and we are in debt.

(14) The court may relieve a party from responsibility for payment of any of the fees and expenses of the person appointed under subsection (1) where the court is satisfied that payment would cause serious financial hardship to the party.


taken from:Children's Law Reform Act section 30

I did find a good assessor for the region the case is being heard in. His website says 3 months. I don't know which assessors she is looking into - we weren't provided with the list of choices.

I am concerned that a social worker hasn't enough experience in dealing with PAS, or potential mental health issues so think if we go this route a psychologist (more expensive) might be able to out wit her game.

We want to have both parents involved. It is not our perogative to try to get rid of her (that is her game not ours). But we are concerned that if there isn't a counter balance of input from us that the kids are in fact suffering. I do believe it to be in the best interest of the children to be primarily residing with us (but I am not a judge). However, even a clear access agreement would be better than what we have now.

There is NO Court order to date. Just a badly drafted Separation agreement she wrote and got him to sign without legal rep, without financial disclosure, and in a state of duress.

I just want to make sure that if we go the assessor route that what ever is recommended will be court ordered (even if that means she gets sole custody and a very specific access agreement is still better then were we are - with no rights and under her dictate for access).

My worry is that if the assessor see's through the game and awards us more time, primary residence, or sole custody (possible with the case law I have found) that she would then fight it in trial and we'd have nothing left for the fight financially.
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