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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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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 09-03-2013, 02:19 PM
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My opinion is fairly superficial since I have never had OCL involvement.

That said, I think a large part of the problem is that the OCL lawyer should be there to give the children a voice and represent them without the need to have them speak in court. They should not be their to "assess" the parents; they are neither qualified nor have enough hours of observation to do this properly. The OCL is the Office of the Children's LAWYER, and that is how they should be acting.

My lawyer is not qualified to "assess" my ex; neither is the Children's Lawyer. A social worker's report should be had, and taken in context with how many hours of exposure to the family were available, and what standard these observations were compared to.
  #32 (permalink)  
Old 09-03-2013, 02:24 PM
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I would also add to the bad behaviour I have heard about. Is coaching one side.
In my case my ex's family had called CAS a number of times.
The OCL admitted to me that they had a conversation with my ex about the calls and that they (my ex) was warned to make it stop.
It did stop, but my point it an assessor is an observer, and assessor and is to report their findings back to the court. They aren't suppose to involve themselves in the case by providing advice to on side.
Coaching as far as I see it isn't in any of the training manuals I have from the OCL 1997 or the 2006-2009 verisions.
  #33 (permalink)  
Old 09-03-2013, 02:27 PM
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There are core problems with the family law system in Ontario and Canada.

1. Any linking of child support to a predetermined percent of access will create a financial insensitive to fight for access. My case I fought for access to remain at 50%, now I try and claim the legal fees on my taxes and because I had a falling out with my lawyer and they won't communicate with me anymore I can't produce a letter from a lawyer that states how much of the legal fees were for child support.
So now I can't claim any fees I paid on my taxes.
My ex who lost everything, but wasn't made to pay fees "because she followed the recommendations of the OCL in good faith" now claims 40% of her legal fees were for child support, and gets to write them off her income.
She was the instigator, the aggressor and now after losing at trial is allowed to claim her legal fees.
2. Lawyers are only interested in making money, they take as much as they can, then right before trial inform their clients (who in most cases can't afford to take it to trial) then they will lose and be forced to pay the others costs as well as their own. And then say the OCL's recommendations are generally excepted.

I wonder, is there anyway to sue the OCL either by way of a single case or by way of a Class action suit, under the premise that they aren't helping the courts and that they are creating more conflict then they are solving.
  #34 (permalink)  
Old 09-03-2013, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by involveddad75 View Post
I would also add to the bad behaviour I have heard about. Is coaching one side.
I always find it contradictory that most OCL / Section 30 take a very negative view when one of the parties consults with other experts and professionals. These OCL and Section 30 professionals for some reason don't like to work with "educated" clients... or clients who "read a lot" about "family law"... etc...

But, what is even more interesting is that a number of "Section 30 assessors" belong to Medical Practices that promote "coaching" for example:

Family Solutions - Associate Services: Mediation, Parenting Plans, Coaching
http://www.familysolutionstoronto.ca/Coaching.pdf

It is really just hypocritical I find that these professionals would both offer "assessment" and "coaching"... I don't see this much more different than say Child Custody, Support, Agreement Coach ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by involveddad75 View Post
It did stop, but my point it an assessor is an observer, and assessor and is to report their findings back to the court. They aren't suppose to involve themselves in the case by providing advice to on side.
Agreed. If they make recommendations to one parent without informing the other parent of their position or the recommendations they have made... They have become biased against a party. It happens quite often... Where an assessor will tell one party what they are going to recommend prior to making the recommendation... Easy to produce the evidence of this... That is why I always recommend a litigant get all the NOTES and other materials the report is built on.

You get an email from the other party stating... the assessor told me this / told me that / recommended to me / provided me with information / etc... Then you cross reference the assessors notes... If nothing matches to any encounter either the other party is lying or the assessor is lying in the notes.

Either way you can easily pit the assessor's notes and "recordings" against the other party. Either way the assessor will have to deny the biased conduct or admit to it. Basically, you want to demonstrate inconsistency between the testimony of the assessor and the other party.

Also, I recommend that the OCL / Section 30 assessor be bared from hearing the testimony of any witness. Especially the witnesses whom the assessor met with.

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Originally Posted by involveddad75 View Post
Coaching as far as I see it isn't in any of the training manuals I have from the OCL 1997 or the 2006-2009 verisions.
I have no issue with coaching per-say so long it isn't from the assessor directly to either of the parties. But, in reality, NO assessor should take offense if one (or both) of the party retains their own professionals. Generally I find that these assessors take offense quite often because they are egocentric and want to control both parents. You can tell an egocentric assessment report when it starts off with a threat to both parents that if they don't change their conduct they will change their "opinion". Suffice to say, threats like this don't really go over well with justices. I have seen a few assessments that start off with this form of "legal abuse". It is always disappointing to see how these assessors attempt to use their position of power and make open threats. It is counter quite often to their governing medical body's best practices...

I long for the day when someone retains co-counsel of a malpractice lawyer to cross examine a section 30 assessment or the OCL. It would be devastating to see a lawyer (other than family law) who is well versed in the clinical practise and procedures properly cross examine an assessor. The closest I have ever seen in case law was WorkingDad...

Good Luck!
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 09-03-2013, 03:30 PM
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I have my assessor in an affidavit lie about my conduct in her report, which is an affidavit.
Evidence, a tape reporting where I have being calm and collective right after being told that my ex should have sole custody. In her report she said I was agueing with her, that I blocked the exit and that she had to let my ex and her lawyer out a side door and through somebody else's backyard to get to the cars.
In reality I was simply parked in front of the door, a good 6 or more feet from the door in an actual parking spot for the building and not on the street. I was sitting in the car, talking to a friend getting support after being told that I couldn't be involved in our children's lives. The only support I could get was a friend on the phone, because the OCL doesn't allow 'others' to be at disclosure meetings so if you self represent, you can't bring a support person, or a witness.
Again another issue I have with the OCL.

How does one go about getting change to these secret organizations.

I have requested time and time again training manuals for this organization and every time I do I'm told no.
  #36 (permalink)  
Old 09-03-2013, 03:40 PM
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How does one go about getting change to these secret organizations.
The Ontario Ombudsman is the first step.

Good Luck!
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 09-03-2013, 10:00 PM
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I have been advised by many legal advisors and by a well known Father's Right advocate that a judge needs some third party involvement / assessment in a custody / access matter and failing to involve someone like the OCL is a big mistake even though most of the time you have to end up disputing most of their recommendations in court.

Does this make sense to anyone who has already gone through the process.

You need to request their involvement but then have to be prepared to put them on the stand and dispute the stuff they've said against your case?

My background, set for 5 day trial sitting early next year. Only have trial management conference coming. Both parties just consented to OCL involvement, no response from OCL as of yet. Mom currently has sole and the kids about 75% of the time. Material change in circumstances, some changes to the status quo, relocated to where she ended up settling with the kids, overcame medical issue present prior to separation, and Mom breaking terms of separation agreement and has stopped communicating with me about anything do to with the children while during her custodial time.
  #38 (permalink)  
Old 09-04-2013, 02:02 PM
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How old are you children?
An assessment can take over 6 months to complete in which case they will have to delay trial.
I find it tragic that families have to go through a case all the way to trial management before a judges say, wait lets here from an assessor. and then the entire case is put on hold until the assessor is done, and typically a judge will refuse to do anything while an assessment is taking place.

The reason I think judges want an assessment is to pass the buck, to someone else. They don't want to make the decision. They want an "expert" opinion. The problem with social work and social work assessments is that social work is a soft science and constantly changing, open to interpretation and open to human biases and very open to personal beliefs of the assessor. It's not like a DNA expert that can state that DNA is from this person.
They are predicting the future and as far as I know, no know has been able to do that to date.
Instead of calling them experts and treating them as experts they should be called consultants as they investigate and consult the judges to their findings.

These consultants should be required to have at least yearly training on family law and current case law as well as BIOC training.
The training they take should be balanced equally by all involved parties / interest groups. Women, Man, Mothers, Fathers, Children, everyone.
  #39 (permalink)  
Old 09-05-2013, 12:12 PM
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12 and 9 and the judge didn't order the OCL Involvement this late, both parties asked for it in both case conference and settlement conference and it was never discussed by the judge. Self representing, I didn't know how to bring up the issue with a judge rushing to get you in and out of their court room. The advice I had from both this Father's Advocate and Duty Counsel was you need to attempt to have the OCL involved and an assessment for trial and that the OCL had no reason not to be done their assessment prior to trial. I am not going to allow the trial date to be pushed back. When I asked Duty Counsel if I should request that trial is not delayed in my consensual motion for OCL Involvement they said no.
  #40 (permalink)  
Old 09-05-2013, 12:44 PM
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So you will not have an assessor section 112 you will have a lawyer section 89.

This is different than the OCL assessor recommendations.
with a section 112 you are allowed to ask for full disclosure after the report is filed with the court.
with a section 89, since a lawyer is involved and will claim client solicitor privileged you can will not be able to get the notes of the lawyer or the clinical assist.

A lawyers involvement is only there to represent the views and preferences of the children.
That is all, they may call in a clinical assist, but again they are only to present the "views and preferences" of the children.
Anymore is above and beyond their mandate and if they start making statements regarding false allegations and labeling you something you are not.

Simply Stand up, explain that this is an OCL involvement under section 89 and as such is not to make statements and recommendations that do not have to do with the views and preferences of the children, and most certainly not make recommendations as to the best interests of the children as such they may only to make the views and preferences of the children known to the court.

Unless the OCL lawyer and clinical assist are willing to put in affidavit form a report and unless she is also willing to disclose all clinical notes both when the lawyer was and was not present, then the only thing they are here to convey is the views and preferences of the children.
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