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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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  #1  
Old 03-15-2006, 12:56 PM
gooddadgoingmad gooddadgoingmad is offline
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Default Childs Lawyer

I've been hearing members mention a "childrens lawyer" and I'm wondering how this works? Is this something that I can request so that my sons best interests are protected? Or is this something only appointed by the courts?

Thanks
GDGM
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Old 03-15-2006, 01:28 PM
CatvsLion CatvsLion is offline
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I was wondering the same thing - I mentioned it to my lawyer in an email and it was pretty much not discussed any further - was just dismissed really.
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Old 03-15-2006, 04:54 PM
logicalvelocity logicalvelocity is offline
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Office of the children's lawyer home page can be found here at this link

http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.o...sh/family/ocl/

What they do

Child Custody and Access Cases

Court proceedings about child custody and access are usually between the child's mother and father. In most cases, the parents have lawyers who represent them in the case. Where there is a dispute before the court about the child's custody or access, a court may request the appointment of the Children's Lawyer under the Courts of Justice Act. This happens when the court requires independent information and representation about the interests, needs and wishes of the child who is the subject of the proceedings.

The Children's Lawyer's involvement in custody/access cases is to provide a legal representative (a lawyer) for the child or to prepare a report, or a combination of both.

The Children's Lawyer does not represent children in child support matters in custody/access cases. Visit the Family Responsibility Office Web site for information on child support matters.

Requesting the involvement of the Children's Lawyer in Custody and Access cases
After a court action about custody and access has begun, one or more of the parties (the applicant and respondent in the case) may request the appointment of the Children's Lawyer.

It is not necessary for parties to serve the Office of the Children's Lawyer (OCL) with a Notice of Motion and Pleadings for an order to appoint the Children's Lawyer in Ontario Court of Justice, Superior Court of Justice or Superior Court of Justice, Family Court cases.


Judges will consider the Intake Criteria before requesting, by order, the involvement of the Children's Lawyer in a case.


A printed form of the Order is available to every family law Judge. When the order is signed it will be forwarded immediately by one of the parties set out in the order (or by the court), by facsimile (416-314-8050) or mail to the Office of the Children's Lawyer.

As required in the order, within ten days, each party will complete a separate Intake Form and send it to the Office of the Children's Lawyer. The Intake Form itself is available in all Court Houses.

Within three weeks of the date of the order, the Children's Lawyer will review the order and Intake Forms and notify the parties and the court (by facsimile or mail) whether the Children's Lawyer consents to become involved in the case and, if so, the type of professional service that will be provided.

The types of professional services that may be delivered are:

Legal Representation - A Lawyer will be assigned.


Children's Lawyer Report - A clinical investigator will be assigned.


Legal Representation with a Clinical Investigator Assist

a) Both a lawyer and clinical investigator will be assigned at the beginning if there are serious clinical and legal issues requiring an expeditious response, e.g. murder/suicide, mobility, etc., or,


b) After the case has been assigned to the lawyer, a clinical investigator will be assigned if there are specific serious clinical concerns that need to be addressed in order to assist the lawyer in representing the interests of the child client at any settlement meeting or in court.


"Summary" Legal Representation or Children's Lawyer Report

The lawyer or clinical investigator will be instructed to deliver, in a summary way, a time limited service and to report to the parties and the court either by way of submissions (lawyer) or by a short Report (social worker) about what, if anything, has been accomplished to advance the interests of the child client towards a resolution or court order.


Lawyer Assisting Clinical Investigator

A lawyer will be assigned to assist a clinical investigator who is preparing an OCL Report when the social worker needs legal advice and guidance in special circumstances, e.g. evidence, interpretation of documentation, legal procedures, etc. Please note that the lawyer will not be the legal representative of the child under s.89(3.1) of the Courts of Justice Act.


NOTE: Except in special circumstances, legal representation and a Children's Lawyer report of the OCL will NOT be provided simultaneously.


Copies of the OCL's Intake Criteria, Intake Form and Court Order Form are available upon request.

http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.o.../ocl/about.asp


A copy of the intake criteria can be found here

http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.o...ocl/intake.asp

Intake Criteria for Provision of Custody/Access Cases

The Office of the Children's Lawyer reviews each court ordered request for appointment of the Children's Lawyer in custody/access cases.

The Office of the Children's Lawyer may not provide services in the following circumstances:
  • The child resides outside of Ontario;
  • The child and/or either parent/party does not reside where the action is being conducted;
  • There is an outstanding or anticipated order for assessment or mediation, or an assessment or mediation is pending;
  • An assessment has been completed about custody and access in the year preceding the request;
  • A review of the case history indicates that there have been multiple assessments or protracted litigation with little possibility of resolution;
  • There are serious mental health concerns with respect to either parent and/or child, and a mental health assessment has not been undertaken or completed;
  • Support and/or property issues are the primary concerns and the custody and access arrangements have been relatively stable for an appreciable period of time;
  • The primary purpose is to obtain evidence to further the litigation;
  • Other resolution efforts should have occurred and have not been attempted;
  • The child's situation would not be improved, e.g. where the issue is "joint" v. "sole" custody, or where an unrealistic time-sharing plan is being sought, or an applicant seeks to change custody to resolve an access problem, or both parties reside in the matrimonial home etc.;
(a). One or both parties allege abuse and/or neglect and the local Children's Aid Society (CAS) is investigating or should be asked under the Child and Family Services Act to investigate the allegations; or

(b). The CAS is or has been involved and has taken a position as to the custody/access arrangements;

Updating the Children's Lawyer's Report that has been served and filed in court under section 112 of the Courts of Justice Act.

The intake criteria form can be found here at this link

http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.o...l/intakeng.pdf
  #4  
Old 03-17-2006, 02:41 PM
gooddadgoingmad gooddadgoingmad is offline
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Does anyone in the group have any experience with the Office of the Childrens Lawyer?

I am deeply concerned about the effects of my ex's behavior on my child. She is doing everything she can to keep him from me and I'm certain she is doing damage to him.

I would love to hear from some of you about this if you've got anything to offer with your own experience.

I wrote a lot of information in my affadavit regarding all of the difficulty I've had accessing my son. There have been court ordered times set in place by the judge that she HAS to allow me to talk to my son. This is an interim order. In the future, I anticipate that she will say that I cannot have my son during over night visits when I go home for the summer. I anticipate that she will say that this will be emotionally difficult for him given that he hasn't seen me in such a long time. ( will be 10 months by then ) However, as I wrote in my affidavit, she took two vacations this past year and left my son with her family and friends to care for him.

I am very worried about my son and would like for him to talk to someone about the divorce. I am too afraid to talk to my son about it because I don't want to confuse him if the ex is telling him something completely different. I feel that when he is talked to, it should be consistent with everyone telling him the same thing so that he is not confused. Problem is, the ex is not willinging to talk to me about anything so we cannot work together on how to approach this.

Any suggestions? Thanks L/v for the links. They are very helpful. I appreciate it!

GDGM
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Old 03-17-2006, 04:33 PM
Jenny Jenny is offline
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Since neither you or your spouse or your child are in ontario- the office of the children's lawyer wouldn't be able to help you.

Voice and Support: Programs for Children Experiencing Parental Separation and Divorce
That link might help. Also check out this page in the same document - It will tell you what programs Nfld has in this area
  #6  
Old 03-17-2006, 07:02 PM
logicalvelocity logicalvelocity is offline
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I believe every jurisdiction in Canada has an equivalent office of the children's lawyer.
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Old 03-17-2006, 11:35 PM
Grace Grace is offline
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GDGM,

I think you should pursue this, it would be an excellent idea to have your child assessed. By going through an agency like the Children's Lawyer, it would be of no expense to you. They could recommend counseling for the child although I do not believe it is in there mandate to provide it. The assessment of your child that they would provide would be of great use to a counseling in later providing your son support.

I highly recommend councelling for childing of separation/divorce especially in high conflict situations. I had myself & children in counseling for over 2 years so I'm speaking from experience.

Good Luck, and summers is just around the corner, bet you can't wait to see your son. Are you planning to return for the next school year?
  #8  
Old 03-18-2006, 12:23 AM
Jenny Jenny is offline
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I'm not sure what it would be called in other places. Do you know LV? I know the office of the children's lawyer is an ontario thing, Do you know what it would be called in other provinces if they have the same thing?
  #9  
Old 03-18-2006, 02:22 AM
logicalvelocity logicalvelocity is offline
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Jenny,

In quebec, office of the children lawyer falls within youth protection act.

Most of the sites in quebec are french and very difficult to translate however I did come across this document that clarifies the role of the children's lawyer in quebec etc.

http://www.ibcr.org/PAGE_EN/2004%20C...uthier_ENG.pdf

and I did search for the respective act which can be found here
It does speak about parential assessments etc

http://www.canlii.org/qc/laws/sta/p-...213/whole.html

I will continue to search and post what I come up with.

Last edited by logicalvelocity; 03-18-2006 at 02:43 AM.
  #10  
Old 03-18-2006, 02:42 AM
logicalvelocity logicalvelocity is offline
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I did come across this site and pamphlet that deals with a child's right to an advocate in the yukon territory.

http://www.yukonchildrensact.ca/down...-Qual-Mntr.pdf
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