Family Court Counsellors' Office
The Family Court Counsellors' Office provides court ordered child custody parenting arrangements assessments to assist the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island in determining an appropriate parenting arrangement for children.
What are child custody parenting arrangements assessments?
A child custody parenting arrangements, also known as a home study, is a court ordered assessment to determine the needs of the child(ren), and the parents' ability and willingness to satisfy their child(ren)'s needs.
Family Court clinicians conduct the assessments, which are filed with the court in legal proceedings to assist the court in determining an appropriate parenting arrangement for the child(ren).
What kind of assessments are ordered by the court?
The court may order one of the following assessment types:
- Comprehensive Assessment,
- Focused or Brief Assessment,
- Update Assessment, or
- Out-of-Province Assessment
NOTE: There is usually a waiting period between when the court orders an assessment and the beginning of the assessment.
What is a comprehensive assessment?
A comprehensive assessment includes:
- A series of interviews are conducted with each parent to gather information on their personal history, the children's parenting history and the parents' plans for care;
- A home-based introduction of the assessor to the children in both parent's homes; and
- A school-based interview for children seven years old and older.
Interviews of the children assess the following:
- developmental characteristics of the child,
- the child's understanding of their parenting arrangement,
- the child's views and preferences, and
- any impacts the child may be experiencing as a result of any voluntary or interim parenting arrangement.
Parenting arrangement recommendations are provided in all comprehensive assessments. The time frame is four to six months following the beginning of the assessment.
What information might be required for a comprehensive assessment?
The parents must provide consent for the release of their personal information, including a criminal record check and the history of any police and child protection involvement with the family. The child(ren)'s school or day care information is also required.
The parents may also be asked to consent to the release of additional personal information (determined to be relevant by the assessing Family Court clinician) such as medical, addiction and mental health information.
What is a focused or brief assessment?
A focused or brief assessment involves views and preferences interviews of children 12 years old and older. Usually parenting arrangement recommendations are not provided for these assessments. The authorizing judge may request that limited recommendations be provided. The time frame is four to six weeks following the beginning of the assessment.
What is an update assessment?
An update assessment is ordered to assess changes in circumstances in a case in the time period since the filing of an earlier assessment report. The Clinician can provide updated parenting arrangement recommendations for these assessments. The time frame for completion is three to six months following the beginning of the assessment.
What is an out-of-province assessment?
An out-of-province assessment occurs when one of the parents lives in another province. The Family Court Counsellors' Office can contract a clinician in the other province. The parents may be responsible for any charges for the out-of-province portion of the assessment.
The time frame for completion of the assessment is is 4-6 months following the beginning of the assessment. Because two different clinicians are involved in the assessment, usually there are no parenting arrangement recommendation included in these assessments.
Is there a cost for assessment service?
There is no charge for in-province assessments. There may be a charge for an out-of-province assessment.
Who can I contact for more information?
Family Court Counsellors' Office
Family Law Centre (Charlottetown)
Phone: (902) 368-6928