The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta revised Family Practice Note 7 and Family Practice Note 8 effective May 1, 2019.
Family Practice Note 7 relates to interventions available in family law cases when the Court needs to make decisions about children and the family is experiencing conflict. Interventions are conducted by Parenting Experts, who are registered psychologists or registered clinical social workers. Interventions may be classified as evaluative, where the Parenting Expert is directed toward providing information to the Court to assist the Court in making decisions. Interventions may also be classified as therapeutic, where the Parenting Expert is directed toward resolution of disputes, managing conflict and making necessary changes in existing family dynamics. Practice Note 7 describes the purpose of an Intervention as having a Parenting Expert report back to the Court and assist the Court in identifying challenges specific to the family and to facilitate resolution of those challenges, and to bring the Parenting Expert under the jurisdiction and protection of the Court. A Parenting Expert conducting an Intervention cannot provide an opinion or recommendation to the Court regarding parenting time, parental responsibilities, decision making, or relocation. The Parenting Expert can describe what is happening with the children and within the family dynamic.
Family Practice Note 8 relates to Child Custody/Parenting Evaluations, which is a comprehensive assessment of a family completed by a Parenting Expert. A psychologist appointed as a Parenting Expert under Practice Note 8 may give the Court opinion evidence on parenting arrangements, parenting responsibilities and decision-making for children.
Information is available on the Court of Queen’s Bench website regarding these practice notes.