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.