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:

  1. The child resides outside of Ontario;
  2. The child and/or either parent/party does not reside where the action is being conducted;
  3. There is an outstanding or anticipated order for assessment or mediation, or an assessment or mediation is pending;
  4. An assessment has been completed about custody and access in the year preceding the request;
  5. A review of the case history indicates that there have been multiple assessments or protracted litigation with little possibility of resolution;
  6. 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;
  7. 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;
  8. The primary purpose is to obtain evidence to further the litigation;
  9. Other resolution efforts should have occurred and have not been attempted;
  10. 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.;
  11. (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, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 to investigate the allegations; or (b). The CAS is or has been involved and has taken a position as to the custody/access arrangements;
  12. Updating the Children's Lawyer's Report that has been served and filed in court under section 112 of the Courts of Justice Act.