How do Child Dispute Services work?

Date: Sep 30, 2015

For many, family law cases represent some of the most troubling and difficult cases to proceed through, given the fact that children and family are involved.

The various processes associated with family law in NSW and the Family Court can certainly be complicated, and for the most part this is due to the sheer variety of disputes that fall under this umbrella term.

Proceeding with a case can require an understanding of areas such as parenting orders, divorce applications and the separation process. While you are always able to engage with specialist family lawyers to make cases easier to approach, there are also other resources available.

What is Child Dispute Services?

This area, also known as CDS, is designed to offer expert clinical services to Judges of both the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia. These services provide assessments and advice that Judges can then use to reach a verdict. They can also advise the courts as expert witnesses. Given the complexity of many family court cases, having such a service available is often invaluable.

Within Australia, there are around 80 internal Family Consultants as well as external consultants in all states and territories except for WA.

Not just for Judges

While you may think that CDS is a service only available to Judges, this isn't so. As family consultants are either psychologists or social workers, they can also assist families in areas such as child and family issues following separation and divorce.

What's more, they are able to identify issues for either families or children, assist parties to resolve disputes and provide useful advice regarding both resources and services that families can use. This makes CDS extremely useful, and an invaluable aspect of the wider court system.

It is also worth noting that the conduct displayed during family assessments impacts the reports developed after the fact, which can have a significant effect on judicial decision-making.

Are there any other resources available?

Given the complexity of family law cases, especially when children and parenting arrangements are involved, it may be prudent to speak with expert family lawyers. These are professionals who can guide you through the process and help you to reach a resolution.

Family law cases are rarely easy affairs but, with the right professionals who can guide you throughout, they'll become far less of an issue to deal with.