In order for a Hear the Child or Views of the Child Interview to be effective, the child must be capable of forming and communicating his or her own views. Issues surrounding divorce, parenting schedules, mobility, etc. are abstract and complex.
While there are many exceptions, children are typically able to form and communicate their views on these issues by approximately nine years of age. Therefore, the recommended minimum age for having your child participate in a child interview is nine.
No. In an effort to minimize the risk of the interview being biased, children are interviewed in private. Parents are asked to drop the child off for the interview and to return 45 to 60 minutes later to pick the child up.
No. Dynamics between siblings can lead to a child’s views being influenced by the views of a sibling. Each child gets to privately present their own unique views.
In preparation for the interview, each parent is asked to complete an Interview Intake Form which provides background information and a summary of the particular issues that are to be explored with your child. The lawyers representing each parent may also be consulted for information regarding the relevant issues.
The report is provided to each of the lawyers of the parties involved. If a party is self-represented (as is sometimes the case ONLY with Hear the Child Reports), then the report is provided directly to that party.
A Hear the Child Report will be filed at the court registry if the report is ordered by the court or if the parties request that it be filed.
A Views of the Child Report will be filed at the court registry.
It is important that you do not attempt to rehearse with or pressure your child in any way. However, it is important that your child understand who they are going to see and why. As you discuss the interview, use very neutral language and encourage your child to simply answer my questions.
The information contained in the Hear the Child or Views of the Child Report must be disclosed to all parties involved. Therefore, you must be careful not to give your child the impression that you, as parents, will not be privy to the information that your child shares.
A Hear the Child Report or Views of the Child Report can be completed only by court order or by consent of both parties.
If you wish to have your child interviewed and the other party does not, then you must obtain a court order.
M. Ed., R.C.C.