Frequently Asked Questions
If you live outside the Regional Municipalites of Halifax (HRM) or Cape Breton (CBRM), you would go to the Family Court if:
If your situation is not listed above or you live inside the Regional Municipalities of Halifax or Cape Breton, you may need to go to another court.
Outside CBRM & HRM see the << Supreme Court >>.
Inside CBRM & HRM see the Supreme Court Family Division >.
If you are still not sure, contact the courthouse. Contact information can be found by clicking on the "Court Locations/Maps" link to the left.
What is Intake?
Intake is part of the court process and is mandatory. The purpose of intake is to:
Intake is not confidential, but details of discussions during the intake process will not be included in the court record. Intake begins when you start an application in the Family Court. You may bring a family member or friend with you to the meeting. Generally, the other party does not attend at this time. You will meet with a court officer, usually called an intake officer, who will help you identify the issues and make sure that you have provided all information and documentation required by the Family Court.
What does the intake officer do?
The intake officer helps you to sort out what to do about your situation and what the next steps might be.
The intake officer may:
The intake officer does not:
Will I still need a lawyer?
The intake officer cannot give legal advice. The intake process does not replace negotiation between lawyers. The court officer will also recommend you consult with a lawyer if you reach an agreement before going to court.
What is the Parent Information Program?
PIP is a voluntary program if children are the subject of a court case. You will be scheduled to attend two two-hour sessions or one three-hour session at the court.
PIP offers you information about :
The goals of the Parent Information Program are:
How can I attend a session?
A court officer will tell you when and where you are scheduled to attend. Attempts may be made to accommodate work and family commitments. You will not have to attend the same session as your ex-partner.
What is a Parenting Assessment?A Family Court judge may order a parenting assessment. The main purpose of an assessment is to help the judge decide how the needs of the child may best be met.
The judge can specify what kind of assessment is to be done, including:
If an assessment is ordered by a judge, it is mandatory. If one party is not cooperating, the assessor will report this to the judge. If you are involved in a custody or access dispute and believe an assessment of your child would help the court understand your family circumstances, you may speak to a court officer or your lawyer about seeking an assessment. The judge will decide if the court needs an assessment to make a determination in your case. If the judge doesn't order an assessment, the parties can still agree to have an assessment done. If the situation is resolved before the assessment is complete, advise the assessor and the court as soon as possible.
Who does the assessment?
A parenting assessment is done by a professional, usually a social worker or psychologist with expertise in the area of children, custody, and access. The assessor meets with both parents, and may also meet with the child, grandparents, childcare providers, teachers, and so forth, if appropriate.
What is my child's role in an assessment?
Your child may need to be interviewed by the assessor. It will depend on your child's age and the issues the judge wants addressed. As the assessor needs to meet with your child in a confidential setting, you cannot attend the interview. The assessor will discuss this with you beforehand.
What if I disagree with what the assessor says or recommends?
You, or your lawyer if you have one, will have the chance to address this during court proceedings.
Is there a fee?
Yes. An assessment may cost $2,000 to $5,000 to prepare, but you may not have to pay the whole cost. We use a fee schedule. The amount you pay is based on your gross income. Refer to the court ordered reports fee information on the courts website.