The law provides for a psychological report on a child who is subject to any application under the Care of Children Act 2004 relating to guardianship disputes, parenting orders, and applications involving the return of a child abducted to New Zealand.

These reports are only directed by the Court when the Court requires further psychological information in order to determine what care regime, guardianship decision, or relocation of the child is in that child’s best interests and welfare. 

It is often common when a child either refuses to, or cannot, provide instruction or their view to their lawyer, that the child’s Court-appointed lawyer may ask the Court to commission a psychologist report.

In other cases where there has been abuse of the child (either physical, sexual or psychological), the Court may want to explore the effects of this abuse of the child from a psychological safety point of view. 

Psychological reports often involve the Court-appointed psychologist speaking to, not only the child, but to their family members and extended family members who have an interest in the care of the child, the child’s teacher or principal, and sometimes the child’s GP when there has been abuse alleged.

One negative consequence to a psychologist report being commissioned is that it can take significant time before completion.  This is because the briefs to the psychologist are often very thorough, and there is a shortage of Court-appointed child psychologists in New Zealand who provide services to the Ministry of Justice.

Overall, the psychologist reports can be incredibly useful, and have resulted in the parties sometimes being able to mediate their differences in the best interests of the child. 

They are an invaluable tool for the Court in completing any gaps in evidence that may be apparent, particularly when the psychological safety and well-being of the child is a primary issue for the Court to decide. 

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.