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What is a Custody/Access Assessment?

By: Steven Benmor, B.Sc., LL.B., Family Lawyer

Jurisdiction: Ontario (Canada)

A Custody/Access Assessment is a detailed investigation of a family’s situation by an educated and trained professional such as a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist.

The assessor will collect information relevant to the children’s relationship with their parents and then recommend a parenting plan that suits the best interests of the children. The assessor conducting the assessment will meet with the parents and the children and, sometimes, with other people who are involved in the children’s life. The assessor will then write a report for the Judge which contains recommendations on custody and access. In most cases, the parents are responsible for the cost of the assessment.

In some cases, the Judge may ask the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, a government agency, to conduct an investigation and report back to the Judge with recommendations. The Office of the Children’s Lawyer may assign a social worker to conduct the investigation or assign a lawyer to meet with the children so that their wishes can be communicated to the Judge.

Steven Benmor

About the author: Steven Benmor practices Family Law in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Visit Steven Benmor’s online Family Law Resource Center for concise answers to many more frequently asked Family law questions, feature articles on Family law topics, dozens of links to other Family law websites, and more at The information on this page is for discussion purposes only. It is by no means legal advice or even a statement of the law on this subject. Please do not rely on the accuracy or completeness of this information. Any question or concern elicited by the information on this page should be taken to a lawyer who will consider the facts of each case and the legal remedies available.