A program to help ease the cost of court-ordered evaluations
Court-Ordered Evaluations Support Program (C-OESP)
Q. What is a court-ordered evaluation?
A. When separated parents don’t agree on parenting arrangements, they may rely on the court to decide decision-making responsibilities or parenting time based on the best interests of the child. To assist in making the decision, the court may order an evaluation of one parent, both parents and/or the children.
Evaluations are done by experts such as social workers, psychologists or psychiatrists and can be expensive.
The types of evaluations that the court may order can include any one or a combination of the following:
- Full evaluations to determine the “best interest of the child”.
- Child interviews (often called “voice of the child” interviews) to determine the wishes, needs and interests of the child.
- Focused evaluations to obtain specific information.
- Home studies to determine if the home and family environment can adequately meet the basic needs of the child.
- Parenting capacity assessments to verify the capacity of either parent to properly and effectively raise the child.
- Psychiatric evaluations in cases where there are concerns about disorders Psychological assessments to determine intellectual levels and functioning, behaviour, and disorders of behaviour, emotions and thoughts of the child or parent.
Q. Who does the evaluations?
A. Court-ordered evaluations are done by qualified experts such as social workers, psychologists, or psychiatrists. The expert must be qualified to assess any or all members of the family to obtain the information needed by the court. You and the other parent must agree on who is going to conduct the evaluation. You may want to discuss this with your lawyer.
Q. Is assistance available to help with the cost of an evaluation?
A. Yes. To relieve some of the financial burden that a court-ordered evaluation places on families, the Department of Justice offers a federally funded program called Court-Ordered Evaluations Support Program. The level of financial contribution is a flat rate and is based on the type of evaluation ordered which will be determined upon review of your court order.
Q. Who can apply?
A. Parents residing in New Brunswick with a court-ordered evaluation filed with a court in New Brunswick may apply to C-OESP to receive a financial contribution towards their share of the cost of the evaluation. Parents must each apply separately and can only apply for assistance once per each court-ordered evaluation.
Q. Am I eligible for this financial assistance?
A. You may apply to the Court-Ordered Evaluations Support Program to receive a financial contribution towards your share of the cost of the evaluation as soon as your court order is signed by the Judge. You have up to one-year from the evaluation being completed to apply, and you can only apply once per each court-ordered evaluation.
You are NOT eligible if any of the following applies:
- You are not a resident of New Brunswick.
- A court outside New Brunswick ordered the evaluation.
- You are a client of the New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission.
- The Department of Social Development is involved in your family law case.
- You have already received financial assistance from the Court-Ordered Evaluations Support Program for the same court-ordered evaluation.
- The other parent is ordered to pay 100% of the evaluation costs.
Q. How do I apply to C-OESP?
A. You can apply online by completing the application form on the Family Law NB website. Alternatively, you can pick up a copy of the C-OESP Application Form at any Court Services location in any of the Court of Kings's Bench Judicial Districts.
Q. How much will I receive if I am eligible, and how does it work?
A. The program provides a flat rate contribution that may cover all or part of your share of the cost of the evaluation, depending on the type of evaluation that is ordered.
- After reviewing your application and determining your eligibility, we’ll email you a financial contribution certificate with details about the amount that the program will contribute towards your share. If you are not eligible, the email will explain those details.
- After you’ve arranged for and completed the ordered evaluation, the evaluator will send their invoice to the Department of Justice for the amount listed in your financial contribution certificate.
- The Department of Justice will pay the contribution amount to the evaluator directly.
- You will be responsible for paying any remaining balance of your share directly to the evaluator.
Q. Where can I find a qualified evaluator, will C-OESP refer one to me?
A. The Court-Ordered Evaluations Support Program does not arrange for evaluations, nor do we get involved in referring an evaluator for you. You are responsible for finding an evaluator and arranging for their services. You and the other parent must agree on who is going to conduct the evaluation. You may want to discuss this with your lawyer.
Here are some suggestions on finding a qualified evaluator:
- Ask your lawyer if they can recommend one.
- If you do not have a lawyer, check in the Yellow Pages under Marriage, Family and Individual Counsellors / Therapists.
- Contact the New Brunswick Association of Social Workers for a list of possible evaluators;
- Phone (toll-free): 1-877-495-5595 Web: nbasw-atsmb.ca.
- Contact the College of Psychologists of New Brunswick for a list of possible evaluators;
- Phone: (506) 382-1994 Web: cpnb.ca.
Be sure to ask the prospective evaluator if they are qualified to do the specific type of evaluation your court order requires.
For more information
Go to the Family Law NB website to apply,
email COESP@gnb.ca or call toll-free 1-888-281-8081