In September 2004, the New Brunswick Department of Justice introduced a new program to help parents with the financial cost of evaluations ordered by the court in disputed cases of custody and access.
Five Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) concerning this program are provided below.
What is the C-OESP?
The C-OESP is a program that will provide financial assistance to parents who have been ordered by the Court to have an examination, evaluation, or other type of assessment for the purpose of enabling the Court to decide about custody and/or access.
The program does not arrange the services of evaluators. Parents are still responsible for arranging for an evaluator.
Who can apply to C-OESP?
Each parent in a contested custody- and/or access-related matter, where the court has made an order for an examination, evaluation, or other type of assessment, may apply for C-OESP assistance. This does not include cases in which the Minister of Family and Community Services is involved.
Note: each parent or party must apply separately.
How do I apply to C-OESP?
Pick up a copy of the C-OESP Application Form and the C-OESP Intake Form at the Court Services Division office in any of the Court of Queen's Bench judicial districts, and follow the instructions included in them. Alternatively, you can access the forms from the Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick Website at the URL indicated below.
Will I have to pay anything?
A parent with an annual income of less than $20,000 will be eligible for a full subsidy under the program. Assistance is also available on a sliding scale for parents with individual incomes of up to $65,000. Each parent will be evaluated separately.
Depending on your income, you may be required to pay an initial contribution towards the cost of the evaluation. After the evaluation has been completed, the Department of Justice will then pay a percentage - again, based on your income - of the remaining cost of your share of the evaluation. You will be responsible for any remaining unpaid balance of your share of the cost of the evaluation. Complete details about the amount of the contribution and the percentage of the cost that will be paid by the Department of Justice will be provided in the letter sent to you after your application has been reviewed.
Note: unless the Court order specifies otherwise, each party is considered responsible for an equal share of the cost of the evaluation.
Where can I find a qualified evaluator?
First ask your lawyer, if you have one. If not, check the Yellow Pages under Marriage, Family and Individual Counsellors, or contact the New Brunswick Association of Social Workers (1(506)459-5595), or the College of Psychologists of New Brunswick (1(506)382-1994). You should ask if the evaluator has previously done evaluations for the court.
Remember, you and the other party must agree on who is going to do the evaluation. Discuss this with your lawyer.
For more information on C-OESP, including program forms, please consult the Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick Website at the following URL: