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Critiquing Custody and Access Assessments



Assessment Critique: Hired gun or dispassionate opinion



Parents Have Until the Gavel Comes Down



Why I use a Sliding Fee Scale

Professional Complaint Support

Providing services to separated parents in dispute over the care and decision making of their children creates a risk for the service provider. If one or other parent is dissatisfied with the outcome, a parent may write disparaging comments on the Internet and/or make an official complaint to the service providerís regulatory body.

Indeed, complaints arising in the context of service to separated parents are the greatest source of complaints regulatory bodies receive.

These issues also arise outside of parenting disputes when the complainant is considered to have a high conflict personality.

Whether the complaint is valid or not, when received, the service provider feels overwhelmed and scared. Although always a concern of service, when faced with a complaint, the service provider may not know who to turn to or what to do. They also worry about the integrity of their practice, personal reputation and job security.

Feelings of shame, fear and embarrassment can isolate the service provider causing conditions to challenge judgement and limit thinking about strategies to address their concerns arising.

This service is to help the service provider in these circumstances by processing their situation and generating options to manage the process as well as address concerns for reputation and their practice.

Service is available in person or through video conferencing over the Internet. I use ZOOM for video conferencing. It is easy to use assuming you have a computer, tablet or smartphone with camera and microphone.

(For those who would like to read more about the scope of the problem regarding frivolous and vexatious complaints arising in the context of parenting disputes between separated parents, this report, Position Paper: Frivolous and Vexatious Complaints Against Custody & Access Assessors, by The Action Group on Access to Justice from the Law Society of Ontario, may be of value.)

Fee: $200.00/hr billing for actual time used in 5 minute increments to the next highest interval.

Clients provide payment by cash, cheque or eTransfer at the end of the meetings. A receipt is always provided. 

Third Party Payments (EAP and other Benefit Providers):

Pleased be advised that I do not accept payment by third party payers (benefit or EAP providers) whatsoever. People are directly responsible for payment of services as per the information above at the time of service. A receipt will be provided with which persons can seek reimbursement from their EAP or benefit provider. I take no responsibility for your reimbursement. Reimbursement remains a matter between you and your benefit or EAP provider. 

If you do seek reimbursement through your benefit or EAP provider and I am called to verify the charge, I will do so with your implied consent. My disclosure will be limited to advising of my credentials as well as verifying the billing information, service provided and persons served. Please note, this is a clinical-legal service and may not be covered.  No information regarding the nature or content of information discussed will be provided without signed consent, for which you will be charged as per the time required.



  1. Service is provided on a private and discreet basis.
  2. Service is provided in the safety and comfort of my home-office.
  3. Daytime appointments are available Monday through Friday (except Friday afternoon). Evening appointments are available Monday through Thursday. I typically set my appointment times for 9:30 am, 1:30 pm and 7:00 pm. I do not offer weekend appointments. Summer hours may be restricted - please ask.
  4. Persons may self-refer. Please call.
  5. Persons are expected to attend sober for appointments.
  6. There is no recoding or posting of content or comments in any form or media by clients or their proxy although Gary Direnfeld may record at his discretion for accountability purposes.
  7. Violence of any fashion will not be condoned.


All matters remain confidential with the following exceptions:

  1. Any past or imminent harm or abuse to a child currently younger than 16 years of age will be reported to proper authorities.
  2. Any imminent threat of harm to self or to another adult will be reported either to proper authorities and/or to other persons who may be required to intervene as necessary.
  3. Up to an hour can be scheduled between appointments to avoid meeting anyone while entering or exiting.
  4. Information about yourself can be used to pursue payment in the event of non-payment, cancelled or bad cheques or misrepresentation of income.



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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW



(905) 628-4847


Gary Direnfeld is a child-behaviour expert, a social worker, and the author of Raising Kids Without Raising Cane. Gary not only helps people get along or feel better about themselves, but also enjoys an extensive career in public speaking. He provides insight on issues ranging from child behaviour management and development; to family life; to socially responsible business development. Courts in Ontario, Canada consider Gary an expert on matters pertaining to child development, custody and access, family/marital therapy and social work.


Buy the book:

For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.


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20 Suter Crescent, Dundas, ON, Canada L9H 6R5  Tel: (905) 628-4847  Email: gary@yoursocialworker.com 

Counselling and assessment services serving Hamilton, Dundas, Ancaster, Stoney Creek, Burlington, Brantford,

Oakville, Grimsby, Waterdown and other local areas.