Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: surrounded by testosterone
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Are you in the US?
Assuming you are, there is absolutely no way to predict the extent to which the judge will be swayed by a social worker's report. You could look up the judge's case history. But unless a lot of his rulings have been appealed, you may have very limited access to details about other cases he's presided over, such as whether social workers were involved, or whether the rulings concur with their advice.
There is good reason to hope that the judge will care about the social worker's report. Presumably, the judge will have much less time to get to know you and your ex, compared to the SW; and the judge will never meet your child, whereas the SW should. But the SW does not have jurisdiction over your case, so the judge is not required to do as she advises.
The counselor you and your ex saw can certainly provide valuable input about the two of you, as people and probably your attitudes, strengths and weaknesses concerning parenting - or at least co-parenting with each other.
The pastor could also be valuable, but I think it would be best if he were willing to testify. Even though you two saw him as a couple, you describe him as your pastor. Therefore, there won't be the same presumption of fairness that there would be, about the marriage counselor, who is equally your counselor and your ex's. For example, if you were to have a friend write a letter to the court in support of you, it should be rejected by the judge, unless you call that friend in to testify, which allows her to not only swear that she wrote the letter herself, but it gives your ex's attorney a fair chance to question her. I think that's the best way to handle info. from your pastor...whereas, if you don't want to bother having the SW or the marriage counselor testify, their reports should be accepted at face value by the court, as long as neither you nor your ex object to them.
One woman in a house full of men: my soul mate:
... twin sons:
(HS seniors) ... step-son:
(a sophomore) ... our little man:
(a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all