Many of our client’s come to us wondering their child’s wishes are something that would be considered in family law proceedings.
The best interests of the child is the paramount consideration when determining all parenting arrangements. Parenting arrangements and orders should always reflect on the evidence about what is most likely to promote this principle.
In determining best interests, the court takes into consideration:
- The benefit of a child having a meaningful relationship with both parents; and
- The need to protect a child from physical or psychological harm.
Views expressed by a child are not the only basis for the Court’s decision, but rather one of many. It is important to remember that even though a child’s wishes are relevant, that relevance is dependent on their level of their understanding and maturity.
How are the children’s wishes communicated to the Court?
- A Family Report, where the writer (an experiences psychologist or social worker) has met with the parties and child;
- A Family Consultant from the Court’s Counselling Service who meets with the parties and child;
- The appointment of an Independent Children’s Lawyer. The ICL is not a child’s advocate and does not act on the child’s instructions, but makes inquiries as are required to determining what is in a child’s best interests and thereafter to make submissions to the Court relevant to what would be best for a child.
When making decisions about ongoing parenting arrangements, it is important you are guided by an experienced specialist family lawyer.
To further discuss your matter, and arrangements in place for your children, contact us today and arrange a no obligation first free appointment – 02 9560 6811.
Author: Gabriella Arvanitis, Associate Lawyer, Family Law
Service: Family Law