A reader worries about what the children have to say in Family Court.
In Family Court custody cases, what say do the children have?
The Family Law Act provides that no child is required to express their views in relation to any matter but also requires the court to consider the views of a child if such views have been expressed.
The primary ways this occurs is by a written report which is prepared by a family consultant, a person with specific qualifications in relation to children’s issues and disputes before the court.
It is also possible for the views of children to be expressed through an Independent Children’s Lawyer, who is appointed by the court. Such a lawyer is appointed only in a minority of cases, usually where there are serious issues and allegations or the case is sufficiently complex to warrant the appointment of an independent lawyer.
The court considers the above to be the most appropriate method of hearing what the children have to say and will not normally allow any other evidence to be considered.
The court takes a dim view of parents asking their children to make comments and then using those comments in support of that parent’s case.
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