27 May What do the kids want?
The Court determines what is in a child’s best interest by considering the matters set out in Section 60CC of the Family Law Act 1975. Under this section the Court is required to consider any views expressed by the child and the weight it should give to the child’s views.
The Family Law Act does not stipulate a specific age a child must be in order for their wishes to be taken into consideration; instead, the Court will weigh and consider factors including the child’s maturity and level of understanding and the reasonableness of their views.
The most common way in which the Court informs itself of a child’s view is by considering the contents of a Child Inclusive Conference Memorandum, Family Report or by appointing an Independent Children’s Lawyer to represent the child’s best interests.
A Child Inclusive Conference is usually undertaken early in parenting proceedings, and often on or after the first court date. A Child Inclusive Conference is a meeting with a family consultant, the adults and children involved in the matter. The conference can assist the Judge in making orders on either an interim or final basis.
A Family Report is a document prepared by an appointed Family Consultant which provides an independent assessment of the issues in the matter and aims to assist the Judge by making recommendations which may be adopted by the Court when making final orders. When completing the Family Report the Family Consultant will consider the circumstances of each individual family, assess issues of risk and also consider evidence before the Court. A Family Report will usually be conducted after a Child Inclusive Memorandum has been released, if parties are unable to resolve their matter by consent.
If we can be of assistance to you in relation to your parenting matter, please contact our office on 4929 2225 to speak with one of our experienced family law solicitors.