Does my child have a say in Family Court?

Does my child have a say in Family Court?

A common question asked by our clients is: “do my children have a say in what parenting Orders are made?”.

Your children’s views are generally presented to the Court by a Family Consultant in a Child Inclusive Conference Memorandum, Family Report or a report made following a Children and Parents Issues Assessment. In some cases, the Family Courts may deem it appropriate to appoint an Independent Children’s Lawyer to represent the children’s views in proceedings.

Whilst the Family Court has the power to make Orders for your children until they turn 18, it is common practice for the Courts to make Orders in line with views expressed by children who are 15 years and older. In essence, teenagers will generally ‘vote with their feet’.

The Family Court will however adopt a more cautious approach in accepting evidence from one or both parents as to any views said to be those expressed by children.  The Court will take steps to ensure that any views expressed by children are assessed and presented in an objective form so it can determine what Orders are appropriate in the circumstances of each matter.

For more information on the role of an Independent Children Lawyer, please read our blog: What is an Independent Childrens Lawyer and what is their role?