In a Divorce Separation, Are the Opinions of a Child Paramount?

Most people understand that an Australian family court will place the needs of any children front and centre when looking at parenting arrangements. Yet does that mean that the court will consider the children's views paramount and always go along with them?

Through a Lens

It's important to understand the principles involved and that underline the various laws and regulations. While the court will pay great attention to the best interests of the children, they will do so through a particular lens. They'll want to ensure that the children have as meaningful a relationship with the parents as possible, but those children must be protected from psychological or physical harm at all times. If there is a risk of harm, the court may decide that it's impossible to have a meaningful relationship with one of the parents. They'll be more concerned with protecting the child than anything else.

Case-By-Case Approach

Certainly, a court may base a judgment on a child's input, but this will depend on several other factors. Much will depend on the child's maturity level and whether they fully understand what is going on or not. The court can look at the child's input in context and determine whether one or both of the parents influenced it at any time.

Fundamentally, the court will always want to place the children in as safe an environment as possible and in a situation that brings contentment and happiness. It can often be complex to come to such a conclusion and many different elements will go into the mix.

Multiple Children and Their Individual Needs

The situation can become even more complex if several children are involved and they're of different ages. One child may be much older and therefore a lot more mature, while the other child may simply not understand the implications of the situation. In this situation, there may be a close bond between the two children, which may have become even closer due to this separation process. The court will need to consider many different factors here, as they'll want to avoid separating the children at all costs.

Strong Support in Your Corner

As is often the case in legal matters, the path forward is by no means well-defined. If you find yourself in this position, you will need to get strong legal advice and bring in a family lawyer at the earliest stage. They will work closely with the court and any opposing legal counsel to reach the best possible outcome.

For more information, contact family lawyers near you.