At times, we family lawyers have had clients express to us that their child or children have decided to live with one parent and spend time with the other. We are then asked whether the Court will take into consideration the child/ren’s wishes. In summary, our family lawyers at Stone Group Lawyer’s views are:
1. In family law matters whereby parenting arrangements for the child/ren are to be decided, we must consider if these parenting arrangements are in the best interest of the child/ren.
Please see our article posted on 24 January 2023 in relation to the best interests of the child/ren.
2. The Court may give weight to the child/ren’s views in relation to parenting arrangements, however, this is entirely dependent on the child/ren’s maturity and their level of understanding (section 60CC(3)(a)).
For instance, the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) does not refer to a specific age for a child’s views to be considered by a Court. However, if a child is generally in their teenage years, then the Court may be likely to give further weight to their views in comparison to a child who is 6 years of age.
3. It is important that parents foster and facilitate spend time with arrangements between the child and their other parent so that their child/ren can benefit from having a meaningful relationship with both parents, provided that the child/ren is not subjected to or exposed to physical or psychological harm including abuse, neglect or family violence.
4. That if there is a disagreement between the parents in relation to parenting arrangements, that they consider attending mediation, so that the child/ren’s views can be considered, subject to their level of maturity and understanding. This is a very amicable and cost-effective pathway to keep the family unit intact irrespective of the parents’ separation.
5. It is also very important not to denigrate the other parent to the child/ren or around the child/ren, which would influence their wishes to some degree.
If you have any concerns and / or questions about family law parenting matters, please do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 088 440 for a 30-minute free of charge consultation.
Ariza has appeared in both divisions of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, not only in the Sydney Registry, but also the Brisbane Registry as well.
Ariza has attended and prepared for mediations in both parenting and property matters in Sydney and Brisbane.
Ariza aims to find a resolution without resorting to Court given that this option is cost-effective, for her clients. However, if your matter proceeds to Court, she can assist you and provide tailored advice for your situation in an empathetic manner.