Are your child’s views relevant in family law proceedings?
Often when people attend to discuss issues pertaining to their children following a separation they will ask whether the Court considers a child’s views.
The short answer is that the Family Law Act considers a child’s views as one of the considerations for determining what is in a child’s best interest. So in essence, a child’s views must always be considered.
The question for a lawyer and a Court regarding a child’s views is really one about how much weight to place on it. Appeals to the Full Court of the Family Court have been successful when a Judge in their reasons for determining a matter has stated something to the effect of “the child’s views are not relevant because they are too young to understand the implications of your decisions”. This means that if a child is able to communicate their views then their views must at least be considered. For a very young child however, a Court will consider those views and then place very little weight on them when determining an outcome.
The older a child becomes and/or the more mature that child is the more relevant their views are. However, there is no specific age in the legislation as to when a child can decide who they live with.
If you wish to discuss any Family Law matter with one of our Family Lawyers, contact us on 8523 8400 (Gawler) or 8211 6500 (Adelaide) to arrange an appointment for an initial no obligation consultation. Alternatively, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact you.