Divorce can be a messy and heartbreaking affair, especially when children are involved. As parents, it's normal to have questions and concerns about the welfare of your children during and after a divorce. One common question many parents have is whether the courts really focus on their children's best interests during a divorce application. What do you need to know?
Children Front and Centre
In Australia, family law legislation dictates that the best interests of the child be the primary consideration during any legal proceeding involving children. This means that the courts must focus on what is best for the child when making about parenting arrangements and other matters related to the child's welfare. This is an incredibly important consideration that courts take very seriously.
What Do Courts Consider?
When making decisions about parenting arrangements, the courts will consider many factors. These will include the child's need to have as meaningful as possible a relationship with both parents, family violence issues and the practical considerations of the child's care. The court will also take into account the child's views, depending on their age and maturity level. It's worth noting that while children's views are taken into account, they don't have the final say. Ultimately, the court will make a decision that could be based on what they believe is in the child's best interests.
Understanding the Process
It's also important to understand that the court process itself can be stressful and potentially traumatic for children. The court acknowledges this and aims to minimise the impact on children as much as possible. For example, the court may encourage parents to attend family dispute resolution before going to court. This can help parents resolve their disputes without the need for litigation, which can be more confusing and stressful for children.
Other Possible Considerations
In some cases, the court may also appoint an independent children's lawyer to represent the child's interests. The children's lawyer acts as a voice for the child, providing the court with information about the child's views, wishes and feelings. This can be particularly important in cases where there are significant disputes between the parents and the child's welfare is at risk.
What You Should Remember
In conclusion, the courts in Australia take the welfare of children incredibly seriously during a divorce application. They are required by law to prioritise the best interests of the child when making orders about parenting arrangements and other issues. While parents may feel uncertain about the impact of the court process on their children, it's important to remember that the court aims to minimise any trauma or stress.
With the right legal support and a willingness to work together, parents can help ensure the best possible outcomes for their children during a divorce. Therefore, get in touch with an experienced family lawyer for further advice. For more information on family law, contact a professional near you.