The process for divorce can be tough for the couple to go through, but it is significantly harder for the child involved. So much of their future becomes more uncertain, but a child’s living arrangements is one of the first things that would have to be resolved. Many elements have to be considered when it comes time to determining who a child should live with.
Alongside these concerns can be a number of questions, such as how much choosing power a child has and if there’s a specific age for a child to choose. Here are a couple of answers for some of the frequently asked questions regarding this matter:
Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With?
The real answer is that it depends on the circumstances. The Family Court doesn’t necessarily require a child to be of legal age to choose, despite the preconceptions that others may have regarding the matter. A child is also empowered to share their view and thoughts on the matter, along with which parent they prefer to live with if they aren’t of age to live independently yet.
The Family Court takes into consideration a child’s maturity level and how well-informed they are of the situation. As long as a child has an uninfluenced opinion and understanding of who they should live with, it’s likely that a child’s decision will influence the court’s own decision.
What If a Child Isn’t Mature Enough to Choose?
There are cases wherein a child is simply not mature enough to make their own decisions. Plus, there’s a similar worry wherein a child may have been pushed by a parent regarding their decision. In any case, the Family Court does assign a trained therapist or family counsellor to observe who’s more qualified to take care of the child.
This observation occurs for a select period of time and often involves questions about a child’s perception of their living conditions. The same therapist or counsellor is also given the task of checking how other parents act and take care of their child.
Can a Child Have Their Own Lawyer?
Spouses involved in the separation will be having their own lawyers. As for the child’s legal representation, The Family Court may assign an Independent Children’s Lawyer. This lawyer will be in charge of interviewing the child further and getting evidence to support their position or needs.
Not every case has an Independent Children’s Lawyer involved, though. They’re usually brought in during specific situations, such as domestic or psychological abuse, religious differences, estrangement and more. They’re also brought in when there are siblings involved.
What Is the Basis of Choosing Who a Child Lives With?
With all things considered, what exactly affects the decision of the Family Court of who a child lives with? Australia’s Family Law Act prioritises the well-being of the child above everything else. It’s more important for a child to have a meaningful understanding and safe living conditions where they won’t be abused or neglected.
The whole situation and pressure of where a child will live can be a really difficult time. There may also be multiple challenges ahead, so be sure to consult an experienced solicitor who will be able to aid you and your child.
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