In Matters of Family Law – What about the Children?

In matters arising in Family Law disputes, there are so very often children involved whose welfare and security are paramount in the eyes of the Court.

The role of an Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL),  is an avenue to facilitate the participation of the child in proceedings, gathering evidence, and providing what is deemed as an “honest broker” in case management and negotiations.

Under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (‘FLA’) Section 68L, the Court can make an Order for the appointment of an ICL, and may be made in the instances of:  allegations of child sexual abuse, psychological abuse, allegations of anti-social conduct by one or both parents that impinges on the child’s welfare, or matters involving a relocation proposal that would restrict the other parent from spending time with the child.

Australia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which allows for the rights of children to participate in proceedings relevant to their care and to have their views made known in judicial and administrative proceedings.

With the emotive nature of families dealing with disputes involving children an informed and knowledgeable approach to bring sound guidance and a calming influence on a volatile situation can be a real positive.

Issues of custody that arise as a result of cross-border restrictions, the removal of a child from a given jurisdiction and the subsequent recourse under the Geneva Convention are all issues that can be brought to bear on Family Law Disputes.

In the field of Divorce/Family Law, including cross-border, our head of Family Law, Rebecca Dannell, holds a Masters of Law (Family Law),  and holds an Independent Children’s Lawyer accreditation.  Especially In the instance where there is a threat of the removal of a child to an outside jurisdiction, we urge people to be appraised of both their rights, the rights of the child, and what processes are in place for the prevention of such an occurrence before it happens.

For further information, see our website and our in-depth article on The Role of the Independent Children’s Lawyer in Family Law Proceedings.