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Separation is a very emotionally draining process, not just for the parents, but also for the children of separated parents. After separation, children often have their own thoughts on when they wish to spend time with their parents and after all, it is THEIR life and they want to have a say. So the question is, is a child’s wishes taken into account in family law separation?

It depends on the children’s age and their level of maturity.

If there are no Orders or a Parenting Plan in place, the children may be interviewed by a Family Consultant, Independent Children’s Lawyer or a Family Report Writer to provide independent evidence to the court about recommended arrangement they consider are best for the child. Some may take the child’s views into account and some may consider the child is not mature enough to know that is in their own best interests, or may have been exposed to the negative views of one of their parents to be able to form their own accurate view.

If there are Orders or a Parenting Plan in place, and a child is requesting not to spend time with a parent in accordance with those arrangements, it is best to discuss the reasons with the child and if safe to do so, discuss this with the other parent to discuss alternate arrangements. If there is a risk to the child’s safety or wellbeing by forcing them to spend time with the parent you should seek urgent legal advice to discuss the next steps and applying for a change to the current arrangements by contacting our family law team on 1300 285 888 to arrange an appointment at our Ipswich or Springfield office (with phone appointments also available).