Divorce is a very stressful time for all involved, including children. If your family is going through a separation, it’s important to seek legal advice about your children’s living arrangements and child support. Sometimes parents are able to reach an agreement between themselves about their children and their child support, but it’s important to know where you stand legally as early as possible. A common misconception is that a child is able to choose their own living arrangements when they reach a certain age. However, in reality, there is no set age that will allow a child to choose their living arrangements and if and when they see each of their parents. However this does not mean that the Court doesn't consider the wishes of the children. The court will consider a number of factors when determining custody arrangements and one of these is any views or wishes expressed by the child.
Considerations for the Court
There are several factors that are taken into consideration by the court when deciding on the custody arrangements for children. The most important consideration for the Court when determining the parenting arrangements for a child is the best interests of the child. There are two main types of considerations that are taken into account by the court. These are primary and secondary considerations.
- Primary considerations look at determining what is in a child's best interests, allowing the child to have a meaningful relationship with both parents and keeping the child safe from any harm, neglect, violence or abuse.
- Secondary or additional considerations include the child's wishes, the nature of the relationship the child has with the parents, along with other factors which may help the court determine what decision to make when it come to where the child will live.
When it comes to the child's wishes, there is no requirement for the Court to make custody orders in accordance with their wishes. They are simply required to take them into account. When determining the amount of weight to place on a child’s wishes, the Court takes into account the following:
- The child’s age
- The child’s maturity
- Whether the views expressed by the child are genuine and their own or whether they are influenced by any other person.
The child's best interests remain of paramount importance when it comes to decisions regarding custody. If the child expressed wishes to live with one parent but the Court decided that the child would be in danger in that situation, the Court will rule against the child's wishes. On the other hand, if there is no risk of harm with either parent and both parents offer equal benefit to the child, the Court will place greater weight on the child’s wishes.
Speak to Cairns Divorce Lawyers
If you and your family are dealing with a separation or divorce, it is important to seek legal advice so that you can understand your parenting rights. Our Lawyers at Cairns Divorce Lawyers have been helping local Cairns families for years. We have the experience and understanding to help guide you and your family through the process and help you to understand your legal rights. Our lawyers are here to help you reach a positive outcome in the best interests of your children. Contact our office for a confidential, obligation-free consultation with one of our Family Law experts.
Cairns Divorce Lawyers
1/15 Spence St, Cairns City QLD 4870