Family Law - Do Divorce Courts Consider Children’s Wishes

Do Divorce Courts Consider Children’s Wishes?

Divorce is typically difficult for children as they may respond in various ways to their parents separating. However, family lawyers can ease this difficult time for them by advising ways in which children’s wishes can be considered by the court.

The court is not, however, obligated to follow a child’s opinions. Children’s opinions are not the only relevant factor, and the Family Court is only obligated to assign such weight to those opinions it deems necessary in light of all the facts in each individual case.

Considerations In The Family Law Act

The Family Law Act includes a variety of factors that must be taken into account when making parenting orders, including any opinions held by the child and any conditions, such as the child’s age or maturity, the court finds relevant when assessing how much weight to assign to those opinions.

The Family Law Act does not specify a particular age when children’s views will or will not be considered. Instead, whether the Court accepts the wishes of a child will depend on the emotional stability of the child and how strongly the child’s views are articulated.

Unbundled Family Law - Separation on a budget

Separation On A Budget – Where To From Here?

Separation brings with it the inevitable challenge of restructuring finances, moving out of the family home and, for couples with children, trying to navigate suitable and sustainable parenting arrangements.

With so many ‘balls in the air’ it’s no wonder many people have no idea where to turn for assistance.

Fortunately, there are resources available to assist parties going through separation and without the expense of engaging a private lawyer on a costly legal retainer.

Family Dispute Resolution (‘FDR’)

It’s often difficult for separating couples to ‘see the forest for the trees’ with heightened emotions around the care of children and finances sometimes standing in the way of clear and rational thinking.

FDR, often referred to as mediation and facilitated by trained professionals, is not only required in children’s matters prior to initiating action in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court (subject to some exceptions), but provides a safe environment for separating couples to both discuss and attempt to resolve their differences.

Running Your Own Family Law Case: Where Do I Find Court Forms?

Running Your Own Family Law Case: Where Do I Find Court Forms?

Whether you are seeking a divorce or property, financial or parenting orders arising out of a relationship breakdown, all of the Court forms that you will need to file can be found online on the relevant Court website.

Which Court?

Family Law matters can be heard in the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia.  They can also be heard in the Family Court of Western Australia for those in WA.

In general, the Family Court of Australia hears more complex matters.  The overwhelming majority of cases are heard in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

Regardless of whether you are filing an application in the Family Court of Australia, Federal Circuit Court of Australia or Family Court of Western Australia, all of the Court forms you should require can be downloaded on each Court’s respective website.

If you are unsure about which Court you should file in, Accelerate Family Law can point you in the right direction.

Help! I Don’t Qualify For Legal Aid But Can’t Afford A Private Lawyer!

It is not uncommon for a situation to arise whereby one party to Family Law proceedings is unable to qualify for a grant of Legal Aid funding but also cannot quite afford the ‘concierge’ service of a private lawyer.

If you fall into this grey zone, it can feel like you are trapped in limbo with nowhere to go.

This is where we come in!

At Accelerate Family Law, rather than locking our clients in to long-term retainers and requesting significant funds in trust, we provide discreet assistance at low cost that allows you to take control of your Family Law matter; we’re specifically geared to supporting parties who want to run their own Family Law case.

Indeed, as outlined in our previous article ‘Representing Yourself In Family Law’, you are able to represent yourself in all matters in Family Law, whether parenting or property related – and it is more common than you might think!

Representing Yourself In Family Law

Representing Yourself In Family Law

Can I represent myself in Family Law?

Absolutely. You are entitled to represent yourself in all matters in Family Law.

Will I be at a disadvantage if I represent myself?

Not necessarily. The reality is that not everyone can afford a Family Lawyer. For those who are also unable to secure a lawyer through Legal Aid, the only option sometimes is to self-represent.

As a result, there are now a number of resources and initiatives which have been developed and are readily available to assist those who are in the position of representing themselves.

Similarly, for those who find themselves in the Federal Circuit Court or Family Court (or Family Court of Western Australia), the courts are not unfamiliar with the challenges of being self-represented and so are able to provide some direction and guidance as may be necessary.