It is a question that is often asked and there is no definitive answer, as this article by Mondaq points out.

Children’s rights and well-being are the paramount concern of the Family Court, if your matter goes that far. However, the vast majority of access arrangements are organised outside the jurisdiction of the court. It falls to the experience and expertise of Family Dispute Resolutions Practitioners (Family Law Mediators) to help parents negotiate their parenting plans and to ensure that children have a voice in that process.

Within Family Law Mediation the process of giving children a voice is called Child Inclusive Mediation and it is considered the bench mark for all parenting agreements that involve children over 4 years old.

It is worth noting that only registered Family Dispute Resolutions Practitioner (Family Law Mediators) are required by the Family Law Act to advocate for the best interest of children in a dispute that has not gone before the Court.  It is only once a matter has gone to Court that children will be provided an Independent Children’s Lawyer.

Giving children a voice in their parent’s separation is by far the best opportunity for parents to hear what children are experiencing during this difficult time. Parents can then make better decision around access and contact arrangements. However, not every Family Law Mediation service offers Child Inclusive Mediation. Parent need to ask the question of the service they are engaging with and if they don’t offer Child Inclusive Mediation they should look elsewhere for the sake of their children.

Bayside Mediation is one of only a handful of private mediation services that offers Child Inclusive Mediation. As a Child Focused practice, we work closely with parents to help them make the best decisions possible for their children during this difficult time. Every family’s circumstances are uniquely their own and we work with you and your children for better outcomes.

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