Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The voice of children in a family law process

I was recently involved as a lawyer in a relocation case – notoriously the most difficult and emotional disputes in family law that come before the Family Court.

The mother wanted to relocate a child overseas and the father strongly objected. There was high conflict in the relationship and the parties seemed destined to contest the matter in court.

Luckily they agreed to engage in a collaborative type process. The collaborative team was assembled – lawyers for each party, psychologist/facilitator and a child specialist. We then focused on identifying the parents’ interests and goals – both separate and joint.

The child specialist then interviewed the child and brought “the voice of the child” back into a joint meeting to share with everyone. This was done in a totally neutral non-threatening and neutral constructive way.

The impact of this intervention was profound. The child’s voice was heard. The matter resolved. The family avoided a lengthy, expensive and damaging court case.

Most importantly some level of, peace was restored to the family. This was a wonderful example of how well a collaborative process can work in a family law context where appropriately skilled professionals are brought together to support, assist and guide parents to resolution.

There are many ways to achieve peaceful resolution including collaborative practice.

Please visit our website at to find out more.