There have been a few times in my life that I have needed a lawyer, and during those times, their help was invaluable. I worked with lawyers during the custody battle for my kids, when I dissolved the partnership for my business and after I suffered an injury at work. In this blog, I plan to write about the law from a range of angles. I may share posts inspired by my personal experiences, what's popular in the news or what strikes my fancy when I'm writing. I have a daughter, Oliva. I manage a medical clinic, and I love blogging. I hope you like the results. My name is Melinda, and thanks for reading!
One of the most complicated aspects of separating from your partner is the custody arrangements for your children. Broadly speaking, these arrangements are determined in line with what is in the best interests of your children, with the specifics of custody formalised in a parenting order. This order is typically negotiated during mediation, and you have the right to engage a solicitor specialising in family law to assist you during these negotiations so that you can be sure that the end result is definitely in the best interests of your children. But should your children have any input in the process?
A Legal Minor
Until they reach the age of 18, a child is legally considered to be a minor. While they might not have any legal basis for requesting to live with one parent over the other, their opinion can be taken into consideration when determining which party receives primary custody. This is particularly relevant with older children who are able to understand the implications of your separation from your partner.
A Meaningful Relationship
You certainly have the ability to overrule the wishes of your children, although their wishes can still factor into your custody arrangements. Your children should have a meaningful relationship with each parent, and while they might not permanently reside with one parent, they should still have the opportunity to spend time with each parent, as outlined in the visitation rights of your parenting order. It's important to remind your child that just because they will not be living with your partner, it doesn't mean that they will not be able to spend time with their other parent.
The implications of your separation can be difficult to convey to younger children, who might only know that one parent has left, without being able to understand the reasons why. Regardless of the children's age, your parenting order cannot deny them the right to have a meaningful relationship with their other parent, although the age of the child can play a role in this relationship. The notion of what's in the child's best interests comes into play, and it can be that a particularly young child will not spend as much time with their other parent as an older child, if it will be detrimental to the child to be away from their primary residence (your home) for an extended period of time.
While your children can have input into their own custody arrangements, this input is only one of the many factors that will determine the specifics of your parenting order. To learn more about family law, contact a law office near you.Share