Unfortunately, during some divorce proceedings, parents may not agree on important issues. In these instances, the Family Courts may opt to appoint a lawyer to act on behalf of their kids. Our Family Lawyers explain everything you need to know about Independent Children's Lawyers.

What in an Independent Children's Lawyer?

An Independent Children’s Lawyer (“ICL”) is a Court appointed lawyer who represents and promotes the best interests of children in a family law proceeding. They are practicing solicitors who use their professional judgment, skills and direction of the Court to assist in proceedings. And to determine what is in the best interests of any children to a family law matter.

The role of an Independent Children's Lawyer

An ICL is an impartial, independent party to the proceedings, in that they do not promote either parent but rather focus their attention to promoting the best interests of the children. In this case, an ICL advocates for children. It empowers them to express their voice and participate in the decision-making process of a family law matter.  When an ICL assesses a child's best interests and capacity to be involved in a matter, they take several factors into account. These include the child's age, maturity, and emotional state, as well as their willingness to participate in the process. They also account for the specific circumstances of each individual matter. These include the family dynamics, religious or cultural background of the family and whether there are substance issues, domestic violence, relocation or any other relevant issues.  An ICL cannot guarantee confidentiality. But, when performing their role, an ICL aims to minimise any adverse impacts that the Court process may have upon children.

How Does an Independent Children’s Lawyer Perform Their Role?

An ICL is able to form a professional relationship with the children involved in a family law matter. An ICL is able to meet with the children and explain their role, the court process, reason for the child’s involvement. And whether they would like to express any views for the ICL to advocate to the Court on their behalf.  When seeking a child’s views, an ICL will consider: Firstly, the content of the child’s views.Secondly, the influences that formed their views.Thirdly, the willingness to provide their views.Finally, anything relevant to the child’s capacity to communicate their views.  The ICL will then provide these views in an admissible format to the Court.

When is an Independent Children's Lawyer appointed?

An ICL is generally appointed by the Court either upon application by one of the parties or in circumstances in which there:  Firstly. allegations of abuse, neglect or family violence.Secondly, a high level of conflict between the parents.Thirdly, serious mental health issues.Finally, complex issues involved in the matter. .

New South Lawyers’ communications are intended to provide commentary and general information and not relied upon as legal advice. Seek formal legal advice in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication.

To find out more, chat with a member of New South Lawyers' Family Law Team today.