Parenting conflicts can be difficult, lengthy and not good for the children who are caught in the middle. The role of Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL) is very important and it is for this reason that when parenting matters do come before the Court that involve intractable conflict between the parents, then an Independent Children’s Lawyer is usually appointed.
The Court may also appoint an Independent Children’s Lawyer in the following situations:
- allegations of abuse against the child, sexual, physical, psychological
- allegations of mental health issues of a parent or care-giver of the child
- relocation applications
The Court has the power to appoint an Independent Children’s Lawyer of its own initiative or upon the application of any of the parties to the proceedings.
What is the role of an Independent Children’s Lawyer?
The role of the Independent Children’s Lawyer is to be an independent and impartial party to the proceeding. They are known as the “honest broker” and their role is to work towards the parents trying to reach agreement of the issues that are between them.
The Independent Children’s Lawyer is not the lawyer of the child, although they will usually meet with children over the age of 5 years of age, and will ascertain the child’s wishes, they are not bound by these wishes.
The Independent Children’s Lawyer has a responsibility to present to the Court what he/she considers to be in the best interest for the child. For example, a 12 year old child may wish to live with her mother. Unfortunately, the mother is alcohol dependant, under such circumstances it is not in the best interests of the girl to live with her mother.
The Independent Children’s Lawyer is like a detective their role is to gather independent evidence and to bring it to the attention of the Court.
It is for this reason that an ICL will issue numerous subpoenas to organisations such as the Police, Family and Community Services, schools, doctors and psychologists.
It is our role to gather the most credible and objective evidence so that the Court can consider all the facts of the case and determine what is in the best interest of the child.
For more information on the role of the ICL, please contact us on 8999 1800.