During family breakdown, listening to the voice of the children caught between conflicting parents is the best way to allay the emotional pain of family disputes, writes Sandra Davis
Taking into account the welfare, wishes and feelings of children in a family dispute is an enshrined legal principle, but - without the concerted effort of parents to prioritise their children over their difficulties with one another - the law can only do so much. Despite attempts to keep pace with changes in society, the family justice system has become clogged with enormous backlogs of cases involving child welfare issues.
It is my belief, reinforced through 30 years of practicing family law, that children's voices are not heard soon enough, if at all, during family breakdown. By addressing this issue, I believe we can relieve the strain on the overstretched and under-resourced Family Justice System, and establish a better way forward for all involved.
Experience has taught me that only through listening to children can we begin to develop a long term mechanism to ensure their protection during and following parental separation. Too many times, I have seen parents so consumed by the animosity they feel towards each other that they forget to prioritise the most important and treasured output of their relationship: their children. Sadly, it's not uncommon for children to be used as weapons, asked to collect information on one of their parents, or be placed in situations where they feel they need to lie. Often, angry parents who are trying to punish each other end up punishing their children.
Read the full article here.
Splitting Up – A Child's Guide to a Grown Up Problem is now available to buy on Amazon. All proceeds go to Place2Be.