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Children's Participation

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Anonymous Asked:

Hi there,

I am wondering how much flexibility exists for children to move from a particular type of custody to another? Recent studies have reported that children are unhappy with their current situation and if had received the opportunity they would have altered their arrangement. Do children have the right to instigate these types of changes if they desire? If the parents do not agree with them, what resources are available for children to pursue that can help them change their circumstances?

Thank you!

Expert Comment:

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A Family Lawyer
6 years ago

Custody and access matters are determined on best interests of the children. One factor as to "best interests of children" is the views, wishes and preferences of children. Nothing in the legal process ever opens it up to directly ask children where they want to live. Instead its best to cultivate their appreciation for living at either parent's home and to explore likes and dislikes at each parents home. To submit the children's perspective to the court, the Office of the Children's Lawyer could become involved, or there could be an assessment, or other professional on behalf of the children. In addition, the law does permit and provide for judicial interviews and other means of getting the information concerning the children to be considered. However, through consultation with a lawyer it would need to be determined whether a parent should ever submit the children's perspective and wishes and desires. The question is one of a matter of evidence, because the children's perspective very much is relevant, especially depending on the age of the child.

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