Voice of the Child: An International Perspective

Session : Plenary 1: The Current State of Shared Parenting Research

  • Time : 7:55 am PDT To 10:05 am PDT on
  • Venue : Virtual Room 1

Full Abstract

There is growing recognition internationally that there is an important role for children in post-separation decision-making; though there is continuing controversy about how, when, and even whether this should be done. While there are legitimate concerns about children being “caught in the crossfire” of their parents’ conflicts, the reality is that if parents are unable to reach an agreement on parenting arrangements post separation, their children are inevitably involved. The central argument that will be made is that if there is litigation between separated parents, children should be involved in the process, in a way that respects their needs, interests and wishes. If parents are making their own consensual plans for post-separation child-care, there is a need for appropriate explanations and consultation with children in making the initial plans. If parents are proceeding through the family justice system, there are a number of ways for children to have their “voices heard,” including having a mental health professional prepare a report about the results of interviews with the child, child legal representation, a parenting assessment, a letter