Your Children Want a Voice in Your Separation – The Law Says that In Most Circumstances they Must Be Given One
Separation and divorce is emotionally challenging on all affected, particularly children. However, there is a means to promote a child’s best interests by allowing their voices to be heard in a manner that does not put them in a position where they feel they are forced to choose one parent over the other.
The Family Law Act in British Columbia states that, unless it is inappropriate, the views of the child must be heard when considering parenting arrangements for children. This is consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Research has repeatedly shown that children feel better about parenting arrangements that are made for them when they feel they have had an opportunity to be heard. However, it is very important to ensure that children know that they are not being asked to choose a parent. Further, children should never become the voice of either parent.
It is highly recommended that you consult with a lawyer early in your separation and divorce process to discuss ways in which you can listen to your children, as it is critical that their views be considered in structuring a new arrangement for their parenting.