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If your parents have to go to court, a judge will help your parents make decisions about what’s best for you.
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A lawyer is someone who works for a person when they go to court. Your lawyer is called an Independent Children’s Lawyer. This means he or she helps the Judge and your parents to work out what is best for you.
What you have to say is very important. The Judge will want to know what you think before he or she makes decisions about you.
No. It’s your choice. You can say whatever you want to your lawyer (or nothing at all). Your lawyer will talk to you about what he or she will tell the Judge so that the Judge can make the best decision for you.
He or she will make sure you know how to keep in touch. Sometimes you may need to leave a message and your lawyer will call you back when they are free.
Tell your lawyer as much as you can. This way they will get a really good idea of what you think. Everything you say will help your lawyer understand what is happening in your family.
If the Judge can’t decide what is best for you just from what the lawyer has told them, they may ask you to talk to a special person, like a social worker or psychologist, who will write a report to help them work out what is best for you. This report is called evidence.
Your lawyer might need to talk to your teacher, to your counsellor if you have one or anyone else who knows you and your family well. This helps them collect information so the Judge can make the best decision for you.
No. You don’t have to tell anybody else what you and your lawyer have talked about. Your parents will be told this too.
No. Your lawyer has to do what they think is best for you. But they tell the Judge what your views are even if your lawyer does not agree with them.
The Judge will listen to what everybody in your family has to say. On the court day, your lawyer will be there to look after what is best for you. The Judge will then carefully decide what is best for you. This does not always mean you will agree with his or her decision but your lawyer can help you understand how the decision was made and why.
The Judge will make a decision called a court order. Your lawyer will explain exactly what this means for you. If you have any questions, make sure you ask them. They will then try to make sure things happen the way the order says they should.
You can talk to your lawyer about whether you will be able to contact them after the case is over.
If you have a problem, it is always best to talk about it with that person. But if you need more help, please contact the complaints officer directly on 07 3917 0132 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find more information and videos about the Independent Children’s Lawyers at www.bestforkids.org.au/kids