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An independent children's lawyer represents your child’s best interests and makes sure that is the focus of any decisions about parenting arrangements.
The Family Law Courts can order that an independent children’s lawyer be appointed in cases where they consider it is important for your child's welfare and wellbeing. An independent children’s lawyer will only be appointed in parenting cases.
You can also ask for an independent children’s lawyer to be appointed. You will need to let the court know why an independent children’s lawyer is important in your case. You may have to contribute towards the costs of the independent children’s lawyer.
The independent children’s lawyer helps the court decide what arrangements are in the children's best interests, for example, where the children live and who they spend time and communicate with.
The independent children's lawyer does not represent any person in the case.
An independent children’s lawyer will collect information about your child. They can do this by:
The independent children’s lawyer may also arrange a conference with you, your ex-partner or your lawyers to talk about issues affecting your child. In some cases this conference can solve a family law dispute.
The independent children's lawyer must make sure that any views expressed by the child in relation to the case are fully put before the court.
You will have contact with the independent children’s lawyer in one of two ways:
The independent children’s lawyer’s role will end from when the court makes a final order. They will continue in their role if you or your ex-partner appeals the court’s decision.
You, your ex-partner or any other party to the case can apply to the court to have an independent children’s lawyer removed. The court will only do this in very serious circumstances, including where there is evidence that the independent children’s lawyer:
You should get legal advice if you want to ask the court to remove an independent children’s lawyer. Costs can be ordered against you if you are unsuccessful in making this application.
You may need legal advice if you are going to the Family Law Court about a parenting dispute, or you want to have an independent children’s lawyer appointed or removed from your case.
Legal Aid Queensland may provide legal advice on family court processes. If you already have a solicitor appointed to represent you in your family law matter, we cannot give you legal advice.
The following organisations may be able to give legal advice on your matter.
Community legal centres give legal advice on a range of topics. Contact them to see if they can help with your matter.
Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private solicitor for advice or representation.
These organisations may also be able to assist with your matter. They do not provide legal advice.
Department of Communities (Child Safety Services) is the organisation that investigates reports of harm or suspected child abuse against any child under 18. They investigate complaints and may provide ongoing services to the child or any person that cares for the child.
Family Relationship Advice Line provides information about the family law system in Australia.
Family Relationship Centres provide information, referrals, dispute resolution and advice on parenting after separation.
Family Court deals with family law cases. Court forms and information on family court processes are accessible from their website.