The core principle of the Family Law Act is to see the interests of children come before their parents. It underpins every parenting order made by the Court. Despite this, family lawyers still regularly see children upset and distressed. There are of course the obvious risk factors such as family violence and substance abuse. However, in our experience, bearing witness to parental conflict can be just as harmful.
Children with parents at war can become collateral damage. They can suffer uncertainty and trauma. For example. because of their parents being in conflict, a child may not know their daily routine. Some children literally do not know when they will see their other parent again. This often occurs when a parent withholds a child from the other parent.
Imagine feeling unsafe giving one of your parents a hug or kiss. This can be the reality for children with high conflict parents. This is because a child may feel unsafe expressing their love for one parent, as they know it will upset the other.
We are told by the experts that children with high conflict parents can effectively be forced to choose one parent over the other. The child’s love for one parent is simply not allowed to breathe.
This also devastates the parent caught on the wrong side of the dividing line. Imagine sitting in a room at Court knowing you will never communicate or spend time with your child again, despite them being in the same building.
This is the harsh reality of high conflict parenting disputes gone wrong.
The number one wish of children in the Family Law Courts is for their parents to stop fighting. This is both the vaccine and the cure for the majority of parenting disputes. It can protect them from unintended harm.
At Waters Lawyers we are experts at deescalating conflict and helping parents reach agreements in the best interests of their children. For a free initial consultation, please contact our friendly team on (03) 5996 1600 or schedule a time via our bookings page.
By Simon Varszeghy