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NSW Minor Wants to Stop Seeing Father - Get Legal Aid NSW?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Beverley Greening, 6 November 2014.

  1. Beverley Greening

    Beverley Greening Active Member

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    A young girl who turns 13 in January no longer wants anything to do with her father. She normally spends every second weekend with him and half of all school holidays. She is terrified of him. This week he tried to snatch her from school. She is extremely distressed.

    Her mother has always abided by Family Court rulings and is not sure how to help her. The family law case was closed so the Childrens' solicitor who interviewed the girl 18 months ago cannot see her. At that time the girl was too young and scared to say anything and it is only now that she has opened up to a family friend about what has been happening to her (not sexual abuse).

    Can this child obtain legal aid from Legal Aid NSW and can she take her own case to court? She lives in New South Wales and her mother is on a low income.
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Family matters of this nature I'm quite sure can only be initiated by the parents, particularly as the child is a minor, though if the mother is low-income, she may be entitled to Legal Aid, if her case is deemed to hold merit.

    The mother can apply to have orders changed on grounds of substantial change or they are no longer in the child's best interests under principles set by Rice & Asplund. If there family violence (including emotional abuse) taking place, the orders may no longer meet the child's best interests.

    In these matters, the court holds in high regard the opinions of children deemed old enough and mature enough to make informed decisions about their living arrangements, and at 13, the child has an extremely high chance of falling into this category.

    Alternatively, if the child decided not to visit her father because she feels afraid of him, she could cease visiting him against orders and it could be left to the father to pursue the matter through court. In this instance, the court would still want to know what the child's wishes are, if she wishes to share them with the court.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Beverley Greening

    Beverley Greening Active Member

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    Thank you for responding to my request. I have forwarded this on to my friend for consideration. The alternatives suggested and the case Rice & Asplund will give my friend food for thought. She will be very grateful as am I.
     

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