Your Child’s Voice In Your Separation and Divorce

Upset child who's parents are going through a divorce

Do you want your child to be heard in your separation/divorce? Are you in mediation and want your child to have a say in the parenting plan? Are you in the midst of court proceedings and were turned down by the Office of the Children’s Lawyer? Has your lawyer recommended an assessment that you both can’t afford? I can help.

I can give a voice to your child in your separation/divorce. You and your spouse jointly retain me for a flat fee to speak to your child and find out what s/he wants. I also work with a social worker to find out what is in your child’s best interests and to help you develop a parenting plan.

Often children tell parents what they want to hear. I can tell you what your child really wants. I can make practical recommendations that can be re-visited as information changes. I can help you implement the recommendations. I can help you to craft a plan that best meets the child’s needs from the child’s perspective.

There is confidentiality in what the child tells me and I will share with you only that which your child wants me to disclose. It is comforting to your child to know that what s/he tells me won’t be shared unless they tell me it is okay to do so (except in the case of abuse as the CAS must be notified).

You may have different aspirations for your children. You may have different approaches to discipline and parenting styles. Perhaps you have different parenting strengths and weaknesses. Your children are vulnerable and need your help to understand that you both have their best interests in mind. Your children deserve the best from you. How well are you responding to each of your children’s needs while they are adjusting to mom and dad’s separation/divorce? Is the conflict between mom and dad causing your child to become anxious? How can your children express how they are truly feeling? Often they are afraid to tell you how they really feel for fear they may hurt your feelings. Maybe your child is acting out at home or at school. Maybe this is their way of trying to tell you that they are hurting.

Your child might be worried about how your plans will affect them. How will it affect relationships with friends, participation in extra-curricular activities, relationship with other family members, moving away from neighbourhood friends or their school, travel time in the car, missed social events because of access visits. They may be saying “What about ME! Do you know how I really feel?”

I am not a parenting coach. I am not a counsellor. What I am is an advocate. I can be your child’s advocate. I will provide your child with a voice in your mediation and in the court proceedings so that you can make better decisions for your family. I can help your child be heard.

Written by Lynn Kirwin. Family law divorce and separation lawyer at Galbraith Family Law. If you wish to book a consultation with Lynn please go to our website.

Lynn Kirwin

Lynn Kirwin has been practicing law for 28 years. She specializes in high conflict family law cases with a focus on resolving them in an expedient and results-oriented manner. She believes in saving the client costs. She offers the option of limited scope retainers. As well, coaches many clients through the process of family court including assisting them with self-representation at trial. Her wide breadth of knowledge has lead her to have published several books on family law as well as other areas of law. She has expertise in child abuse cases having worked as in-house counsel at a Children’s Aid Society and having represented parents in court on child protection cases. She also is a panel member for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, providing representation for children in court. She volunteers her time as the Chair of a Board for a women’s shelter and as President of the Orillia Law Association. She has two daughters who attend university. She enjoys spending her free time travelling with her husband, road cycling and taking long walks with her two beagles.

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