Sometimes parents decide not to live together anymore. In some cases, parents may have never lived together. This can be really tough for kids, particularly when they want to spend time with both of their parents. When parents can’t agree on what to do, they may ask a judge to help them decide. The judge will make an order to tell your parents how to work things for you and your brothers/sisters. This will describe the amount of time you spend with each parent, where they pick you up, what happens over the holidays and things like that.
What happens at court: If you go to the Court building, you will usually spend some time with other kids in a playroom while your parents talk to a family consultant. When it is your turn, the man or lady will meet you for a talk. This usually lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. They may also ask you to have a play with each of your parents separately.
The Independent Children's Lawyer: The judge will sometimes ask for a person to help make sure that you get the right outcome. This person is called an Independent Children’s Lawyer (or ICL for short). They will often tell the judge what you think, and talk to the judge about the kinds of issues that are important in your life. They do not side with either or your parents ... they help the judge decide what is best for you.
The family consultant: A family consultant is a special person who has worked for many years with children and families. The family consultant is there to help the judge understand about your family and you. The family consultant is there to help. They try to tell the judge what might work best for your family.
Sesame Street have created an app that provides general information about what it’s like when your parents separate. Remember, it is not your fault. Adults sometimes have problems that mean it is better for them to live apart.