What is an independent children’s lawyer, what are they for and when is one appointed?

Hi, I’m Sally Elphick, and I’m a lawyer here at Turnbull Hill Lawyers.

If you’re going through parenting proceedings with the family court, there is a chance an independent children’s lawyer, also known as an ICL, could be appointed.

So, what exactly is an ICL?

An ICL is an objective third party who are there to advocate for your children throughout parenting proceedings.

However, this isn’t the case for every parenting matter. Typically, an ICL would be appointed if either your or your former partner were to make an application to the court for an ICL to be appointed due to:

  • Allegations of family violence, abuse or neglect of the children.
  • There is a high level of conflict between you and your former partner.
  • There are complex issues e.g., mental health considerations.

Throughout proceedings the ICL will be in contact with your children and will use a number of strategies to form their position on your children’s best interests.

This involves:

  • Meeting with the children
  • Consulting their counsellors and school
  • subpoenaing and examining evidence of medical, school and police records of the children and parents
  • arranging independent expert reports

The ICL can make recommendations, but they don’t have the final say over the court’s decision. Their input often carries weight.

If an ICL is involved in your parenting proceedings, it’s important to remember that this isn’t a free service. It can often be funded under a legal aid scheme, but if you’re privately funded you will likely need to contribute to the ICL’s costs. This is determined by the court.

As a reputable New South Wales-based firm with a dedicated team who specialise in family law, we’re committed to guiding you through the court process, making it as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Get in touch with us today to explore the next steps in your family law matter.

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