The Family Court has just appointed our Family Law specialist, and Senior Associate, Gillian Stuart, as a Lawyer for the Child.
Gillian will be continuing her usual Family Law practice at Aspiring Law, but will be called on by the Family Court, as and when needed, to represent children whose parents or caregivers have filed for parenting or guardianship orders, and in a variety of other situations.
With Aspiring Law since 2015, Gillian previously worked extensively with children in the legal system of her homeland, Scotland.
Her new role as Lawyer for the Child, she says, is based on acting in, and promoting, the best interests of the child throughout any proceedings.
While there would be court appearances representing her young clients, Gillian says many people don’t realise a Lawyer for the Child also plays a pivotal role in bringing the parties together to negotiate good, stable care arrangements that work as best as possible for the child or children.
Gillian brings more than 30 years’ legal experience, both in Scotland and New Zealand, to the role, and has a particular passion for protecting children, as much as is possible, from the conflict that often surrounds relationship breakdowns.
“The whole point of doing this type of work is that you really want to help the children. It’s also about supporting parents in keeping the focus on their youngsters and giving them certainty and stability, while firmly setting any of their own adult discord and grievances aside,” she says.
“There is so much research out there that shows handling post-separation care arrangements for children well, and in their very best interests, really can make such a positive difference to the youngsters.
“Sadly, studies also show a greater chance of poor outcomes where arrangements don’t go so well, and it’s common for these negative impacts to follow youngsters into adulthood and throughout their whole lifetime.”