ERIC Number: ED233264
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Feb-16
Reference Count: 0
Children's Participation in Divorce. Discussion Paper Number 10.
Edgar, Don; Harrison, Margaret
Counselors should begin to think not only of the needs of children involved in the process of their parents' divorce, but of an approach to marriage counseling as a whole. Children participate in the context of divorce as family members in the social interaction that makes a family work or not work; there are, therefore, various stages or points of intervention for counseling children through divorce. Yet research data show that children often are not included in divorce counseling; the fact that marital breakdown occurs in the family system of which childen are an active part, is most often ignored. Research on childrens' roles in family interaction and marital satisfaction from birth onward has shown that children are included in their parents' affairs and must be allowed to preserve those blood ties or at least to understand why their parents decided to sever the marriage bond that produced them. The Australian Family Law Act addressed this right of children in two ways: by specifically stating that the wishes of the child must be considered, as appropriate in the circumstances of the case, and by allowing separate representation of the child. Since 1976, the Family Law Act has provided a court counseling service which is directed toward the well-being of children and the elimination of court hearings. The Family Court has tried to recognize an active and valid role for the children of divorce. The challenge to marriage counselors is clear - children must be involved. Perhaps family counseling should be the name of the game. (MCF)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Counselors; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: Institute of Family Studies, Melbourne (Australia).
Note: Paper presented at the Conference of Marriage Counselling Organisations (Canberra, Australia, February 16, 1982).