Attachment Theory – Why is this still valid?
As a Family Lawyer I have had to guide my clients in understanding why the Family Court take this point of view. Section 60 of the Family Law Act provides that the court must consider the Best Interest of the Child.
Why is it not in the best interest of the child under two (2) years to spend equal time with each parent?
Here is where the social science of attachment theory and child development impact on the court’s decisions. In most cases the age and maturity of the child needs to be considered. Children under two (2) years of age, in line with attachment theory, need to maintain their attachment with the primary carer. It is theorised that this early attachment impacts on the ability of the child to be able to form healthy strong attachments in relationships as they get older. While it is believed by many that attachment theory has been debunked, it is still relied upon by many of the Family Court Judges. And supported by those trained in the area of social science and Psychology.
Who is the Primary Carer and should it be the mother?
The answer to this question lies on the evidence before the court. If the child is in the care of the mother and the court orders that this is to continue in the best interest of the child then the mother is the primary carer. However, in many many circumstances the court will order that the primary carer is the father, or even a grandparent, or other family member.
Our main role as a Family Lawyer is to educate our clients and to provide legal guidance. We understand the court system, the requirements of the Family law legislation and the expectations of the Court Registrars, Court Judges and Justices. Our legal advice is not always what you want to hear but what you must hear. We are an officer of the court and your family lawyer.
Family Court is not a quick fix but a journey that may be traumatic and lengthy. Remember this is about the children and as hard as this is to hear it is not about you and what you want. If the parents cannot co-parent then the court will make the decision in the child’s best interest.