Lawyer Monthly - July 2022

EXPERT INSIGHT 48 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | JUL 2022 At Divórcio & Família, the best interests of the children always come first. We try to adopt, as much as possible, a pedagogical attitude towards the parents, encouraging them to make compromises and collaborate with one another in order to protect their child’s interests. After all, their relationship as a couple may have come to an end, but their relationship as parents and educators remains. Thinking about the need to sensitise other family lawyers to the importance of promoting children’s rights and their harmonious development, as well as the need to offer the skills and knowledge to do so, I also co-founded the Family and Children Lawyers Association (AAFC) on 26 June 2020. What is the AAFC’s main goal and how does it help to promote children’s rights? Most of the time, a parent seeks legal advice to regulate parental responsibilities based on their own desires: they want to spend more time with their children or, in what seems a necessary consequence, they want the children to spend less time with the other parent. This last claim may even be based on children’s behaviours and reports (for example, reports of abuse or mistreatment). Of course, the analysis of these behaviours and reports, as well as the expertise to advise on the best model of residence/visitation according to the child’s age, parental relationship dynamics and specific needs, requires scientific knowledge that one does not learn in law school. While the courts consult with the scientific expertise of psychologists and other experts in the decision process, the truth is that such support is not always enough. At the end of the day, the family lawyer’s opinion on the best regime ends up having significant weight in the final decision. In view of this reality, one of the AAFC’s main goals is to provide our associates the multidisciplinary training deemed crucial for the proper fulfilment of the specific role of the family lawyer. I believe that the offer of these training opportunities is especially important in the Portuguese context, where no specific preparation is legally required to practise family and child law (which I personally find unacceptable) and where credible institutions and courses Many Portuguese legal solutions are strikingly different from those prescribed by other European Union member states, let alone the US or UK.

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