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Report No. 257

II. Determining Preference of the Child

(1) In determining the preference of the child for any purpose under this Act, the court shall take the following matters into consideration, namely:-

a. whether the child is of an age and maturity to indicate intelligent preference;

b. the extent to which the child has an understanding of the circumstances surrounding the court proceedings;

c. whether the child has had a history of expressing an intelligent preference;

d. whether any preference of the child so expressed was based on the fact that the child recently spent an extended period of time with either parent; and

e. whether the child understands the consequences of the preference that he has expressed.

(2) In conducting an interview with the child, the court may, if it considers fit in the circumstances:-

a. decide who will be present when the court interviews the child, and if necessary, speak to the child alone, in the absence of the parents or their legal representatives; or

b. request the presence of a child psychologist, a mediator, or any other specific person identified by the court.

(3) The court shall make a record of the interview with the child, and may keep such record confidential if the court determines that it is in the welfare of the child.

(4) The court or any other person shall not, in any circumstance, require or compel the child to express his views in relation to any matter.

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