The child shall be heard.

In January 2024, a court in Budapest receives the following letter: Dear Judge, we think everything will be fine. We are sending you a picture of Zsófi.

Dear Judge!

Thank you for your information. We have discussed the letter and come to the conclusion that we think everything will be fine.

Thank you for taking the trouble to write to us.

P.S. We send you the picture of Sophie with love. It's only of her because it's late at night and we're not wearing make-up. But we're also sending you XOXO!

The letter is not without precedent: the judge in the divorce and related matters case before him, which was due to end with the parties' agreement, wrote a long letter to the parties' three teenage daughters before ruling, informing them that they would have the opportunity to express their own views in the proceedings. The judge said at the hearing that although it was not compulsory for the girls to express their views, if they wished to do so they could contact him in any way they wished, write letters, send emails, send videos, draw pictures - he was open to all.

In recent years, the right of children to express their views has been particularly emphasised in the area of family law.

Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that States Parties to the Convention shall ensure that children of full age have the right to express their views freely, having regard to their age and degree of maturity, on all matters affecting them. To this end, the child shall be given the opportunity to be heard in the various proceedings in accordance with the rules of procedure under national law.

Accordingly, Hungarian law shall provide that the child shall be heard

- if he or she so requests

- if the court considers it appropriate in the circumstances of the case, after making use of the possibility to take evidence of its own motion.

In August 2022, this rule was supplemented by the requirement that the court must hear both parents during the proceedings and inform the child of the opportunity to make a statement.

This was the rule followed by the above-mentioned judge in Budapest when she decided that in the event of a divorce, even if the parents had agreed on all the relevant issues, she would in any case inform the children before the end of the proceedings so that they could express their views during the proceedings if they wished.

The court will always inform the children in a notice that they can make their views known in a number of ways. They can do this in writing, in the form of a drawing, in any electronic message, in a video message which they can send to the court either with the help of their parents or on their own.

Experience shows that children are keen to express their views and prefer to use electronic means of communication.

bíróság gyerek véleménye

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