Making balanced reflective decisions for the sake of your children is important.
The best interests of children is what matters and is the paramount consideration in parenting matters under the Family Law Act 1975 ('the Act'). This includes making Orders for children’s living arrangements, spend time arrangements and parental responsibility.
- The Act requires there be consideration of primary considerations of the benefit of children having a meaningful relationship with both parents balanced with the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm and from being subjected to, or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence.
The Act also requires there be consideration of additional considerations:
- The child’s views and factors that might affect those views, such as the child’s maturity and level of understanding;
- The child’s relationship with each parent and other people, including grandparents and other relatives;
- The extent to which each of the child's parents has taken, or failed to take, the opportunity to participate in making decisions about major long‐term issues in relation to the child, to spend time with the child and to communicate with the child;
- The extent to which each of the child's parents has fulfilled, or failed to fulfil, the parent's obligations to maintain the child;
- The likely effect of the child of changed circumstances, including separation from a parent or person with whom the child has been living, including a grandparent or
- The practical difficulty and expense of a child spending time with and communicating with a parent;
- Each parent’s ability (and that of any other person) to provide for the child’s needs, including emotional and intellectual;
- The maturity, sex, lifestyle and background of the child and of either of the child’s parents, and any other characteristics of the child that the court thinks are relevant;
- The right of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child to enjoy his or her culture and the impact a proposed parenting order may have on that right;
- The attitude of each parent to the child and to the responsibilities of parenthood;
- Any family violence involving the child or a member of the child’s family;