What are the best interests of the child?

How does a court determine what are the child’s best interests?

All child custody decisions are focused on ensuring the best interests of the child are made. Generally speaking, it’s often in the child’s best interests to have a  loving relationship with both parents, but arranging such relationships can be the main challenge in resolving a child custody dispute.

 

There are circumstances when a court will take the view that it is in the child’s best interests to no longer see one, or both, of their parents.  However, this is in a minority of cases and will usually only where there is a history of physical, sexual or psychological abuse.

 

The decisions you make now in relation to your child custody arrangement will affect your child’s development and potentially your future relationship with them. Each decision should be made carefully with the help of professionals who know and understand the consequences of every action.

 

There are two tiers of considerations the Court will take into account. These can be found under Section 60CC of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

 

Primary Considerations

 

  1. The benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents
  2. The need to protect the child from psychological or physical harm from preventing exposure or subjection to abuse, neglect or family violence

 

The Court places greater weight on the necessity to protect the child from harm.

Additional Considerations

 

  • the child’s own views and how their maturity and level of understanding affects their view
  • the child’s relationship with each parent, as well as other relevant family members such as grandparents or other relatives
  • the willingness and ability of each parent to foster an ongoing and close relationship between the child and the other parent
  • the likely effect of the change in circumstances on the child, including separation from the parents and/or relatives they are living with currently
  • the general maturity, lifestyle, sex and background of the child and other characteristics considered relevant to the case
  • the right of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child to their culture and whether any proposed parenting orders would hinder this
  • any family violence involving the child or a member of their family
  • the extent to which each parent has or has not previously fulfilled their parental responsibilities, such as whether they have:
  • participated in long-term decisions regarding the child
  • spent time with the child
  • met their obligations to maintain the child, and
  • facilitated the other parent’s involvement in the child’s life

 

It is clear that the ‘best interests’ of the child are different for each case. The Court will consider the circumstances of your separation in order to decide what is best for your child.

Divorce
How To Get A Divorce?
Application for Divorce
How much does a divorce cost?
How Long Will It Take For My Divorce To Be Finalised?
Do I Have To Attend Court To Get A Divorce?
What is a Divorce Hearing?
How to get a divorce in Australia if married overseas?
Divorce Counselling
Should I Change my Will After a Divorce?
Child Custody
What are the best interests of the child?
Where Will My Children Live?
What is equal shared parental responsibility in Australia?
Sole Parental Responsibility
Visitation Rights
Changing A Child Custody Agreement
Child Relocation After Divorce
How To Prevent My Child Going Overseas?
What is Supervised Contact?
Child Passport After Divorce
Property Settlement
How Much Will I get?
Will I Receive 50% of Everything?
Coming To An Agreement Outside Of Court
Do I Pay Stamp Duty To Transfer My Property After A Divorce?
Financial Agreements
What is a Prenup?
What Can I Put In A Prenup?
Is It Too Late For A Prenup?
What Are The Pros and Cons of Financial Agreements?
What Financial Agreements Are There?
How Do I Make Sure My Agreement Is Binding?
How Can I Get A Prenup Set Aside?
Consent Orders
Why do I need Family Court Consent Orders?
Application for Consent Orders
Breach of Consent Orders
Child Support
What is Child Support?
Apply for Child Support
Child Support Calculation
Changing Child Support
Family Mediation
5 Tips to Help Prepare for Family Mediation
What is a s60i Certificate?
Going to Court
Starting An Application
Filing A Response
Separation
Can You Be Separated And Live In The Same House?
Domestic Violence
ADVO – Apprehended Domestic Violence Order
Remove My ADVO
What Is Child Abuse?
Father's Rights After Separation
Formalise Your Agreement
Tip's For Fathers
De Facto Relationships
Definition of De Facto Relationship
Rights in a de facto relationship
Contact us for your Free initial consultation. Available at our Sydney CBD office or on the telephone.