The FLA also presumes that equal and shared parental responsibility between the parents is in the best interest of the child. Thus, the family court will proceed to issue parental orders taking into consideration that equal sharing of parental responsibility is best for the development of the child.
Section 61DA of the Family Law Act 1975 requires the court to apply the presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for the parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child when making a parenting order. If this presumption applies, the court must go on to consider whether it is in the child's best interests to spend equal time with a parent who has equal shared parental responsibility for that child, or substantial and significant time:
s 65DAA(1) and (2) The presumption does not apply where there are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent or person living with the child has engaged in child abuse or family violence.
The Court's approach has been to consider the presumption after examining the s 60CC best interest factors. The presumption may be rebutted by evidence that satisfies the court that it would not be in the child's best interests to apply the presumption: s 61DA(4).