the courts decide what parenting orders on the basis of the best interests of that child.
a parenting order is a set of orders made by a court about parenting arrangements for a child. the courts decide what parenting orders to make for a child on the basis of the best interests of that child.
The law says that in determining the best interests of a child the Court's primary considerations must be:
- the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents; and,
- the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.
Additional considerations include:
- any views expressed by the child, taking into account the child’s maturity;
- the child’s relationship with each parent and with any other person who is important (e.g.grandparents, siblings);
- the effect on the child of any change in arrangements for the child, including separating siblings from each other;
- the capacity of each parent to provide for the needs of the child;
- the willingness and ability of a child’sparents to encourage a close and continuing relationship with the other parent.
The parenting order that the Court makes will provide for matters such as:
- who a child will live with;
- what time a child will spend with a parent or other persons important to the child;
- how parental responsibility will be shared;
- how parents will communicate about a child;
- how any disputes about what is set out in the orders will be resolved.
Parental responsibility means the duties parents have to their children and the important decisions parents make about their children.
Each parent has equal shared parental responsibility for a child unless the Court makes an order changing this. The Court presumes that parents will have equal shared parental responsibility unless there has been abuse of a child, family violence, or it is not in the child’s best interests.
This means that the parents need to consult each other about the major long-term issues affecting a child, such as education, religion, health, the child’s name and changes to the living arrangements of a child that would make it much more difficult for the child to spend time with the other parent.
When an order is made for equal shared parental responsibility, the Court will also consider whether it would be in the child’s best interests or practical for the child to spend either equal time with each of the parents, or substantial and significant time with each parent.
The Court will take into account how far apart the parents live, the effect on the child of any proposed arrangements, and how the parents can co-operate with each other
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.