The Family Act 1975 (Cth) requires that when a court makes or modifies a support order, the primary consideration is the child or the child’s best interests. Parents are also urged to keep this as the most important principle in mind when planning parenting.
The Family Act 1975 (Cth) was amended in 1995 to include the concept of best interests, particularly with respect to children. The principles underlying this change are set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The child’s best interests are both long-term and short-term concerns, with consideration for the child’s physical and emotional well-being and their health, economic, educational, moral, cultural and religious interests.
The law makes it clear that parents are responsible for the care and welfare of their children until they reach the age of 18. Child
The law provides a list of factors for courts to consider in determining what is in the child’s best interests, but other matters may be important in particular cases, and courts may We may consider facts or circumstances that we consider material.
In 2006, the list was divided into two levels: primary considerations and additional considerations. Primary considerations are usually given the most weight, but this is not necessarily the case for all issues.
See section 60CC of the Family Act 1975 for a complete list of factors that are taken into account when considering the best interests of the child.
- Benefits to children of having valuable and meaningful relationships with their parents.
- The need to protect children from the risk of physical or psychological harm. This includes the need to protect against all forms of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. The Family Act 1975 makes it clear that the need to protect the child from all forms of harm must be paramount when considering what courts should order in parenting matters.
- A child’s opinion, taking into consideration the degree of maturity and understanding.
- How children interact with their parents, grandparents, other relatives, etc.
- If the parents are able and willing to facilitate and encourage a proper relationship between the child and the other parent.
- Effects of changes in the child’s circumstances, including separation from parents or others with whom they lived.
- All the costs and practical difficulties associated with children spending time and communicating with their parents.
- The ability of each parent (and other parties) to respond to the needs of their child.
- Characteristics of the child or parent that the court considers important, such as maturity, gender, lifestyle, and background.
- Whether the proposed order could affect the right of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children to learn about and participate in their culture.
- Each parent’s attitude toward their children and parental responsibilities.
- Domestic violence involving either children or family members. Domestic violence orders that apply to children or their families. This will take into account whether the order is final or disputed.
- The advantages or disadvantages of issuing an order that are most likely to lead to future motions or hearings.
- Each parent participates in decision-making on important long-term issues related to the child, spends time with the child, communicates with the child, cares for the child, and supports other parents’ involvement in these aspects. And so on, whether you have fulfilled your responsibilities as a parent or not in your child’s life.
- If the child’s parents are separated, all events and circumstances since the separation.
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