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How the Family Court decides Parenting Orders at an interim hearing

After the amendments to the Family Law Act in 2006, the Full Court of the Family Court in Goode v Goode stated the legislative pathway to be followed.

After pointing out that at an interim hearing the Court will often be faced with conflicting facts, little helpful evidence and disputes between the parents as per what constitutes the best interests of the child. The Court said the pathway at an interim hearing is:

82. In an interim case that would involve the following:

(a) identifying the competing proposals of the parties;

(b) identifying the issues in dispute in the interim hearing;

(c) identifying any agreed or uncontested relevant facts;

(d) considering the matters in s 60CC that are relevant and, if possible, making findings about them (in interim proceedings there may be little uncontested evidence to enable more than a limited consideration of these matters to take place);

(e) deciding whether the presumption in s 61DA that equal shared parental responsibility is in the best interests of the child applies or does not apply because there are reasonable grounds to believe there has been abuse of the child or family violence or, in an interim matter, the Court does not consider it appropriate to apply the presumption;

(f) if the presumption does apply, deciding whether it is rebutted because application of it would not be in the child’s best interests;

(g) if the presumption applies and is not rebutted, considering making an order that the child spend equal time with the parents unless it is contrary to the child’s best interests as a result of consideration of one or more of the matters in s 60CC, or impracticable;

(h) if equal time is found not to be in the child’s best interests, considering making an order that the child spend substantial and significant time as defined in s 65DAA(3) with the parents, unless contrary to the child’s best interests as a result of consideration of one or more of the matters in s 60CC, or impracticable;

(i) if neither equal time nor substantial and significant time is considered to be in the best interests of the child, then making such orders in the discretion of the Court that are in the best interests of the child, as a result of consideration of one or more of the matters in s 60CC;

(j) if the presumption is not applied or is rebutted, then making such order as is in the best interests of the child, as a result of consideration of one or more of the matters in s 60CC; and

(k) even then the Court may need to consider equal time or substantial and significant time, especially if one of the parties has sought it or, even if neither has sought it, if the Court considers after affording procedural fairness to the parties it to be in the best interests of the child.

Contact Rita Derek of this firm for further advice.

Posted in: Derek Legal Blog at 01 August 18

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