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Derek Legal Blog

How Does a Court Determine What is in a Child’s Best Interests?

In a Parenting Order the best interests of the child are the paramount consideration.

Section 60CC of the Family Law Act provides the legislative framework for doing so. That framework is divided into what are called primary considerations and additional considerations.

There are two primary considerations and 13 additional considerations.

The first primary consideration is the benefit of a child having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’ s parents. The subsection focuses on the benefit of the child rather than the parent. It doesn’t for instance mean that any increase in time that a child spends with the parent is necessarily for the child’s benefit.

The second primary consideration is the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence.

The legislation mandates that a Court is to give greater weight to the secondary primary consideration when considering the primary considerations. In other words, a child that is exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence by one of the parents is unlikely to benefit from a relationship with that parent.

The Family Court has pointed out that the legislation does not focus on the relationship between the child and the parent, but the benefit that the relationship might have for the child is the paramount consideration.

Contact Rita Derek of this firm for further advice.

Posted in: Derek Legal Blog at 18 July 18

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