When someone approaches the court for an order about a child, the court is required to consider the best interests of the child as the most important consideration.
There are two sets of the considerations by the court, primary considerations and other considerations.
• The benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents;
• The need to protect the child from actual or potential physical harm;
• The court must give the greater weight to protecting children from harm.
• The child’s views
• The child’s relationship with parents and relatives
• The willingness and ability of each parent to encourage the child to have a relationship with the other parents.
• The likely effect on the child of changing circumstances
• The difficulty and expense of the child spending time with one of the parents
• Each parents ability to provide for the child’s needs
• The maturity, sex, lifestyle and background of the client
• The attitude of each parent to parenting
• Any family violence or order
Every case is different but the law is clear
• Both parents are responsible for the care and welfare of their child
• There is a presumption, which may be rebutted, that arrangements where both parents share the responsibility and co-operate are arrangements which are in the child’s best interests.
• A court will always look at how a parent has conducted themselves in terms of their responsibility to the children before separation and after separation.
• A proactive parent will be looked upon more favourably.