Best interests of the child
In deciding whether to make a particular parenting order in relation to a child, a court must regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration.
How a court determines what is in a child’s best interests
When the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility applies, the starting point is what is in the best interest of the child.
In determining what is in the child’s best interests, the court must consider the matters set out in the Family Law Act. The matters are divided into:
The primary considerations are:
If the above 2 factors are inconsistent with each other, the court is to give greater weight to the need to protect the child.
The court also takes into account additional considerations which include:
to provide for the needs of the child, including emotional and intellectual needs;
Presumption of equal shared parental responsibility when making parenting orders
When making a parenting order in relation to a child, the court must apply a presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for the child’s parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child.
The presumption relates solely to the allocation of parental responsibility for a child. It does not mean a presumption that the child spend equal time with each parent.
The presumption does not apply if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent of the child (or a person who lives with a parent of the child) has engaged in:
When the court is making an interim order, the presumption applies unless the court considers that it would not be appropriate in the circumstances for the presumption to be applied when making that order.
The presumption may be rebutted by evidence that satisfies the court that it would not be in the best interests of the child for the child’s parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child.
“I wish to thank you for all your efforts on our behalf. Simply thanking you doesn’t cover the difference your help has made, not only to our lives, but importantly to the long term prospects for [name of child removed].
The work you have put in and, I believe, the emotion you invested, goes way beyond the solicitor-client contract. We are enormously grateful.”
[Name of grandparents in Brisbane removed, 19 June 2020]
This case involved both family law and domestic violence.
“Dear Duc and the staff at Freeman Lawyers
Your dedication to clients and the hard work you’ve done for me almost daily has not gone unnoticed and will never be forgotten.
This went on for me for a long time and thank you for all the hours and work you put in to win this for me and [name of child removed].
I always had complete faith you would deliver me the best outcome.”
[Mother/Wife in Brisbane, June 2020]