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Making Parenting Orders

Under the Family Law Act 1975 (FLA), the Court must consider the best interests of the child as the most important consideration when making a parenting order. Courts encourage parents to use this principle when making parenting plans. Under s. 61 DA of the FLA there is a presumption that it is in the best interests of the child that:

  1. There is shared responsibilities and cooperation between the parents; and
  2. Both parents should be responsible for the care and welfare of their children

What does the Court Consider when deciding the best interests of the child?

In deciding what is in the best interest of a child, the Act requires a court to take into account two tiers of considerations – primary considerations and additional considerations:

Primary considerations:

  1. The benefit to children of having a meaningful relationship with both parents.
  2. The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to:
    a) Abuse,
    b) Neglect or
    c) Family violence
  3. The Court is required to give greater weight to the consideration of the need to protect children from harm.

Additional considerations:

  1. The effect of the changed circumstances on the child being separated from a parent or person with whom the child has been living. This also includes a grandparent, relatives or other family members.
  2. The child’s views and factors that might affect those views, such as the child’s maturity and level of understanding.
  3. The relationship of the child with each parent and other people, including grandparents and other relatives.
  4. The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.
  5. The practical difficulty and expense of a child spending time with and communicating with a parent.
  6. Each parent’s ability (and that of any other person) to provide for the child’s needs.
  7. The maturity, sex, lifestyle and background of the child and of either of the child’s parents, and any other characteristics of the child that the Court thinks are relevant.
  8. The attitude of each parent to the child and to the responsibilities of parenthood.
  9. The right of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child to enjoy his or her culture and the impact a proposed parenting order may have on that right.
  10. Any family violence involving the child or a member of the child’s family.
  11. Any family violence order that applies to the child or a member of the child’s family, if:
    a) The order is a final order, or
    b) The making of the order was contested by a person
  12. Whether it would be preferable to make the order that would be least likely to lead to further court applications and hearings in relation to the child.
  13. Any other fact or circumstance that the Court thinks is relevant.

A court must consider the degree to which each parent has or has not previously met their parental responsibilities, in particular:

  1. Communicate with the child, and has:
    a) Met their obligations to maintain the child, and
    b) Facilitated (or not) the other parent’s involvement in these aspects of the child’s life.
  2. Taken the opportunity to:
    a) Participate in decision- making about major long- term issues about the child
    b) Spend time with the child.

If the child’s parents have separated, a court must consider the parties’ situation since the separation.

What are the costs involved?

At WN Legal, we do not “bill by the hour” and render an expensive invoice upon completion of our legal services. We will provide a reasonable estimate and endeavour to the bill within the confines of our estimate, even if we are required to do extra work.

At WN Legal, it is the quality of service and results that we pride ourselves on. Our Perth Family Lawyers are passionate and client-focused in helping you achieve excellent results without expending unnecessary legal costs.

Please do not hesitate to contact WN Legal if you require legal assistance in this area of law. Our family court lawyers Perth at WN Legal, have a broad range of experience in assisting our clients in resolving and defending a variety of Family Law Parenting matters.