April 2018

Parenting - Best interests of the child Written by Bev Clark  As a parent, your primary concern is the best interests of your children. In a family breakdown, the Family Law Act requires the Court to regard the best interests of the child as the most important consideration. The Act makes it clear that both parents are responsible for the care, welfare and development of their children until they reach 18, and there is a presumption that arrangements that involve shared responsibilities and cooperation between the parents are in the best interests of the child. In deciding what is in the best interests of the child, the Court takes into consideration: The benefit of children having a meaningful relationship with both parents; The need to protect children from physical or psychological harm from being exposed to family violence or neglect; The views of the child, and factors that affect those views, such as the child’s age and maturity; The child’s relationship with each of the parents and extended family; The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent; The likely effect of the child’s changed circumstances, including separation from a parent or a person...

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