What does a Court consider when making parenting orders?

The Family Law Act 1975 sets out a number of different considerations which are taken into account by the Family Court or Federal Magistrates Court in parenting matters.  The overall consideration is of course what is in the best interests of a child.  

The Court takes into account what are known as primary and additional considerations to determine what is in the best interests of a child.  

Primary considerations include:

  • The benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents.
  • The need to protect the child from harm or being subjected to or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence.  The Court must give greater weight to this consideration.

Additional considerations include:

  • Any views expressed by the child, taking into account the child’s maturity.
  • The child’s relationship with each parent and any other person who is important.
  • The effect on the child of any changes in arrangements for the child including separating siblings from each other.
  • The capacity of each parent to provide for the needs of the child.
  • The attitudes of each parent to the child to the responsibilities of parenting.


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