A continuing relationship with both parents

Primary considerations:

  • The benefit to children of having a meaningful relationship with both parents.
  • The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.
  • The Court is required to give greater weight to the consideration of the need to protect children from harm.

Additional considerations:

  • The child’s views and factors that might affect those views, such as the child’s maturity and level of understanding.
  • The child’s relationship with each parent and other people, including grandparents and other relatives.
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.
  • The likely effect on the child of changed circumstances, including separation from a parent or person with whom the child has been living, including a grandparent or other relatives.
  • The practical difficulty and expense of a child spending time with and communicating with a parent.
  • Each parent’s ability (and that of any other person) to provide for the child’s needs.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The attitude of each parent to the child and to the responsibilities of parenthood.
  • Any family violence involving the child or a member of the child’s family.
  • Any family violence order that applies to the child or a member of the child’s family, if:
    • the order is a final order, or
    • the making of the order was contested by a person.
  • 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.
  • Any other fact or circumstance that the Court thinks is relevant.

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

  • taken the opportunity to:
    • participate in decision-making about major long-term issues about the child
    • spend time with the child.
  • communicate with the child, and has:
    • met their obligations to maintain the child, and
    • facilitated (or not) the other parent’s involvement in these aspects of the child’s life.

If the child’s parents have separated, a court must consider events and circumstances since the separation.

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29 thoughts on “A continuing relationship with both parents

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