From 6 May 2024 the law determining how a Court makes parenting orders has changed.

While many parents can reach agreement on parenting arrangements for their children when their relationship ends, when they cannot agree they (or certain caregivers) can apply to the Family Court for Parenting Orders.

Orders made by the Family Court will generally cover a range of issues, such as the time a child is to spend with each parent, and who is responsible for making decisions about major long-term issues.

The Court must always make Orders that are in the best interests of the child.

The Family Law Amendment Act 2023 sets out new laws, including those about:

  • What a Court must consider when determining what is in the best interests of the child; and
  • How separated parents are to make decisions about long-term interest for their children

The Court will now consider six factors to decide determine best interests.

These factors include:

  • The safety of the child and people who care for the child;
  • The child’s views;
  • The developmental, psychological, emotional and cultural needs of the child;
  • The capacity of each person who will be responsible for the child to provide for the childs developmental, psychological, emotional and cultural needs;
  • The benefit to the child of having a relationship with their parents and other significant people (e.g. siblings and grandparents); and
  • Anything else that is relevant to the particular circumstances of the child.

If you are seeking the Court make Parenting Orders, it is important that you provide the Court with reasons why the Orders you want are in the best interests of your child.

Courts will often make orders on how parents decide major long-term issues such as healthcare, education and religion.  The new laws encourage parents who do not have Parenting Orders to consult with each other about major long-term issues in relation to the child and make decisions in the child’s best interests, if it is safe to do so.

If you have existing Parenting Orders that you want changed, the Court must:

  • Consider whether there has been a significant change of circumstances; and
  • Believe it is the best interests of the child for the Orders to be re-considered.

Existing Parenting Orders will not be automatically changed by the new law, and you should continue to follow those Orders.

You need the best available legal guidance to steer you through this difficult and emotional time, and the lawyers at Berry Family Law can help you and your children achieve the best outcome.

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