The biggest mistake that people make when negotiating parenting
arrangements is that they allow their own anger and hurt to cloud
their judgment as to what parenting arrangements would be in the
best interests of their children.
Best interests of the child
The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) stipulates that the best
interests of the child are the paramount consideration when
deciding on any parenting orders. When considering this, in most
cases, parents should consider an arrangement which promotes
stability and regularity for the children and allows them to
maintain a relationship with both parents.
Importance of children's interests
In 2006 the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) was changed and
one of the important changes was to strengthen the importance of
children's interests. It sets out clearly that children have a
A meaningful relationship with both parents
Be protected from abuse, neglect and family violence
Receive adequate and proper parenting to help them achieve
their full potential
Know and be cared for by both parents
Spend time with and communicate with both parents and any other
significant people such as grandparents and other relatives
Receive the support and encouragement necessary to maintain a
connection with their culture
Time with each parent
There is a misconception about the changes to the Family Law
Act 1975 (Cth) and the concepts of shared time and substantial
and significant time. The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) does
not require that children spend the same amount of time with each
parent. The important thing is that parents have an arrangement
which promotes the best interests of their particular children,
keeping in mind that each child is different. This may mean the
same amount of time with each parent or something different.
Determining the child's best interests
What will be in the best interests of a child would be
determined by their personality, age, activities and health,
amongst other things. Usually it is the parents who are best able
to decide what the best parenting arrangements for their children
are. To do this the parents must be able to look past their own
needs and hurt feelings.
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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