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The Family Law Act 1975 (‘The Act’) governs the rules around relationship breakdowns where children are involved.

The Act focuses on the needs and best interests of the children, as opposed to the rights of the parents to see their children. In short, the court will always ensure that the best interests of the child are paramount – the kids come first.

The Act aims to ensure that a child is given the opportunity to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, and to receive proper parenting and care from their parents, but this doesn’t always mean that a child must spend equal time with both parents.

What this means for each family is different. When deciding what is in the best interests of the child, and how they should be cared for by the parents, the court will take into account things like:-

  • Ages of the children
  • Wishes of the children
  • Location of the parents and the children
  • The level of communication between the parents
  • The history of care arrangements for the children.

The Act also takes a strong stance against exposing a child to physical or psychological harm, including abuse, neglect or family violence and the court will restrict or remove the time a child spends with a parent if it results in the protection of the child.

Each case is different. We recommend that you seek legal advice if you do not agree with you child’s other parent about what is best for your child.

This article was co-authored by Law Cadet Taylah Jensen.