|CW Hooper & Hooper|
By Lindsay Nicholson, Solicitor
The Family Law Court in deciding whether to make a particular parenting order in relation to a child, must regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration (the “Principle”). To this end the Court aims to uphold the Part VII objects, principles and rules of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), which is concerned with Children.
The Court’s jurisdiction is child-focused, not parent focused, with parents, carers and guardians weighing into the paramount consideration to the extent that they advance the physical and mental health and well-being of children.
As a starting point, the Principle promotes the legislative aim of children having a meaningful relationship with both parents, extended family, and other significant figures in their lives; that is, to the extent that such relationships are consistent with the Principle.
The Principle requires children to be protected from family violence, neglect, abuse and exposure to same, and this important goal is furthered in the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011.
In short, children matter in children’s matters, and this is reflected in the Principle, which underpins domestic and international legislation aimed at protecting and improving the mental and physical health and well-being of children through fostering meaningful relationships.