When a family law matter concerns a child it is paramount that all decisions are made in the best interests of the child. This means that the wellbeing and development of the child is placed before any other deciding factors. Often family law matters can stir up emotions and people may let these emotions overrule their decision making. However, by putting the child’s best interests first, you are promoting their welfare and allowing them to reach their full potential.
When decisions are made for the children, two key considerations are that the child has a right to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, and the child has the right to be protected from harm, including abuse, neglect or violence.
When making decisions based on the child’s best interests, the courts must consider a range of factors including:
- The children’s wishes
- The nature of their relationship with both parents and other significant people
- How a change of circumstances will impact the children
- Each parent’s ability to meet the children’s needs
- The age, lifestyle, culture, and traditions of the children
- The risk of harm to the children