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In a Family Law Parenting Matter, the most crucial consideration that the Court must give weight to is the best interests of the child when deciding whether to make a particular parenting order. When determining what is in a child’s best interests, the Court will consider the factors listed under section 60CC of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

Holistically, section 60CC lists several factors that the Court may consider when deciding if parenting arrangement are in a child’s best interests. These factors are divided into “primary” and “additional” considerations.

The primary considerations listed under section 60CC(2) include the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents and the need to protect the child from harm, abuse, neglect and family violence. Out of these two factors, the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) specifies that the Court needs to place a greater emphasis on the need to protect a child from risks of harm than the benefit to the child from having a meaningful relationship with both parents. This emphasis on protecting children from harm may result in a child not spending time with a parent despite considerations of meaningful relationships.

Furthermore, when determining the best interests of a child the Court could give weight to the: –

  • views that were given by the child that the Court considers relevant;
  • nature of the child’s relationship with each parent and other persons (including grandparents and other relatives);
  • extent to which each of the parents has taken or to make decisions, spend time and communicate with the child;
  • extent each parent has fulfilled their obligation to maintain the child;
  • likely effect of any changes in the child’s circumstances on the child;
  • practicality of the parenting orders proposed;
  • parenting capacity of each parent;
  • maturity, sex, lifestyle and background (including lifestyle, culture and traditions) of the childand either of the child‘s parents;
  • likely impact of proposed orders on the right for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child to enjoy his or her culture;
  • parents’ attitude to the child and parenthood;
  • presence of any family violence involving the child or a member of the child’s family;
  • presence of any family violence orders that applies or has applied to the child or a member of the child’s family;
  • Preferability to make the order that would be least likely to lead to the institution of further proceedingsin relation to the child; and
  • any other relevant factors.

While the additional considerations cover a breadth of different topics, it is noteworthy that the Court will not consider all of the additional considerations but only those relevant to a party’s case.

Overall, it is evident that the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) operates to help the Court prioritise a child’s best interests during a parenting matter. It is also apparent that the underlying value of the legislation seeks to protect the child from potential risks that may cause harm.

If you are going through a family law matter or dealing with orders relating to children, Straits Lawyers now offers online services in English and Chinese.

Simply book an online consultation with us via this link: or email us at or call at 08 8410 9069 to arrange an appointment.

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Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice, and H&O Lawyers will not be legally responsible for any actions you take based on this article.