What does ‘Best Interests of Child’ mean & How do Courts apply it

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The Phrase ‘Best Interests of the Child Explained 

The Family Law Act 1975 requires a Court making a parenting order to regard the ‘Best Interests of the Child’ as the paramount consideration.

While most people will have their own idea about what the ‘Best Interests of the Child’ means, it is actually given a specific meaning in the Family Law Act 1975.

Parents should also bear the ‘Best Interests of the Child’ principle in mind when making Parenting Plans.

The Family Law Act 1975 makes it clear that:

  • both parents are responsible for the care and welfare of their Child until the Child reaches 18 years of age; and
  • parenting arrangements which involve shared responsibilities and cooperation between the parents are usually in the best interests of the Child.

To assess the Best Interests of a Child, the Court looks at:




  • Primary Considerations; and
  • Additional Considerations.

Read more about those Primary and Additional Considerations in our separate information sheet looking at The specific factors a Court looks at to determine the Best Interests of a Child.


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