From 1 July 2007 it will be compulsory (other than in cases of urgency, abuse or violence) to obtain a certificate from a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner stating that there has been a 'genuine effort' to resolve issues before parenting proceedings can be commenced in a Court.
The children's best interests are the paramount consideration when the Court is making a parenting order. There is a presumption (in most cases) that "equal shared parental responsibility" is in the best interests of the children.
Shared parental responsibility does not necessarily mean the children spend equal time with each parent. An order for shared parental responsibility imposes an obligation on parents to consult on long term issues. Long term issues can include a change of: name, education, religion, health and living arrangements that make it significantly more difficult for the child to spend time with the parent.
An order for equal shared parental responsibility imposes an obligation on a Court to consider ordering equal time or substantial and significant time. The Court must consider whether each parent is likely to facilitate a close relationship between the child and the other parent and whether each parent has in the past fulfilled his or her responsibilities as a parent.
There are a myriad of factors that a Court takes into account when it makes parenting orders. It is not a simple task to decide what is in the child or children's best interest.
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