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FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 - SECT 65DAA

Court to consider child spending equal time or substantial and significant time with each parent in certain circumstances

Equal time

             (1)  Subject to subsection (6), if a parenting order provides (or is to provide) that a child's parents are to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child, the court must:

                     (a)  consider whether the child spending equal time with each of the parents would be in the best interests of the child; and

                     (b)  consider whether the child spending equal time with each of the parents is reasonably practicable; and

                     (c)  if it is, consider making an order to provide (or including a provision in the order) for the child to spend equal time with each of the parents.

Note 1:       The effect of section 60CA is that in deciding whether to go on to make a parenting order for the child to spend equal time with each of the parents, the court will regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration.

Note 2:       See subsection (5) for the factors the court takes into account in determining what is reasonably practicable.

Substantial and significant time

             (2)  Subject to subsection (6), if:

                     (a)  a parenting order provides (or is to provide) that a child's parents are to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child; and

                     (b)  the court does not make an order (or include a provision in the order) for the child to spend equal time with each of the parents;

the court must:

                     (c)  consider whether the child spending substantial and significant time with each of the parents would be in the best interests of the child; and

                     (d)  consider whether the child spending substantial and significant time with each of the parents is reasonably practicable; and

                     (e)  if it is, consider making an order to provide (or including a provision in the order) for the child to spend substantial and significant time with each of the parents.

Note 1:       The effect of section 60CA is that in deciding whether to go on to make a parenting order for the child to spend substantial time with each of the parents, the court will regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration.

Note 2:       See subsection (5) for the factors the court takes into account in determining what is reasonably practicable.

             (3)  For the purposes of subsection (2), a child will be taken to spend substantial and significant time with a parent only if:

                     (a)  the time the child spends with the parent includes both:

                              (i)  days that fall on weekends and holidays; and

                             (ii)  days that do not fall on weekends or holidays; and

                     (b)  the time the child spends with the parent allows the parent to be involved in:

                              (i)  the child's daily routine; and

                             (ii)  occasions and events that are of particular significance to the child; and

                     (c)  the time the child spends with the parent allows the child to be involved in occasions and events that are of special significance to the parent.

             (4)  Subsection (3) does not limit the other matters to which a court can have regard in determining whether the time a child spends with a parent would be substantial and significant.

Reasonable practicality

             (5)  In determining for the purposes of subsections (1) and (2) whether it is reasonably practicable for a child to spend equal time, or substantial and significant time, with each of the child's parents, the court must have regard to:

                     (a)  how far apart the parents live from each other; and

                     (b)  the parents' current and future capacity to implement an arrangement for the child spending equal time, or substantial and significant time, with each of the parents; and

                     (c)  the parents' current and future capacity to communicate with each other and resolve difficulties that might arise in implementing an arrangement of that kind; and

                     (d)  the impact that an arrangement of that kind would have on the child; and

                     (e)  such other matters as the court considers relevant.

Note:          Paragraph (c) reference to future capacity--the court has power under section 13C to make orders for parties to attend family counselling or family dispute resolution or participate in courses, programs or services.

Consent orders

             (6)  If:

                     (a)  the court is considering whether to make a parenting order with the consent of all the parties to the proceedings; and

                     (b)  the order provides (or is to provide) that a child's parents are to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child;

the court may, but is not required to, consider the matters referred to in paragraphs (1)(a) to (c) or (if applicable) the matters referred to in paragraphs (2)(c) to (e).

             (7)  To avoid doubt, subsection (6) does not affect the application of section 60CA in relation to a parenting order.

Note:          Section 60CA requires the best interests of the child to be the paramount consideration in a decision whether to make a particular parenting order.



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