Major Changes on Child Custody: How Do They Affect You?

New Changes to Take Effect on 6th May 2024

The Family Law Amendment Act (2023) introduces significant amendments that changes how the court decide on parenting arrangement. Therefore, we will outline everything you need to know about your custody rights after 6th May 2024.

Equal Sharing Time with Parents No Longer the Default Outcome.

Under the new law, the Court no longer presumes that equal parental responsibility between parents is the best option for the child’s interests. Therefore, the court will not automatically assume a 50/50 responsibility between separated parents. If the decision you make for the child is not jointly agreed upon by the other side, as long as your decision serves the best interests of the child, the court will issue an order to that effect.

In other words, the court will be more open to considering tailored custody arrangements to better suit the child’s best interest that provides for one parent to have more time.

What does the best interests of the child mean?

The Court will consider various factors in determining parenting arrangements, including:

  1. the safety of the child and people who care for the child (including any history of family violence and family violence order)
  2. the child’s views.
  3. the developmental, psychological, emotional and cultural needs of the child.
  4. the capacity of each person who will be responsible for the child to provide the above needs.
  5. the benefit to the child of having a relationship with their parents, and other people who are significant to them such as grandparents and siblings; and
  6. anything else that is relevant to the particular circumstances of the child.

What should you do next?

If your matter is in progress, or you are about to start discussing parenting arrangements with the other side:

The amendments will immediately apply to all new and existing proceedings from 6th May 2024 (except those cases where final hearings have commenced).

If your matter is ongoing, or you are about to begin discussing parenting arrangements with the other party, the amendments will apply to your matter. For those with existing court orders, these changes do not automatically affect them, and you must continue to abide by the current orders. However, if there are significant changes in your or the child’s circumstances, or if a review of custody would benefit the child’s best interests, you may seek a modification of the court order.

If you cannot reach a consensus with the other party regarding parenting arrangements, or if you wish to modify the order, please contact us immediately. Our Family Lawyers will answer your legal questions and provide you with professional strategies to safeguard your rights.

Source: https://www.ag.gov.au/sites/default/files/2024-01/family-law-amendment-act-2023-factsheet-for-family-law-parents.PDF

Disclaimer: The above content is provided as general legal knowledge and should not be taken as specific advice for your individual situation. The law is complex, and we strongly recommend consulting professional legal advice. Canaan Lawyers shall not be held liable for any loss or damage caused by the information contained or omitted in the above content.