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Family Law Changes from May 2024

The law on parenting orders will soon change.  These differences will apply to final parenting orders made on or after 6 May 2024.  Existing orders will not be affected.

The time a child spends with each parent will be decided based on the child’s best interests, and those best interests will be determined by considering:

  • the child’s safety, views, needs (physical, cultural and psychological) and circumstances;
  • the child’s carers’ safety and ability to care of the child; and
  • the benefit to the child of having a relationship with their parents and other relatives.

Parents will be encouraged to consult each other about major long-term issues involving a child (such as education and healthcare), regardless of whether orders have been made.  Consultation is not required if it would be unsafe to do so.

It will no longer be assumed that:

  • the child having a relationship with both parents is a more important consideration in determining the child’s best interests; and
  • parents should automatically have equal shared responsibility for major long-term issues involving their child (such as education and healthcare).

There will be two ways to change final orders: (1) with the agreement of the other parent; or (2) showing the court there has been a significant change in circumstances and that it is in the child’s best interest to review the orders.

The procedure for dealing with a contravention of parenting orders will be simplified.  The court can order parents go to courses, grant make-up time and even change orders without having to conclusively determine there has been a contravention.

Court staff will be given additional powers to deal with matters at an earlier stage, potentially saving time and money.  And once final orders are made, judges will have the power to stop harassment by prohibiting a parent from repeatedly bringing a matter back to court.

This is a brief outline of the changes that will most effect parents.  It is only general advice; everyone’s situation is different and the changes may not apply to you (or may apply in different ways).

If you have any questions about the upcoming changes, or you would like to discuss your own parenting matter, please do not hesitate to contact the team at CG Legal Group.

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