What Does ‘Best Interests of the Child’ Really Mean?

What Does ‘Best Interests of the Child’ Really Mean?

When it comes to divorce, joint care, and parenting matters, a term that you will often hear being used is ‘best interests of the child’ when discussing the arrangements for the child or children. But what exactly does this well-used phrase mean?

Here at Lapointe Family Law, we have used this phrase many times ourselves when offering our family law services in Sydney. So let’s have a look at the factors that come into play when discussing ‘best interests of the child’.

If only there was a clear, simple and straightforward way to make the very best decision for children in all cases, but unfortunately, it is often not as simple as that. Oftentimes it is very difficult for parents to reach agreements, and it can be tricky to truly know and foresee what is best for the child in question.

So how does the Court decide which parenting arrangements are in the child’s best interests? A number of factors come into play, but the most important consideration is that children should be protected from any potential harm. The other major consideration is that children usually benefit from having meaningful relationships with both of their parents. That is why, if it is safe and reasonable for the child to spend time with both parents, this is the solution often preferred. Obviously, it becomes difficult when the child is very young and needs to be with their primary attachment most of the time and in situations in which the parents live far away from each other.

In order to work out what is truly best for the child, the following factors are also taken into consideration:

  • Views expressed by the child, taking age and maturity into account
  • The nature of the child’s relationship with each parent and other relatives
  • The role that each parent plays in the child’s life
  • Fulfilment of maintenance obligations
  • The effect of change on the child’s current circumstances

Are you looking for quality family law services in Sydney? Get in touch with the experts at Lapointe Family Law today, and we can book a consultation appointment for you.