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how is the childs best interests determined?

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When the courts or a mediation councellor determines a childs best interests what do they look at? How do they determine the childs best interest if the child is too young to speak on their own behalf?

From my understanding it dosn't go on what happened before seperation… (i know its not what the parents best interests are)
I don't think that there is one answer other than it's very much a personal opinion of the decision maker. When that decision maker is a Judge or Magistrate, then such an opinion should be within the bounds of the legislation, which offers great latitude. When with a mediator then such legislative bounds are much less likely to be considered (even though they should really be bound as much or even more tightly to the legislation). Basically the answer is like the answer to the ubiquitous "length of a piece of string", except that perhaps the consideration is more like answering the length of a 1000 pieces of string. I'd suggest considering trying to be more specific about what you are asking/expecting of replies.

The legislation currently itself says (note that this section is very likely to be changed shortly to fully support the use of false allegations of violence to enact violence against; the child or children; the other parent; the other parent's family; the other parent's friends, acquaintances and colleagues; and the other parent's parent's friends, acquaintances and colleagues)  :

The Family Law Act 1975 said
60CC  How a court determines what is in a childs best interests
Determining childs best interests

   (1)   Subject to subsection (5), in determining what is in the childs best interests, the court must consider the matters set out in subsections (2) and (3).
Primary considerations
   (2)   The primary considerations are:
   (a)   the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the childs parents; and
   (b)   the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.
Note:   Making these considerations the primary ones is consistent with the objects of this Part set out in paragraphs 60B(1)(a) and (b).
Additional considerations
   (3)   Additional considerations are:
   (a)   any views expressed by the child and any factors (such as the childs maturity or level of understanding) that the court thinks are relevant to the weight it should give to the childs views;
   (b)   the nature of the relationship of the child with:
   (i)   each of the childs parents; and
   (ii)   other persons (including any grandparent or other relative of the child);
   ©   the willingness and ability of each of the childs parents to facilitate, and encourage, a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent;
   (d)   the likely effect of any changes in the childs circumstances, including the likely effect on the child of any separation from:
   (i)   either of his or her parents; or
   (ii)   any other child, or other person (including any grandparent or other relative of the child), with whom he or she has been living;
   (e)   the practical difficulty and expense of a child spending time with and communicating with a parent and whether that difficulty or expense will substantially affect the childs right to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis;
   (f)   the capacity of:
   (i)   each of the childs parents; and
   (ii)   any other person (including any grandparent or other relative of the child);
      to provide for the needs of the child, including emotional and intellectual needs;
   (g)   the maturity, sex, lifestyle and background (including lifestyle, culture and traditions) of the child and of either of the childs parents, and any other characteristics of the child that the court thinks are relevant;
   (h)   if the child is an Aboriginal child or a Torres Strait Islander child:
   (i)   the childs right to enjoy his or her Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture (including the right to enjoy that culture with other people who share that culture); and
   (ii)   the likely impact any proposed parenting order under this Part will have on that right;
   (i)   the attitude to the child, and to the responsibilities of parenthood, demonstrated by each of the childs parents;
   (j)   any family violence involving the child or a member of the childs family;
   (k)   any family violence order that applies to the child or a member of the childs family, if:
   (i)   the order is a final order; or
   (ii)   the making of the order was contested by a person;
   (l)   whether it would be preferable to make the order that would be least likely to lead to the institution of further proceedings in relation to the child;
   (m)   any other fact or circumstance that the court thinks is relevant.
   (4)   Without limiting paragraphs (3)© and (i), the court must consider the extent to which each of the childs parents has fulfilled, or failed to fulfil, his or her responsibilities as a parent and, in particular, the extent to which each of the childs parents:
   (a)   has taken, or failed to take, the opportunity:
   (i)   to participate in making decisions about major long term issues in relation to the child; and
   (ii)   to spend time with the child; and
   (iii)   to communicate with the child; and
   (b)   has facilitated, or failed to facilitate, the other parent:
   (i)   participating in making decisions about major long term issues in relation to the child; and
   (ii)   spending time with the child; and
   (iii)   communicating with the child; and
   ©   has fulfilled, or failed to fulfil, the parents obligation to maintain the child.
   (4A)   If the childs parents have separated, the court must, in applying subsection (4), have regard, in particular, to events that have happened, and circumstances that have existed, since the separation occurred.
Consent orders
   (5)   If the court is considering whether to make an order with the consent of all the parties to the proceedings, the court may, but is not required to, have regard to all or any of the matters set out in subsection (2) or (3).
Right to enjoy Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture
   (6)   For the purposes of paragraph (3)(h), an Aboriginal childs or a Torres Strait Islander childs right to enjoy his or her Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture includes the right:
   (a)   to maintain a connection with that culture; and
   (b)   to have the support, opportunity and encouragement necessary:
   (i)   to explore the full extent of that culture, consistent with the childs age and developmental level and the childs views; and
   (ii)   to develop a positive appreciation of that culture.
thank you for the reply

what i think are the childs best interests may not be what they agree with.

So im trying to find out what to expect.

As it stands, my situation is not as straight forward as the law allows. my daughter who is 8 months has never met her biological father as he had no interest in even being put on the birth cert. i thought i was doing the right thing by her by putting him on it. he was informed when she was born ( had no interest). a letter was sent to him asking for him to sign the birt cert (he sent a reply denying paternity). he was then sent a letter from csa (again replied in denial) i then hired a solicitor. he then agreed to a dna test ( then cancelled it months later) and then agreed to just signing the birt cert. I requested the dna test after a friend of mine called and told me he said the baby wasnt his and he was forced into signing the birth cert.  now all is settled and turns out hes the bio father he wants his visitations, non supervised on his terms.

I am not a single mother and have a stable home for my child, my partner and myself. by partner has been the only father figre in my childs life from before she was born.

Im not sure how the courts will view this as we seperated due to his excessive drinking and drug use, and having no support from him.
repartneredmum said
what i think are the childs best interests may not be what they agree with.

There are decision makers that have done all sorts of things. One decided it was in the BIC (Best Interest of the Child) to have the child live with the parent who was a partner to a person who had the largest collection of pornography. In today's Daily Telegraph an article seemed to begrudge a child being placed with a what they called a paedophile (the mother, after 17 years and separation went to the police because her and the father had a sexual relationship from when she was 17). However, the mother and another were plotting or attempted to murder the father (sorry I didn't take what I read in very well). In another recent case the child was placed solely with the parent who had alienated the child. In another, the emotional abuse of the child had gone too far in that the child's mind would consider anything that was not the continued emotional abuse as abuse.

I'd suggest that not supporting the child, as you have gone to the CSA, is not an issue (unless he refuses to pay the assessed amount).

Drug and Alcohol abuse would very likely be considered, but in the context of the danger that it poses (have a read of the recent post by 4mydaughter (if I recall correctly) and follow the link to what the courts currently consider).

repartneredmum said
I am not a single mother and have a stable home for my child, my partner and myself. by partner has been the only father figre in my childs life from before she was born.

This appears, especially the last sentence, to be that you are looking for ways/excuses/reasons to not have the real other parent in the child's life. This is likely not in the child's best interest and if this is seen as your line of thought it could well result in an unexpected/undesirable result. I'd suggest that best way forward would be to consider what you can best do to facilitate the child's right to know and be cared for by their parents without undue risk. This could hopefully result in you and the other parent working out an amiable agreement, that would be highly cost effective and without shock to either parent and it in itself in the best interest of the child and certainly what the courts would like to see happen. e.g. :

Family Law Courts Website - Applying to Court said
Applying to the courts

Reaching an agreement with the other party offers many advantages:

    you make your own decisions
    you greatly reduce the financial and emotional costs of legal proceedings
    your continuing relationship as parents, if you have children, is likely to work better
    you are able to move forward and make a new life for yourself, and
    you may improve communication with your former partner and be better able to resolve disputes in the future.

Perhaps one of the most pertinent questions a parent should nowadays ask themselves when dealing with separation and child issues is "Are my intentions for the best interest of the child, rather than intentions to enact vengeance against the other parent and or intentions to use the child in order to gain financial advantage".

Drugs and alcohol may be an issue they may not, what real risk do they pose to the safety of the child, what can you do to reduce those risks (perhaps supervised access may be required, perhaps supervised by a family member (e.g. the other parent's mother))? I think I recall a case in the not too distant past where the new partner of the spends time with parent who was considered a suitable and beneficial supervisor.  There are very often within the square or outside the square solutions and if utilised they can save a great deal. Such savings can be of a psychological and financial nature and for both sides and of course have implicit savings for others ( the child/children, family and friends). Not to say they can also have some drawbacks (e.g. a partner perhaps seeing an amiable relationship as something to be jealous about).

So really it's back to what I first said, anything could happen and what happens would very much be determined by the specifics.
From a step- parents point of view (who was there through it all. the appointments, the birth, months in hospital) he now has to hand over his daughter to a guy he has never met.. and told he has no rights…

I have since her birth wanted her bio father to be known to my daughter, otherwise i would not have bothered putting him on the birth cert.  i am not attempting to keep him from her and would prefer me to supervise visits to start with, but this is a one sided arguement as he wants her unsupervised when it suits him. although there is a bad history between us i dont see the point in taking that out on her. i would just prefer her to be safe… i dont want her getting destressed being handed over to a complete stranger. My partner knows exactly what my ex is like and is concerned, he also wants her to be safe.

Putting my ex on the birth cert had nothing to do with the csa, (his money isnt worth the cheque its written on), i thought doing the right thing was what i was supposed to do..

apparently not because it looks like even i dont get much of a say in this.

i have been told the whole way along that doing the right thing was not a good idea, and it seems the more right i do, the worse person i am by everyones opinion….

Just for wanting my daughter to be safe.. by thinking supervised visits would be best.
repartneredmum said
From a step- parents point of view (who was there through it all. the appointments, the birth, months in hospital) he now has to hand over his daughter to a guy he has never met.. and told he has no rights…

The only rights are the rights of the child and those rights are those based upon the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child (CRC). Here's an extract from the UNICEF website
UNICEF website said
Children are neither the possessions of parents nor of the state, nor are they mere people-in-the-making; they have equal status as members of the human family
.

Article 7 of the CRC states:
Article 7

CRC said
1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

repartneredmum said
I have since her birth wanted her bio father to be known to my daughter, otherwise i would not have bothered putting him on the birth cert.  i am not attempting to keep him from her and would prefer me to supervise visits to start with, but this is a one sided arguement as he wants her unsupervised when it suits him. although there is a bad history between us i dont see the point in taking that out on her. i would just prefer her to be safe… i dont want her getting destressed being handed over to a complete stranger. My partner knows exactly what my ex is like and is concerned, he also wants her to be safe.

The very obvious question that would likely be asked is "How is the child's safety at risk?", which is basically asking if supervision is warranted. You actually argue against yourself being the supervisor when you say "although there is a bad history between us i dont see the point in taking that out on her". How would you ensure that the bad history doesn't result in a bad/unsavoury environment? Could this be seen as a control issue and therefore actually an enactment of family violence? I think that you could be opening a can of worms wanting yourself to be the supervisor. I'd suggest considering who else could supervise, assuming that supervision is warranted.


repartneredmum said
his money isnt worth the cheque its written on
Why is this person's money of any less worth than anybody else's? I'd suggest that this comment confirms that you are still letting the bad history affect matters and is yet more reason why you should not consider yourself as a supervisor.

repartneredmum said
i have been told the whole way along that doing the right thing was not a good idea, and it seems the more right i do, the worse person i am by everyones opinion….
Having been subjected to a great deal of playing the victim scenarios, playing the victim is not something that I don't condone or let get to me. Nobody on this thread/topic and therefore definitely not everyone has voiced an opinion that you are a worse person, this is purely your perception created by embellishing what has been said (reading between the lines)? Playing the victim is detracting from fully considering the issues on behalf of the child.  The fact is that in my opinion you should be commended for asking others and seeking other views and opinions, hence why I originally answered your questions as I tend to mainly restrict myself to answering Child Support related questions and also because this was not originally about in-depth discussion of family law (i.e. relatively easy to answer).
I apologise if i have come across as "playing the victim". Im not the best with explaining the situation. i was meerly trying to explain my situation which i have now noted is not coming across as intended.

I can see where your point of view is coming from and i understand the laws associated with this area.

I thank you for answering my question. And will take it all in and do what the law says is the right thing to do.

I now understand that my concerns do not matter in the situation, and i see why women do not leave relationships that are violent. why bother when you end up having to supject your children to them.

As for my comment "his money is not worth the cheque its written on".  it was not saying his money is worth less than anyone elses. he works for cash in hand. but thats not the point i guess. i was stating that i didnt put him on the birth cert for his money.

My original question has been answered. And i understand that putting any history from when we were together will be useless, as it does not matter what happened in the past.
repartneredmum said
I now understand that my concerns do not matter in the situation, and i see why women do not leave relationships that are violent. why bother when you end up having to supject your children to them.

Concerns, if in the best interest of the child and valid do matter. I don't believe that I have said otherwise. I cannot see how you come to the conclusion regarding women not leaving relationships that are violent from what has been written. Perhaps you should explain how you make this rather wayward conclusion based upon what has been written. The fact is that women leave and end relationships more frequently than men and that there is substantial evidence that men are as often if not slightly more often the victim of domestic/family violence. The conclusion must be that a far greater number and percentage of men are suffering and not leaving relationships even though they are subject to such violence.

repartneredmum said
My original question has been answered. And i understand that putting any history from when we were together will be useless, as it does not matter what happened in the past.
Yet again I cannot see how you have come to such a conclusion. If there was no accounting for history then there could be no accounting for anything other than the fact that the child has parents who are equal in all ways and that the result, for it to be in the best interest of the child, is that the child must have an equal share of both parents in all situations; that is unless the theme of time travel and the ability to look into the future is not bound only to the realm of science fiction but is also a reality of today. I have little doubt that you could select any published Family Law decision and that decision will be based upon the history and how that is likely to affect the future.
Your daughters 8 months old? That's quick repartnering…? How serious is this 'repartnering'?

4MYDAUGHTER
I apologise again. i am mixing what i am being told out side the forum and in the forum and i shouldnt. thankyou so much for the info you have givem me in the topic.

4mydaughter: i have been repartnered now for a little over 10 months.
So you repartnered 2 months out from giving birth to your daughter?

I've gotta say that raises some red flags for me - for all sorts of reasons.

When you chose to repartner at that time - what kind of potential consequences/problems/difficulties/trade-offs did you perceive that might flow from making that choice?

4MYDAUGHTER
what do you mean raises red flags? i was less than 4 months pregnant when i repartnered. when seperating i had no intentions of repartnering, then i caught up with an old friend.... and so on.
Ok. Red flag No 1.

So you added the biological fathers name to the birth certificate because you didn't want your new partner to be liable for child support assessment?

Nothing to do with wanting to involve the biological father in your daughter life, was it? Or have I got that wrong?

4MYDAUGHTER
yes, you have got that wrong. i need for my daughter to know:

1: who her bio father is

2: her family history (medical)

3: who her bio family is

my partner is more than happy to continue supporting her as he has from day 1.

i have never said that i dont want her to know who her bio father i just said that SUPERVISED visits would be apropriate to start off. And supervised by someone she knows. (myself, my mother, my father or my partner??).. not by complete strangers.
repartnered_mum said
 i thought i was doing the right thing by her by putting him on it.
 
I think the truth of this particular matter is that you put the biological fathers name on the birth certificate to get you current partner out of child support liability.

In any event, you've made comments about the biological fathers behavours/actions following the child's birth.

Before you made the choice to repartner - what potential issues/problems/consequences did you consider might arise from that choice in respect of co=parenting the child with the biological father?

4MYDAUGHTER
well i think thats a bit harsh, but i seem to be getting a bit of that. as i stated before i get no child support for my child.

And as for repartnering, i didnt realise that i would get into trouble for being happy. my ex repartnering before i even removed my stuff from the house. (less than 2 weeks)

i may be reading into this wrong. am i in the wrong here for not lying on the birth cert? and trying to dothe right thing?
Harsh? Maybe. Your assertions and statements posted in this tread are being tested.

I attempting to determine the veracity of your claims in respect of the biological father and alleged violence/substance abuse.

So I am sense checking some of your statements and assertions.

4MYDAUGHTER
Why?

If you are thinking that im not honest than thats your choice.

Without you knowing the history of the relationship it is hard for you to see things from my point of view. (that is understandable)

I dont understand why i seem to be made out to be a bad person.
Am i making you out to be a bad person?

You said this….

my daughter who is 8 months has never met her biological father as he had no interest in even being put on the birth cert. i thought i was doing the right thing by her by putting him on it. he was informed when she was born ( had no interest). a letter was sent to him asking for him to sign the birt cert (he sent a reply denying paternity). he was then sent a letter from csa (again replied in denial) i then hired a solicitor. he then agreed to a dna test ( then cancelled it months later) and then agreed to just signing the birt cert. I requested the dna test after a friend of mine called and told me he said the baby wasnt his and he was forced into signing the birth cert.  now all is settled and turns out hes the bio father he wants his visitations, non supervised on his terms.
Sounds a bit messy.

Do you think your choice to repartner when you did might confuse the situation - 'muddy the waters'? Or is the biological father just being unreasonable?

4MYDAUGHTER
Now i really dont understand where the problem is comming from. Am i missing something?

Can you explain how my re-partnering is a problem. what i am getting from this is, that it was ok for him to re-partner but not me?

Is the fact i re-partnered going to be seen as a bad thing when my childs best interests are determined? Or have we gone off track here?

I never went out to deliberatly re-partner, that would be stupid. i swore i would have nothing to do with a relationship again. but in some cases someone comes along that is a decent person, and you fall in love.
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