Children Affected By Divorce Essay

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CHILDREN AFFECTED BY DIVORCE &
PROTECTING THEIR BEST INTERESTS

On the 11th of June, 1996, the Family Law Reform Act 1995 came into effect amending certain sections of the Family Law Act 1975, in particular, those relating to the care of children involved in divorce situations. The object of these amendments, according to the new act, was to ensure two things. Firstly, “that the children may receive adequate and proper parenting to help them achieve their full potential,” and secondly, “to ensure that parents fulfil their duties, and meet their responsibilities, concerning the care, welfare and development of their children.” These recent amendments are clearly a positive step forward for family law because the law has recognised
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The current law relating to parental agreements states:
“The Parents of a child are encouraged:
a) To agree about matters concerning the child rather than seeking an order from the court; and
b) In reaching their agreement, to regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration.”
The reason for the law now officially recognising and encouraging agreements made by parents regarding contact with the child and the residence and maintenance of the child is because it is clearly better for the child if he/she grows up in a stable and non-threatening environment where the parents are on good terms. Therefore, in situations where the parents have made an agreement regarding the future care of the child, the courts will usually rule in favour of the agreed terms.
The main change resulting from the recent amendments is that the courts only concern is the child’s best interests, therefore their final decision regarding which parent will receive residence is determined by where conditions are best for the child. If the parents of the child are unable to come to an agreement by themselves and fail to do so via mediation, then they may decide to take their dispute to court. If the latter results, then in deciding what is best for the child, the court takes into consideration all or most of the following factors - the expressed wishes of the

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