Child Maintenance Orders & Parenting Orders
Child maintenance orders have remained a separate category of parenting order. In making a parenting order, the court will always consider the best interests of the child, considering a number of factors set out in the legislation.
These factors include, the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents, and the need to protect a child from physical or psychological harm.
The terms, “child custody” and “contact” have been replaced in the family law legislation by the terms, “resident parent” and “time spent with”. The intention of the legislative changes is to emphasise that no parent owns a child.
Both parents, whether married or not, have full responsibility for their children until they turn eighteen years old. The family law system strongly encourages parents to reach an agreement regarding the care of their children as the children are directly affected by separation and divorce. These effects may include a change of residence for the children, loss of the family home and familiar surroundings, and potential changes to the amount of time the children spend with each parent. The court can formalise agreements between parents in relation to the children by making consent orders.