"In the child's best interests"

How a court determines what is in a child's best interests.

(1) Subject to subsection (3), in determining what is in the child's best interests, the court must consider the matters set out in subsection (2).

(2) The court must consider:

(a) any wishes expressed by the child and any factors (such as the child's maturity or level of understanding) that the court thinks are relevant to the weight it should give to the child's wishes;

(b) the nature of the relationship of the child with each of the child's parents and with other persons

(c) the likely effect of any changes in the child's 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, with whom he or she has been living;

(d) the practical difficulty and expense of a child having contact with a parent and whether that difficulty or expense will substantially affect the child's right to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis;

(e) the capacity of each parent, or of any other person, to provide for the needs of the child, including emotional and intellectual needs;

(f) the child's maturity, sex and background (including any need to maintain a connection with the lifestyle, culture and traditions of Aboriginal peoples or Torres Strait Islanders) and any other characteristics of the child that the court thinks are relevant;

(g) the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm caused, or that may be caused, by:

(i) being subjected or exposed to abuse, ill-treatment, violence or other behaviour; or

(ii) being directly or indirectly exposed to abuse, ill-treatment, violence or other behaviour that is directed towards, or may affect, another person;

(h) the attitude to the child, and to the responsibilities of parenthood, demonstrated by each of the child's parents;

(i) any family violence involving the child or a member of the child's family;

(j) any family violence order that applies to the child or a member of the child's family;

(k) 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;

(l) any other fact or circumstance that the court thinks is relevant.

(3) 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).

(4) In paragraph (2)(f):

Aboriginal peoples means the peoples of the Aboriginal race of Australia.

Torres Strait Islanders means the descendants of the indigenous inhabitants of the Torres

Strait Islands.

For more information on Consent Orders in Australia call AussieLegal on 1300 728 200.