In this article, we explore certain family laws for children. In Australia, the Family Law Act (1975) is the leading legislation for all family law matters. Generally, when discussing family laws for children, the best interests of the child is the most prominent principal to consider.
This ensures that laws protect children and child’s wellbeing. They need protection from family violence, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, sexual exploitation and other forms of special protection. The best interests principle is derived from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Therefore, it is prominent in international law as well.
Furthermore, in the Family Law Act, Section 60CC outlines the best interests of the child principle. The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA) makes all orders and decisions in family law and parenting matters by considering this best interests principle for child protection.
While Section 60CC is the most important part when discussing laws for children, there are numerous other Sections and Parts within the FLA that outline other laws for children. In this article, we will discuss the introduction of Part VII of the Family Law Act (1975).
Part VII of the Act consists of all laws for children in Australian family law. In this article, we will look specifically at Subdivisions A and B under Division 1 (Introductory) of Part VII of the Act. Subdivisions A consists of one Section i.e. Section 60A. Additionally, Subdivision B consists of two Sections, namely – Section 60B and Section 60C. Let’s explore these three Sections in brief.
Section 60A: Introduction of Division 1 under Part VII of the FLA
Section 60A of the Act provides an outline for the entire Division 1 under Part VII that is about family laws for children that protect children. Moreover, as one of the most extensive parts of the FLA, Part VII consists of 14 divisions. Furthermore, these divisions consist of subdivisions that detail points on various different topics that are relevant to children in family law.
Section 60A provides an outline for Division 1 of the 14 divisions under this Part. According to Section 60A, the first Division under Part VII contains important points in relation to:
- An outline of this Part under Subdivision B, and a statement outlining the objectives of this Part, and the underlying principles of this Part
- Provisions about the use of family dispute resolution before applying for an order under this Act.
- Provisions dealing with an adviser’s obligation in relation to the best interests of the child,
- Subdivision BA deals with provisions in relation to the best interests of the child in family law and family court proceedings – the paramount principle on Australian family laws for children
- Provisions relevant to the interpretation and application of this Part
- Provisions relevant to how this Act applies to certain children
Section 60B: Family Laws for Children
Additionally, as an essential part of family laws for children, Section 60B lays out the objects of this Part and principles that underlie this Part. The following points highlight the objects of the Part.
These objects are meant to ensure that best interests of the child are met by:
- Protecting children from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence;
- Ensuring that children have the benefit of both of their parents having a meaningful involvement in their lives, to the maximum extent consistent with the best interests of the child;
- Making sure that children receive adequate and proper parenting to help them achieve their full potential; and
- Lastly, ensuring that parents fulfil their duties, and meet their responsibilities, concerning the care, development and welfare of their children.
If these are the objects, or objectives, what are the principles that underlie these objects? Section 60B states the following principles that underlie the above-mentioned objects of this Part. The following principles are important and will be considered, unless it is not in the best interests of the child to do so.
Firstly, the principle states that children have:
- The right to know both parents, and be cared for by both their parents, regardless of whether their parents are still married, or are divorced, separated, have never married or have never lived together;
- A right to spend time on a regular basis with, and communicate on a regular basis with, both their parents and other parties significant to their care, development and welfare. The other parties can include relatives such as uncles and aunts, and grandparents; and
- Furthermore, the right to enjoy their culture, and a right to enjoy the culture with others who share similar culture.
Secondly, the principle also states that parents should:
- Agree about the future parenting of their children; and
- Jointly share duties and responsibilities concerning the care, welfare and development of their children.
When discussing Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children in relation to their right to enjoy their culture, this also includes the right:
- To maintain a connection with that culture; and
- To have the support, encouragement and opportunity necessary to develop a positive appreciation of their culture. Moreover, they also have a right to get the support needed to explore their culture in a manner that is consistent with the child’s age, views and developmental level.
Section 60C: Outline of Part VII (Children) of the FLA
This Section provides an Outline of the Part VII of the Act. It highlights the topic that each Division of this Part deals with.
|Division No.||Topic that it covers|
|Division 2||Parental Responsibility|
|Division 3||Reports relating to children under 18|
|Division 4||Parenting plans|
|Division 5||Parenting orders – what they are|
|Division 6||Parenting orders other than child maintenance orders|
|Division 7||Child maintenance orders|
|Division 8||Other matters relating to children|
|Division 10||Representation of child’s best interests|
|Division 11||Family violence|
|Division 12||Proceedings and jurisdictions|
|Division 12A||Principles for conducting child-related proceedings|
|Division 13||State, territory and overseas orders|
|Division 13A||Enforcement of orders affecting children|
Importance of Legal Advice from Family Lawyers
While this article has explored some laws for children under the Family Law Act, and children’s rights, there are many other equally important Sections under this Act. Read our blog to check other FLA blogs for more information.
Family lawyers are well-equipped to deal with any difficult matter under family law. At JB Solicitors, our lawyers are well-versed with all relevant laws, children’s rights and human rights. Through the help of their knowledge and experience, they can provide market-leading advice to all clients regarding parental responsibility to protect children’s rights, especially vulnerable children.
If you have any enquiries, contact us today.