"Children’s best interests will become the paramount factor in family law
disputes under a major reform which includes scrapping the requirement for
courts to consider equal or substantial time with each parent.
The attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, is releasing a draft bill on Monday aimed
at improving the safety of separating families and simplifying the test for
what parenting arrangement is best for children.
He promised to legislate in 2023, after a quick-fire consultation to close on
The bill implements the recommendations of a 2019 Australian Law Reform
Commission review to remove the presumption of equal shared “parental
responsibility” because it appeared to be “leading to unjust outcomes and
compromising the safety of children”.
A consultation paper on the draft bill noted that the requirement to consult
the other parent when making major long-term decisions had been “commonly
misinterpreted as creating a right to equal shared time with children” leading
to “inappropriate arrangements for children, prolonged litigation and increased
The requirement for courts to consider “equal or substantial and significant
time with each parent” will also be removed, although judges will still be able
to make orders for shared parental responsibility and equal time."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics