The Family Law Act states that we must apply a presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for the child’s parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child. The presumption does not apply if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent of the child (or a person who lives with a parent of the child) has engaged in:

  1. abuse of the child or another child who, at the time, was a member of the parent’s family (or that other person’s family); or
  2. family violence.

In relation to a child, issues about the care, welfare and development of the child of a long-term nature include (but are not limited to) issues about:

  1. the child’s education (both current and future)
  2. the child’s religious and cultural upbringing
  3. the child’s health
  4. the child’s name; and
  5. changes to the child’s living arrangements that make it significantly more difficult for the child to spend time with a parent.

In the absence of any risk of harm, and provided it is reasonably practicable, we will then examine whether the parent will spend equal time or substantial and significant time with the child.

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