Same-sex or LGBTQI parents should never be discriminated against. In Perth Family Law, same-sex or LGBTQI parents have the same rights as all parents. Their children ordinarily have the same rights as other children.
In most cases, parents will share parental responsibility.
Equal Shared Parental Responsibility
Section 61DA of the Family Law Act presumes that it is in the child’s best interests for parents to have equal shared parental responsibility.
This means that the parents would in most cases have equal say in relation to major long term issues including:
- the child’s education;
- the child’s health;
- the child’s religion and cultural upbringing;
- the names by which the child is ordinarily known; and
- any changes to the child’s living arrangements which make it significantly more difficult for the child to spend time with either parent.
It means that parents shall consult with one another about decisions to be made in the exercise of their equal shared parental responsibility. For instance:
- they shall inform the other parent about the decision to be made;
- they shall consult with each other on terms that they agree; and
- they shall make a genuine effort to come to a joint decision.
The Child’s Best Interests
Above all else, the court will consider the child’s best interests when making decisions about parenting arrangements.
Section 60CA of the Family Law Act states that the best interests of the child are the paramount consideration when deciding whether to make particular parenting orders. It states that the children’s best interests are met by:
- 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;
- protecting children from physical or psychological harm, from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence;
- ensuring that children receive adequate and proper parenting to help them reach their full potential; and
- ensuring that parents fulfil their duties and meet their responsibilities concerning the care, welfare and development of their children.
The principles underlying the objects above are contained in section 60B(2) of the Family Law Act and state that (except when it is or would be contrary to a child’s best interests):
- children have a right to know and be cared for by both their parents;
- children have a right to spend time and communicate on a regular basis with both their parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development;
- parents jointly share duties and responsibilities concerning the care, welfare and development of their children;
- parents should agree about the future parenting of their children; and
- children have a right to enjoy their culture.
In some Family Law cases a Court Expert may be appointed to help the Court decide on what Parenting Orders (previously known as child custody) should be made.
A Court Expert is a professional (such as a psychologist or psychiatrist) who has been appointed under the Family Law Rules (either through an order of the Court or by agreement between the parties) to be involved in the proceedings.
They may be appointed in cases where there is a need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm, or from exposure to abuse, neglect or family violence.
Getting the right advice
Our team has extensive experience working with same-sex couples in family law matters.
We offer a first appointment at a reduced rate. We also read about your background before meeting with you. So you can hit the ground running in your first appointment and keep your legal fees low.
Contact us below to secure your free pre-read and first appointment at a reduced rate.