What does the law mean by “best interests of the child”?

The “best interests of the child” is a legal test used to decide what would best protect your child’s physical, psychological, and emotional safety, security and well-being. To determine what is in the child’s best interests when making parenting arrangements, you must consider factors including:

  • The child’s emotional health and well-being
  • The child’s views, unless it would be inappropriate to consider them
  • The child’s relationships with parents, guardians, and other important people
  • The history of care, and
  • The impact of any family violence

When you make an agreement about parenting arrangements after a separation, the law says you must only consider the child’s best interests. And if you go to court, the judge can only consider the child’s best interests in making parenting orders.

For more information, please see the fact sheet Best Interests of the Child by the Legal Services Society.