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Review Of The Findings Of The Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee On Family And Community Affairs In Their Inquiry Into Child Custody Issues Of Australia.

1188 words - 5 pages

In June 2003, a joint parliamentary Standing Committee on Family and Community Affairs was commissioned by the Prime Minister to conduct an inquiry into child custody issues and the child support formula. The committee presented its report on the 29th of December 2003 along with its recommendations for reform of the Family Law Act 1975. The focus of this report will be on an evaluation of the existing law and the recommendations provided by the Standing Committee on Family and Community Affairs.The legislation pertaining to Childrens matters is contained primarily in Part 7 of the Family Law Act 1975. In 1995, the Commonwealth Parliament passed significant amendments to those sections of the Act affecting children. The amending legislation introduced a number of important concepts, these included:Section 60B the objects of the Parts and Principles underlying them. This legislation provides guidelines for the courts and for parents as to what matters must be considered ie that children have the right to know and be cared for by both their parents. S 65E states however that the child's interests are paramount. S 68F2 sets out the criteria to be taken into account by the court to determine what is in the best interests of the children..Division 2 of Part 7 of the Family Law Act 1975 defines and elaborates upon the concept of parental responsibility as well as the the principles underlying the objects. Courts orders are not required to confer parental responsibility on parents. The contrary is in fact the correct approach in that it is an express or necessary provision in court orders that joint parental responsibility is affected.One of the underlying reasons for the legislative amendment of the Family Law Act 1975 was to dispense with the previous terminology of custody and contact, which in some quarters, carried the connotation of a winner and loser. Under the amendments, the term custody has been changed to residence, contact to access. A residence order is a parenting order which deals with the question as to with whom a child should live. Residence is decided on what is seen as in the best interests of the child which are outlined in Section 68F(2), taking into account the childs wishes, depending upon his/her age, for residency.A contact order is governed by section 65C and is not restricted simply to the parents of the child. Theoretically anybody can apply for a parenting order, but the court would first need to consider the relationship between the applicant and the child.Parents of children without residence, have the responsibility to maintain their children as part of their parental duty, as recognised by Commonwealth Parliament. The basic formula for the payment of child support is set out on a percentage of a parents taxable income with the minimum payable amount set at five dollars per child.Despite the amendments to the legislation, it is still extremely ineffective. According to the results of an inquiry published by Family...

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