The A- Z of Family Law

In this week’s series on the A – Z of Family Law, Georgia takes a look at the letter B


The word ‘Barrister’ is a commonly used term that you will hear a lot in family law matters. The term ‘barrister’ is often used interchangeably with ‘advocate’ or ‘counsel’.

Barristers are lawyers who have trained specifically and studied to become a Barrister. They are very skilled advocates and are excellent oral persuasion and in drafting written submissions to the court.

You would normally use a barrister for serious or important milestones in a matter, such as an interim hearing or a final hearing. You might also consider using them in circumstances where you have important documents that need drafting or need a second pair of eyes from a specialist in the area.

Best Interest of the Child

‘Best Interests of the Child’ is one of the most spoken about concepts or frameworks in family law matters. The concept is derived from the legislation. The Family Law Act has a section contained within it called Section 60CC. This section says is that there are a number of factors that the court needs to consider when determining what is in a child’s best interests.

Accordingly, when the Court determines a parenting matter, they want to know that the decision that they are making in relation to your parenting arrangements, whether it is about parental responsibility or the time that the children spend with particular parties, that they are making a decision that is in the best interests of the children.

Section 60CC provides a checklist of factors to consider by both the Court and parties to a matter. There are two primary considerations that the court must consider that hold the most weight out of all the best interests of the children principles.

The first of those is the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents. This means that children should have a relationship with both parents if there is going to be a benefit to them in doing so. Generally speaking, there will always be a benefit to a child of having a relationship with both of their parents.

The second primary consideration is in relation to protecting children from a risk of harm. This can relate to both physical or psychological harm, including exposure to such harm (and not necessarily being the direct victim) or a risk that there may be abuse of a child. To the extent that there is a risk, parties must endeavour as far as is possible to mitigate the risk.

The further additional considerations are outlined in Section 60CC of the Family Law Act.

Check out the other Letters in the A – Z of Family Law:

If you have any questions about the words we have covered in this article or would like us to explain another term please do not hesitate to contact us at Southern Waters Legal.