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Section 20 - Child Custody and Access
Children's Law Reform Act
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this Part, the father and the mother of a child are equally entitled to custody of the child.
[Both parents have an equal right to custody of their children.]
(2) A person entitled to custody of a child has the rights and responsibilities of a parent in respect of the person of the child and must exercise those rights and responsibilities in the best interests of the child.
[This is what the court always looks at - the best interests of the children. Whenever a court looks at anything to do with children, this is the test. Even if a new issue came before the court - say whether we should send children to the moon - the question would be whether sending the children to the moon would be in the children's best interests (yes! it's fun!).]
(3) Where more than one person is entitled to custody of a child, any one of them may exercise the rights and accept the responsibilities of a parent on behalf of them in respect of the child.
(4) Where the parents of a child live separate and apart and the child lives with one of them with the consent, implied consent or acquiescence of the other of them, the right of the other to exercise the entitlement to custody and the incidents of custody, but not the entitlement to access, is suspended until a separation agreement or order otherwise provides.
[This is one good reason why you should not leave home without first consulting a lawyer.]
(5) The entitlement to access to a child includes the right to visit with and be visited by the child and the same right as a parent to make inquiries and to be given information as to the health, education and welfare of the child.
[This is something that a lot of institutions, such as schools, have a problem with. If you have access to your children, you have the right to get information about them.]
(6) The entitlement to custody of or access to a child terminates on the marriage of the child.
(7) Any entitlement to custody or access or incidents of custody under this section is subject to alteration by an order of the court or by separation agreement.