Read on to learn about parental responsibility, equal shared parental responsibility, sole parental responsibility and what you need to do if you want sole parental responsibility in relation to your child.
What is Parental Responsibility?
Parents are responsible for the making of all decisions affecting the care, welfare, development and safety of your children.
Under the Family Law Act, parental responsibility refers to all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law parents have in relation to children: s61B Family Law Act.
Prior to a court order being made, each parent of a child who is under 18 has parental responsibility for that child. This is the case whether the parents are separated or in a relationship.
Exercising parental responsibility is divided into two types of decisions including day to day decisions and long term decisions.
Long term decisions are issues that affect the long term care, welfare and development of your child and include, for example:
- The child’s education;
- The child’s health (including for example attending a psychologist and medical procedures);
- The child’s name;
- The child’s religion and cultural upbringing;
- changing the child’s living arrangements in a way that makes it significantly more difficult for the child to spend time with a parent.
Day to day decisions are decisions about, for example, what a child will eat, what the child will wear and what the child will do on a particular day.
Where a parenting order has been made which expressly provides that the parents have equal shared parental responsibility for the children, it does not require the parents to consult each other in relation to day to day issues.
What is Equal Shared Parental Responsibility?
When making a parenting order in relation to a child, the court presumes that it is in the best interests of the child for the child’s parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child.
Parents who have equal shared parental responsibility for a child are required to make all decisions concerning major long term issues for the child, jointly.
When will the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility not apply?
The presumption does not apply if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent of the child has engaged in:
- abuse of the child or another child who, at the time, was a member of the parent’s family; or
- family violence.
When the court is making an interim parenting order, the presumption applies unless the court considers that it would not be appropriate in the circumstances for the presumption to be applied when making that order.
The presumption may also be rebutted by evidence that satisfies the court that it would not be in the best interests of the child for the child’s parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child.
What is sole parental responsibility?
Sole parental responsibility means that a parent is solely responsible for making all ‘big ticket’ AKA major long term decisions in relation to their child. Long term decisions include for example, in relation to the child’s education, health and religion.
Click the link to read more about the meaning of sole parental responsibility and how to get sole parental responsibility.
Learn More about equal shared parental responsibility & sole parental responsibility
If you would like more information on similar topics, check out the following information and articles:
- Child Custody
- Sole parental responsibility;
- I want sole custody of my child
- I want sole custody, here’s what not to do
- What is unacceptable risk and when will a court change residence?
- Change in residence for children because of mother’s inability to protect children from harm.
If you would like to know more information about parental responsibility, contact us to book in a reduced rate initial consultation with one of our experienced Brisbane family lawyers.