Parental Responsibility

Parental responsibility is the responsibility of a parent to make decisions to make sure a children’s needs are met. For example, parental responsibility refers to all duties, powers, and responsibilities which by law each parent has in relation to their children until the children reach the age of 18.

Equal shared parental responsibility means that both parents should consult with each other and make an effort to reach agreement on all major issues concerning the children.  This can include education, religion, culture, health living arrangements, the child’s name and other important issues.

Equal shared parental responsibility is about parents’ duties to the children, and not how much time each parent spends with the children.  Equal shared parental responsibility should not be confused with “equal time”.

Where there are no Family Court orders in place each parent has parental responsibility for their children.

Equal shared parental responsibility will not apply if there is evidence to show that it is not in the best interests of the child, if there has been family violence, or if there has been child abuse by one of the parents or by a person who lives with the parent.  In this case, one parent may be able to obtain a sole parental responsibility order.

A sole parental responsibility order means that one parent is able to make decisions without having to consult the other parent.  It does not mean that the child does not spend time with the other parent.