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Parental Responsibility Family Law Act

Parental responsibility Family Law Act

“Parental Responsibility” has a particular meaning in family law. When you are needing to resolve child custody issues, it is important that you understand what the term “parental responsibility” means in the context of a family law matter involving parenting issues.

“Parental responsibility” Family Law Act has been defined in the Family Law Act (1975) (“FLA”) since 1996 when the Family Law Reform Act 1995 (Cth) took effect and removed from the legislation the concept of “guardianship”. The term “parental responsibility” as referred to in the FLA purposely aims to eliminate the notion of parental rights or entitlements over children and place emphasis upon the rights of children to have a meaningful relationship with each of their parents.

Section 61B of the FLA contains the following definition for parental responsibility:

“parental responsibility, in relation to a child, means all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children”.

Contact LGM Family Law for complimentary advice from one of experienced child custody family lawyers Brisbane or child custody family lawyers North Brisbane. We specialise in family law and can assist you to resolve any family law issues, including your parenting issues, whether regards parental responsibility Family Law Act or otherwise. And read on for further information right now about what “parental responsibility” in family law involves.

What does parental responsibility mean in practical terms?

When parents separate they may sometimes disagree in relation to important decisions involving their child. Parental responsibility however is not affected by a separation and each parent retains parental responsibility for their child. This means that parents are required to continue to consult with each other following separation and attempt to make decisions jointly about significant issues involving their child.

It is important to note that shared parental responsibility does not require that parents consult with each other and agree on every decision involving their child. The responsibility of making day-to-day decisions such as what your child eats for breakfast or what time they go to bed lies with the parent caring for the child on that particular day. Conversely, major long-term decisions about the care, welfare and development of the child must be made jointly. Such long-term issues may include but are not limited to:

  • Medical treatment
  • Education
  • Religious upbringing
  • The child’s name
  • Passports; and
  • Marriage of children under 18.

Presumption of Equal Shared Parental Responsibility

The FLA contains a presumption that it is in the best interests of a child for his or her parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for them. The Court must apply the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility when making a parenting order.

However, this presumption does not apply and can be rebutted if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent of a child has engaged in abuse of the child, or family violence, or 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.

Disagreement between parents

In most cases involving children’s issues, parents will agree that there should be shared parental responsibility for their child. This means that they will be required to consult with each other and make a bona fide effort to reach agreement in relation to major long term issues relating to the child. In matters where parents are unable to agree in relation to a major long-term issue such as significant medical decisions or which high school their child should attend, a parent may apply to the Court seeking an order that that parent has sole parental responsibility in relation to that specific issue. Before making such an application, the parent will generally have and to at least attempt a family dispute resolution with the other parent and a family dispute resolution practitioner.

Where a court must determine whether or not one parent should have sole parental responsibility for a child, whether for a particular issue or generally, the Court’s paramount consideration, as in all parenting cases, is what is in the best interests of the child.

Contact LGM Family Law for a complimentary call with one of our experienced child custody family lawyers Brisbane and child custody family lawyers North Brisbane whether for advice about parental responsibility Family Law Act or any other family law matter.We have the experience to assist you across the range of family law issues, including resolving parenting arrangements and obtaining parenting orders. We always endeavour for an amicable agreement to be reached with your former partner but if necessary, we can represent you in Court.