Sole Parental Responsibility for your children

sole parental responsibility family lawyers Brisbane

SOLE PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY – Should you be the only parent that makes long term decisions for your child?

In separated families there can be many difficulties in the parenting of children as they move between each parent’s household. It is often the case that the parents will have different parenting styles and different opinions regards what is best for a child. This can lead to conflict between the parents and have a detrimental effect on the child. In some circumstances to prevent or at least limit the ongoing conflict and resulting difficulties for  the child, the Court will order that sole parental responsibility for making the significant long-term decisions for the child be given to a particular parent.

However, the Court is reluctant to make orders for sole parental responsibility unless it appears necessary in the best interests of the child.

Contact us if you would like some practical legal advice regards parental responsibility or parenting arrangements. Our experienced Brisbane Family Lawyers or our North Brisbane family lawyers can assist you in all areas of family law, including regards parenting arrangements,  family law property settlement and maintenance claims. We will advise you regards likely outcomes for your particular circumstances and provide you with a case plan for achieving your best available outcome. You are also welcome to read on for further information right now………

In a recent case before the Federal Circuit Court of Australia at Darwin titled Hemming & Bolton (No.2) [2018] FCCA 3877 Judge Young ordered that the parents have equal shared parental responsibility for the older child. For an explanation of parental responsibility see our earlier article: Parental Responsibility Family Law Act

In the Hemming case, there were two children of the relationship aged 14 and 10 years of age. The parents had separated and agreed Consent Orders in 2015 after a Family Report had been delivered making recommendations to the court for care arrangements for the children. The Consent Orders had provided for the parents to have equal shared parental responsibility.

The Family Report that had originally been delivered referred to the effect of the parental conflict and lack of unity between the parents on the children but particularly in relation to the elder child. The elder child was exhibiting troubling behaviour including threatening self-harm. The Family Report was also critical of the mother for using physical discipline which included slapping the child and hitting him with a stick. A short time after the parties had agreed to the orders, there was a physical altercation between the mother and the elder child.

The parties again came before the Court with each seeking sole parental responsibility for the major long-term decisions for the children. Each party made lengthy accusations against the other’s parental incapacity which highlighted the ongoing parental conflict between the parents. To read about parental conflict, its effects on the
children and how the court can deal with it follow this link to an article on the topic we here at LGM Family Law have written earlier: Parental Conflict.

After thorough investigation by the Court, Judge Young ordered that the elder child be able to choose where he resided but that the father was to encourage a relationship between the elder child and the mother. The younger child was to live with each parent on an equal basis. The Judge did not make any order for one of the parents to have sole parental responsibility but instead ordered that the parents were to have equal shared parental responsibility for the major long term decisions for both children.

Each parent had sought that he or she have the final right to make a decision concerning the  children if the parents were in disagreement.

However, the Judge said that the Court was not satisfied that giving one parent final decision making power in relation to the child would be less likely to lead to further proceedings as the Court had no confidence that the other parent would accept the result. Neither was the Court satisfied that either parent would use such a power responsibly.

The Judge further ordered that if the parties cannot come to a joint decision about a major long term issue regarding a child, or disagree about the interpretation of the Orders, they were required to do all things necessary to participate in a family dispute resolution with a family dispute resolution practitioner.

Contact our family lawyers Brisbane or family lawyers Brisbane Northside for advice concerning your family law issues. We are able to advise you concerning your prospects of obtaining sole parental responsibility or any other area of family law.  Our goal is to assist our clients to reach an agreement with their former partner without having to go to Court.  We have the experience to represent you at Court however should court action become necessary.

The information set out in this blog is not a substitute for legal advice. We recommend that you obtain advice tailored to your particular circumstances from our Brisbane family lawyers or our family lawyers Brisbane Northside.