What is equal shared parental responsibility in Australia?

What is Parental Responsibility?

Parents are automatically responsible for the wellbeing, development, education and safety of their children. This is called parental responsibility.

Parental responsibility is defined in the Family Law Act 1975 as:

“All the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children.”

A key part of this responsibility is making decisions about children’s lives and futures.

Parental responsibility gives parents the power to make decisions about what are known as “major long-term issues.”

These include:

  • The child’s current and future education
  • The child’s health, especially medical procedures
  • The child’s religious and cultural upbringing
  • Changing the child’s name
  • Authorising a travel document for the child
  • Changing the child’s living arrangements in a way that makes it significantly harder for them to spend time with a parent

Unless it is not in the child’s best interests, the court works with the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility.

What is Equal Shared Parental Responsibility?

This means that parents make these major long-term decisions unanimously.

They are required to make a genuine effort to consult with each other and come to a consensus.

It is important to remember that parental responsibility is not the same as child custody.

For example, a child may live with one parent and only see their other parent on weekends.

These two parents have equal parental responsibility even though they do not see their child equally often.

They have exactly the same equal shared parental responsibility as a separated couple with a 50-50 shared custody split.

The amount of time a parent spends with their child does not change their duties under parental responsibility.

However, parental responsibility is subject to court orders.

In parenting disputes, the court can decide to change parental responsibility from being equal and shared to give one parent more control over major long-term decisions.

This is determined based on the child’s best interests.

In some cases, parents might have equal shared parental responsibility in all areas except for a single issue for which only one parent would have responsibility, for example the child’s education.

In other cases, one parent might be entirely given sole parental responsibility.

This means they are the only parent who can make decisions about the child. They do not need to consult with their former partner.

For example, as a separated parent you may have custody of your child, but you have equal shared parental responsibility with their other parent.

The child was given your former partner’s surname when they were born and now you wish to change their surname to your own.

As you have equal shared parental responsibility, this can only be done with the agreement of the other parent.

In a different example, you and your former partner may have equal custody and equal shared parental responsibility in all areas except for one.

It was decided in court that it was in your child’s best interests for you to have sole parental responsibility over their education and schooling.

You have chosen your child’s high school and do not need the other parent to agree.

parental responsibility

Divorce
How To Get A Divorce?
How to get a divorce in Australia if married overseas?
Divorce Counselling
Should I Change My Will After Divorce?
Child Custody
What are the best interests of the child?
What is equal shared parental responsibility in Australia?
Sole Parental Responsibility
Changing A Child Custody Agreement
Child Relocation After Divorce
How To Prevent My Children Travelling Overseas?
What is Supervised Contact?
Child Passport After Divorce
Grandparents Rights
Property Settlement
Divorce Property Settlement – How Much Will I Get?
Will I Receive 50% of Everything?
Coming To An Agreement Outside Of Court
Do I Pay Stamp Duty To Transfer My Property After A Divorce?
Financial Agreements
What is a Prenup?
What Are The Pros and Cons of Financial Agreements?
How Can I Get A Prenup Set Aside?
Consent Orders
Why do I need Family Court Consent Orders?
Application for Consent Orders
Contravention of Court Orders
Child Support
What is Child Support?
Apply for Child Support
Child Support Calculation
Changing Child Support
Family Mediation
5 Tips to Help Prepare for Family Mediation
What is a s60i Certificate?
Going to Court
Starting An Application
Filing A Response
Separation
Can You Be Separated And Live In The Same House?
Domestic Violence
ADVO – Apprehended Domestic Violence Order
Remove My ADVO
What Is Child Abuse?
Father's Rights After Separation
Formalise Your Agreement
Tip's For Fathers
Mothers' Rights After Separation
De Facto Relationships
Definition of De Facto Relationship
Reviews