Navigating Parental Responsibility: Key Decisions in Separation

by | Apr 24, 2024 | Blog

What is Parental Responsibility

Parental responsibility is the decision making powers regarding your children. It is making decisions such as what school they will attend, what religion they will be, what their name is going to be, medical decisions and overseas travel.

Did you know that this is an important decision when you have separated and can affect how much time your children spend with you?

Make sure you are fully informed before making an agreement with the parent of your child on separation.

Equal shared Parental Responsibility

Equal shared parental responsibility on separation is presumed to be equal for your children. If there are risks such as domestic violence, abuse, neglect and difficultly in communicating then this may not be in your child’s best interest. Sole parental responsibility can be agreed on but if you cannot agree it needs to be ordered by the Court.

This is one of the first decisions that needs to be made or considered by the Court. If parental responsibility is equal the starting point of time for children to spend with each parent is then to be equal ie shared care. It is a the starting point only.

It is important to make sure parental responsibility is considered carefully, at the beginning, to ensure the best interests of your child is determined correctly.

Get good advice and get it early!

Sole Parental Responsibility

Sole parental responsibility means that the major decisions for your children are being made by one parent only. This could be due to domestic violence, abuse, neglect, a parent not willing to make decisions or difficulty communicating.

This does not mean that the other parent is not involved at all in making decisions or that they are not informed. Sole parental responsibility orders can include requirements for notifying the other parent of the decisions to be made, asking for their input and consideration of the input however, the ultimate decision is left with one parent.

Whilst it is not rare for sole parental responsibility to be ordered it is not a simple order to obtain from the Court.

If any of the above applies to your circumstances make sure you are seeking advice about this issue early in your separation.

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