In Family Law What Does Joint Parental Responsibility Mean?

Joint parental responsibility is referred to as a presumption in Family Law because it is applied in every case unless there is evidence put forward by a party that proves equal shared parental responsibility is not in the best interests of the child.Family law in Australia provides that both parents have  joint parental responsibility for a child until that child turns 18. When parents separate parental responsibility does not automatically change, however on occasions it may be altered by Consent or Orders of the Court.

In practical terms, joint parental responsibility means that parents are required make join decisions regarding what I call ‘big ticket items’ about the child’s upbringing. These issues concern ,but are not limited to, where the child will live, the child’s education, health decisions about the child, cultural issues & religious upbringing.

When Does the Presumption of Equal Shared Parental Responsibility Not Apply?

The Family Law Act sets out reason why the presumption can be rebutted. This can occur where there are reasonable grounds to believe there a parent has abused or been violent towards a child and / or their other parent.

Does Equal Shared Parental Responsibility Mean Equal Time?

Equal shared parental responsibility does NOT mean the child automatically spends equal time with both parents. It is only about responsibility of the child not time with the child.

If the Court makes an order for equal shared parental responsibility, it must also consider making an order that the child spends equal time or substantial and significant time with each parent. The Court will consider if it is in the child’s best interests, and how reasonably practical it would be for the parents to share the care of the child.

I will further write an article that details the steps that the Court takes to decide what is in the best interest of the child regarding their living arrangements.

If you need help with a parenting matter or your family law matter please call Collective Family Law Group on 07 5574 0971.