What is equal shared parental responsibility?

In parenting matters, the law presumes that is it in the best interests of a child for their parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for making decisions in relation to their child or children, unless there is evidence of domestic violence or abuse.  So what is equal shared parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility covers the usual decisions, powers and responsibilities of a parent in caring for their child until their child reaches the age of 18. The Family Law Act (Cth) presumes that the parents have an equal say in such decisions and that the responsibility for making such decisions are equally shared by the parents. The presumption of equal shared parental responsibility is not affected by who the child primarily lives with or how much time a child spends with each parent.

What sort of decisions?

The types of decisions which must be considered by both parents include but is not limited to:

  • where your child lives
  • where your child attends school
  • whether your child is to have a religious upbringing
  • how any major health issues are to be treated

The presumption of equal shared parental responsibility does not extend to everyday decisions such as your child’s diet, how much television they can watch and what they wear.

Parents are expected to make a genuine effort to consult with the other parent in relation to these matters and it’s important to keep this in mind, even when the relationship between the parents is tense or has broken down.

There are cases where the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility is not in the best interests of the child and in that case, the courts may make an order contrary to the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility.

To speak with an experienced professional regarding your family law matter, contact us.

*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon

Walker PenderWhat is equal shared parental responsibility?