What is equal shared parental responsibility?
Equal shared parental responsibility is a concept contained in the Family Law Act that deals with the major decisions that are needed in a child’s life, and who has the power to make them.
Parental responsibility are the powers that parents have over their children. This includes the major long-term decisions that are needed to raise a child, including:
- education of a child – such as where they go to school;
- religion and cultural upbringing;
- medical issues of a child; and
- the child’s name.
Without a court order in place, as was the case prior to being separated, parental responsibility is shared equally between both parents. The only way to displace this is to ask the Court to make an order granting you sole parental responsibility.
The presumption in family law matters is that each parent should have equal shared parental responsibility for the major long-term decisions of their children. This means that the Court and the Family Law Act emphasise both parents working together for the benefit of their children. Discussing the needs of the children on a long-term basis and working on joint goals is what equal shared parental responsibility is all about.
These responsibilities along with how you parent day to day can be covered in a parenting plan or parenting orders. You can formalise the details of your parenting relationship and the other day-to-day interactions and responsibilities you have with your children.