Shared Parental Responsibility
When making a Parenting Order in relation to a child/children, the Court must apply a presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for the child's parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child.
Equal shared parental responsibility means that both parents are responsible for making decisions about things that affect the long term care and welfare of the child, including but not limited to:-
- Medical treatment;
- Where the child is to live, (geographical location);
- Surname, etc.
Equal shared parental responsibility is not the same as shared care arrangements. However, this presumption does not apply if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent of the child (or a person who lives with a parent of the child) has engaged in abuse of the child or another child who, at the time, was a member of the parent's family (or that other person's family), or family violence.
The presumption of the Court is a presumption that relates solely to the allocation of parental responsibility for a child and does not provide a presumption about the amount of time the child spends with each of the parents.
As is always the case in the Family Law process, the best interests of the child are paramount and as such the presumption for equal shared parental responsibility may be rebutted by evidence that satisfies the Court that it would not be in the best interests of the child for the child's parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child.