5 Things To Know About Shared Parental Responsibility 

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5 Things To Know About Shared Parental Responsibility 

As a key presumption of Australia’s Family Law Act; shared parental responsibility is something separated parents have to take into consideration. It’s a concept that draws away from classic parental rights, and it’s one that applies automatically during separations and divorces. If you’re going through this process; it’s crucial that you know your rights and responsibilities when it comes to your children. Here are 5 things you should keep in mind for shared parental responsibility. 5 things to know about shared parental responsibility.

1. What is shared parental responsibility?

Shared parental responsibility is exactly what its name suggests it is. When courts make parenting orders that relate to children; there’s a presumption that it’s in the best interest of a child for the parents to have shared parental responsibility. 

As defined by the Family Law Act; parents have certain duties and powers when it comes to their children, as well as a certain level of authority. Both parents have the right to make choices about a child’s education, living space, medical and health treatments, and day to day decisions. 

2. What isn’t covered by shared parental responsibility?

While shared parental responsibility covers parents’ rights and responsibilities, it doesn’t cover every relation with their children. For example, time spent with children is not assumed automatically and is negotiated in a different way. 

Child contact time is a factor that the parents themselves discuss and negotiate. A perfect 50-50 split is not a necessity. In some cases, a particular parent will spend a day more with their child per week than their former partner. However, the principle presumes that each party has equal say when it comes to decisions for the child.

3. Is shared parental responsibility absolute?

In certain situations, shared parental responsibility can be rebutted. However, this requires that one party applies to the court with an order. This order must explicitly state variations for shared parental responsibility and provide reasons that justify it. 

Without a valid order; the presumption for shared responsibility remains in function and both parents can make decisions relating to their child. 

4. Is legal assistance necessary for parental disputes?

While shared responsibility covers most aspects of parental interaction with children, it doesn’t decide everything. Many Australian couples that have separated want to create specific arrangements that divide responsibilities in a different way. When the lines get blurry and both parties can’t reach an agreement; it’s necessary to enlist the help of legal experts. 

Legal assistance is crucial for reaching mutually beneficial agreements quickly and with court support. A family lawyer in Sydney can help you arrange mediation for disputes and determine ideal parenting arrangements. They can also speak to the other parent on your behalf if relations are not amicable. More importantly; a lawyer can prepare and present a matter to the court to help you get what’s best for your child. It’s always recommended that you consult legal assistance; before you try to negotiate with the other parent when it comes to dividing responsibilities. 

5. Are there alternatives to shared parental responsibility?

The most common alternative to shared parental responsibility is sole parental responsibility. If a court decides that the best course of action is to give one parent full rights; this principle applies instead. It’s not a decision that courts make lightly, as there are only a few circumstances that allow for this arrangement. 

If a parent can’t be located, parental responsibility and custody rights rest on the present parent by default. Family violence is also considered a reason to leave sole parental responsibility to one parent. If there’s a risk or history of parental violence; the non-offending parent may receive full rights to make decisions for their child. 

While it may seem cut-and-dry, shared parental responsibility is something that Australian courts can determine or rebuke. If you’re having trouble negotiating with your former partner; it’s important that you understand how the law works and consult a lawyer. With the right legal assistance; you can reach a conclusion that suits both your needs and the needs of your child. 

Featured image: Unsplash

Patrick Adams is a freelance writer and rock-blues fan. When he is not writing about home improvement, he loves to play chess, watch basketball, and play his guitar.

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