When will a Court Order one Parent to have Sole Parental Responsibility for a Child?
When A Court is making a Parenting Order and so considering all child issues and parenting arrangements should apply, the Family Law Act requires that a presumption of Equal Shared Parental Responsibility applies, unless the presumption can be successfully rebutted.
You may be able to be successful in rebutting the presumption of Equal Shared Parental Responsibility, so that it does not apply, if you can prove that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent, or a person who lives with a parent of a child, has engaged in:
- family violence; or
- 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).
It will almost always not be enough to suggest that there is only a minor risk of family violence or child abuse.
To have the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility not apply, the presumption will need to be rebutted by evidence which satisfies the court, that it would not be in the child’s best interests for the child’s parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child.
If the court does not make an Order for equal shared parental responsibility then they may make an order for Sole Parental Responsibility.
An order for Sole Parental Responsibility might be made in a case that has high conflict between the parents, in which circumstances it may be in the best interests of the child to give responsibility to only one parent to help minimise the amount of future conflict that would occur if they had to consult each other on major long term issues for the child.
A court might also make an Order for Sole Parental Responsibility if the parents are unable to communicate effectively and they have very strong views which conflict on a major long term issue such as education, health or religion, because it may be clear that the parents will not only never be able to reach agreement, but that they will also not be able to communicate their decisions on such issues to the other parent.
Major long term issues are of such importance in a child’s life, that if decisions about them bring uncertainty and high conflict, that is unlikely to be in the child’s best interests.
Having said that, a court will not grant sold parental responsibility just because the parents have poor communication.
A parent may not want Sole Parental Responsibilty for all 5 of the major long term issues but only one or two of those issues.
Child’s Time with Parents & Parental Responsibility: More Information
We also have the following Fact Sheets which will provide you with more information on this topic:
- What is Shared Care or Equal Time and will it apply to us
- What is Substantial and Significant Time and when does it apply
- What is Parental Responsibility and What types of Parental Responsibility Orders do Courts make
- What is Equal Shared Parental Responsibility
- When does Equal Shared Parental Responsibility apply
- What does Sole Parental Responsibility mean
- When will Sole Parental Responsibility be Ordered
- Who makes long term, short term and day to day decisions for the Child
- What are the major Long Term Issues that must be made by parents with Shared Parental Responsibility
- What are Grandparents Rights to see their Grandchildren
- Mediation Requirements before Court Proceedings
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All Topics in the Child Issues Section
- Types of Parental Responsibility Orders
- Child’s Time with Parents: Shared Care or not
- Grandparents: Rights to see Grandchildren
- Documenting a Parenting Agreement
- Best Interests of the Children
- Relocation of a Parent with a Child
- Change of a Child’s Surname
- Child Passports & Overseas Travel after Separation or Divorce
- How to change a Final Parenting Order previously made by the Court
- International Child Abduction