What is the meaning of equal parental responsibility?

Equal parental responsibility is presumed under the Family Law Act in cases where there is no family violence, abuse or risk of abuse of children. The term refers to major long term issues about: the child’s education, the child’s religious and cultural uprbringing, the child’s health, the child’s name, changes to the child’s living arrangements that make it significantly more difficult for the child to spend time with a parent, and other long term issues about the care, welfare and development of the child.

There is no need to consult about issues that are not major long-term issues, such as what a child should eat, wear or do while with that parent. Taking a child to a doctor for a minor illness would not be a major long term issue but an issue that would more properly be described as a day to day issue and which would not require consultation. Of course notification to the other parent would be courteous either before or after the event. It’s really a matter of common sense. If you were still living together no doubt you would be communicating with each other about issues arising about your own children. Why should it be any different when you are parenting apart? Remember who is in the middle – your children!

This is general information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain specific legal advice regarding your specific circumstances. © Family Lawyers & Mediation Services. All rights reserved. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.