Each of the parents of a child has responsibility for the child and a court can make an order which alters aspects of a parents responsibility toward their child. For example, a court could give one parent sole responsibility for decisions concerning a child’s education
As a starting point it is presumed that it is in the best interests of a child for parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child. This presumption is dropped if a parent has engaged in family violence.
Shared parental responsibility means parents must consult with each other about major long term issues affecting the child, such as education, religious upbringing and major medical treatment. Shared parental responsibility does not mean children must spend equal time with each parent, however they might spend substantial and significant time with the child. Parents will not spend equal time with their children if it is not reasonably practical or in the child’s best interests.
Substantial and significant time means:
- the time the child spends with the parent includes both weekend and week days and
- the parent is able to be involved in the child’s daily routine and occasions and events that are important to the child or the parent.