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Equal Shared Parental Responsibility is one of the types of Orders the Court can make in relation to parental responsibility. Parental responsibility means all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children. The phrase "Equal Shared Parental Responsibility" is not actually defined in the Family Law Act. However, in Pavli & Beffa [2013] FamCA 144, the Family Court of Australia clarified that Equal Shared Parental Responsibility means that parents share parental responsibility for ALL (not just some) decisions about major long term issues in relation to the child. More than 2 people can have equal shared parental responsibility; for example, there have been cases where a child's father and maternal grandparents all have equal shared parental responsibility. If the Court makes an order for you to have equal shared parental responsibility with another person/people it means that you are required to make decisions in relation to major long term issues about the children jointly. Major long term issues include things like:
  • your child's name;
  • the school your child attends, or will attend;
  • your child's religion or culture;
  • issues relating to your child's health (for example, if your child needed to undergo surgery);
  • where your child will live (if that means that it will be much harder for the child to spend time with one of their parents)
One person cannot have the final say on a decision. If you and the other person (or people) can't agree on a decision in relation to a major long term issue, you'll need to go back to Court to have a judge decide. For further information, please contact Watts McCray Lawyers. This blog was prepared and written by Leah Reid, Solicitor.
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