The Court presumes it is in the best interests of a child for their parents to have equal shared parental responsibility as a default position. This means that parents are required to consult each other and agree on any long term decisions affecting the children including but not limited to education (which schools they attend), medical issues and religion. It is important to note that equal shared parental responsibility is not the same as “equal time” or “shared custody”. Custody arrangements are separate to parental responsibility.
However, in circumstances where there is evidence that a parent or a person who lives with a parent has or is at risk of perpetrating family violence against the child (which includes emotional abuse, physical abuse, neglect, substance abuse, verbal abuse or exposure to abuse) it may be in the best interests of the child for one parent to be granted sole parental responsibility.
If you need advice regarding shared parental responsibility, please contact our experienced family lawyers at Nevett Ford Lawyers on (03) 9614 7111.