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Parental Responsibility: When should the presumption be rebutted?


When canvassing parental responsibility with clients I am often met with the same question, what is parental responsibility?

Section 61D of the Family Law Act 1975 defines parental responsibility as all of the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law parents have in relation to the children. In laymen’s terms, parental responsibility is all of the day to day decisions parents make in relation to their child, for example, decisions relating to schooling, health and religion.

Section 61DA of the Family Law Act 1975 deals with equal shared parental responsibility when making parenting Orders. When making parenting Orders the Court must apply the presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for the child’s parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child.

However, the Court can reach a view that the presumption should not apply, on the basis that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent of the child has engaged in:

  • 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); or
  • family violence.

If the Court is not satisfied that the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility should apply, the Court can make an Order for one parent to have sole parental responsibility which enables them to make all of the major decisions in the child’s life without consultation with the other parent.

Want to find out more about parental responsibility? Contact one of our highly skilled Family Law Solicitors today.

Image Credit – Cathy Yuelet © 123RF.com

Written by Peter Magee on November 7, 2017

Peter is a partner of Armstrong Legal and head of our Family Law Division. He has over 15 years’ experience. His past experience dealing with large cases benefits his family law clients by providing insight into complex and tactical issues. As a result, Peter can often achieve settlements outside Court that may otherwise have not been achievable. View Peter’s profile


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