Sole Parental Responsibility


Parents have the right to exercise parental responsibility for their children. This means that they, together with the other parent, are able to make major long-term decisions for the children both together and individually. In the event two parents cannot agree about the major long-term decisions for a child, it is possible to apply to the court for an order providing you with sole parental responsibility.

An order for sole parental responsibility means that you can make all of the major long-term decisions for your child without having to consult the other parent. This means you can solely make decisions about:

  • Education;
  • Health;
  • Religion;
  • Culture;
  • Name; and
  • Where the child lives.

Practically speaking, it also means that a parent with sole parental responsibility can apply for a passport without the need for the other parent’s signature. The court does not make an order for sole parental responsibility lightly. In fact, the court will presume that parents have equal shared parental responsibility unless:

  • There are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent has committed family violence; or
  • There are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent has abused the child or another child who was/is a member of the family; or
  • It would not be in the child’s best interests.

You can only have parental responsibility by order of the court. The application process can be long and painful. Often an applicant seeking sole parental responsibility will also be seeking orders about who the child lives with and the time they spend with each parent. Allegations of family violence and/or abuse require specific and clear facts set out in an affidavit form We recommend seeking advice from a legal professional practising exclusively in family law prior to filing an application of this kind.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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