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If either you or your partner’s family law lawyers have made a parenting application to the Family Court, there is a presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for the parents to have equal shared parental responsibility. That is, both parents should have a role in making long-term decisions about a child such as where they go to school, decisions about the child’s health, the child’s religious and cultural upbringing or changing the child’s name.

If you believe that equal shared parental responsibility is not in the best interests of your child, your family law lawyers may be able to challenge the presumption. Depending on your individual circumstances, the Court may consider whether sole parental responsibility should be granted. This would result in one parent alone having the authority to make long-term decisions about the child. Below are some of the factors that the Court may consider when determining parental responsibility.

Factors in Favour of Equal Shared Parental Responsibility

  • Where there are no allegations of violence during the relationship
  • Where there are no allegations of violence since separation
  • Both parents are capable of adequately caring for the child
  • Both parents have been involved in long-term decisions of the child since separation
  • There is no risk to the children

Factors Against Equal Shared Parental Responsibility

  • Where a parent or child reasonably fear for their personal wellbeing or safety due to family violence
  • Where violence has been alleged to have continued since separation
  • Where one parent is unable to adequately care for the child
  • Where parents are unable to communicate effectively

For more information, visit our page on Parenting and Custody Disputes.

For advice about your parenting dispute contact one of our family law lawyers on 1800 300 170 or email us at

Family law situations can be complex and sometimes they can involve serious issues.  Information outlined is proposed to provide general guidance only. Due to the seriousness of legal matters as well as the uniqueness of your individual situation, professional advice should be sought. For advice, please contact one of our Family Lawyers.