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Parental responsibility is different to child custody.  Parental responsibility is defined in the Family Law Act as all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to their children. This includes decision making about every day matters such as where your child will go to school, to decisions about your child’s travel overseas or major surgery your child might need to undergo.

It is presumed that parents have equal parental responsibility, meaning that they both have a say in decisions made about the child. However, the Court can make a number of orders about parental responsibility, including:

  • An order that only one parent have parental responsibility, or ‘sole’ parental responsibility;
  • That a parent have sole parental responsibility only about certain matters in relation to a child, for example, religion, education or travel; or
  • That a person other than a biological or adopted parent, like a step-parent or grandparent, have parental responsibility.

Our team at Matthews Folbigg can provide you with expert family law advice about your child custody law issues so that you have all the information you need to make decisions about your child.

Click here to visit our page on Child Custody.
For advice about child custody contact us 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.