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Equal Shared Parental Responsibility

What does this mean? 

Before separation, it is common that parents make decisions about their children’s welfare, such as their education or medical treatment, together, fulfilling their responsibilities as parents. This ‘responsibility’ does not change or shift to one parent alone after separation. 

Equal shared parental responsibility is a presumption which exists after separation and requires parents to make decisions together about their children’s welfare. In addition to educational or major medical decisions, equal shared parental responsibility extends to other major decisions such as counselling for a child, dental treatment and religious decisions. 

A common complaint in a parenting dispute is that poor communication with the other parent prevents or makes it more difficult for parents to make decisions together.  At Parry Coates Family Law we ask you about your ability to co-parent with the other parent and encourage you to think about ways this could improve. Whilst being mindful that there may be certain factors prohibiting good communication, such as family violence, abuse or a power imbalance, in our experience if these don’t exist, the benefits for your children when positive co-parenting exists outweighs the pitfalls. For parents with very young children, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made before they reach adulthood. 

When the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility exists, we will work through the next steps with you. We will ask you to consider what parenting arrangements should be put in place having regard to your children’s best interests. When you are considering the best arrangements for your children, think about whether ‘equal time’ between each of you and the other parent is in their best interests or whether ‘substantial and significant’ time with each parent is more beneficial.  

At Parry Coates Family Law, our discussions with you will be open and candid. Our advice is practical and aimed at achieving the best outcome for you and your children. 


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