Margaret Akpa

PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY Parental responsibility for a child is defined as all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which you as a parent legally have in relation to your children. This includes the ability to make decisions regarding your child’s name, living arrangements, education, medical care and upbringing.

In a standard Family Law Parenting matter, certain issues may need to be determined, including the parental responsibility of each party, living arrangements for the child/children, visiting arrangements for the non-resident parent and the way decisions regarding the child/children are to be shared between each parent.

Parents negotiate as to who has care of the child and responsibility for certain things before applying to the Court for Consent Orders to ensure their arrangement is enforceable.

Here are some important things to consider:

Divorce only separates you from your partner. It does not divorce you from your parenting responsibilities.
The courts presume shared parenting and a meaningful relationship with each parent is in the best interests of the child. This presumption can be refuted in limited circumstances but should be remembered when forming an arrangement.
When arrangements are made, the courts consider always what is in the best interests of the child.

The Family Court and the Federal High Court will not approve orders considered contrary to your child’s best interests, so ensure you always keep this principle in the forefront of your mind during negotiation. The best interests of the child are determined with the primary considerations of needing to protect the child from harm and the benefit of a meaningful relationship with both parents in mind.

Barr Akpa is an advocate for the right & dignity of women and children and a Human Rights Lawyer.


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