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What is parental responsibility?

Image by Markus Spiske

There is no law telling parents how they must care for their children. Parents are free to raise their children according to their own values and beliefs.

What is parental responsibility?

Technically, parental responsibility means all of the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that parents have in relation to their children.

Essentially, it is a responsibility to care for and make decisions about arrangements that are in the best interests of children.


Who has parental responsibility?

Each parent has parental responsibility for their children. This includes birth parents, adoptive parents and people who become parents through artificial conception or surrogacy.

Neither parent is considered more important than the other.

Parental responsibility exists whether or not the parents are married, living together, separated, in a new relationship or remarried.

If there aren’t any court orders in place then each parent has parental responsibility. This means the parents can make decisions about the children independently from each other.

If parents want to create a legal obligation to make joint decisions about major long-term issues, then they will need a court order for equal shared parental responsibility.

What next?

If you're feeling tired and stressed be sure to make some time for yourself. Try to keep moving and stay focused. Make a to do list and if you’re feel you might need some guidance but you're unsure where to start, we’re here to help.

Have a look at our Separation Guide which will take you through things step by step. It will give you some peace of mind and is a reference you can go back to over and over again.

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