Parental Responsibility is what legal folk call Responsible Parenting.

Which is when two parents separate as a co-uple but still acknowledge that they will always be co-parents.

So when it comes to the decision making power for children’s lives both are expected to share.

This goes for day to day decisions:

  • Should Ron have that extra biscuit?
  • Should Jane get her haircut today?

To long term decisions:

  • Should Jack be taken to see another specialist for a second opinion on whether or not he has ADHD?
  • Should Jenny go to the public school or a private school?
  • Should Liz get the operation done now despite the risks or is it better to wait if it’s not life threatening?

The court and the Family Law Act expect parents to put their differences aside and act in the children’s best interests.

Think of Responsible Parenting as holding a precious burden with two handles – the moment a party decides to use push/pull/snatch/shove the other out, then the burden could easily be damaged or affected.

In having said that, the court acknowledges that there are circumstances were joint parental responsibility may not be practical or even appropriate.

By Nadia Messiha