Parental responsibility is a separate issue to who the child “lives with” and “spends time with”. Parental Responsibility refers to the responsibility for making the decisions about major long-term issues for your child/children, such as the schools they attend, their education, their religion and any long-term health issues.
There is a presumption in favour of both parents having joint parental responsibility and the parents must agree about decisions on those major-long term issues. The presumption in favour of joint parental responsibility is rebuttable in certain circumstances.
In a practical sense the Court is more inclined to order sole parental responsibility (i.e. one parent can make decisions about major long-term issues on their own without consultation with the other parent) when there is high level of conflict between the parents, domestic violence or some form of abuse or neglect of the child, drug use, non communication between the parties or parental absenteeism.
The Orders relating to parental responsibility are also relevant to Orders relating to the living arrangements for children.
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