Can I get sole parental responsibility in NSW?

Published 28 Jul 2017

Parental disputes are an unfortunate part of many divorce and separation cases in NSW. One of the common issues that comes up is the concept of 'sole custody', as it's known in the States; coined 'parental responsibility' in AU, this effectively means that the child only lives with and is dependent on one parent rather than both. 

There are a number of factors to take into consideration when bringing forward a case to the Family Court regarding sole parental responsibility. As with most legal disputes, every situation is different, so it makes sense to seek the help of a Parramatta family lawyer before rushing into any big decisions.

Parental Responsibility in NSW

Regardless of whether or not you and your partner have divorced or separated, you both have implied shared parental responsibility of your children. The only way you could receive sole parental responsibility of your children would be through a parenting order - these are granted by the Court after an extensive legal process.

Before you can apply for a parenting order, you and your ex-partner or spouse must prove that you've attempted to settle the issue on your own. This includes attending a Family Dispute Resolution Conference and/or other mediation procedures, all of which will likely be more time and cost-effective than going to court.

There are some situations in which it is appropriate to skip this step and apply straight to the Parramatta Family Court, like if there was a history of violence or child abuse in the family. Otherwise, most courts require a certificate proving that you underwent mediation before your case will be considered.

Should I apply to the Family Court?

In most cases, parents are able to settle custody arrangements on their own, or with the help of a mediator. Being granted sole parental responsibility is quite difficult in normal situations, so unless you have a justifiable reason to ask for full custody (and evidence to support your claim), it probably makes sense to settle the issue with a mediator or family lawyer instead of going to Court.

However, if you believe the safety or wellbeing of your child is at stake, should the other parent maintain their parental responsibility, it's worthwhile to give it a shot. This is especially true in the case of violence or child abuse in the family, as these types of situations are where many parenting orders are granted.

To get the opinion of a legal professional, reach out to a family law specialist at Malouf Solicitors today.

Please call us on 02 8833 2000 to speak with a lawyer

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