In this article, we’ll know what is a sole parent and the responsibilities they have in caring for their children’s welfare and growth. Children have the right to a meaningful relationship with both parents especially when they are separated or divorced.
When parents can’t agree and decide on parenting arrangements, the family court may make parenting orders to say which parent has what parental responsibilities on their child.
In Australian law, it is presumed that once a couple separates, they should share equal shared parental responsibility, however, this is not the case when obtaining sole parental responsibility. When we’re talking about what is a sole parent, the court may make an order for sole parental responsibility for their child.
Read on for more information on what is a sole parent and how to obtain it.
What Is A Sole Parent And What Are Their Responsibilities?
Even if the child does not live with both parents, they are both responsible for making decisions for their child’s development. To have more in-depth knowledge of what is a sole parent and their responsibilities, it is important to know what major long-term decisions may affect the child until they’re 18 years of age:
A university report stated that parents who plan to send their kids to a top private school in Sydney are expected to pay up to $500,000 over the course of 13 years. Today, education costs in Australia are on the rise with double the inflation over the last ten years.
For instance, certain laws such as the Education and Training Reform Act in Victoria state that all students in government schools must have free instruction in the school program. Parents can talk to their schools about ways to pay as well.
Religious and cultural upbringing
Maybe one reason a parent wants to have sole parental responsibility for their child is that they prefer to raise them in a religious way and to have their children be raised by their standards when they are older.
Name And Living Arrangements
Their legal name may also change under a sole parent’s command and their living arrangements may change from time to time depending on the situation of the sole parental responsibility
What is a sole parent’s responsibility and how is it assigned by the court? This is determined by the best interests of the child to live with one parent. That same parent will make all major decisions for the child’s welfare.
However, this does not remove the financial responsibility of providing support for the child from the parent who is no longer part of the order for parental responsibility. Child support can still apply to the other parent.
How To Get Sole Parental Responsibility?
There are a lot of circumstances where sole parental responsibility can be obtained by a parent. For starters, the parent must rebut or change the court’s presumption that both partners can provide a secure environment for their child to live or visit. A safe environment for a child includes:
- Providing a safe home with;
- Food, Clothing, etc, and;
- A house free from any form of abuse
In order to accomplish this, the partner must file for a hearing with the Family Court. During several hearings, they will listen to testimonies and evidence presented by either party.If the Court is satisfied by the evidence provided, it may determine that it is best for the child if one parent is given sole responsibility for the child.
When courts review cases regarding what is a sole parent, they take many factors of the child’s life into consideration. Before excluding a parent from the responsibilities of raising their child, the court must decide that short-term counselling or support would not aid the parent in retaining some responsibilities.
Courts may also assign an Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL) to speak to the child and both spouses to get a more clear view of the situation before issuing any parenting orders. Courts will take into account the:
- Physical and mental safety of the child
- Ability of both parents to spend meaningful time with their children
- Possible harmful atmospheres created by partners that can affect the child’s day-to-day life
What Is A Sole Parent Vs What Is Equal Shared Parental Responsibility
Granting sole responsibility to a parent is more difficult than one may think. Since the Family Court follows the social norm of a child being raised by two parents, they’re more likely to grant a shared parental responsibility order rather than a sole parental responsibility order.
Having equal shared responsibility does not equate to having equal custody and if a parent has sole parental responsibility, that does not mean the other parent is not allowed to spend time with their child as well.
For circumstances where a relationship with one of the parents is harmful and the child is exposed to forms of abuse, the court will consider sole parental responsibility in resolving this matter. This is especially true for cases involving physical, emotional, sexual, and mental abuse.
Instances of parents not coming to an amicable agreement can pose a lot of problems for the child’s growth. When one is asked ‘what is a sole parent’s responsibility for not communicating effectively with their partner, they must prove to a judge that their partner failed to work together with them as a couple.
These orders can deal with many issues including those who seek guidance on what is a sole parent in relation to parenting orders. Parenting orders include who the child will live with and how they will communicate with a parent.
A parenting order can be made when both parents agree on the parenting arrangements for their child’s welfare and development.
In the case of Malcher and Malcher 2016, Ms. Malcher sought parenting orders that would grant her sole parental responsibility for their education, religious and cultural upbringing, and health. One of the main issues in this case was the inability of both couples to communicate in a rational way.
Ms. Malcher provided evidence of domestic violence perpetrated on her by her husband and this was also witnessed by the children. The judge accepted this despite the husband denying the allegations. Sole parental responsibility was then granted to the mother.
Importance Of Seeking Legal Advice
Gaining proper legal advice can improve one’s chances when applying for sole responsibility in cases where mediation did not help the parties reach a satisfactory outcome. A child’s welfare is also at stake so it is best to handle these types of cases with legal guidance from JB Solicitors.
Our family lawyers are equipped with experience in dealing with these instances to help our clients in gaining sole parental responsibility. We offer fixed-fee prices that can help our clients by aiding them financially.
Contact JB Solicitors today