What does Sole Parental Responsibility mean

To learn basic information about parental responsibilty and what will apply if there is no Parenting Order or the Court is not being asked to make Parenting Orders, read our information sheet What is Parental Responsibility & what Order will a Court make.

What exactly is Sole Parental Responsibility for a Child? 


It is only if the parents cannot agree and decide upon parenting arrangements for their Children that the Family Court may make a Parenting Orders to say which parent has what parenting responsibilities.

In 2006, amendments were made to the Family Law Act 1975, part of which was to introduce a presumption of “equal shared parental responsibility”.

If you are successful in rebutting the presumption of Equal Shared Parental Parental Responsibility, the Court might instead consider imposing an Order for Sole Parental Responsibility.

The Court may make an order for sole parental responsibility for a Child in relation to all major long term issues for a Child or in relation to one or more of the “big 5” major long term issues to be decided for children.



To understand when Sole Parental Responsibility might apply and what is involved in rebutting the presumption of Equal Shared Parental Responsibility, see our information sheet When will Sole Parental Responsibility apply.

We explain what the presumption means and what it involves in our information sheet What is Equal Shared Parental Responsibility.

To find out if Equal Shared Parental Responsibility might apply to your situation, read our information sheet Will Equal Shared Parental Responsibility apply.

What type of parental responsibility Order the Court makes determines:

  • whether parents have to to consult each other and attempt to make joint decisions about major long-term issues for their children; and
  • Who makes the long term, short term and day to day decisions for their children.


You may also need to know the information contained in our information sheets:


More Information on Child’s Time with Parents & Parental Responsibility

We also have the following Fact Sheets which will provide you with more information on this topic:


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