{The Legal Nest} Equal time versus Joint Parental Responsibility

We are thrilled to welcome on board as one of our contributors James Horsburgh, Solicitor and Director from McIntosh McPhillamy & Co in Bathurst.

James has over 10 years experience and practices primarily in the areas of Family law, Criminal law and litigation. He is a Law Society Accredited Specialist in Family Law, essentially making him an expert in that field.

James is married and has two children. He is extensively involved in the local community and loves fighting the good fight.



Today James clarifies the widely misunderstood difference between children spending equal time with both parents, versus that of the concept of both parents having equal shared parental responsibility.  Image result for childrens issues family law free image

Parental Responsibility

Parental responsibility does not concern the amount of time that the children shall spend with either parent but in fact refers to the parenting role that each respective parent shall play in a child’s life. Under the Family Law Act 1975 parental responsibility refers to ultimately four (4) main areas concerning the child’s upbringing, those being:

  1. The child’s education
  2. The child’s religious and cultural upbringing
  3. The child’s health
  4. Any other long-term issue about the care and welfare and development of the child.

As you can see parental responsibility refers to the parenting of the child as opposed to any time that either parent shall spend with the child after separation.

If the Court makes an order for equal shared parental responsibility then this places an obligation on both parents to consider and discuss with the other parent any decisions which are made regarding the upbringing of the child after separation.

Equal Time

In the alternative, equal time refers to the amount of time that either parent spends with a child. Any order which may be made regarding parental responsibility will not affect the amount of time that either party spends with a child, by the same token if a Court chooses not to make an order for equal time then this does not mean that both parents cannot have equal shared parental responsibility.

These decisions regarding time and parental responsibility are made on a case-by-case basis having regard to what is in the best interests of the children at the time.

James blog

To find out more about children’s issues and the law, please do not hesitate to contact James at Mcintosh McPhillamy & Co on 6331 1533 or email him directly at jhorsburgh@mcmc.com.au

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