FAQs on Parental Responsibility

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Owen Hodge Lawyers examines some of the common questions we’re asked about parental responsibility.

What are my legal responsibilities as a parent?

Parents have a legal duty to protect their child from harm, feed and clothe their child, financially support their child and provide their child with health care and education.

What is considered to be the best interests of a child?

When a court is making a parenting order, a number of factors are taken into consideration when deciding the best interests of the child. Primary considerations include: the need to protect the child from harm, which may include the infliction of, or exposure to neglect, abuse or family violence, and the benefit to the child of maintaining a relationship with both parents.

Secondary factors include the benefit for the child of receiving parenting which helps them reach their physical, mental and emotional potential, the child’s views and desires, and the benefit and importance for a child to embrace and maintain their religion and/or culture.

At what age does a child take legal responsibility for themselves?

In Australia, when a person reaches the age of 18, the person can legally take responsibility for him or herself.

Can the police intervene between a parent and child?

The law can intervene between a parent and child if a parent fails to fulfill their key parental responsibilities, if a child is neglected or abused by their parent, or if a child is taken out of the country without consent from a person with a parenting order. In these circumstances, police force intervention is appropriate.

At what age does a child legally need to start school?

The legal age for a child to start school in Australia is 6 years old. It is illegal to restrict your child from starting school from the age of 7.

Is my child allowed to leave school?

In New South Wales a child is required to attend school between the age of 6 and when they finish year 10 and/or turn 17. If a child would like to leave school after year 10 but before the age of 17, they will be required to continue another form of education, for example TAFE or an apprenticeship, or work at least 25 hours per week.

Can my ex-partner take my child overseas?

A child can only be removed from Australia if there is consent from all parties with a parenting order. If one parent does not give consent and there is a threat of a parent removing a child from Australia, the law can intervene with an order to confiscate the child’s passport.

If you would like some more information about parental responsibility in Australia, contact Owen Hodge Lawyers on 1800 770 780.

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