In 2006, the Australian Government regulated an assumption that any two people that have a child automatically assume “Equal Shared Parenting Responsibility” (ESPR). This means that regardless of whether you and the other parent had a child from a one-night-stand or in a defacto/married relationship and regardless of whether you are now together, apart, separated or divorced, the parents share evenly the accountability and responsibility of decisions in the child’s life.
Regardless of how involved and how much time each parent gets with the child, ESPR expects that both parents are able to make and reach major long-term decisions for the child together. Long-term decisions include (and are not limited to) health, education, religious/cultural and general wellbeing.
ESPR works on the assumption that both parents are able to make decisions together in the best interests of the child.
If parents are unable to jointly make long-term decisions or if one parent has been making unilateral decisions in the best interest for the child (supported with evidence), the court may consider awarding/ordering Sole Parental Responsibility to one parent or creating orders for Shared Parental Responsibility (SPR).