1.1.L.20 Legal responsibility
For the purposes of FA, legal responsibility is the right to have and to make decisions concerning the day-to-day care, welfare and development of a child. Both parents are legally responsible for their child, except where:
- they agree that one parent should have greater or sole responsibility, or
- a court makes an order that changes their responsibility in a particular matter.
Example: Mr Brown and his ex-partner Ms Black have a court order (1.1.C.70) that details the care arrangements of the children. The court order states that the children will have contact with their father on alternate weekends and half the school holidays as well as on Father's Day. The children are to have contact with their mother on Mother's Day. Legal responsibility for the children may be deemed to be joint as the court order does not specify otherwise.
When a person is granted sole custody of a child, that person has the legal responsibility for the care, welfare and development of that child, regardless of who has access or contact with the child, if the child is in the person's care.