Many parents believe they have certain rights when it comes to their children – the right to see them and spend time with them, or the right to make decisions for them, to name a few. In reality, the legislation sets out that parents have responsibilities when it comes to their children, and it is the children who have rights.
The overarching intention of the Family Law Act 1975 is that the best interests of the child is the paramount consideration for any parenting arrangements. Although separation is a time of great stress and emotional upheaval for parents, the same can be said for the children. It is important children know they are loved and cared for, and any parenting arrangements put in place are to benefit the children and facilitate their relationships with both of their parents.
Parents have responsibilities – not rights – when it comes to their children. The Family Law Act 1975 states that parents are afforded ‘all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children’. Essentially, parents have a responsibility to protect their child from harm; provide their child with food, clothing and housing; financially support the child; provide safety, supervision and control; provide medical care; and, provide an education.
Most parents have their children’s best interests at heart, but this can sometimes be clouded with their own emotions while going through a separation; if you would like assistance to create sustainable parenting arrangements for your children, contact our family law team.
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Attribution: Written By Sally-Anne Todkill, Legal Assistant (Paralegal) to Ashleigh John (Director)