Presumption of Equal Shared Parental Responsibility

Section 61DA of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) requires the court to presume that allocating equal shared parental responsibility to a child’s parents is in the child’s best interests. The court will not presume that is should be the case if it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent of the child (or a person who lives with a parent of the child) has engaged in:

  • abuse of the child or another child who, at the time, was a member of the parent's family (or that other person's family); or
  • family violence.

The presumption is rebutted where there is evidence satisfying the court that it would an order for equal shared parental responsibility would not be in the child’s best interests.

Moreover, the court may consider the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility in appropriate in interim proceedings. This might occur where there are allegations of family violence and the court is unable to determine the matter given the state of available evidence.