Why Parental Responsibility Matters

Being named as a parent on a foreign birth certificate does not confer parental status upon intended parents in relation to their children. As a result, intended parents cannot lawfully make decisions concerning their child’s:

  • day-to-day care;
  • the people with whom the child lives;
  • the child’s religious and cultural upbringing;
  • health;
  • education; and
  • any other matter falling with scope of the term “parental responsibility”.

In Western Australia, only parents and people with parental responsibility can appoint a testamentary guardian for a child. A testamentary guardian is a person appointed to be the legal guardian of a child upon the death of the child’s parents or a child’s intended parents, if they have parental responsibility.

Accordingly, an order for parental responsibility empowers intended parents to exercise all the parental responsibilities that parents have in relation to their children, save for those parental responsibilities that arise by virtue of the parent-child relationship. Intended parents residing in Western Australia receive the added benefit of being able to appoint a testamentary guardian in relation to their children.