Parental responsibility and parenting orders
5.12Parental responsibility is defined by section 61B as meaning “all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children.” Each parent of a child under 18 has parental responsibility, and this is not affected by any change in the parents’ relationship, such as, for example, divorce or separation.604 Section 61D makes it clear that a parenting order does not derogate from parental responsibility, except to the extent expressly provided for in the order or such as is necessary to give effect to that order.
5.13A parenting order may be made in favour of a person other than the child’s parents.605 Application for such an order may be made by the child himself, either or both parents, or “any other person concerned with the care, welfare or development of the child.”606
5.14Section 64B(2) provides that a parenting order may deal with one or more of:
“(a)the person or persons with whom a child is to live;
(b)contact between a child and another person or other persons;
(c)maintenance of a child;
(d)any other aspect of parental responsibility for a child.”
5.15An order dealing with point (a) is a “residence order”; while point (b) is a “contact order”; and point (c) is a “child maintenance order.”607 To the extent that the parenting order deals with “any other aspect of parental responsibility for a child”, it is termed a “specific issues order.” A specific issues order “may, for example, confer on a person (whether alone or jointly with another person) responsibility for the long-term care, welfare and development of the child or for the day-to-day care, welfare and development of the child.”608
Breaches of orders
5.16Where a residence order is in force, section 65M(2) provides that:
604 Section 61C, Family Law Reform Act 1975.
605 Section 64C.
606 Section 65C.
607 Section 64B(3), (4) and (5).
608 Section 64B(6).