Sole Parenting Responsibility: Why Might You Request It?

Applying for sole custody of your children (generally known as sole parenting responsibility) is not a decision to be taken lightly. It should only be considered when it's clearly in the best interests of your children. This conclusion cannot be subjective, and the Family Court must agree with your reasoning. Given the significance of your decision, you might wish to engage the services of family law solicitors to assist with your application. What should you consider during the application process?

Sole Responsibility

In applying for sole parenting responsibility, you are requesting that you be granted the full legal right over almost every aspect of your children's upbringing, along with your children living exclusively with you, although visitation might still be permitted. This includes making decisions about their education, religion (or lack thereof), social activities and general home life. Your sole parenting responsibility means that you do not need to consult your ex when making decisions pertaining to these matters. Some decisions will still require consultation (and these should be stipulated by the Family Court in the parenting order), such as if you choose to move to a new town. Sole parenting responsibility means that your former partner is excluded from the majority of decisions related to your children's upbringing, but it doesn't always mean that they're excluded from your children's lives. 


Sole parenting responsibility can still include visitation from the other parent, although this will be regulated and might not include any overnight stays with your former partner. In some cases, this visitation will be supervised. These restrictions might be in place for the same reasons that compelled you to end your relationship and seek sole parenting responsibility in the first place. What could these reasons include?

  • Your ex might have a history of violence, which might have resulted in criminal charges that may have been directed at you and/or your children.
  • Your ex could have had issues with alcohol and/or drug addiction, whether in the past or ongoing.
  • Your ex might be experiencing issues with their mental health to the point that they're not able to adequately care for their children.

These factors can certainly be subject to review, which can lead to the sole parenting responsibility order being revisited in the future. It should be noted that sole parenting responsibility does not necessarily remove your former partner's financial maintenance obligations either, regardless of custody and visitation rights.

For the necessary stability and structure for your children's upbringing, sole parenting responsibility can be the most appropriate outcome.