The concept of the changing nature of parental responsibility has seen immense change in responding to recognizing the responsibilities parents possess in regard to aligning decisions with the child’s best interest, as particularly stated in Article 3 of Croc.
Another of the key responses in regards to the changing nature of parental responsibility initiated by the legal system is the Family Law (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006 (Cth). This act was introduced in response to growing concerns that mothers were being favoured in terms of time with children. In terms of iniated and responding to change significant pressure was placed on the act from NGO’s such as the Lone Fathers Association calling for more equality in the system, contributing to the creation of this reform. In practice it remains more common for children to be granted time with their mother, in over 60% of parenting plans and orders, children have most time with their mothers.
Before the 2006 reform was implemented, there had been a number of cases that supported shared parenting, reflecting a shift towards this goal. For example In Gronow v Gronow 1980, the judge rejected the idea that children should reside with the mother exclusively. Key changes made to the act were devloped from factors suchs as pressure from NGO’s and changing societal values in placing decision making in the best interets of the child and addressing discrimination against father being unfavoured. Key changes made include Langiuage changes ensuring the child/children receive “substantial and significant time” with each parent, in addition to the specification that parents share responsibility in decision making.
Additionally changes include Further support for FDR: In order to better support the goals of shared parental responsibility, the government introduced government funded Family Relationship Centres creating easier access for couples to for couples FDR and therefore create parenting plans outside of court. Furthermore changes include the introduction of primary and secondary considerations in courts determining what is in the ‘best interests’ of the child. Primary considerations includes Positive and meaningful relationships with both parents Protection of child from abuse and family violence. While Secondary considerations include Child’s wishes, Nature of the relationships, Financial ability of parents, the Ability of parents to provide for the intellectual and emotional needs of the child, relationships. However significant concern have been raised regarding the reform in the order of the primary considerations, with relationships with parents placed before protection of the child from abuse.