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Sole Parental Responsibility....What does this mean exactly? What decisions am I entitled to make unilaterally?
query about sole parental responsibility
Posted 30 July, 2010, 10:03 PM
#33621
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Hi

My child resides with me. My final orders state - "the mother be solely responsible for the child's care, welfare and development". I am "the mother" by the way lol.

I have never really thought about what this means. Can anyone enlighten me as to what decisions this would cover. Am I, for instance, entitled to apply for a passport for my child without the father's express permission? (just an example that popped into my head — please dont limit your answers to this particular situation! I am not even planning an overseas trip!!!)

Just curious!!

thanks
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Posted 30 July, 2010, 11:32 PM
#33622
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This means that you make all decisions for the care of the child unless the statement continues with wording like "when child is spending time with that parent". If this is the case then you can only make decisions when the child is in your care.
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Posted 30 July, 2010, 11:34 PM
#33623
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No, there is no qualifying statement which follows. It is at all times.  I guess I am trying to work out what "all decisions" means.
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Posted 31 July, 2010, 01:21 AM
#33625
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My orders state that: The children ( insert names and birth dates) live with the mother. That the mother have sole parental responsibility for the children. That the children spend such time with the father as the parties agree.( in other words if I don't agree he doesn't see them)

This means the father has no parental right to make ANY decision in regard to the children. I could change their names , get a passport for them , choose their school , make medical decisions etc, etc ,and there is no need to consult or inform the other parent , unless the orders state otherwise .

 Some orders give a parent sole parental responsibility for some areas but not others. Other orders say " that each party be responsible for making decisions about the day to day care, welfare and development when the children are in that party's care"
You would find no two sets of orders are the same as they take in the individual needs of each case.

NOTE: Try to use the power of sole parental responsibility for good and not evil as many people sadly do!!!
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Posted 31 July, 2010, 11:00 AM
#33635
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Thanks Beautiful Day. The orders have been in place for over two years now and, to my knowledge, I have only used them for good so far! lol. The truth is many women - maybe even most! - have the interests of their children paramount...even in the posts of quite a few men on this site suggest otherwise. The reason I asked is that I had never really thought about it but I have been wanting to legally change my child's name for many years. She uses my surname - always has - but her "official" surname (ie. on her birth certificate and medicare card, etc) is her father's surname. It seems a bit silly not to change it to the name she uses and identifies as. It would also stop me being referred to Mrs X – not that we were ever married!!!
I always assumed it would take a trip to court (i would rather be dragged over hot coals) to change this. Not to mention get a passport!! Are the relevant statutory bodies (ie. Births Deaths Marriages, etc) okay with not having the father's permission?????
Can he then take me to court to have it reversed??
Many thanks for your feedback.
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Posted 31 July, 2010, 01:16 PM
#33644
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I suggest you ring "births, deaths and marriages" to get the exact requirements for changing a name but I am pretty sure it is the same as getting a passport. To get a passport any parent who has parental responsibility must sign, if you produce a copy of the orders stating you have sole parental responsibility (SPR) then only your signature is needed.

I dont know the exact answer as I feel strongly a child should retain the name they were born with. My 14 year old wants to change his name but I have told him when he turns 18 he can make this decision himself. The reason is I feel alot of parents (not judging you as I do not know you personally) use changing a child's name to insult the other party. I feel my son is probably not fully aware of the implications of rejecting his fathers name and how this decision could potentially impact the already nearly non existent relationship he shares with his father ( probably because of family violence issues and the fathers choice to walk away from all contact except for an occasional phone call).

I have read cases where there is a court order to change a name but I am fairly certain you wont need it in your circumstances as you have SPR in all area's.
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Posted 31 July, 2010, 01:34 PM
#33646
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Percolo Alio

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This is from BDM for Victoria :-

BDM Victoria said

Changing a child's name


To register a change of name for a child who is under 18 years of age, both parents must complete and submit a change of name application form.

In order to change your child's name in Victoria, the child must either have been born or resides in Victoria. If your child was not born in Victoria, you must provide proof that they have Australian citizenship or permanent residency, and that they have lived with you in Victoria for at least the last three months.

When applying to change your name make sure you:

    * Complete the application in full.
    * Supply all required proof of identity documents. If applying in person, provide original proof of identity documents. If applying online or by mail, provide police-certified photocopies. See the application form for further details.
    * Include the required payment or credit card details.
    * Ensure your application is signed and witnessed accordingly.

If the child is 12 years of age or older, they must also provide written consent to the change of name.

You can find the Registry's turnaround times for change of name applications on the Fees and turnaround page.

If the application is successful the Registry will issue you with a certificate as proof of the change of name. If your child was born in Victoria, they will receive an updated standard birth certificate. If they were born outside Victoria, they will receive a change of name certificate.

If you have already completed a change of name for your child and need a new certificate as proof of the change, you will need to apply for a:

    * standard birth certificate (if born in Victoria), or
    * change of name certificate (if born outside Victoria).

You can apply for these certificates online or by completing a standard birth certificate application form.

You can find more information about changing your child's name in the Change of name FAQs.

The Registry recommends you keep all Registry-issued documents secure

and ....
Can one parent register a change of name for a child?
If two parents are named on a child's birth certificate, they must both provide consent to register a change of name for a child who is under 18 years of age.

However, one parent can apply to register their child's change of name where:

    * they are the sole parent named on the child's birth record, or
    * the other parent named on the child's birth record is deceased (you will need to provide a copy of the other parent's death certificate), or
    * a court order issued by the County Court is provided with the application, ordering the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to register a change of name for the child, and stating what the new name should be.


Can a legal guardian who is not a child's birth parent register a change of name for that child?
A legally appointed guardian of a child who is under the age of 18 can apply to register a change of name for the child. To do so, they must follow the standard application procedure and also provide:

    * proof of their guardianship of the child
    * their proof of identification and consent

In some cases the Registry may require additional documentation. For further information, please contact the Registry.

Do I need my child's consent to change his or her name?
Any child who is between 12 and 18 years of age must provide their consent for their name to be changed, unless the child is unable to understand the meaning and implications of the change of name.

Can I change my child's name once they turn 18?
No. Once a child turns 18 they are considered a legal adult, and a parent cannot apply to register a change of name for them. Instead, if your child is 18 years or older wishes to change their name, they must complete the application themselves.

Here's a link to BDM Victoria's website BDM Victoria website (Changing a child's name)

Disclaimer - I apologise for any adverse reaction/feeling you may have if you are not of sound mind and therefore take this disclaimer and everything I post ridiculously out of context and see the hidden gender-biased messages that my lack of self-awareness allows me to actually be aware of and compose without actually even composing them.

Thanking Larissap for the inspiration behind this signature.

When asked about hand written notes on the document marked as Exhibit 3 the best that the Applicant maternal grandmother could say was :
 It looks like my handwriting!
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Posted 31 July, 2010, 04:38 PM
#33650
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In regards to Passports - I too have Sole Parental Responsibility and apparently, the passport issue is a separate beast. On the Department of Foreign Affairs website, it says that anyone with Parental Responsibility is to consent to travel. I called them up (because Im from overseas and wish to visit family some day) and told them that I have a blanket order of SPR and unless it specifically states that I'm able to sign off on passports/visas, I still need his signature or a court order saying its ok. If you're already established here i.e. house, full time job, family etc, I don't think they make a huge deal out of it because I guess a lot of ex spouses cant even find the other partner to gain consent.

I only really spoke to one person and I could be wrong as I haven't really pursued it with any great amount of effort at the moment. I'd be interested to find out what other people's experiences are if possible.
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Posted 31 July, 2010, 07:58 PM
#33655
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Percolo Alio

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reallyconfused said

On the Department of Foreign Affairs website, it says that anyone with Parental Responsibility is to consent to travel.

As you reallyconfused found out, everyone needs to be aware that official websites are very rarely fully comprehensive. Generally one should always research the matter further. So thanks for posting the above Reallyconfused, hopefully others will not fall into the trap of taking what is said on official websites fully at face value.

Perhaps you should consider complaining and requesting (perhaps insisting) that the website says "anyone with Parental Responsibility is to consent to travel. However there may be requires for the consent of other persons so please ensure that you take measures, such as to contact us, to ascertain the full requirements and that were too god damn lazy to tell you, we'd rather that you are misled and suffer than tell you the whole story.  Blue text is perhaps optional but the more correct version :)

Disclaimer - I apologise for any adverse reaction/feeling you may have if you are not of sound mind and therefore take this disclaimer and everything I post ridiculously out of context and see the hidden gender-biased messages that my lack of self-awareness allows me to actually be aware of and compose without actually even composing them.

Thanking Larissap for the inspiration behind this signature.

When asked about hand written notes on the document marked as Exhibit 3 the best that the Applicant maternal grandmother could say was :
 It looks like my handwriting!
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mrs fair
Posted 21 September, 2010, 02:00 PM
#34715
Non-joined user

Hi guys, changing a childs name:

It actually depends what state you children or child is born in. if they are born in NSW it doesnt matter who has sole parental responsibility, both parents on the birth cert HAVE to sign unless a parent refuses then you can go to court and have a judge over rule it!

vic the parent with sole parental responsilbility can change it on there own

Passports both parents on the birth cert have to sign unless a parent refusses you can get a judge to over rule.

I too think that a child last name should not be taken away but do not see the problem with adding another family name to reflect the family they are in! especially if they have siblings with a different last name at school etc!

i can imagine how left out a child would feel having a different last name to everyone else in the family!
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Posted 21 September, 2010, 05:59 PM
#34718
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Percolo Alio

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jamalu said

"the mother be solely responsible for the child's care, welfare and development".
In respect to matters around family law it means the big ticket items in particular such as education and schooling, school location, religious upbringing, medical and dental care and all the big decisions that need to be made.

It does not mean you can get a passport or other documentation that requires two parents to sign. Getting a passport is covered by a whole range of other rules. Passports for overseas residents in Australia are different also and some countries ONLY require one signature / consenter / applicant to issue a passport... BDM in NSW has been extensively covered on the web site in other posts so I won't go through that but I was interested in the post extract from MikeT about Victoria BDM However, one parent can apply to register their child's change of name where:

    * they are the sole parent named on the child's birth record, or


This could be extremely problematic where the father is not listed on the birth certificate (which happens in cases, for a whole range of insidious reasons). The change of name in this case seems to require further information as 2 years is not a long time for orders to have been in effect. We do not know what relationship, if anything is enjoyed with the father. There are many possibilities in respect to a hyphenated name. In this case the father is on the birth certificate and will need to have input if in NSW. If in VIC it appears it may be easier however it seems appropriate to discuss the matter at least.

Sole responsibility is not carte blanche for everything but some key things that are listed in the Family Law Act. Case that involve change of name are not usually dealt with as a rubber stamp so once in a court situation expect some significant examination.


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia :thumbs:
Was my post helpful? If not, please let us know how we can do better
If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity

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heart broken family
Posted 23 January, 2011, 05:13 PM
#37122
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My daughter is 15 years old. She would like to change her last name to add my married name and her siblings names. Very difficult when they all go to College together and she feels like the odd one out.

She has not seen her bio father for the last 5+ years. She finally tracked him down to ask if he would sign to have the name add, his reply was "NO".. sad as My now husband and I have raised her since she was 3.. She has 4 other siblings and she is very sad and times heart broken as she is the only 1 that does not carry the family name.. My husband is her Dad.. biology doesn't make you a parent, its the things you do and put up with (she's a teenager) that makes you a parent.. I'm crushed for her

The school won't allow her to add in the name, bio father won't sign for a name change!!..

Does she just have to wait till she turns 18 ?

Or if we go to court, what are the chances that the court will allow her name to be changed?

thankyou for any help
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Posted 23 January, 2011, 08:24 PM
#37126
D4E
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I would think starting the mediation process would give her biological dad something to consider when she expresses how she feels and that she just wants to hyphenate her name, keeping dads name too.

If it did progress to the Family Court I would suggest that your daughters age and wishes will be strongly taken into consideration when the judge make their dcission, they will also consider what the father has to say with regards to his objection whilst taking into account what efforts he has made to spend time with his daughter.

It can be plainly seen that the name change will happen in time, I would suggest it would be more advantageous to her dad if he agreed now whilst she still wants a hyphanated name, in the future if denied that may well change.

Best of luck skippy, I do admit to being biased against name changes of young to teen children but there comes a time when the kids are old enough to be listenend to.

D4E
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Posted 28 January, 2011, 12:34 PM
#37282
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Skippy, I suggest you check with the board of Education in the state that you reside in regarding your child's name at school. Legally the child will need to be registered under the name on her birth certificate however some states will allow you to have the child as 'known as' within the school. Both of my children are known as my husband's name at school but legally are registered as the surname on their birth certificate.

In regards to the refusal of your ex to allow your daughter to change her name if he continues to refuse you can apply to court for the change to be ordered, once you have this submit to BDM and they will allow the change - I found this to be a very easy process (having said that I did have this changed approx 9 years or so ago, so could be alot harder now). Or as D4E suggests you have the option of hyphenating the name.

Being that your daughter is 15 keep in mind in 3 years she can legally change the name herself.
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