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Mum Getting Sole Parental Responsibility: does that remove any obligation for Dad to pay child support?

Apologies if this should/could have been placed in a more appropriate forum category.

I have three questions regarding myself (the mother) getting Sole Parental Responsibility:

1) Can a parent "opt" to sign their child over to the other parent, via Sole Parental Responsibility?  Or can it only be "ordered" by a court due to violence/abuse etc?

2) If a father can/does choose to sign their child over, does that then remove any obligation for them to pay child support?

3) How much would it cost me to have this arranged legally (i.e. go to court), if the father agrees and he makes the process as easy and quick as possible?

I don't want the (fairly unwilling/disinterested) father to be in the child's life, and am hoping that I can "convince" them to give Sole Parental Responsibility to me.  I think that they may accept that offer/arrangement if they do not have to pay any child support…  so, is that the case?
Hi Midnight,

A) yes, you can apply for sole parental responsibility, and if unopposed the court can grant it.

B)no, that does no remove obligation of the other parent to pay child support (and nor does it preclude visitation). However, you can come to a private arrangement re child support and register it with the child support agency. Be aware that if you need to get centrelink benefits, they REQUIRE you to seek child support.

C) You can fill out the forms yourself at the court, represent yourself, and all you pay is the application fees (can be a couple of hundred dollars).

Such a shame about not wanting the childs father involved, however, only you know the true circumstances that lead to this decision. It was a difficult decision for me also, 14 years ago, to exclude the father, because he was wandering in and out of our lives, and the child was two years old and begining to understand the hurt of never knowing when Daddy would show up. So Daddy was invited fully in, or fully out of the childs life. He opted for out. And now, child aged 16, I am trying to reconnect father and son. Father now willing, and child…..well…..not so willing, now the child has the power.

Hope this helps in your decisions,
Stormsurge said
Be aware that if you need to get centrelink benefits, they REQUIRE you to seek child support.
This is not in fact true.

Not seeking child support only affects the full entitlement to FTB part A, if child support is not sought then the base rate of FTB part A and FTB part B can be claimed, if otherwise claimable. Also, claiming child support also precludes receiving the full entitlement to child support, unless the assessed amount is $0. The full entitlement to FTB part A is reduced by 50c for every $1 assessed. Other Centrelink benefits are not reduced or not given because child support has not been sought.
Hi Midnight,

If there's no opposition and you want a Lawyer to draw up the Consent Orders, then this should be relatively cheap. For instance, I payed around $1800 for mine, however this did include a paid appointment so would probably be less.

Theres 2 part to the Consent Orders: The 'Application for Consent Orders' and the Minutes of Consent Orders.

The Application is downloadable from the Family Court Website and you can pre-fill this out and take it to your Lawyer (may save a couple of bucks because that means they don't have to do it). It covers demographic data, this history of the relationship (such as how long you were together) and also who has Parental Responsibility. It will also as you why the Presumption of Shared PR doesn't apply. Your answer will be that it does not apply on grounds of conflict/Family Violence therefore it is appropriate that given the child will be living with you, that you have Sole PR.

The 'Minutes' is the nity grity of the Agreement between you. It will cover again who has Parental Responsibility, who the Child will live with and what time the Child will spend with the Father. My Minutes state that the time spent with the Father is 'as agreed between the parties'. It will also need to say that you will provide copies of school reports/school photos and allow him to attend school events that Parents would normally attend.. your Lawyer will work out all of this with you.  

What I would do is ring around. Some Lawyers include the first appointment free and if you draw up what you want, they should be able to do it pretty efficiently and lodge it with the Magistrates Court if you haven't been to Court before for Children's Issues.

Your ex doesn't need to engage the services of a Lawyer either, all he needs to do is to sign the "Application for Consent Orders" (found on the Family Court website) in front of a Justice of the Peace, a Lawyer, a Notary Public or a Police Officer that has a ranking of Sergeant or higher. This is because he is swearing an affidavit. You obviously sign your bit in front of your Lawyer. He and you will also need to sign the bottom of every page (although this does not need to be in front of a Qualified Person, just that 1 relevant page).

In regards to Sole PR, I would also use a blanket statement such as: That the Mother have Sole Parental Responsibility of (Insert Child's Name here).

In my case, the Father was quite happy to sign over Parental Responsibility in lieu of paying CS. I don't have anything to do with CSA so I don't get the full FTB amount because I'm not receiving CS but if this matters to you or if it does come to logger-heads about the CS and your ex does want a 'guarantee', then you may enter into a CSA Private Agreement and make it so that he agrees to pay you say, $1 a year and that you've arranged to do this privately without CSA intervention.

You may want to check with them what the implications are if you really do need him to pay CS (in case you can't work for some reason) and if you need a Change of Assessment.

Don't raise the Private Agreement unless you really need to. If you're financially comfortable and don't need the extra $200 a month, my advice is to leave sleeping dogs lie.  
Thanks for everyone's help (keep the advice coming, if anyone has more to add).

Basically, even if he was assessed for child support and had to pay a couple of hundred a week, I was still thinking of not claiming child support from him.

As it turns out (when I use Centrelink's child support calculator), it is saying that he'd only have to pay $10 a week (unless I'm entering something incorrectly).  He has another child (~7 yrs) and would only be earning maybe $50k a year, max.  I think he'd have been on the dole this year so would qualify for a low income discount.  I entered my details as having no other children, and prob only being on the Parenting/FTB A&B payments.  Does $10 child support a week ($360 per annum) sound correct?  (if I had 100% custody of the child)?

So realistically, I don't think I'm missing out on any child support.  Losing $55 p/wk of FTB Part A is no biggie.

In regards to the Sole Parental Responsibility -  I don't know if it is the best option.  What would you do if you REALLY wanted to keep the father out of the child's life (let's just say, an unconvicted but strongly suspected child abuser- and that has nothing to do with any report of my own) - is it best to have no consent orders but make everything as difficult as possible (allow him visitations but make it difficult for him to attend, just let him drift away if he is heading that way); or would you go straight for some kind of Sole Parental Responsibility order?

I don't know if I can get him to sign that now, if it doesn't mean that it removes any obligation for him to pay child support (and yes, that might make a difference to him, even if it was only $10 a week- he is just lousy).

Is there any other option besides a "Sole Parental Responsibility" order that basically removes all his rights as a father?  e.g. Something similar to saying that he was a sperm donor (but not)..?
I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, but having 'sole parental responsibility of your child does not exclude the father and the child from having rights regarding contact and visitation. That would require an order from the court (or I assume consent orders).

Sounds like you want an order either by consent or by court order that the father have no contact with the child.
I don't believe a Court would approve an Order for 'No Contact' as this isn't in line with the Best Interests of the Child to have a 'meaningful' relationship with both parents.

Midnight I read your other posts and didn't realise that the Father was not on the Birth Certificate. You do not need to do anything in that case as by default, you already have Sole PR and he has no Parental Responsibility whatsoever.

It won't effect Centrelink Payments because you have no Father listed because I assume you told them that you were unsure of the Child's Paternity.
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