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What is Allocation of Parental Responsibilities?

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What is Allocation of Parental Responsibilities?

When children are involved, divorces include custody cases. This is often referred to as the allocation of parental responsibilities. Respectively, the court grants parental rights and responsibilities to either one or both of the parents, according to what is in the child’s best interest.

Two Parts of Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

A case for the allocation of parental responsibilities has two parts: decision making and parenting time. The first will decide who gets to make major decisions about the child’s life. These include education, religion, medical care, extracurricular activities, etc. The latter is for the purpose of determining who has the right to have the child physically placed under their care, judged by who would be more equipped to care for and rear the child’s growth.

These two parts of the case are separate parental rights that are decided differently. So even if you get 50/50 parenting time, it doesn’t mean that you have equal decision-making ability. They work distinctly from each other.

Decision Making

Parental decision making is the right to make major decisions for the child’s welfare. It includes:

  • Legal status
  • Education
  • Safety
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Religion
  • Medical care
  • Other major life decisions

Decision making ability is given to either one or both parents, depending on what is in the child’s best interest. There are 3 types of decision making: split decision making, shared or joint decision making, and sole or exclusive decision making.

Split Decision Making

Split decision making is the least popular dynamic among the three. In this set up, the major decisions involving the child will be split among the parents. One parent would take up some topics while the others belong to the other parent.

For example, decisions about medical care and education would be in your power to make, while decisions about religion and activities would be in your co-parent’s power. These would need stipulation on the boundaries and subject matters that each parent would solely take on.

Shared or Joint Decision Making

In a joint decision making set up, both parents have equal rights when it comes to the upbringing and welfare of their child. This means that the parents both have to communicate and work together to decide on major life decisions.

Usually, the court grants joint decision making in all custody cases by default unless there is suitable evidence that the other parent is not equipped to handle it or would bring harm to the child.

Sole or Exclusive Decision Making

Sole decision making, on the other hand, is when one parent is granted full rights and responsibilities to make major decisions for the child. The other parent may have no say on matters, but is often granted visitation rights and the obligation to pay child support.

This is often granted by the court in cases where the other parent is unavailable, unable to make decisions, or there is the presence of substance abuse, child abuse, neglect, abandonment, etc.

Ultimately, the allocation of parental responsibilities is aimed to make caring for the child easier despite the divorce. It delineates each parent’s rights and responsibilities when it comes to raising the child.

Ideally, it is best for the child if both parents work together. This will provide a united front and stable growth environment for the child. So it’s important to consider all the factors, especially the child’s best interest, when planning to push for sole custody and sole decision making.

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Of Counsel - Domestic Relations


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