NSW Grounds on Which Sole Custody of Children is Awarded?

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Jade Gucci

27 November 2015
On What grounds does a parent usually get awarded sole custody of children by family court in NSW Australia? And what are some examples of what courts/judges consider as an unfit parent? I have heard it is extremely hard to get sole custody of children and that parents can get away with a lot of things and still get access to children ...


Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
The family law system assumes shared parental responsibility. It also assumes that it is in the 'best interests of the child' to have a meaningful relationship with both parents. That presumption can be rebutted, but you have to prove it is not in the best interest of the child to have contact with both parents. In short, a long history of child abuse that has been proven by a court could meet the criteria.


Well-Known Member
23 July 2014
What you've heard is correct.

Sole parental responsibility is generally only ordered where there is a pattern of risk of harm to the child/ren in question, either through abuse, neglect or family violence. This includes physical abuse, as well as emotional and psychological. If a parent is found to be unwilling to support and encourage a child's relationship with the other parent, this is considered a risk, as well, and often leads to the other parent being granted sole parental responsibility.

Generally speaking, the court determines whether there is an unacceptable risk to the children according to the evidence, however I would argue the most influential evidence in family court proceedings is the credibility of the parents when questioned under cross-examination.

I don't like to give examples of what the court considers an unfit parent because it is determined on a case-by-case basis and depends on the judge allocated to your case.

Hope this helps.
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Well-Known Member
2 October 2015
You will also need to most likely, except under extreme situations, go through a mediation session with your ex-partner in regards to your children to see if you can come to an agreement together.

If you are unable to come to an agreement you will then get a certificate that you can take to a lawyer and you can commence proceedings in the family court.