• Formal and legal issues: abortion, adoption, and parenting

     
    Abortion

    Abortion is available legally in Queensland, mostly in private clinics which are licensed day surgery facilities regulated by Queensland Health. Abortion costs vary, starting at $470. A referral from a GP is not required. All abortions are provided at the clinic doctors' discretion. As part of the intake process the woman must provide informed consent to the procedure. The woman is the only person able to give or refuse consent for her own procedure. Informed consent involves the staff explaining the risks of the procedure to the woman. This is an opportunity for her to ask questions about the procedure and discuss the woman’s health and well-being. There is no legal statute in Queensland that can allow the man involved in the pregnancy to either prevent a pregnant woman seeking abortion to access one, or to force her to do so.

     

    Adoption

    Adoption is a legal process arranged under the Adoption Act 2009 (Qld) where the legal rights and responsibilities for a child are permanently transferred from the birth parents to the child’s adoptive parents.

    Both parents must give their consent in order for an adoption to proceed. Under special circumstances the Children's Court can make an order to dispense with the father's consent, such as where a parent’s identity is unknown, there is a history of domestic violence between the couple, or the biological father cannot be found. After signing an Adoption Consent declaration there is period of 30 days during which consent can be revoked before an adoption order is declared.

    Birth parents, adoptive parents, and the adoptive child are all able to access identifying information when the child turns 18.

     

    Parenting

    The Family Court is responsible for judgements concerning the care of children. Parents or other relatives can make an application for a Parenting Order under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cwlth). The Court can direct parties to mediation or counselling. The Court can make proof of parentage decisions, which may include an order for DNA testing.

    The Magistrates Court is responsible for birth registrations and can amend a child’s birth certificate where paternity evidence is supplied, such as with a statutory declaration or court order.

    The father is legally responsible to share financial support for a child with the mother regardless of the relationship between the parents. If they are not together child support payments can be arranged personally and/or involve the Child Support Agency. The amount will depend upon the care arrangements for the child and the income and circumstances of both parents. It can also be adjusted as circumstances change.

    Paid parental leave is available to either the mother or the father during the child’s first year. Eighteen weeks at the rate of the national minimum wage is payable to a working parent who is staying at home to care for a child. It can be transferred between parents if a change to the primary carer occurs. Other government payments available for the support of children are the Parenting Payment, the Family Tax Benefit, and the Child Care Rebate. Centrelink manages all of these payments and will be able to determine your eligibility.

    Page last modified on: Thursday, 19 September 2013

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