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1: Wands & Vine [2015] FCCA 221 |
Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Contravention, Obstruction of Contact with Child, Parenting Orders
Judges:  Scarlett J


Background: This is an application to deal with the Respondent Mother for contravention of a parenting order, which was one of a series of orders made on 17th December 2013 after a Defendant Hearing. The order provided that the Father would spend time with the child [X] on the Father’s birthday for a period of a number of hours on [date omitted] 2014. That time did not take place. The Mother, with the benefit of legal advice, has conceded that contravention and no reasonable excuse has been established, although I have heard submissions in mitigation from the Mother’s solicitor. 
 
  [Legal Issue]Children – parenting orders – contravention of parenting orders – orders – where mother has previously contravened parenting orders – whether make up time should be allowed – whether injunction should be ordered against the mother in respect of the child’s school.   [Court Orders]The Respondent Mother did on 24 May 2014 without reasonable excuse contravene Order (5)(e) made on 17 December 2013 in that she failed to allow the Father to spend time with the child [X]. In respect of the above contravention the Mother is required to enter into a bond under the provisions of section 70NEC of the Family Law Act 1975 without surety or security for a period of eighteen (18) months on the condition that she abide by all current parenting Orders. By way of make-up time the Ap     


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2: Mitchell & Mitchell [2014] FCCA 2526 |
Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, failure to call witness and Jones & Dunkel inference, Hostile Parental Behaviour, Interim Parenting Orders, Jones & Dunkel inference, Meaningful Relationship, Obstruction of Contact with Child, Parental Alienation, Risk of Psychological Harm, Sole Parental Responsibility, Supervised contact with Child, Unacceptable Risk, With whom a child lives with, With whom a child spends time with
Judges:  Harman JHenderson J


Background: Since separation, the three children lived primarily with their father [Mr Mitchell]. In these proceedings, Mr Mitchell has conceded that he has denied the children their right to a meaningful relationship with their mother, accepted by Mr Mitchell to be a caring and loving relationship, as well as exposing the children to his significant rage and repeated derogatory comments towards his ex-wife and her lesbian partner, while also exposing the children to discussions of adult issues, (such as the mother’s sexuality), which for children of these ages is entirely unnecessary and inappropriate. 
 
  [Legal Issue]These proceedings primarily hinged on the definition of "abuse" and "family violence", and whether the exposure of the children to the father's rage towards his ex-wife, and specifically the repeated derogatory comments towards his ex-wife and her lesbian partner, constitutes child abuse and/or family violence. The evidentiary standard of "Unacceptable Risk" was used to determine whether the risk of future abuse was significant enough to warrant measures.    [Court Orders]The children’s mother [Ms Mitchell] shall have sole parental responsibility of the three children. The three children shall live with their mother. The children’s father [Mr Mitchell] shall spend time with the children from 11am Saturday until 5pm Sunday each alternate weekend.     


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Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Emotional Abuse, Enmeshment, False Allegations of Child Abuse, Hearsay, Meaningful Relationship, Obstruction of Contact with Child, Parental Alienation, Parental Alienation, Risk of Psychological Harm, Supervised contact with Child, Unsubstantiated Allegations
Judges:  Austin J


Background: For three years after separation, children aged 15, 12 and 10 years had at the mother’s insistence spent time with the father only at the mother’s house. The mother then severed all of the children’s interaction with the father for a period and recommenced access only if the father was supervised. The mother proposed that the father be eliminated or excluded from the children’s lives. The father contended the mother had exerted so much pressure upon the children they were induced to reject him and to resist any interaction with him (alienation). The mother contended that she supported the children’s relationships with the father and their individual rejection of him and that the children’s resistance to interacting with the father was due to their own adverse experiences wi 
 
  [Legal Issue]The judge gave little weight to a recommendation by a psychologist who treated the youngest child’s anxiety, that visits by the youngest child with the father should be postponed until the child has built appropriate coping skills to manage his anxiety. The judge preferred the opinion of the family consultant over the opinion of the treating psychologist for reasons including: (a) the psychologist had made only a superficial appraisal of the youngest child’s situation, and (b) documents containing hearsay of the treating psychologist’s opinions were tendered in evidence rather than an affidavit, denying the father the opportunity to test the evidence by cross-examining the psychologist directly (expert evidence unsatisfactory). The family consultant recommended a change of reside   [Court Orders]The judge found that if the two youngest children remained living with the mother then their relationships with the father would likely be destroyed. The judge ordered that the two younger children live with the father. The judge ordered a graduated approach where there was a temporary suspension of interaction between children and mother, followed by temporary period of supervision of the children’s time with the mother, leading to substantial and significant time with the mother.     


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5: Pedrana & Cox [2012] FamCA 739 |
Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Enmeshment, False Allegations of Child Abuse, Obstruction of Contact with Child, Parental Responsibility, Risk of Psychological Harm, Sole Parental Responsibility, Supervised contact with Child, Unsupervised contact with Child, With whom a child lives with, With whom a child spends time with
Judges:  Bell J


Background:  
 
  [Legal Issue]   [Court Orders]     


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6: Green & Hann [2010] FamCA 747 |
Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Communication, Emotional Abuse, Enmeshment, False Allegations of Child Abuse, Obstruction of Contact with Child, Parental Alienation, Parental Responsibility, Parenting Orders, Psychological Disorders, Risk of Psychological Harm, Sole Parental Responsibility, Supervised contact with Child, Unsubstantiated Allegations, With whom a child lives with
Judges:  Cleary J


Background: The parties began a relationship when Ms Green was 12 and Mr Hann was 16 years old. They married in 1993. Two children were born of the marriage. The parties separated in 2004 when the children were aged about 3 ½ years and 18 months old respectively. The children then lived with their mother and spent regular time with their father, including overnight time. Contact between the children and their father proceeded without incident until 2009. However in 2009, the children began to exhibit challenging and concerning behaviour both at school and towards the father.  
 
  [Legal Issue]In 2009, the children began to exhibit challenging and concerning behaviour both at school and towards the father. The Court has found that this behaviour was encouraged by the mother, who had formed an unhealthy dependence on the children. As a result, the Court found that there should be a change of residence, from the mother to the father.    [Court Orders]there should be a change of residence; there should be a period of time when there is limited supervised time with the mother to enable them to settle down in the father’s household and to begin to understand all the changes in their lives; the children’s behaviour, especially C’s, needs ongoing therapeutic intervention. I find that the mother would not facilitate this but the father and his extended family will; communication between the parties may improve after the mother takes     


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Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Allegations of Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, False Allegations of Child Abuse, Hostile Parental Behaviour, Obstruction of Contact with Child, Parental Alienation, Parental Alienation, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychological, Risk of Psychological Harm, Unacceptable Risk, Unsubstantiated Allegations, With whom a child spends time with
Judges:  Bennett J


Background: This is a case of an Anglo-Australian father and a Chinese-born mother. There was a high level of parental conflict during and after the breakdown of the relationship. After separation, the mother and father lived in separate states. They had two children aged 11 and 9. The father had then re-partnered. In dispute over 'contact with the children' after separation, the mother made allegations of child sexual abuse against the father. She also made allegations of physical violence by the father against her and the children. These allegations were found to be baseless, contrived and pre-meditated by the Court. The mother also engaged in behaviour intended to incite hatred in the children against the father. This alienation proceeded to a degree where the children did not want t 
 
  [Legal Issue]Despite the findings of the Court against the mother, the Court had to address how it was going to deal with the intense "antipathy" that the children felt towards their father, to the point where they threatened self-harm if they were forced to see him. The Court found the children to be “articulate, forthright and self-assured adolescents.” In that context, the threat of self-harm if made to spend time with the father must be given sufficient weight as a likely outcome if contact with the father was forced onto the children. The Court concluded that imposing a “solution” on the children without deference to their views would at least compromise their development and, possibly, inspire the threatened self-harm.    [Court Orders]His Honour ordered equal shared parental responsibility, but that the children live with the mother and spend no time with the father. However, the Judge ordered a "post orders program", as recommended by the supervising family consultant with a view to the girls, being reunited with their father as soon as practicable. (this program subsequently failed: re: Wang & Dennison (No. 2) [2009] FamCA 1251) The judge also requested that a family consultant be nominated to supervise compliance with t     


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9: Goode & Goode [2006] FamCA 1346 |
Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Appeal, Equal Parenting Time, Equal Shared Parental Responsibility, Interim Parenting Orders, Parenting Orders, Shared Parenting, Sole Parental Responsibility, Substantial and Significant Time
Judges:  Boland JBryant CJFinn J


Background: The parties were married in July 1996 and although there was a separation in December 1999 they finally separated in late May 2006. While there was some dispute as to the circumstances of the separation, the facts allowed the judge at first instance to find that the appellant father chose to leave the matrimonial home and bring the marriage to an end. Thereafter there was some dispute as to what happened in relation to the care of the children. Collier J recorded that the respondent mother asserted that after a period of time the parties reached an agreement and the appellant father commenced spending time with the children on each alternate weekend. The appellant father’s case was that the respondent mother removed the children from him and made it very difficult for him to have 
 
  [Legal Issue]This is an appeal by the father against a decision for interim orders. In this case the Judge in the previous decision did not apply the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility, as stipulated in the family law act, nor did he consider what was in the child's best interests, as listed in the primary and additional considerations in the family law act. Instead the Judge applied the principle previously determined in Cowling v Cowling [1998] FamCA 19, commonly referred to as the "Status Quo". The principle of Status Quo determined that if a child was in a well-settled environment, the child's arrangements should not be altered. As such, the Judge determined that in interim hearings, the Status Quo should be the prevailing principle, not what was determined to be in the    [Court Orders]The Full Court of the Family Court determined that the appeal was successful, and that: (1) The presumption that an order for equal shared parental responsibility will be in the child’s best interests still applies in interim cases, even if neither party asks for such an order. (2) Where that presumption is applied, the Court must still, at an interim hearing, consider the practicality of the child spending equal time with each of the parents under Section 65AA of the Act. (3) Even wh     


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