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1: Groth & Banks [2013] FamCA 430 |
Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Biological Father, In Vitro Fertilisation, Mitochondrial Transfer, Sperm Donation
Judges:  Cronin J


Background: The parties in this dispute lived together as a couple for six months before breaking up in 2002. After separation, they remained friends and the man agreed to donate sperm so that the woman could undergo IVF treatment. The man had also signed a document acknowledging that he had no legal claim to any child born of his sperm donation. However, the man did attend the birth of the child and visited the child regularly, effectively bonding with the child as father and son. This was the case until the relationship between the man and his former partner deteriorated in late 2011, after he revealed that he had a new girlfriend. The woman had since prevented the man from seeing the child. As a result of this, the man launched legal proceedings seeking to re-establish contact with his son, a 
 
  [Legal Issue]The woman argued that according to the Status of Children Act 1974 (Vic), there is an irrebuttable presumption that the party donating the sperm that results in an IVF pregnancy is not legally considered the father of the child. The judge however found that this legislation was irrelevant, as it relied on the sperm donor being effectively "unknown" or "anonymous", where in this case the man had developed a meaningful parental bond with the child. Even if the legislation was relevant, the man would still comply with the definition of “parent” under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), the judge argued, and concluded that despite any potential conflict between the State and Commonwealth legislation, that the Commonwealth law would still prevail, as per Section 109 of the Constitution.    [Court Orders]IT IS ORDERED (1) That the applicant and the respondent have equal shared parental responsibility concerning the major long-term decisions for the child. (2) That the child live with the mother with routine stays with his father, encompassing every second weekend and a few hours every Wednesday, once the child reaches school age.     


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2: 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: Blood Transfusions, Cancer, Medical, Parens Patriae, Parental Responsibility, Parental Rights, Religious Beliefs, Special Medical Procedure
Judges:  White J


Background: A 10 year-old South Australian boy was suffering from an aggressive form of cancer that doctors feared would spread throughout his entire body if not treated with an intense 39-week regime of chemotherapy and surgery. The speed of that process would not have allow his blood cells time to regenerate, require blood transfusions so that the chemotherapy can continue to be effective. In a statement read to the court, the boy said transfusions carried spiritual consequences. "The doctors have told me I might die and I don't want to - but I don't want blood," he said. "The blood will change me... when you take blood, you are taking someone else's life. "I really don't want this and my heart is ripping apart." On May 10, doctors discovered a tumour in his left leg. The boy co 
 
  [Legal Issue]The hospital asked the Supreme Court of South Australia to invoke its power of parens patriae, allowing it to look after those incapable of looking after themselves, in order to rule on behalf of the child in this dilemma between religious beliefs and the very real risk of death if a blood transfusion was not permitted, despite the child's parents objections to the blood transfusion.   [Court Orders]In a South Australian legal first, the Supreme Court gave the Women's and Children's Hospital the right to give a 10-year-old boy - a member of the Jehovah's Witness faith - transfusions as part of his cancer treatment, despite the objections from the boy's family. The decision, in line with similar rulings from around the world, paves the way for hospitals to take action in future debates with religious parents.     


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Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Appeal, Biological Mother, Birth Mother, Contravention, Meaningful Relationship, Non-Parent, Parentage, Parental, Parental Rights, Parenting Orders, Relocation, Same Sex Parents, Same Sex Relationship, Step Parent
Judges:  Coleman JJarrett FMMay JWarnick J


Background: Two women had lived in an intimate relationship for 9 years and two children were born during this time using IVF, with each woman being the biological parent of one child (same sex relationship). One woman then left the relationship taking her birth child with her. Orders were issued for the two children to spend significant time with the other woman and to see their sibling. One woman then relocated further away making the order impractical and the other woman appealed arguing that the first woman was not facilitating an ongoing meaningful relationship between her and the child whom she considered that she had parented.  
 
  [Legal Issue]Each woman claimed to be a parent of the other’s child, although the trial judge found to the contrary as only a biological parent or an adoptive parent meets the legal definition of being a parent. Both women submitted that each child regarded each of the women as a mother. The Appeal Court found that if a child is born by an artificial conception procedure while the woman is married to a man and the procedure is carried out with the joint consent of both adults, then the child is their child for the purposes of the Act, or both the woman and man are parents of the child. The Appeal Court supported the ruling by the trial judge that the women were not parents of the child whom they did not give birth to (non-parent). The appeal was dismissed.   [Court Orders]The Appeal Court supported the ruling by the trial judge that the women were not parents of the child whom they did not give birth to (non-parent). The appeal was dismissed.     


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