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Second Last Class Notes

Law Notes > Family Law Notes

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Second last class

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Mathieson: talks about some of the arguments commonly talked about and used in parenting disputes on page 29. Wife left with the youngest child out of three kids, without leaving her address, and took a while for the husband to find her, 18 months for the case to be heard. The child was only 6. She claimed that the father made her leave home, his drinking and frequently away from home. There was a large age gap between the younger and older children. The best interests of the child are paramount under s 60CA. Father argued that siblings should be kept together. Continuity and stability is good for kids - the status quo. Reuniting the kids of the family is also important. There are no legal rules or legal presumptions about status quo, mothers or siblings - the only legal rule is the best interests of the child is paramount under s 60CA. Refers to a case called Arabi on page 32 (check on this). Both parents displayed parenting capacity. Page 34 the judge says something curious in the second column - in this case there might be some dispute about where the true status quo exists in order to determine the matter at all. Mum attained an advantage taking the child secretly and everything that happened since is because of things beyond the father's control. The 18 months has gone by because of circumstances beyond the father's control. It is inappropriate to talk about status quo in a situation of this type (you do not want parents to take children without consent or knowledge of the other partner - this is reading between the lines of the case). Non-seperation of the children was the argument favoured by the judge. Schenck: Father took the child when it was one year old from their home in Norway and came to Australia, without telling mum. Took 2 years to come to court and father argued that the child had become Australian and now it is in his best interest to stay. The mum argued that the child was 'kidnapped.' The justice of the situation as between the parents was found to be subordinate - it is the interests of the child. The father acted irresponsibly, insensitively, and compounded that by concealing the whereabouts of the child. The court's concern is not justice between the parties - it is the child and his welfare. The findings favour the father over the mother in how he has cared for the child in the past. Proposals for the future favour the father who is more stable, and the mother is more uncertain, even if this was partially due to him taking the child. Nevertheless, welfare of the child is paramount. Father gets the child. [note: taking a child may not always be for selfish reasons - today there would be an international convention that would be relevant like Hague Convention on the Abduction of Children to which Australia and Norway are parties]. In the Marriage of Horman (1976): The parents were disputing how the kids were being brought up. Both parents had different life styles. The child is 7 or 8 and has a good relationship with both parents. Who would be the best day to day parent and the arrangements for contact with the other parent were at issue. The husband had wacky religious views, but it is not that which made the court give custody to the wife; It was that he wanted them to live in a hut in remote circumstances, without any real financial support without intention to work and that he will continue to indulge in drugs - this would endanger the welfare of the child. The choice that the TJ made was it was better for the child to stay in suburban Brisbane, rather than the uncertainty of up in the hills. Contact was agreed upon though and the terms and conditions on the undertakings (meant to prevent dangers occurring to the child) were that they could not do drugs in the child's presence and the dad had to surrender his passport to the registrar of the court. In the Marriage of Patsalou: The husband admitted to domestic violence against the child but denied ever being violent to the child. The parents had joint parental responsibility (used to be called joint custody). Day to day care was given to the mother - i.e. contact. Dad appealed, wanting to be the day to day parent. Dad did not deny he had been violent to the mother. The making of derogatory remarks by one party to another and inflicting violence on one party by another are relevant for child custody and any person

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