Likely Outcomes of a Family Law Parenting Matter

3 real Family Law case studies detailing the circumstances, recommended steps to take and outcomes for those going through a Parenting matter.

Case Study One – What to do when your former partner wants you and your child to move to a different State.

Molly has left Perth to spend a year backpacking around the east coast of Australia. She meets Max in Sydney (Max’s hometown) and they start a relationship. Three (3) months later, Molly falls pregnant. Molly is anxious to return to Perth where her entire family and support network resides. Molly and Max decide to relocate to Perth by the time Molly is six (6) months pregnant to establish themselves permanently in preparation for the birth.

Molly sees her Obstetrician for the last time before they depart for Perth. The Obstetrician informs Molly that she cannot fly as she is at significant risk of deep vein thrombosis, posing a risk to herself and the baby. Molly regretfully remains in Sydney until after the birth of the baby when she is cleared to travel.

Molly and Max travel to Perth when the baby is eight (8) weeks old. After a week there, Max decides that he wants to return to live in Sydney and insists that Molly and the baby return with him. Molly refuses to return with him wanting to remain with her family. The relationship breaks down and they separate.

On Max’s return to Sydney, he starts Court proceedings for Molly and the baby’s return to Sydney. Max is initially successful and Interim Orders are made for Molly to return to Sydney, however, at final hearing, Molly’s Family Lawyer establishes to the Court that it would not be in the baby’s best interests to return to Sydney without her, as the baby’s primary attachment figure, and that she is unable to leave Perth due to her reliance on her support network there. Further, the Court is satisfied that the baby will continue a meaningful relationship with Max through frequents visits by Max to Perth, which he is readily able to afford.

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Case Study Two – What to do when you separate and your children are younger than 4 years old.

Grant and George have 2-year-old twins at the time of separation. Grant works in Sales for an IT company and works long hours. He is also required to travel interstate at least twice a month in his role.

George has been the primary carer for the twins since their birth by surrogate and thereafter has taken time off work to care for them full time. He has taken care of almost all the twins’ care needs since their birth, with Grant assisting where he can when he is not at work.

On separation, Grant moves out of the home and rents a unit close by. The fathers consider that the twins are too young to spend more than one (1) night a fortnight away from George, as their primary attachment figure, however, they agree that Grant should spend as much time with the twins as his work permits. The fathers come to an arrangement where the twins spend time with Grant from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon each fortnight, and also during two (2) afternoons each week from 4pm to 6pm when Grant’s work permits.

The fathers agree to revisit this arrangement when the twins are four (4) years old with a view to increasing their time with Grant.

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Case Study Three – What to do when your former Partner has a drug or alcohol problem and wants to see the children.

At the time of separation, Simone and Steven have three (3) children, aged ten (10), seven (7) and four (4) years old. The separation has mainly been due to Simone’s ongoing use of methamphetamine, which has caused Simone to experience psychotic episodes leading to her violent conduct around the children and Steven.

Steven leaves Simone, taking the children with him. He tells her she cannot spend any time with the children until she can prove that she is clean of drugs and alcohol. Simone rejects this proposal and starts Court proceedings seeking the primary care of the children.

At the time of the Court proceedings, Simone is still taking methamphetamine and smoking marijuana. Steven’s lawyer seeks an Order that Simone produce at least three (3) months of blood test results to the Court showing that she is clean of drugs and alcohol before she spends any time with the children, which is to be firstly day time only, supervised for six (6) months with the requirement for clean drug and alcohol tests continuing through this period.

The Court grants this Order. Simone produces three (3) months of clean blood tests and commences time with the children supervised by her parents. After a further two (2) months, Simone misses a drug test and, pursuant to the Orders, her time with the children stops. She produces a further three (3) months of clean tests and supervised time with the children recommences.

She continues her sobriety throughout the six (6) months of supervised time and the Court requirement for supervision is removed. She starts unsupervised day time visits with the children and progresses to overnight time without any relapse. She continues her sobriety and builds the children’s time with her over the next three (3) years to equal time, shared with Steven, in a week about arrangement.

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The information in this article is not legal advice and is intended to provide commentary and general information only. It should not be relied upon or used as a definitive or complete statement of the relevant law. You should obtain formal legal advice specific to your particular circumstance. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Solicitor Director
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner