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Cases published June 2020

Family Court of Australia

Joplin & Parkins [2020] FamCA 403 (26 June 2020)

Practice and Procedure – application for a single expert appointed by the Federal Circuit Court to be released from his obligation, now to this Court, as a Chapter 15 Expert in order to give evidence in the applicant’s criminal trial – where an order for the provision of the single expert’s report to the father’s criminal law barristers and solicitors, the Director of Public Prosecutions, NSW Police and the District Court of NSW was made by consent in 2018 – where the single expert received a subpoena, issued on behalf of the applicant, to give evidence about matters informing his report in the District Court of NSW – where the single expert raised concerns as to whether he would be violating his obligations to this Court if he gave evidence in the District Court – where the single expert has a duty to this Court to be an impartial witness – where the single expert’s impartiality is not affected by his giving evidence in response to a subpoena to give evidence in the District Court – application dismissed.

Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Lancefield & Lancefield [2020] FCCA 1674 (29 June 2020)

Parenting – final – at separation mother voluntarily admitted to mental health facility – long term major depressive disorder – mother returns to live with her parents and takes a job in another region of NSW – mother’s mental health significantly improves – parents geographically distant across NSW – interim orders for equal shared parental responsibility and time with mother – father reads and stores mother’s electronic communications and internet searches – father unilaterally and without notice relocates, enrols children in new school and advises new school mother is to have restricted contact with school during litigation and despite interim orders – father has engaged in coercive or controlling behaviour, unilateral exercise of parental responsibility and has controlled and minimised and failed to promote relationship between children and mother – consideration of mother’s low to moderate risk of relapse of a major depressive disorder – consideration of likelihood of a more nurturing environment in mother’s household – consideration of children’s views when one child wants to stay and the other child wants to move – considerations of the benefits of stability of existing residence and risks inherent in a move – finding greatest weight to be given to risks associated with father’s conduct – children’s best interests served by relocation to live primarily with mother – practical difficulties of geographic distance – some school term weekends and half school holidays with father – ancillary orders.

Reece & Seabrook [2020] FCCA 1588 (16 June 2020)

Parenting – mature child expressing views about a change of residence – history of pressure on the child by the father – history of violence by the father – two previous rounds of litigation – any trial would occur when the child is in Year 11 – potential benefit to child from a change of residence for less than two years before he becomes an adult is outweighed by the potential detriment to the child from further litigation – application dismissed in accordance with the principles in Rice and Asplund.

Michaud & Dane [2020] FCCA 1111 (1 June 2020)

Parenting – where each parent raises concerns about the others capacity to parent and risk of harm to the child – where the evidence raises concerns about the mother’s mental health and parenting capacity – orders in the best interests of the child.