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Cases published April 2020

Family Court of Australia – Full Court

Padanowska & Padanowski [2020] FamCAFC 97 (23 April 2020)

Interim parenting – where interim parenting orders were made after the primary judge made a finding on disputed and untested evidence – where the finding was critical to other findings made by the primary judge as to what was in the best interests of the children – where the appellant mother was not given the opportunity to have a hearing on the issue which led to the critical finding – appeal allowed and matter remitted for rehearing by a judge other than the primary judge – costs certificates granted.

Zuen & Lhao [2020] FamCAFC 84 (17 April 2020)

Parenting – family violence – appeal by mother against parenting orders providing for the parties’ teenaged child to live with the father – where family violence alleged by the mother and generally denied by the father was a central issue at trial – where the primary judge failed to indicate whether he accepted or rejected much of the mother’s evidence – findings of fact – inadequacy of reasons – role model – where expert evidence of the risk of psychological harm to the child in the father’s care went unremarked – best interests of a child is a comparative evaluation – relevant considerations – appeal allowed – matter remitted for rehearing – independent children’s lawyer and engagement with the child.

Costs – costs certificates issued to the mother and the independent children’s lawyer for the appeal and to all parties for the rehearing.

Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Levens & Gaisford [2020] FCCA 810 (9 April 2020)

Parenting – mother having died in car accident – nine year old boy having four half siblings – two other half-siblings living at home – the three younger half-siblings cared for by the maternal grandparents after the mother’s death – the three half-siblings living at home each having a different father – younger half-sibling moving to live with his father by consent – older half-sibling remaining with maternal grandparents by consent – nine year old boy the subject of the proceeding told as a child that his father did not want him – father not knowing of boy’s existence until he was four years old – father living nine hours’ drive away – father spending limited amount of time with nine year old boy since learning of his existence, but now seeking that child live with him and that he have sole parental responsibility – family consultant particularly concerned about boy’s psychological development and identity formation, in circumstances where he was told his father did not want him – family consultant considering that sibling bonds secondary to parental bond, in circumstances where boy has only one surviving parent and where he was told his father did not want him.

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