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Cases published September 2017

Family Court of Australia

Vesey & Lygon [2017] FamCA 717 (15 September 2017)
Parenting – allegations of abuse – where both the mother and father have a long history of illicit substance abuse – where the mother and father have criminal convictions – where the father has intellectual impairments and an anxiety disorder with depressive features – where the mother has schizoaffective disorder – where the mother makes allegations that the father raped the children – Court found that the children have suffered significant harm of a detrimental effect to their physical, psychological and/or emotional wellbeing due to the actions of both the mother and father – Court found there is an unacceptable risk of future harm to the children – where the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services have been requested to remove the children from the mother.

Tarelli & Langley and Anor [2017] FamCA 708 (14 September 2017)
Parenting – interim orders – best interests – where the Department of Family and Community Services has intervened in the proceedings – where the Department urgently seeks parental responsibility and care of the child – where there are serious concerns as to the mother’s mental health and personality functioning – where objective evidence reveals a risk that the mother’s parenting capacity is diminished by her mental health issues and personality dysfunction – where the child has a limited relationship with the father – where the father has been assessed as being able to provide for the needs of the child – where the Department proposes to supervise the father’s care of the child – where it is appropriate to make orders for the department to have parental responsibility and determine the child’s live with arrangements – orders made accordingly.

Merritt & Merritt [2017] FamCA 694 (12 September 2017)
Child abuse – Magellan – best interests – where there are allegations that the father sexually abused the parties’ daughter – where the child has made disclosures about the father – where the father denies any sexual abuse – whether the father presents an unacceptable risk – where an order is made that the father spend no time with the children.


Tien & Biggens [2017] FamCA 652 (25 August 2017)
Costs – Independent Children’s Lawyer’s costs – where consideration of general principles – where appropriate that order be made for father to pay contribution to the Independent Children’s Lawyer’s costs.


Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Bronson & May (No.2) [2017] FCCA 2317 (25 September 2017)
Parenting – final parenting orders made in 2015 providing for the father’s time with the children to be supervised or with a person in substantial attendance subject to agreement by the mother – final orders do not provide for a review mechanism of supervision arrangements – the father filed Initiating Application for new parenting orders – the mother seeks that the Initiating Application be dismissed on basis of Rice & Asplund principle – held that it is in the best interests of the children to allow litigation to re-commence.


Sandex & Bondir (No.2) [2017] FCCA 2142 (7 September 2017)
Parenting – mother’s application that the Independent Children’s Lawyer be dismissed – the Mother alleges collusion and collaboration between the father, the father’s legal representatives, the Family Report Writer and the Independent Children’s Lawyer – the mother alleges inappropriate conduct by the Independent Children’s Lawyer.
Held – application dismissed – determination that the Independent Children’s Lawyer acted properly, professionally and appropriately discharged her obligations as Independent Children’s Lawyer.