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Significant cases published August 2023

Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia – (Division 1)

Paterson & Hamdy (No 3) [2023] FedCFamC1F 629 (31 July 2023)

PARENTING – Where children have not seen or spoken with the father since 2016 – Where father convicted of and jailed for offences – Where children express strong views to not see the father – Where children’s views remain unchanged over three Family Reports – Where mother is the unchallenged residential parent – Where father claims mother has brainwashed the children regarding their views of the father – Where one child turns 18 years soon – Where dispute ultimately concerns younger child.


Stokerton & Stokerton [2023] FedCFamC1F 607 (26 July 2023)

PARENTING – Where there is alleged physical and emotional abuse by both parents – Where the mother failed to comply with directions to file trial material or appear at trial – Where the proceedings conducted on an undefended basis in respect of the mother – Where the children have been living in the care of an older sibling – Orders made with the consent of the father, the ICL and the older sibling – Orders made for children to live with older sibling – Orders made to give older sibling sole parental responsibility.


Watkins & Goddard [2023] FedCFamC1F 603 (14 July 2023)

CRITICAL INCIDENT LIST – Where mother of children allegedly murdered by father – Where father in custody – Where children placed with the maternal grandmother by the police and the Department – Where major long term decisions were required on an urgent basis – Where the maternal grandmother sought parental responsibility for the children – Where interim orders had been made to allow the maternal grandmother to access service providers for the children – Where the Department holds no concerns – Where father has not engaged in proceedings – Final orders made.


Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia – (Division 2)

Letchford & Havel (No 2) [2023] FedCFamC2F 684 (6 June 2023)

PARENTING – interim proceedings –application for the discharge of the Independent Children’s Lawyer – where the mother filed an affidavit without leave – where such affidavit was considered by the Independent Children’s Lawyer – where it is alleged that the Independent Children’s Lawyer is biased, or perceived to be bias – consideration of the statutory duty of an Independent Children’s Lawyer – consideration of the grounds to warrant the removal of an Independent Children’s Lawyer – considerations of whether a fair-minded lay observer might reasonably apprehend that the Independent Children’s Lawyer is biased or impartial – consideration of procedure – best interests of the child.


Esser & Windmarsh [2023] FedCFamC2F 629 (26 May 2023)

CONTRAVENTION – Parenting – contraventions of final parenting orders conceded by the mother – reasonable excuse established – contravention applications dismissed.


Ayton & Ayton [2022] FedCFamC2F 1856 (21 October 2022)

PARENTING – two children aged 12 and 10 – what time if any to be spent with father – what conditions if any to be imposed – whether the father poses an unacceptable risk and if so, whether the risk could be sufficiently mitigated – family violence and conflict – poor emotional dysregulation with little insight into impact – professional supervision for time to be spent quarterly – regular written communication appropriate – prescriptive restraints and injunctions – after older child turns 14, time with father to be at sole discretion of mother – best interests of children.

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