Weekly Snapshot Issue: 27- 10 May 2019

Case we’re discussing…

In the recent case of Elias & Elias, the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia deliberated two recurring issues in family law matters; a) the impact of family violence on the primary care giver’s own capacity to care for the child and b) whether there is any distinction between the phrases “supervised spend time” and “spend time in the presence of” … 

By way of background, this case involved multiple allegations of family violence. The primary judge did not accept many of the mother’s allegations of family violence but placed significant weight on coercive and controlling behaviour of the father, including recording many conversations with the mother without her consent. 

The court at first instance and on appeal accepted that the father suffered from mental health issues and was at risk of further psychotic episodes in the future. 

On appeal, the full court found that the primary judge had not erred in determining that the child would be at an unacceptable risk in the unsupervised care of the father (in light of the father’s mental health and the fact that he has perpetrated some family violence against the mother). The primary judge goes on to say that “Even if I am wrong about this view, I accept Dr. DD’s (expert psychiatrist) opinion that the mother’s high level of anxiety is unlikely to abate if she perceives that the child will be required to spend time with the father in circumstances which she would regard as not being safe for him…. I also have the view that the child’s best interests require him to have a primary parent who is functioning as parent at the best level possible. 

As to the distinction between “supervised spend time” and “spend time in the presence of”; the Full Court noted that these phrases are not terms of art that have different meanings. The ordinary meaning of both suggests constant presence is required of a person overseeing the child while they spend time with the parent. In particular, they found that the phrase “in the presence of” does not entail a lesser form of supervision [which would permit for example in this case, the child to be left alone with the father for significant periods of time] than “supervised spend time”.

Ted Talk we are watching…

For years, we’ve been telling ourselves and everyone we know that the best way to deal with the stress is to talk about it.

Once again it seems we’re right and this theory is backed by research. In her 2013 Ted Talk, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal teaches that stress is not the enemy we perceive it to be. What makes stress dangerous, she says, is the way we choose to perceive it. Instead of perceiving your bodies stress responses as necessarily bad, you should train yourself to view your body’s stress response as your body rising to the challenge and preparing you for what is coming. Only then, she goes on, can you develop a healthier approach to coping with stress. 

She continues by stating that studies performed support the conclusion that when you experience stress, Oxytocin or what is often referred to as the hug or love hormone, is released.  This, she says, is your bodies way of nudging you to tell someone how you feel. Talk about your stress instead of bottling it up. Kelly presents a very insightful perceptive on stress: ‘When you choose to view your body’s stress response as helpful you create the biology of courage’.

Article we are reading…

Melinda Gates is the other half of the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. With over $45 billion dollars donated to different causes, her philanthropic work is next to known. Melinda has recently included Author to her CV with the release of her book The Moment of Lift: How empowering Women changes the World

In this article, she sits down with singer John Legend to discuss her work and her vision for the future of woman all over the world. Be inspired. 

Quote we’re pondering…

“There are only two people who can tell you the truth about yourself: an enemy who has lost his temper and a friend who loves you dearly”.


Life hack we are loving… 

In keeping with our healthy living inspiration, one of the promises we keep making and breaking is to increase our water intake. We feel this hack helped. 

Mark your water bottles at hourly increments to ensure you are drinking the recommended 2ltrs per day. 

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