Weekly Snapshot Issue: 28 – 17 May 2019

Case we’re discussing…

The question that the family court faced in the case of Nejem & Nejem [2019] was whether a speedy trial would be appropriate in determining opposing applications by the parents in relation to where the children, aged 9 and 6 should live, or alternatively whether it should determine summarily that the children should simply be returned to Africa for parenting orders to be determined there.

The distinction is simply this: should the Family Court in Australia hear and test evidence before it makes a determination or is it in the children’s best interests for these issues to be determined in Africa?

In summary, the case involved a family who held dual citizenship. Since their birth in Australia, the children lived in Africa for significant time but visited Australia annually. The parents operate a safari tour business in Africa however international payments are ordinarily paid into an Australia bank account.  

The parents’ marriage is undeniably troubled and ultimately, after numerous discussions and notices, the mother relocates with the children back to Australia in August 2018. The Father follows them temporarily and retains a Solicitor who writes to put the mother on notice that should she must return the children to Africa for their best interests to be determined there; otherwise he would initiate proceedings in Australia seeking orders to that effect.

The Father did not take legal action but participated to some extent in the children’s lives in Australia (during his limited period in Australia) including drop off and collection from school and extra-curricular activities. There is no doubt that he was made aware that the children were developing roots in Australia.

Ultimately, the mother initiated proceedings in November 2018. The Court found that the father’s inaction could not be classed as very long (especially in comparison to many other cases) but the fact remained that he did not take actual legal steps to return the children to Africa.

Ultimately, the court was of the view that it could neither accept the mother’s application for a speedy trial nor effectively defer the matter to the African courts to determine the children’s best interests.

In addition to the fact that a new status quo was being established in Australia; the court also had to grapple with the mothers’ admission that she would not return to Africa even if the children were ordered to go back. Set against allegations of family violence, the Court found that whilst it was not pleased with the mothers’ unilateral decision to relocate the children; it was not entirely unpredictable nor could have taken the father by surprise. Ultimately it found that a summary hearing was not sufficient to fully canvass the issues at play to determine the best interest of the child and accordingly set down the matter to trial.

Music we’re enjoying…

Beyonce may slay and Cardi B may get the party started; but sometimes the soul needs something a bit more substantive… this week we’re enjoying the talents of Lena Chamamyan; an Eastern artist who writes, produces, plays instruments and sings. This musical powerhouse sings mainly in Arabic, Armenian, Syriac, English, French & Italian.

Her music effortlessly links folkloric music of the Levant with contemporary music. The beauty is that it doesn’t feel stuffy or too foreign and  “world music” – put it on whilst enjoying the afternoon sun rays.

Quote we’re pondering…

Being tolerant does not mean that I share another one’s belief. But does mean that I acknowledged another one’s right to believe, and obey, his own conscience.

–          Victor Frankl.

Medical fact we’re fascinated by…

In Shakespeare’s 39 plays, 10 characters die as a result of strong emotion.  You’ve no doubt heard from multiple sources that grief and heartbreak physically hurts.

Stress cardiomyopathy is a condition in which following exposure to sudden emotional shock; a massive release of stress hormones causes temporary changes in the heart’s blood vessels which leads to reduced heart function and an actual change in the heart’s shape.

The Japanese knew about this a long time ago and found that the heart resembles the shape of a Japanese lobster trap (“tako tsubo”) when in grief; hence naming the condition “Takotsubo’s cardiomyopathy”.  Thankfully the condition can be reversed with huge doses of self-care and medical attention.

Hack we’re trialling…

In an attempt to reduce our phone use time (let’s admit it… we’re referring to Instagram here) we’ve been switching our display settings from full colour to greyscale.

The result? All your favourite apps are colour drained, somewhat life-less and consequently, less addictive and attractive to use. There is a lot of theory behind this hack (see studies on the relationship between bright colours and addiction (e.g. pokies).

Our verdict? It does make social media much less appealing if you are visual sort of person who scrolls for the pictures. This hack won’t affect those obsessed with like/follower numbers or keyboard warriors who linger in the comments section for hours on end. But it will definitely curb any online shopping addiction you may have! 

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