Weekly Snapshot Issue: 61 – 24 January 2020

Case we’ve reviewed…

What happens when tragedy strikes and a parent passes away? Can the surviving parent automatically assume that the child must live with him/her?

Not necessarily…

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia faced such a dilemma in the case of Hearn & Sempers [2017] FCCA 3357. In this case; a young boys’ life was turned upside down when he was 11 years old and his mother died suddenly in a car accident.

Up until then; he had been living with his mother, step-father and two step-brothers. He had had regular time with his biological father. The boys’ mother and father had a very short relationship and separated prior to the boys’ birth; but the father maintained contact with his son and was an active and important person in his life.

Very soon after the mothers’ funeral; the boys’ biological father approached the step-father at the boys’ first day back at school and more or less demanded that the boy begins living with him rather than the step-father and step-brothers.

The step-father refused and so the biological father initiated parenting proceedings.

Judge Terry methodologically approached the case and considered each factor pursuant to section 60CC (2) and (3) of the Family Law Act before reaching his Judgement.

The Judge found that the boy had been residing with the step-father since he was 18 months old. Further to this, his cousin lived next door and his paternal grandparents lived in the same town as the step-father. The boy had established an extensive network of relatives and friends in the town in which he lived.

During an interview with the Family Report writer; the child expressed a wish to remain living with the step-father and his stepbrothers and continue seeing the paternal grandmother. As for his father, the child categorically stated that he would like to see his father every 3 rd weekend.

The Court reiterated the well-established rule as set out in Rice & Millerand later on in Alridge & Keaton that parenthood in and of its does not give a person priority when it comes to determining the parenting arrangements which should be made for a child.

In this case; the Court was of the view that whatever the biological father was offering by having the child live with him did not outweigh the risk of the child not adapting to his new life (especially following the tragedy of losing his mother) and being so far away from his step-father, stepbrothers, paternal grandmother, relatives and friends.

The Court found that the child’s relationship with his biological father would not be jeopardised by maintaining the status quo and continuing to live with his step-father.

Accordingly; the Court made orders for the step-father and biological father to have shared parental responsibility; for the child to live with the step-father and to spend regular time with his biological father and paternal grandmother.

Success Hack…

“Done is better than perfect”.

Ted talk we’ve revisited…

We may have mentioned Richard Fidler’s fascinating talk on Ted previously – and it’s definitely one that we find ourselves revisiting from time to time when we feel like we’re stuck and craving something to rejuvenate our interest in life and reignite our curiosity.

The “Power of Curiosity” reminds us that the world has an embarrassment of riches – and we should try to saviour and experience as many as we can.

Funny adage…

Everyone wants a “spiritual woman” until she’s pissed off. Now she’s a witch and you’re scared.

Masters of Success…