Shared Parental Responsibility – Relocation from Southern NSW to Darwin Allowed

In Larsson & Casey [2016] FamCA 971 the Court allowed relocation of child B to Darwin under the primary care of his mother. The parties had two children, “C” (born 2002) and “B” (born 2006), and separated in 2007. Initially, both of the children lived with the mother, however, as of 2012 C began living with the father. In 2014 the parents started living 500 kilometres apart, B living with the mother and C living with the father.

The mother had remarried to Mr Larsson and had two children from the new relationship. The mother wanted to take B with her to Darwin. The father, however, opposed relocation of B, proposing that if the mother moved to Darwin, B should also live with him.

The Court stated that as per the original decision the father was to have the primary care of C and the mother to have the primary care of B. This decision was made considering that each of the parents having sufficient parenting capacity, and it was in the best interests of both B and C.

The High Court in MRR v GR (2010) 240 CLR 461 stated that the court must make a decision in relation to reasonable practicability before it is open for the court to make an order for equal time in terms of parental access to a child. In the current case reasonable practicability did not allow either equal time nor substantial and significant time to be spent by each of the parents.

The Court also considered the case of Morgan & Miles FamCA 1230 to point that it is highly desirable that arrangements not be determined in the abridged context of an interim hearing. This is relevant specifically in cases of relocation, the question of stability may be relevant on an interim basis. It is open for the court to consider other options as long as the parties are given procedural fairness as per the case of U & U [2002] HCA 36.

Additionally, until the commencement of the proceedings B was living with his mother, Mr Larsson and his two younger siblings. Evidence indicated that B has a close relationship with his younger siblings and was functioning well under the primary care of his mother. The relationship with his father and brother was maintained during school holidays. If B relocated to Darwin there would be no change in the time he spends with his father and brother during school holidays. The mother proposed to cover any expense for B to spend time with his father and C.

In determining a decision, the Court ultimately took into consideration that moving to Darwin would not involve substantial change in the time B spends with his father and C. It involved no change to the time C spends with his mother. The move was held to be consistent with the best interests of B and C. Therefore, orders were made for C to live with the father and for B to relocate with the mother to Darwin.

Leave a Reply