Relocation to outskirts of city
Typically, when we hear of relocation matters it involves one parent proposing to relocate the residence of the child interstate or overseas but relocation matters also arise where one parent may wish to relocate a child’s residence within the same city or outskirts of a city.
The Full Court of the Family Court recently considered such a proposal where the mother proposed to relocate the couple’s 6-year-old son’s residence from a suburb in Melbourne to a town just outside of Melbourne. The father lived in a suburb on the other side of Melbourne and prior to the mother moving, the driving distance between the mother’s and father’s residence in Melbourne was 30 to 40 minutes. The mother’s proposal to change the residence of the child would mean that this driving distance would increase to some 80 to 130 minutes.
Both parties agreed that it was in the ‘best interests’ of the child for the child to continue to live with the mother. The father wanted the mother to maintain the child’s current residence in Melbourne.
The mother obtained a court order at trial in the Family Court that she be allowed to relocate the child’s residence to the town outside Melbourne. The father appealed this decision on a number of grounds, primarily, on specific findings that the trial judge had made and how they affected the judge’s exercise of discretion.
On appeal the Full Court of the Family Court found that the father had not been able to establish any error on behalf of the trial judge and the appeal was dismissed with the father having to pay costs to the mother.
What is important from this decision is that every case will turn on its facts and the judge has the discretion to make an order for relocation after consideration of all the facts and each parties’ competing proposals
Ultimately the trial judge considered all of the proposals and concentrated on the effect of those proposals on the welfare of the child.
If you are proposing to relocate it is best to get legal advice first, before taking any steps to relocate. The paramount consideration for the court is the ‘best interests’ of the child when considering a relocation case. You should obtain legal advice prior to relocating a child’s residence.
Each matter is unique and needs to be addressed according to your personal circumstances and needs. To speak with one of our experienced family lawyers, please contact our Brisbane office today. Call us on (07) 3221 4300 to organise a no-obligation initial appointment at a fixed-cost. We will be happy to assist in person, over the phone or by Skype.