Dylan & Dylan 2008 FamCAFC 109

A father wanted to increase time with his two children aged 15 years and 10.5 years while the children preferred the status quo.  The mother agreed to the children’s time with the father increasing by one day.   The judge noted that genuine and serious judicial consideration must be given to the child’s wishes and to the stated preferences of a teenage child.

The judge considered that the children’s views reflected the regrettable post-separation events and may also reflect projected ongoing anxieties of their mother, suspicions or even hostility.  The judge ruled that the children spend increased time with their father, against recommendations of the ICL, family consultant and child psychiatrist.  The mother appealed. The appeal was not supported.

The judge stated that a pattern of dominant maternal involvement during a marriage is not an argument against increasing paternal involvement after separation. Mothers and fathers interact differently with their children in some ways but similarly in others (personality domineering).  Lack of experience itself does not suggest disinterest or incompetence (parental attitude).

A trial judge commented that typically shared care arrangements occur where children are of primary school age between five and 12 years (age of child)