Maldera & Orbel 2014 FamCAFC 135

A boy lived with his parents until he was aged 4 years and then lived with his maternal grandmother.  After 8 years the grandmother applied for formalise the arrangement.  The father had maintained weekly contact with his son for the recent period.  The father cited changed circumstances as he had re-partnered into a new relationship with three children, and he applied for the child to live with him.  The mother could not be located.

The child did not express any strong preference about which household to live in (child’s wishes).  The father objected to the child spending time with the grandmother.

The judge noted there is no legal presumption in favour of children living with their biological parent.

The judge ordered that the child live with the father.  The grandmother appealed, saying that the judge had not ordered an investigation by a family consultant.  The grandmother’s appeal was upheld and a re-hearing ordered.


Child’s Wishes

The judge ruled that a child’s wishes should not be assessed in a superficial way (assess child’s wishes).