Collivas & Cassimatis 2007 FMCAfam 293

The parents originated from European cultures and had two children aged 16 and 14 years.  The parenting arrangement for one child had been in place for ten years.  The father submitted changed circumstances and sought more time with the children.  The mother wanted the application to be dismissed summarily.

The father submitted the following changes in circumstances: the father worked less hours and had more time to spend with the children; he had re-partnered and had a new child; the children had expressed a wish for a shared care arrangement (child’s wishes); the children were older; the mother had informed the children that if a shared care arrangement was agreed then she would move to another country; and the children belonged to the Greek culture that emphasised time spent with extended family.

The court noted that a judge has discretion on whether the deal with the matter in a preliminary/threshold manner or to hear evidence.

The judge did not consider that age of children alone, or changing whims of children under the influence of a parent, reflect a significant change of circumstances.  The fact that a parent has more time to spend with children does not establish that this is in the best interests of the child.  A parent re-partnering and having another child did not pass the threshold test.

The judge found that the preliminary threshold test for changed circumstances had not been passed, and the application was dismissed.