Gilmour & Lennon 2015 FamCAFC 166

A mother relocated with a child aged 12 years without the father’s consent.  A trial judge supported an application by the father and made an interim order for the mother and child to return to be near to the father.

The parents had equal shared parental responsibility.  The father had previously seen the child every fortnight and the mother proposed that this change to monthly contact reducing the father’s time with the child from 83 to 71 nights per year, and proposed that the child’s travel increase by two hours per trip.  No evidence was presented about the child’s views.

Both parents were described as good, highly functioning, caring, and loving parents.  The trial judge found that the proposed relocation ran a risk that the relationship between the child and her father might deteriorate, and the trial judge decided to avoid this risk by maintaining the current arrangement in the meantime.

The appeal judge found that best interests of children are values, not facts, and that this involves discretionary judgments.

The mother submitted that the child was now 12 years of age (age of child), had an established relationship with the father and that the reduction of time would have little effect on their relationship.

The appeal judge found that no error had been established and the mother’s appeal was dismissed.