Olney & Lander 2009 FamCAFC 107

A judge restrained a mother and child aged 3 years from relocating more than 20 kilometres from the father’s residence unless the father’s consented (restrained from relocating).  The child spent 5 nights per fortnight with the father.  The mother wanted to relocate 100 km away both to be nearer to her own mother (but she did not provide evidence from her mother) and to pursue a new relationship (re-partnered).

Evidence was quoted from an expert that children in the age range of 3-5 years are generally more able to tolerate separation periods longer than 2 -3 days away from their primary attachment figure without adverse effects as the child is able to maintain a mental image and an internal representation of the parent, provided the parenting is consistent and the child is not exposed to conflict between parents.  A child’s ability to tolerate separations commonly increases to 5 nights at the age of 5 years (age of child).

The mother appealed.  The appeal court found no merit in the appeal, and accepted the discretionary decision of the judge in the case.