Aldridge & Keaton 2009 FamCAFC 229

A mother joined for 11 months in a same sex relationship with another woman over the time when her child was born.  The pair separated, and the other woman sought an order for equal shared parental responsibility and for the child to spend time with her.  The trial judge declined to make both orders but did make an order for the child to spend time with the other woman.  The mother appealed against the order.

An expert noted that it would be beneficial for the child to be exposed to a parenting style different to that employed by the mother.

The appeal court noted that the critical test for non-biological relatives is not whether the pair have cohabitated, but whether the applicant was concerned with the care, welfare and development of the child; and whether an arrangement was in the best interests of the child.  There is no presumption in favour of a biological parent nor any presumption in favour of the biological mother where the child is female, as each case turns uniquely on its own facts as determined by the trial judge, with no hierarchy determined by law.

The appeal was dismissed.