Mazurka & Mazurka (2011) FamCAFC 68

A judge ordered a progressive increase (graduated approach) in the number of overnight stays with her father from 1 to 2 overnight stays when the child reached the age of about 2 years (age of child).  The mother was the primary attachment figure as the father had left the relationship before the child was born, and the couple were a high conflict couple where communication was difficult.  The mother made complaints about the quality of care provided by the father that were refuted by the father.  The mother appealed that the judge’s order were not adequately justified.

The appeal court noted that a trial judge must express reasons for decisions that are clear both to parties and to appeal judges, and this had not been adequately done in this case.  The appeal was allowed.

The appeal court noted that judges are permitted to take account of expert opinions expressed by a family consultant only if a report has been submitted as sworn evidence that can be examined by both parties.