Do Parents Always Know Best?

A recent hearing before the Family Court bought a stirring summary by the Judge of some of the difficulties faced by the Court in making decisions on a child’s future.

The Judge in explaining the reasons for the decisions being made in the case stated that when a relationship breaks down and there is a child of that relationship, it is in the best interests of that child if its parents can reach agreement about how they parent the child. Typically, the parents of the child know that child better than any other person does, putting them in the optimum position to be able to make decisions that are in the best interests of that child. Difficulties often emerge when, following separation, the parents are unable to communicate with each other, or one or both of the parents act in a way, consciously or unconsciously, that undermines the child’s relationship with the other parent.

Seems to summarise so well the difficulties put before the Court.

The Judge later stated that litigation in the Court certainly does not always result in outcomes that parties hope for. In parenting cases, seldom is the outcome one that satisfies even one parent completely. That is the nature of parents putting decision making about their parenting in the hands of the Court.

The father involved in the case told the court in no uncertain terms that he would accept nothing less than equal shared parental responsibility and an equal time care arrangement and if he did not get that he would not rest until he did, foreshadowing appeals all the way to the High Court as well as further political activism until he achieved the only outcome that he would accept. The Judge ordered that the child continue to live with the mother and spend limited supervised time with the father and any change should only come with demonstrated attitudinal change by the father.


This article remains the property of Kate Austin Family Lawyers and can only provide basic information.  It is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. This information cannot be relied on as a substitute for legal information and it is only general by nature. This information was correct at the time of writing but changes in legislation or procedure may change.