Four Into Two Won’t Go


In a hearing in the Family Court, the Judge was asked to make orders regarding four children, aged 17, 16, 12 and 5. The father of the children wanted orders made for the parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the children and that the children live with the father.

The mother sought final orders that the parents have equal shared parental responsibility and that the children live with the mother.

The background to the commencement of proceedings between the parties came about following allegations that the mother had perpetrated various acts of violence towards the children and against the father, and the mother making allegations of violence against her and the children by the father.

After a hearing in February 2015, the Judge determined there was an unacceptable risk of harm to the children when living in the home of the mother but a lesser risk of harm in the household of the father. The eldest child elected to live with his mother and no orders were made in relation to him.

A Family Consultant provided a report to the Court which stated that there were significant concerns about the children’s risk of harm and well-being in both the paternal and maternal households. She stated that neither parent was a suitable carer. Concern was expressed about the parent’s willingness to facilitate the children’s relationships with the other parent and that the children had been directly exposed to parental conflict.

The Judge decided that it was not in the best interests of the youngest child to spend long periods with the mother and regular short periods were recommended.

The Judge ordered that the youngest child live with the father and spend time with the mother as agreed between the mother and father in writing.


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.