Our client Mary came to Melbourne 5 years ago with her husband, their baby and the Mother’s parents, who had relocated to Victoria from Western Australia (WA) as the paternal grandfather’s had found work in Victoria and wished to move.
Mary and her husband originally lived in their own home, but their relationship fell apart within 3 years of their arrival to Victoria and they were soon living separately, with the Father living on his own and Mary and her son moving in with her family.
As the child, Jason was only 4 years of age, Mary did not work. The Father was self-employed and had reduced his income to a minimum wage, so that he did not pay child support. As Mary had no financial assistance from her husband, her parents assisted her financially.
Mary wished to return to WA with her family. The Father opposed the relocation.
Mary had commenced her matter with another lawyer, but came to us shortly after court proceedings were commenced, as she had racked up significant legal costs, without feeling that she had control over her case.
We initially attempted to negotiate this matter by consent, but Mary was steadfast in wishing to move to WA and the Father was resolute in his opposition to her relocation, so it was soon evident that Court intervention was required. There were complications in the matter as Covid had resulted in restricted air travel, so the Court’s were cautious about international relocations.
The Father spent regular time with his 4-year-old son, however the time was initially supervised, as the Father had significant mental health issues which Mary alleged were untreated.
This time soon changed to time with the Father’s partner in substantial attendance, as Mary trusted the new partner to inform her if the Father was unwell.
As the issues were narrow, we saved our client substantial costs by requesting a one-day trial and seeking orders which provided for the original affidavit to be used, in conjunction with a short affidavit updating the Court on the latest events.
In our client’s documents we included evidence of the Father’s ability to travel to Western Australia regularly and his history there, his ability to relocate to Western Australia if he wished to, our client’s reliance on her family who could provide her with low-cost accommodation and childcare so that she could reestablish her life, and the Father’s refusal to pay child support.
Recommendations were made by the family consultant that Mary should be permitted to relocate to Western Australia with her family as the Father had provided her with little financial and emotional support in Victoria and she would be unable to recover financially and raise the child without their assistance.
We also proposed a parenting arrangement maintaining the relationship between the Father and child by permitting monthly travel by the Father to Western Australia until the child was 8 and then alternate month travel by the Mother and Father thereafter, bi-weekly facetime calls and half of all school holidays.
The Court decided in our client’s favour and Mary was permitted to relocate to WA with her family.
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