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Why you should read judgements (equal time examples)

As an SRL, it is essential to familiarise yourself with Court rules and also those parts of the Family Law Act 1975 (“the Act”) that are relevant to your matter.

If your matter relates to the children, the legislation/pathways that the Court must follow, when determining your matter, can be found under Part VII of the Act.

When looking at the laws, however, something you will find, is that not all of the sections of ‘the Act’ are explicitly written i.e. they can contain phrases such as ‘Court to consider’ and/or “in certain circumstances” etc.

But what does ‘consider’ mean and under what (?) ‘circumstances’ are they talking about?
It is these, and similar kinds of questions, that as an SRL you should be asking yourself, and, trying to figure out (as far as is possible).

It may come as no surprise, that the laws themselves, as written into the Act, are only part of what you will need to learn. While the Courts must follow the laws, and Judges (Magistrates W.A) are guided by the laws and principles, they are also given broad discretionary powers. With this discretion comes the ability for Judges/Magistrates to interpret the information (facts) of each matter that comes before them, and how they apply it to the law, autonomously (as they see fit).

As such, as an SRL, while learning the laws is pertinent, given this discretionary power of the judiciary, it is also important to familiarise yourself with judgements.

It is by reading judgements (with similar circumstances to your own…or should I also say similar orders to what you are seeking), that you will be able to gain a better understanding of the laws.  Moreover, judgements will provide you with some insight into how the Courts (Judges) are applying the law to cases and reaching their decisions.

Remember, that unlike laws which are written by Parliament, judgements are written by the Judges themselves!

Some Judgements - Equal Time, Substantial and Significant Time (s65DAA)
If interested, below you will find a few judgements where litigants sought equal time. Not all will match your own circumstances.  Remember that, as much as it is important to read judgements that you view as successful for a party, it is important to also read those that you do not view as successful. Both will teach you. So too can you learn from some of those cases with additional or different circumstances to your own.

When reading the judgments below, what you should be thinking about is what were the orders sought by the parties and  why did or didn't the Judge make orders for equal time? Could the outcome have been different had the litigants did or behaved differently?

Some example questions to ask yourself when reading…

Where equal time orders were made…
What were the circumstances of the parties? Was there a status quo? What were the situations/histories of the parties? How old were the children? Why were the equal time orders ‘reasonably practicable’? What other factors played a part in the decision? What reasons did the judge give for the orders for equal time being in the best interests of the child/ren?

Where equal time orders were not made…
What were the circumstances of the parties? Was there a status quo? Could the party seeking equal time have done something differently? If not equal time, was shared care ordered? What were the situations/histories of the parties? How old were the children? Where the equal time orders reasonably practicable? Why/Why not? What other factors played a part in the decision? What reasons did the judge give for the orders for equal time not being in the best interests of the child/ren?

If you would like to make any comments about any of judgements below, that you think could assist other SRL’s/litigants seeking equal time orders, or any other comment, please feel free.

Last edit: by SWAMBO


Any opinions expressed herein are strictly for informational purposes and are never to be taken as legal advice.















Any opinions expressed herein are strictly for informational purposes and are never to be taken as legal advice.
Its important to note that only judgements that are court ordered are ever published. If you sign or have consent orders you will never see them online. Most equal time orders are made by consent.(In my opinion) and therefore you will never find them

Nothing i say should be taken as legal advice. I am not a Lawyer. If i help you it is of your own free choice to listen to what i say or not. I do not create documents for you. I do not represent you.... Purple Monkey Dishwasher
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