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Federal Magistrates lead the way again! Contravene and expect reversing of parenting orders  

Thursday, 04 October, 2007

In the case of Irvin and Carr(2007) FLC, the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia considered an appeal by a mother against orders made by a Federal Magistrate at a contravention hearing.

The child lived with the mother and spent time with the father. The mother relocated with the child from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland to the New South Wales North Coast but did not disclose this to the court. Upon the mother's relocation, the father brought contravention proceedings at which time the Federal Magistrate ordered that the mother enter into a bond by way of sanction pursuant to s 70NFE of the Family Law Act 1975 and, pursuant to s 70NBA of the Act, varied the parenting orders with the ultimate effect that the child live with the father and spend time with the mother.

The Full Court found that the Federal Magistrate made a finely-balanced decision to change the residence of the child following the contravention hearing and that the Federal Magistrate's approach in dealing with the mother for contravention and the variation of parenting orders pursuant to s 70NBA was entirely appropriate in the circumstances.

Similarly, in the case of Sandler and Kerrington(2007) FLC, the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia considered an appeal by the mother against orders made by a Federal Magistrate following a contravention hearing. Parenting orders in the matter had been made nine months prior to the contravention hearing which ordered that the child live with the mother and spend time with the father. At the contravention hearing, the Federal Magistrate altered the parenting order pursuant to s 70NBA of the Act on an interim basis placing the child in the father's care.

The mother's appeal was dismissed by the Full Court (jurisdiction being exercised by a single judge – Warnick J). This judgment provides an unusual example of the application of the law as it relates to the Federal Magistrates Court Rules 2001.


Edited

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