Significant and Substantial contact orders are rising to the fore.
In this case a 15 month old child is to spend overnights with the Father after a defended hearing. It was a judgment of Altobelli FM on a hearing date 13 December 2006.
See inside the main Forums under Making Changes to Australian Family Law > Judgments of Interest!
Suffice to say that, for present purposes, the Full Court's decision means that Cowling is of less relevance than it once was, particularly to the effect that it emphasised the child's well-settled circumstances.
At the very core of the new Part VII of the Family Law Act 1975 is the creation of a presumption of equal shared parental responsibility in s 61DA. That presumption applies even in interim orders "unless the court considers that it would not be appropriate in the circumstances for the presumption to be applied" (s.61DA(3)). Section 61DA provides:
61DA Presumption of equal shared parental responsibility when making parenting orders
(1) When making a parenting order in relation to a child, the court must apply a presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for the child's parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child.
(2) The presumption does not apply if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent of the child (or a person who lives with a parent of the child) has engaged in:
(a) abuse of the child or another child who, at the time, was a member of the parent's family (or that other person's family); or
(b) family violence.
(3) When the court is making an interim order, the presumption applies unless the court considers that it would not be appropriate in the circumstances for the presumption to be applied when making that order.
(4) The presumption may be rebutted by evidence that satisfies the court that it would not be in the best interests of the child for the child's parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child.