Additional considerations – in particular the children’s views
The child’s views
- This consideration is set out in s.60CC(3)(a) as follows:
“(a) any views expressed by the child and any factors (such as the child’s maturity or level of understanding) that the court thinks are relevant to the weight it should give to the child’s views;”
- Both boys expressed views to the family report writer.
- X did not want to be separated from either parent, and preferred an idea of living in an equal time arrangement.
- He also stated, according to  of Ms R’s report:
“He stated he thought the arrangement that he had at the moment was okay, but he is sad not to have enough time with his father. He thought the reverse arrangement (living with his father and spending weekend with his mother) would, likewise, be ‘okay’ and sad because he would not see enough of the mother. He replied ‘I really would like that’ when asked how he would feel about a week-about parenting arrangement, assuming the geographical issues were resolved. He presently feels torn between his parents because of the latter. He contemplated that perhaps if things stayed as they are the father could visit them whenever he travels to Brisbane for work. He stated he would like to stay in Brisbane, because he has more friends there now.”
- Y also gave Ms R an indication of his views at  of the report. It’s recorded that:
“Y stated that it is ‘not as fun’ back in Australia because he liked his friends in (country omitted) and ‘mum is not really happy… she wants… she has no family here’. He mentioned that his maternal grandmother is ‘coming to help’. He does not like the current parenting arrangement because ‘I don’t get to see dad very often’. He thought it would be better to live week-about between his parents ‘but dad don’t want to move to Brisbane and mum don’t want to move’. He rated a week about arrangement 8/10 (great). He rated the current arrangement 5/10 (okay). He rated living with the father and spending weekends with the mother 0/10 (most sad). He became a little teary contemplating the last. He rated his parents as equally good parents. 8 or 9/10.”
The child’s relationship with significant persons
(ii) other persons (including any grandparent or other relative of the child);”
- I accept that the children have a close and attached relationship with their father.
- Their relationship with their mother is more complex.
- Ms R observed the information the mother had provided to the expert had her questioning the level of parenting and functioning generally that the mother was able to provide
- The concern I have in relation to the mother’s relationship with the children is summarised in  of Ms R’s evaluation where she said this:
“The children impressed as primarily worried for the mother and what might happen for her and them as a consequence of the outcome, if the outcome is not what the mother can tolerate. I assessed that the children are obviously taking on a caretaker role for the mother at least in their minds if not in practice. The children’s report suggests they are independently taking care of themselves and their needs at times when the mother is not coping, unwell or sad. This factor suggests that although the children may want to be more with the mother and they worry about her when they are apart, they may actually need to be more with the father from a child safety perspective and more so if an equal parenting arrangement cannot be worked out in my opinion. X and Y are still too young to be independent and self-protective.: