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Wedding plans – are these in the child’s best interests?

Wedding plans – are these in the child’s best interests?


  1. The issue between the parties is narrow. Nonetheless, I still have regard to the provisions of s 60CA of the Act that requires I have the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration. The best interests of the child are to be considered by the application of the objects of s 60B(1).
  2. I bring to account the primary considerations and additional considerations in respect of the matters as set out in s 60CC(2) and (3) and am required to give greater weight to the need to protect the child than other factors.
  3. It is appropriate for the Court to adopt a cautious approach when considering interim arrangements pending evidence being heard or the Court being further assisted by a family report.
  4. The parties agree that X should agree the mother’s wedding. They are not able to agree the terms and conditions of his attendance.
  5. The father is sceptical about the benefit to X of attending the wedding, although I attribute much of the father’s concern to his overarching dislike and mistrust of Mr S.
  6. The 2016 family report brings to account the same issues that are currently under consideration. X is concerned in respect of Mr S, but not to the extent that he considers Mr S should be absent from the mother’s home when he spends time there.
  7. X clearly wishes to remain residing in the primary care of his father, but was prepared to readily agree to spending significant time with his mother.
  8. The mother recognises that a cautious approach must be adopted and as such seeks ongoing orders that would include one overnight a week.
  9. X is now 18 months older and if he is prepared to express a view as to his ongoing parenting arrangements it may attract significant weight.
  10. To a substantial degree the parties instinctively understand that it is unlikely X can be forced to spend more time with the mother than he would wish. His behaviour can at times be defiant and difficult for the parties, but in particular the mother to manage.
  11. The assertion by X to Ms R that if he was made to live primarily with his mother he would consider leaving her premises and returning to the father is unlikely to be an idle remark.
  12. There is merit in the orders that the mother seeks. X will benefit from being at his mother’s wedding. It is unlikely to be a detriment to X that he spends time with his siblings, or indeed with extended family particularly cousins that he has not seen for some time.
  13. Whether X will be overwhelmed by the wedding preparation, reception and subsequent celebration is an unknown but it can be ameliorated by X ringing his father at the conclusion of each of the days nominated by the mother and telling him whether he wishes to return to the father’s care.
  14. The father has indicated a preparedness to assist X in being transported to and from the wedding arrangements.
  15. I propose to order that X attend the mother’s wedding on each of the days as nominated by her, but whether he stays overnight will be a matter for X to determine by telling both his mother and his father by telephone of his attitude.

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Queensland/New South Wales/Victoria


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