Child to remain in Australia

Children – Mother’s application for international relocation of a six-year-old child refused – Mother deposed to her intention to relocate with or without the child – Order for the child to remain living in Sydney with father if mother relocated

In Rana & Macaulay (No 2) [2024] FedCFamC1F 82 (23 February 2024), Kari J heard a mother’s application to relocate from Sydney to Country D with the child who was born in 2017 (“X”).

The mother was born in Country D and planned to relocate there with or without the child. The father intended to remain in Sydney and sought that X remain living in Sydney either with him or the mother.

Kari J said (from [47]):

“A significant feature of the mother’s case … was the state of her mental health.

[48] … [T]he mother had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression … 

[49] The significance of the mother’s mental health from her perspective is that her case rested on the proposition that her mental health would improve significantly if she were able to relocate to Country D…


( … )

[59] I am conscious that … the mother indicated that she did not accept … [the single expert] Dr R’s opinion; particularly his opinion that the mother had a good prognosis whether she lived in Australia or Country D…

( … )

[61] What was striking however … is that … the mother did not appear to have fully thought through the impact of her plans to relocate to Country D with or without X, nor the practicalities of doing so. To that end, it appears that whilst in every other respect the mother’s care of X cannot be faulted, where the topic of her relocation to Country D is concerned, she appears to have become fixated and intractable such that X’s best interests appear to have taken secondary preference to the mother’s…”

Kari J concluded (from [116]):

“ … [O]n balance I have formed the view that X’s best interests are served by remaining in Australia.


[117] I accept that this will necessarily mean that X’s primary care will shift to the father, but I consider that in all of the circumstances of this case, the mother’s interests and freedom of movement must give way to the best interests of X.”

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