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Clancy & Triado Wins Relocation Case

Tuesday 15th June 2021

By: Thomas Jenkins

Relocation cases involve limiting one parent's right to freedom of movement, a right the court is reluctant to restrict

This matter concerned an application from the Mother to relocate her two children aged 8 and 9 to Town A, 2 hours outside of Melbourne.  Clancy & Triado’s Director and Solicitor Melanie Wilson acted on behalf of the Father, seeking an order to keep his children in Melbourne and an equal shared care arrangement.

The relocation would drastically minimise the role the Father would play in the lives of his children. The Father had no family or social connections in Town A and would not be able to find employment in his profession there. Consequently, the Father would not move to Town A if the children were relocated.

The Mother sought to move to Town A to seek the comfort and support of her family who resided there; the Mother was struggling emotionally following the breakdown of the marriage with the Father. The Mother proposed a 5/9 day parenting arrangement, although the Mother conceded this may not be practical if the Father continues to reside in Melbourne. The Mother had stated if she was not allowed to move the children to Town A, she would remain in Melbourne.

The Court found both parties were highly competent parents and had much to offer the children. There were interpersonal charges put forward from both parents regarding the other, however the court put little weight on these issues. It was held to be in the best interests of the children to have both parents actively involved in their lives. Therefore, the decision on relocation was decided on the reasonable practicality of their competing proposals.

It was held not to be reasonably practicable for a shared care arrangement to occur upon relocation to Town A:
• It was not practicable for the Father to commute from the Melbourne CBD to Town A
• The Father would have to pay for a hotel in Town A to exercise his time. This would be both costly and would place the children in a foreign environment when seeing their Father.
• A second permanent rental residence in Town A was not financially possible for the Father.
• The travel time for the children themselves to see their Father in Melbourne on weekends was also undesirable.

A shared care arrangement was reasonably practicable in Melbourne:
• Both parents lived and worked in Melbourne.
• The Mother resided in a property owned by her parents in Melbourne where she could continue to live.
• The Mother was struggling with depression and anxiety. Her mental state would be benefited from moving to Town A. However, her psychologist noted that the Mother would likely recover with time, even in Melbourne.
• The Mother could return to Town A in her spare time and she had done so frequently since separation.

Ultimately, the Court decided that the children would remain in Melbourne.

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