Jackson & Whiteman 2021 FamCA 280

The decision of Jackson & Whiteman [2021] FamCA 280 is a very brief but important parenting decision.

Parents lodged Consent Orders and their Application for Consent Orders was dismissed.  It was dismissed because the court was not satisfied that it had enough information to determine whether the Orders were in the best interests of the children.

At paragraph 2, His Honour said:

“The Court is not simply a rubber stamp. It appears that the parties may not have current concerns such as those the mother raises about the father’s violence in the past. It is submitted on the father’s behalf that these matters are historic.”

He said further:

“I cannot, in my view, properly assess the issue of risk posed by the father on the basis of his violent conduct in the past without having much more information about that.”

He said further:

“In all of the circumstances I am not satisfied on the information available to me that these orders are in the best interests of the children, primarily because I am unable to make an assessment of the potential risk posed in the parenting arrangement that is proposed. For these reasons the application is dismissed.”

This is an interesting Judgment because clearly when a parent has raised factual or alleged matters of family violence during the course of a case, they cannot simply resile from a position of concern when an agreement is reached. The court will also want a justification of any concession framed against the reality of risk proposed by parenting orders.