Chandler v Bonner (2022) FedCFamC1A 210

The parenting case of Chandler v Bonner [2022] FedCFamC1A 210 was decided on 14 December 2022. 

The Full Court was made up of Justice Tree. 

This appeal was dismissed. The First Appellant and the Second Appellant were self-represented. 

This is an appeal from interim parenting orders made in August 2022 in the Magistrates Court of Western Australia. 

Interim Orders had been made for the grandmother to spend professionally supervised time with the children for 3 hours twice a month with other limits. The parents appealed those Orders.

The mother and the grandmother’s relationship had deteriorated over years and the children ceased spending time with the grandmother in or about February 2018. The grandmother initiated proceedings in March 2021. 

The parents had created a theme that because the parents’ marriage was intact, it required some protection and assistance. 

The court here said at paragraph 17:

“Plainly neither s 43 nor s 69ZN of the Act operate to displace the paramountcy of children’s best interests established by s 60CA of the Act, nor the considerations (and weight to be given to them) which s 60CC requires to be taken into account in determining those best interests.” 

Ground 2 was dealt with in this way:

“The absence of a positive finding of a benefit to the children in having a relationship with the grandmother was therefore acknowledged by his Honour; the interim orders merely enabled any relationship to be, in a very limited way, facilitated at least until final orders were made. The primary magistrate did not err in doing so, and hence there is no merit to this challenge.”

At 41 of this Decision:

“In this case, it is clear from the extract of the reasons recited at [33] above that the reason why, on an interim basis, the primary magistrate considered that the children should spend time with the grandmother, was the possibility of them deriving benefit from that relationship. That is an adequate exposure of his reasoning.”

The next ground alleged a failure to properly consider risks. 

At paragraph 57, this court said:

“The primary magistrate was therefore aware of, and took into account, the risks referred to above, particularly when explaining why he imposed supervision and made the non-disparagement (etc) orders I have referred to earlier.”

The next ground considered that the magistrate had erred in law by taking into account an irrelevant consideration. The court said:

“This ground misunderstands what the primary magistrate said…in that it is patently clear that the primary reason for supervision was to protect against the children being exposed to negative comments by the grandmother.”

The appeal was dismissed.