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Family Law in Canberra – International case decided on mother’s mental health needs

By November 3, 2014No Comments

In a case involving a German father and Australian mother, the Family Court has rejected demands the mother and her child be returned to Germany to defend custody proceedings launched there by the father.

The family (based in Germany, but with an Australian mother) had been visiting Australia on holiday when the mother separated from the father. The judge found the mother’s mental health issues would be exacerbated if made to return overseas, and that this would “likely impact on [her] parenting capacity”.

Rather than compel the woman and child to return to Germany to determine custody through the German courts, the Family Court concluded it was in the child’s best interests to remain in Australia with the mother where the mother’s mental health had better prospects. The judge said

“I am satisfied … it is not possible to fashion safeguards which would adequately protect the mother from a major depressive episode and ultimately from the effects of a major deterioration in her mental health,”

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This major case has significant impacts on other overseas relocation cases – if your case involves a dispute about which overseas country a child is to live in, speak to our Accredited Specialist Cristina Huesch here at Alliance Family Law, as it can be extremely important to bring expert lawyers in earlier rather than later into these cases.


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