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Grandparents’ Rights with Respect to Parenting Orders – When Can Family Members Oppose Unsupervised Time?

In Stott & Holger and Anor [2017] FamCAFC 152 (7 August 2017), a maternal grandmother appealed a father’s right to spend unsupervised time with her grandchild.

On appeal, it was held that the father posed an unacceptable risk towards the 10 year old child, on the basis of his violent past and troublesome attitude. The Full Court (Thackray, Kent & Watts JJ) reinforced supervised visitation and stated that:

  1. the ‘unacceptable risk’ test outlined in M v M (1988) 166 CLR 69 requires serious consideration as to whether and why the facts of the case raise an unacceptable risk towards the child;
  2. on balance, the benefit of parental access must outweigh the risk of harm;
  3. preventing the parent from gaining custody and/or access to the child is necessary where the child is subjected to an unacceptable risk of sexual abuse; and
  4. the parent’s individual circumstances and behaviour may influence the risk assessment.

In this case, the reasoning made reference to the father’s character. The Full Court ultimately took issue with the father’s compromised credibility and demonstrated inability to acknowledge his violent history and aggressive nature.

Are you concerned about the arrangements in place for your child, or your legal rights with respect to parenting?

Call Fedorov Lawyers on 1300 768 719 to chat to one of our friendly Family Lawyers today.