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Child with Asperges allowed to travel to US

Child with Asperger’s syndrome allowed to travel to US provided $8,000 cash bond paid
Justice Watts said at paras 47-51:
“In Line & Line (1997) FLC 92-729 the Full Court discussed the purpose of bonds. Their Honours said:

‘The first of those matters to which the trial Judge should have regard is the purpose of such security, in respect of which we adopt, with respect, the two-fold purpose …set out … above namely:

(a) to provide a sum which will realistically entice the person removing the children to return; and

(b) to provide a sum to adequately provision the party left in Australia to take action and proceedings in Australia and overseas in an endeavour to obtain the return of the children.’

The father during the case accepted that his original calculation of $90,000 as being an appropriate sum to allow him to take action overseas was very inflated.

Counsel for the father during final submissions attempted to do a recalculation indicating that on her instructions, the correct figure was now $17,000. I was unable to ascertain by way of any of the evidence as to exactly how that figure had been determined.

I work on the basic assumption that in the event that the mother chose to jeopardise the child’s wellbeing by separating him from his father in a way that is inconsistent with the orders that I am making, that the Australian Central Authority would request that the relevant Central Authority in Idaho take expeditious action to enliven the Hague Convention. In my view, in those circumstances it will probably not be necessary for the father to incur any substantial legal fees on his own behalf.”

Watts J proceeded to discuss the advantages to the child of the proposed flight including “the opportunity to get to know his maternal family” (para 74); evidence as to any risks of the flight to the child, including diagnosis and expert evidence, past and current behaviour (para 75-91); and conditions to ameliorate risks to the child, such as access to medical services in Idaho, the family consultant’s recommendation that the mother initially travel without her new partner, the use of visual cues to prepare the child, an orientation visit to the airport, the trialling of medication and the use of electronic games and videos (paras 92-101).

After also considering relevant s 60CC factors, Watts J made the orders sought by the mother subject to numerous conditions, concluding at para 169:

“I find, having considered the matters that I have discussed above, that there is no unacceptable risk to the child arising out of the proposal of the Independent Child’s Lawyer as substantially supported by the mother, for the child to be able to travel with his mother to the USA for limited periods on an annual basis. I specifically find that the mother is currently not a flight risk if the suggested safeguards are in place.”

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