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Maternal Grandmothers application for parenting orders dismissed

Children – Maternal grandmother’s application for parenting orders dismissed
due to her lack of insight into children’s needs – Grandparent cases reviewed

In Danes & Anor [2013] FMCAfam 281 (28 March 2013) the maternal grandmother’s applied for an order that the children live with her and that she and the child’s parents have joint parental responsibility for them. Foster FM reviewed case law relating to parenting applications by grandparents and the relevant legislative provisions and said at paras 147-148:

“The applicant seeks orders that would see her have the ability to become again involved in the children’s day-to-day lives. The impact of the reigniting of her relationship with the children and the significance of any time with the children as it impacts upon the parents, particularly the mother is of great concern to the report writer and to the court.

The applicant maternal grandmother lacks insight into her own personality and behavioural issues as they impact upon the relationships in her life, particularly with perhaps the most important figure in the lives of the children, the mother. The court is satisfied that the applicant has no ability to empathise with the needs of the mother and of the children.”

Foster FM concluded at paras 171-173:

“The parents, particularly the mother in this matter has not acted capriciously or without thought. The circumstances leading to their decision as to the children’s relationship with the applicant has clearly derived from a long and complex pathway referred to in these reasons.

It was contended by counsel for the applicant that the provisions of the Act as amended specifically provide for orders to be made in favour of grandparents if no agreement can be reached. With respect to counsel that submission ignores the overarching considerations as to the best interests of the children. Each matter of course turns upon its own individual facts and a reference to previous decisions where orders may have been made as to children’s time with grandparents are of little utility to this court in determining an appropriate outcome having regard to the best interests of the subject children.

The court is required to make such orders as are in the best interests of the children and it has carefully weighed the considerations set out above. The course adopted by the court is one supported by the Independent Children’s Lawyer.”

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