Fleming v Hibbart [2019] NZFC 340

Published 24 February 2021

Relocation — welfare and best interests of child — strengthening relationship with father — Care of Children Act 2004, ss 4, 5, 6 & 46 — Kacem v Bashir [2010] NZFLR 884 — S v R (Relocation) [2008] NZFLR 237 — Millett v Clyde [2012] NZFLR 351 — Thorpe v Barrett [2015] NZHC 3344. This hearing was to determine whether it was in the welfare and best interests of a young boy to relocate with his mother or remain living with her in a town near to where his father lived. The mother wished to relocate to a city three hours' drive away as she would be able to provide a better home, earn more money and be a happier parent. The father opposed the relocation although the amount of contact he would have with his son would remain largely the same. Section 4 of the Care of Children Act ("the Act") requires the welfare and best interests of the children to be the first and paramount consideration. Section 5 lists factors the judge must take into consideration when making a decision. Section 6 requires the judge to consider the views of the children, although these views are not determinative and could be given little weight in this case due to the youth of the child. It was determined it would be in the welfare and best interests of the child to continue living where he was. This would allow his relationship with his father, as well as other extended family members in the area, to be strengthened. The Judge also thought it was best if the child did not have to change schools. Judgment Date: 18 January 2019. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *