Larson v Mosley [2019] NZFC 386

Published 26 February 2021

Relocation — welfare and best interests of child — Care of Children Act 2004, ss 4, 5, 6 — Evidence Act 2006 — D v S [2002] NZFLR 116 — Stadniczenko v Stadniczenko [1995] NZFLR 493 — Kacem v Bashir [2010] NZFLR 884 — AMBT v SME FC Auckland, FAM-2007-004-002481. The applicant mother sought to relocate with her three children to Australia, citing better health care, educational and financial opportunities and family support. The respondent father opposed the application. 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. The law, as stated in Stadniczenko v Stadniczenko, requires the reasonableness of a parent's desire to relocate with the children to be assessed in relation to the disadvantages to the children of reduced contact with the other parent along with all other factors. After reviewing the parties' evidence, the Judge found the applicant mother could not prove any of the advantages she cited were available in Australia and not in New Zealand. There was sufficient education, health care and family support in New Zealand, and the respondent father provided ample financial support to the applicant and their children. The children had lived in the same town their entire lives and had adopted the culture of the town. Relocating to Australia would place strain on the respondent and his relationship with his children. For these reasons the application for relocation was declined. A parenting order was made giving the respondent father day-to-day care of the children for 80 percent of every second month (due to his work schedule). The children were to have Skype and phone contact with the non-caregiving parent at least three times per week. Judgment Date: 21 January 2019. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *