Will Snezana and Sam live Happily Ever After: A Family Law Perspective

The television series ‘The Bachelor’ has been making news in recent weeks with this season’s bachelor, Sam Wood, choosing Snezana Markoski as the show’s winner. Snezana lives in Perth with her nine-year-old daughter Eve whilst Sam is based in Melbourne.

Following the airing of the show’s finale, the pair have presented to the media as being happily in love, however the pair have stated they have no immediate plans to relocate. During the show Snezana told Sam that she doesn’t “belong” in Perth which led to suggestions that she may relocate to Melbourne with her daughter Eve should she be chosen by Sam at the conclusion of the series.

Snezana’s ex-husband Jason Rapoff has previously spoken to the media about Snezana and Eve. The Herald Sun reports that Jason said Snezana is “dreaming” if she thinks she will move to Melbourne with their daughter. In the event that Snezana does propose to move to Melbourne with Eve and Jason does not agree, it may be that Snezana or Jason make an Application to the court seeking parenting orders be made, if there are not currently any orders in place.

Parenting cases involving the proposed relocation of children are particularly complex as the court is required to carefully consider the issues at hand. The court’s primary consideration in parenting matters is the best interests of the child, therefore this must be at the forefront of the mind of the Judge when a decision is being made relating to proposed relocation of a child or children.

In the decision of A v A (2008) FAMCA 751, the Full Court of the Family Court considered the following with respect to the proposed relocation of children:

  1. The court cannot proceed to determine the issues in a way that separates the issue of relocation from that of residence and best interests of the child.
  1. Compelling reasons for, or indeed against, the relocation need not be shown.
  1. The best interests of the child are to be evaluated taking into account considerations including the legitimate interests of both the residence and non-residence parent.
  1. Neither the applicant nor respondent bears an onus.
  1. Treating the welfare or best interests of the child as a paramount consideration does not oblige the court to ignore the legitimate interests and desires of the parents. If there is a conflict between these considerations, priority must be accorded to the child’s welfare and rights.
  1. If a parent seeks to change arrangements affecting the residence of, or contact with the child, he or she must demonstrate that the proposed new arrangement, even if that new arrangement involves a move overseas, is in the best interests of the child.

The Family Law Act specifically provides for children to have a meaningful relationship with both of their parents subject to protecting children from any risk of harm when spending such time with a parent. This means that applications for relocation are particularly difficult and complex and if you are thinking of relocating or your ex-partner has threatened relocation you should obtain legal advice.

At McLaughlins Lawyers we are experienced in parenting matters and particularly relocation matters and are able to provide clients with specialist advice. If you have any questions regarding parenting matters including relocation we invite you to contact one of our experienced family lawyers today on (07) 5591 5099.

Writer: Elise Foote

Partner: Sophie Pearson

Date: 29/09/2015