Where your partner’s abuse poses an unacceptable risk to the safety and welfare of the child and impact to the your parenting capacity, the court will make orders that the child is to spend no time with the abusive parent. If you would like to know more about the rules around child custody and access in Victoria check our latest blog.
The recent case of Ramzi and Moussa in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia brought to light a relationship akin to that of a kidnapper and kidnappee. The Father, Mr Ramzi perpetrated extreme acts of violence, abuse, control and coercion toward the Mother, Ms Moussa which negatively affected the child, a four year old boy.[i]
The relationship was the product of an overseas arranged marriage, organised by the Father and the Mother’s paternal uncle and aunt. The Mother argues that she had no free will in agreeing to marrying the Father and did not consider herself as married as she had not yet met Mr Ramzi and claimed to be around 17 years old at the time. The parties were married overseas in a religious ceremony in 2013 and began the immigration process to Australia thereafter.
During the marriage, the Mother claimed to be subjected numerous abusive acts, which the court largely accepted including:
- Forced sexual intercourse
- Sexual assault
- Physical assault
- Forbidding her to access a bank account in her name
- Confiscation of phone
- Locking her in her room
- Not providing her food
- Control of education and employment, not allowing her to learn English
- Property damage
- Threats to kill
In 2017, the marriage produced one child, whom the Mother alleges was exposed to and experienced family violence by the Father.
The court ideally wants children to have a meaningful relationship with both parents. However, the court must account for each parents’ capacity to have a meaningful relationship with the child and whether there is a benefit of the child having a relationship with both parents.
Section 60CA of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) dictates that when making a parenting order, the court must do what is in the best interest of the child. In the case of Ramzi and Moussa, the court ordered the Mother have sole parental responsibility. This was because she was the primary carer of the child and the high risk of physical or mental harm and exposure to family violence to the Mother and child from the Father, and the absence of any benefit of the child having a meaningful relationship with both parents.
The final court order restrained the Father from communicating with or coming within 100 metres of the Mother or child aside from communication with the Mother regarding the child’s education and health and a message from the Father to the child on their birthday.
Have you or do you know anyone who has been impacted by family violence?
At Rowan Skinner & Associates Lawyers (www.rowanskinnerlegal.com.au), we can offer you support during this difficult time. Rowan Skinner is an Accredited Family Law Specialist with over 30 years in the legal field. If you want to discuss your family law matter with an expert Melbourne Family Lawyer, please contact Rowan Skinner at our office on (03) 9995 9155.
Rowan is a lawyer who practices in Clifton Hill, Fairfield, Alphington, Kew, Richmond and Northcote.
For more information, you can check out our latest blog around family dispute resolution.
[i] Ramzi & Moussa  FedCFamC2F 1473 (4 November 2022)
Rowan Skinner is a highly skilled family lawyer with over 35 years of experience across various legal roles and jurisdictions. Rowan specialises in resolving family law disputes such as divorce, financial settlements, child custody and domestic violence cases. Through his diverse and extensive experience, Rowan has a deep understanding of the complexities and nuances involved in family law. Rowan is a skilled negotiator and litigator who follows a compassionate and client-focused approach which prioritises helping you navigate what can be an emotional and challenging time.