It would be understandable for you to believe that a history and propensity for family violence would be one of the most important issues a court would take into consideration when determining whether someone should be able to relocate with their child.
In the case of England v Harrison  the weight upon which the court gave a propensity and history of family violence was considered when determining if an international relocation would be allowed, and ultimately whilst it was an issue it was not longsighted enough to.
In this case an applicant mother wanted to move from NSW to New Zealand with her child, and claimed that there was a significant history and propensity for family violence by the father which was an important factor in her reasons for wanting to relocate. The applicant mother was able to secure an affidavit from the respondent father’s previous wife – which also supported the propensity and history of family violence that she was subjected to during her time with the respondent father.
When determining whether the evidence of the first wife should be in or out, there were many issues considered, ultimately the reality of this situation was that family violence was just one of the many issues that the court needed to consider but did not necessarily rationally affect the assessment of the mother’s application to relocate to New Zealand.
The courts view was that the family violence was just one aspect of the complex factual environment, which did not necessarily mean that the court would find that the violence in the relationship (with either the first spouse or the applicant mother) would mean that she would not be permitted to travel to NZ or be granted sole parental responsibility.
In simple terms the issue of family violence was just one thing that the court needed to consider and not determine the success of the case – there were many other significant and important issues for the court to look at and consider when making their decision.