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Family Court assists litigant suffering PTSD in Appeal

The Appeals Division of the Family Court of Australia has recently released a judgement in the matter of Kovacs & Graham and Anor (2016) FLC 93-733 allowing for the reinstatement of five appeals by the father after they had been deemed abandoned.

On 21 October 2015 the Court had granted the mother in the matter sole parental responsibility for the three children in the family with the father having unsupervised time. Following these orders the father lodged five appeals with the court between 21 October 2015 and 3 February 2016. The father had failed to comply with the necessary deadlines for issuing the relevant paperwork in these appeals and as such they were deemed to have been abandoned.

The Court heard evidence that the father suffered from an acute brain injury and had been diagnosed with severe PTSD as a result of the extensive litigation. As such it was held that the father’s circumstances met the threshold of exceptional hardship, and it was therefore appropriate that he obtained assistance in preparing the documentation from the Appeal Registrar.

This matter shows that whilst the requirement of exceptional hardship is a difficult one to meet, the Court will not hesitate to grant the relevant concessions if it is satisfied that the threshold has been reached.

By Nicholes Family Lawyers



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