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Issues of risk in child custody disputes typically arise in circumstances of family violence. One solution that is commonly proposed to reduce issues of risk is supervised time. The purpose of supervised time is to protect the children from any unacceptable risk of harm. Time is supervised by an independent supervisor or a trusted family member or friend.

Supervised time may also be suitable in child custody arrangements where one parent’s caregiving capacity is impaired and supervised time ensures the child’s needs are met.

In some cases supervision is for the purpose of alleviating the resident parent’s concerns if the effect of that concern would have a detrimental effect on the resident’s parent’s ability to care for the child, outweighing any benefit of the child’s access to the non resident parent. This is known as the Re Andrews principle. However, the Full Court recently held in the case of Keane & Keane [2021] FamCAFC 1 that it is indeed an error to assume that in every case where a parent is concerned about the safety of a child in the other parent’s care, that there is an unacceptable risk that the concerned parent’s parenting capacity will be adversely impacted. A concerned parent is not automatically entitled a right of ‘veto’ about whether a child should spend time with the other parent. Ultimately, the primary consideration will be whether it is in the best interests of the child and each case will be different depending on the circumstances.

Your child custody lawyer can advise you on whether supervised or unsupervised time with the children is suited to your individual circumstances.

For advice about planning your child custody arrangements, please contact one of our family law lawyers on 1800 300 170 or email us at

Family law situations can be complex and sometimes they can involve serious issues.  Information outlined is proposed to provide general guidance only. Due to the seriousness of legal matters as well as the uniqueness of your individual situation, professional advice should be sought. For advice, please contact one of our Family Lawyers.