Fathers Awarded Primary Care in Tough Stance Against Mothers
Recent parenting decisions are a stark reminder to parents to put the children first in parental disputes, with the Courts stressing a child’s right to have a meaningful relationship with both parents.
The Family Court is taking a tough stance on mothers who deny or interfere with their children’s relationship with their fathers.
FATHERS AWARDED PRIMARY CARE
In a recent decision in the Brisbane Family Court, the Court ordered that 2 children should be removed from their mother’s care in circumstances where their mother had hidden the children from their father and tried to take them out of the country, forging the father’s signature on the children’s passports.
It was ordered that, despite the children’s objections, the children, aged 14 and 17 years old, should live with their father with only limited supervised contact with the mother.
Justice Hogan found that the mother had fostered the children’s anxieties about their father, calling the mother’s behaviour “emotional abuse of the most serious kind’’, and finding that the mother posed a risk to the children’s emotional well-being.
In another decision, a judge ordered that a girl aged 8 years, who had lived with her mother since the parents separated, be removed from the mother’s care and live with the father. The court found that the long history of the mother’s interference with the daughter’s court-ordered time with the father and her attempts to undermine the daughter’s relationship with the father denied the daughter’s right to a meaningful relationship with both parents. In this case, the father was awarded sole parental responsibility and the mother’s time with the daughter was restricted to holidays and alternate weekends.
These decisions make it clear that the court will not shy away from the rather dramatic step of changing a child’s primary carer where it believes that it is necessary to do so to protect a child’s right to have a meaningful a relationship with both parents.