Court Orders Reduction In Child’s Time With Father
The Family Court recently considered an Application from the mother of a 4-year-old child to vary the time arrangements for the child. The mother and father had previously signed consent orders that provided for the child to spend ‘equal time’ with both parents. The concerns the mother raised resulted in a reduction in the father’s time.
The mother had a current Domestic Violence Order against the father, and the father had been found guilty of breaching that order. He was also found guilty of two counts of stalking the mother.
The mother argued that the father’s constant stalking and harassment were grounds for the variation in time. She further argued that the 5-year-old child was at risk of being turned against her if he continued to spend long periods with the father.
The mother agreed that, although she had previously consented to shared care, she now no longer considered it appropriate and instead sought that the child ‘live with’ her and ‘spend time’ with the father every second weekend and for half the school holidays. The mother also sought an order for ‘sole’ parental responsibility.
The court agreed with the mother that there was a risk that, if the child continued to spend regular time with the father, his views of the mother would affect the child’s relationship with her. The father also denigrated the mother’s other child, her mother and friends, to the child.
The court also granted the mother ‘sole’ parental responsibility for the child. The court noted that the parents’ relationship was highly conflictual and the father constantly harassed and intimidated the mother.
The court ordered that the child live with the mother and spend alternate weekends with the father. The court had concerns about the child spending holiday time with the father, and therefore only made orders about holidays from the year 2020, when the child would be older. The judge also refused the father’s request to make orders about telephone time, as the child was too young to manage this on his own and it was undesirable that the mother be placed in a position of having to deal with the father.