Ordering Good Behaviour
What can be done if one parent believes the other parent is behaving badly? The court has recently considered an application by a mother seeking an injunction that the father not be permitted to consume alcohol during any time that the child spends time with him.
- A consent order was already in place providing for the 8 year old child to live with the mother and spend time with the father each alternate weekend from 6.00pm Friday until 6.00pm Sunday.
- In the original court case the father had provided an undertaking that “without admitting the necessity for the undertaking the father undertakes to not consume alcohol when the child is in his care”, however this undertaking was not included in the final Order.
- The mother subsequently commenced a new court application seeking an Order preventing the father from consuming alcohol while the child was with him and from 12 midnight the previous day.
- The mother alleged a history of domestic violence by the father, based upon his excessive alcohol consumption.
- The father said that such an Order was unnecessary, however he was prepared to consent to an Order that he not “consume alcohol to excess”.
- The father did not deny that he consumed alcohol on a daily basis, including when the child was in his care, but said that it did not affect his capacity to care for the child.
- The court found that the mother had not adequately made a case for the imposition of an Order preventing the father from consuming alcohol while the child was with him.
- The court accepted that the father regularly drank alcohol but there was insufficient evidence to show that the effect of his consumption of alcohol had any impact on his capacity to care for the child.
- The mother’s application was dismissed.
- The Judge also dismissed the father’s proposal that he “not consume alcohol to excess”. The court was concerned that even though such an Order might appease some of the mother’s concerns it also raised the possibility of more conflict or litigation between the parents about the meaning of “excess”.
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