Step-parent contact – a case study
The court recently considered a parenting matter involving (2) children where the father was the biological father of one child, and the step-father of the other child. The father was seeking time with both children.
The father started a relationship with the mother when the step-child was one month old, and had lived with both children and the mother for approximately 4 years. Since separation, both children had spent time with the father and the step-child saw him as her father. The father sought orders to spend time with both children. The mother objected to orders being made in respect of the step-child.
The court held that it was in both children’s ‘best interest’ that they spend time with the father and it made orders for this time. The court also ordered that the father and mother have equal shared parental responsibility for their child, but did not order this in respect of the step-child. The reasoning behind this was that there was a possibility that the child’s biological father may later wish to be involved in her life, and the court did not want to exclude him from making decisions for his child.