Who should supervise contact?
There are many circumstances which can arise in a matter which mean that one parent must be supervised when ‘spending time’ with their child. It is interesting to look at supervision options. The court is often faced with weighing up who an appropriate supervisor should be. Should the supervisor be a professional, such as a Contact Centre – or is a family member appropriate?
The Federal Circuit Court was faced with this dilemma recently.
- Two children, 5 & 7 lived with their mother. The children spent irregular time with their father.
- In 2012 there was an incident whereby the father did not return the children at the conclusion of a 1 hour agreed contact period and instead held them over for 2 days.
- The mother had obtained a domestic violence order.
- The mother sought supervision by a Contact Centre based on her allegations that the father had a history of violence and significant anger problems and a history of alcohol and drug abuse.
- The father proposed that the paternal grandmother should supervise the time.
- The court considered all of the evidence before it which included independent evidence put forward by the mother of the father’s anti-social behaviour;
- The court relied on an affidavit of the paternal grandmother which detailed previous occasions when the children had spent time overnight at her house, which went well;
- The court did not have the benefit of a Family Report.
- The court was satisfied that the paternal grandmother had the children’s welfare at heart, not just in the physical sense, but to ensure that they would be properly cared for in her home and that the children would be loved and supported emotionally.
- The court was also satisfied that the paternal grandmother would intervene (against actions of the father) during a contact period if problems arose.
- The court ordered the father’s time with the children be supervised by the paternal grandmother.