Claringbold & James 2011 FamCA 211
The case involved a girl aged 12 years whose parents had engaged in legal disputes for most of her life. The girl lived with her father. The mother asked the judge to change a final order so that the girl live with her.
A family consultant noted that the mother held a strong belief that her continuous submissions and applications to court demonstrated her ongoing concern for her daughter’s well-being , but the mother did not recognise that asking the court to intervene in every dispute produced cumulative damage to the girl by exposing her to ongoing disputes between the parents (adult disputes, impact on child).
The consultant considered that re-opening the issue of where the girl should live would destabilise the girl.
The judge found that the mother lacked insight into her daughter’s emotional and physical needs including her need for safety, as the mother entered into relationships with men who were violent towards her including in front of the child (parenting style insightless).
The judge found that re-opening the issue about where the girl should live would destabilise the girl, and found that insufficient reason had been advanced to change the existing order as no significant changed circumstances had been established.
The judge issued specific orders that:
- the girl live with her father and spend time with the mother
- the mother be restrained from smoking in the house while the child was with her
- the mother set firm boundaries by ensuring the child was in bed by 10.00pm and ensuring that the child not have access to electronic games after 10.30pm (parenting style permissive)
- the mother be restrained from permitting the child to access the Facebook website.