Bryant & Stapleton 2010 FamCAFC 5

A trial judge ordered that a 5 year old child live with the mother and spend time with the father.  The father appealed seeking increased time.

The trial judge had noted that entries in a communication book showed that one party was berating the other party rather than recording arrangements for the child (denigrate), and that this was not child focused and was a clear mis-use of a communication book.

The trial judge noted that an assessor had provided three reports over a period of 16 months, and concluded that the expert assessor had underestimated the degree of conflict and acrimony between the parties.  The assessor’s optimism that things would improve may not have been misplaced in the first report, but the optimism was misplaced in the second and third reports.  Although mediators had put in place mechanisms such as a communication book, the tenor of many of the communications and negotiations remained acrimonious and difficult.  The assessor appeared to be partisan by trying to defend one party (expert evidence unsatisfactory).

The appeal was dismissed.