Parkin & Sykes 2013 FamCAFC 87
A father appealed an order that an 11 year old boy live with the mother and spend time with the father. The judge found that the parents were unable to cooperate and that ongoing litigation had spanned most of the boy’s life. The mother was fixated on allegations that the father had mistreated the boy although this was an unsubstantiated allegation (strong belief). The mother was anxious (anxiety) and had not complied with orders for the child to spend time with the father (contravene order). Three final orders had been issued after hearings.
An expert found that the mother was an overly anxious person who needed the child to be close to her to meet her own needs (differentiate own/others emotions, parenting style dependent), and this increased the boy’s problems as the boy showed separation anxiety. The expert considered that shared care was not realistic. The expert considered that although the father’s parenting was good-enough (competent parent) the father’s proposal for the boy to live with him would have too high an emotional cost on the child. The expert opined that the negative effects of prolonged litigation far outweighed any supposed effects of adverse parenting in this case.
The judge aimed to bring finality to the litigation in the best interests of the child. The father’s appeal was dismissed.