Tollbridge & Tollbridge 2015 FamCA

The children were aged 15 and 13 years.  The father was convicted of assault on the older child who subsequently did not want to spend time with or communicate with the father.  The father claimed that the assault charge arose when he was disciplining the child for misbehaviour.  Despite orders the children had very little contact with the father (contact limited).  The older child said she had cut off communication with the father because of the father’s recurrent abuse and denigration of the mother that led to the child becoming depressed and not attending school.   The younger child said that the father showed no respect to the mother or to her so the child had no respect for the father.

The judge ordered that the children live with the mother and that the mother have sole parental responsibility.  The judge declined to make an order that the children contact the father according to the child’s wishes, saying that this would leave the children exposed to pressure from the father.  Instead the judge authorised the mother to make decisions about contact between the children and father as part of her sole parental responsibility.