Winters & Winters 2015 FamCA 195

A judge had ordered that children spend time with both separated parents, and that the mother have sole parental responsibility, with the father having contact supervised by an agency.  Supervised contact was ordered as the father was found to have interrogated one child about activities when the child was in the mother’s house arising from the father’s strong belief and preoccupation that the child was at risk of sexual abuse in the mother’s house.

The father voluntarily participated in therapy with a treating psychologist aimed at improving the father’s capacity for collaborative parenting or co-parenting.  The psychologist applied for approval to obtain 7 documents that had been submitted in evidence to facilitate CBT aimed at challenging any cognitive distortions held by the father.

The father was concerned that the documents were confidential and that he was prohibited from passing on the documents under section 121 of the Family Law Act that prohibits dissemination of documents about proceedings by any means to the public.  No party objected to the psychologist receiving copies of the documents, provided the psychologist undertook to maintain the confidentiality of the documents.

The judge found that passing documents about proceedings to a treating psychologist is not a breach of section 121, and that the father did not require leave of the Court to pass on the documents.