Edlund & Edlund 2014 FamCA 656

Parents disputed a parenting plan for a 3 year old child.

The judge did not allow the father to submit his evidence comprising 1192 pages but requested a summary of 10,000 words.

The mother reported observing a change in the child’s behaviour after the child had spent time with the father, as the child became quieter and clingy.  The mother reported that the child touched her navel and vagina and said “papa” and the mother expressed concern about sexual abuse.  The mother took the child to a paediatrician who notified the child protection Department and advised the mother to use lots of distraction to minimise the child’s behaviour.

The father responded by referring to numerous marks and injuries on the child while in the care of the mother (mutual accusations).

An expert noted that the child had thrush at the age of 16-22 months, and that it is common for children with thrush to touch their genitals.  The expert considered it highly unlikely that sexual abuse had occurred.

The expert considered that the father showed obsessional qualities (personality obsessive).

The judge found that the mutual accusations raised doubts about the ability of both parents to prioritise the needs of the child.

The judge ordered that the child live with the mother and spend gradually increasing times with the father (graduated approach).  The judge did not order that the father’s time with the child be supervised.