Simmons and Anor & Kingley 2014. FamCAFC 47

A mother become ill and transferred care of her child to a maternal aunt and her husband.  The mother died the following year and the father lodged a claim for care of the child.  The aunt objected noting that the father had a long history of alcohol abuse including several convictions for drink driving, and argued that this was an unacceptable risk to the child.  The father submitted evidence that he had moderated his drinking over a period of 3.5 years due to participation in a therapy programme and he was in a stable relationship with a supportive partner who discouraged excessive drinking.

The judge ordered that the child live with the father, granted sole parental responsibility to the father, and ordered that the father continue with his therapy programme for drinking, including monthly testing for alcohol (therapy for parent, test for substances).  The aunt appealed.

The appeal judge dismissed the appeal finding no error in the judge’s ruling.