Rio & McGrath 2013 FCCA

Two children aged 11 years and 9 years 10 months lived with their mother.  The father had no phone contact with the children for a year before the hearing (contact limited involvement), and declined to participate in supervised contact.  An assessor reported that the children showed distress when asked to see their father, made no eye contact with their father, and stated they did not want to continue to see their father (reluctant to contact).  The assessor described the relationship between the father and children as broken down (attachment nil).  The assessor reported that the father had used harsh discipline with the children including slapping them and yelling at them.

The judge found that the father was rigid and set in his ways (personality rigid).  The judge found that the children had sufficient maturity for their views to be given weight.  The judge ordered that the children live with their mother, and have contact with their father in accordance with their own wishes as expressed to the mother (child’s wishes).  The mother was granted sole parental responsibility.  The father was granted restricted communication and was able to send cards and gifts to the children (communication structured).