Whitby & Zeiler No 2. 2014 FamCAFC 239

Both parents migrated to Australia.  The parents separated when their child was aged 2 years, and the father did not see the child for the next 4 years, in part because the mother travelled overseas.  The mother stated that the child believed that her new partner was his biological father (stepparent).   The child did not remember the father (parent long absent).

The trial judge ordered that the father have supervised access with the child in a agency contact centre, and that parties participate in therapy to assist them to manage the re-introduction of the child with the father (therapy for parent).   The mother appealed against this decision, saying that the couple’s time together had been marred by family violence and that contact with the father would be harmful for the child.