Wilshaw & Wilshaw No 2, 2015 FamCA 343

Parents had been separated for five years and the children aged 16, 14 and 7 years lived with the mother.  All three children had decided against spending time with the father, with no contact for four years (contact limited).  The father applied for the children to live with him, submitting that the mother had a mental illness and that the children had been subjected to emotional abuse.  A single expert witness recommended family therapy to address the estrangement of the father, and that the children spend time with the father as part of that therapy.    It was proposed that therapy precede the trial.  The parents were unable to agree on payment of costs of therapy or a suitable therapist.

The judge ordered that it was not in the best interests of the children to delay a trial for up to a year while family therapy was arranged, and dismissed the application for family therapy (therapy for family).