Collu & Rinaldo No 2 2010 FamCA 439

The mother had obtained work in an overseas country and had relocated with the young child to that country by consent for 2 years.  The child travelled to see the father each month for two years.  The mother then applied to extend the time between visits but the father objected to this proposal.  The trial judge upheld the father’s proposal.  The mother appealed.  The mother noted that the father had only limited involvement in the care of the child when the child was a young infant (contact limited involvement).

The judge considered the mother to be evasive in answering questions and at times to be untruthful including to the family consultant (credibility).

The judge found that the father gave the 4.5 year old son a mobile phone to facilitate communication but the mother had removed the sim card from the phone, claiming that too many calls were made.

The judge acknowledged that although the father had been uncomfortable in caring for the child as a baby, the father retained the right to form a meaningful relationship with the child at a later age.  The judge noted that the mother did not recognise that a 3 year old child has an increased need to spend significant time with the father to develop a meaningful relationship.  The judge noted that the father had an 11 year old daughter from a previous relationship and this daughter spent equal time with both parents.

The judge rejected the mother’s submission to re-open the case.