Gladstone & Gladstone 2014 FamCAFC 185

The case involved three children aged 14, 12 and 8 years.  The trial judge ordered that parents have shared parental responsibility and that the children live primarily with their mother and spend time with the father.  The mother appealed the order and applied for sole parental responsibility on the topic of deciding about psychological therapy (delegated decision making).  The father and ICL opposed this application.  The father applied for an equal time arrangement.

The mother gave evidence that the oldest child had been diagnosed with Aspergers tendencies, and that his behaviour had deteriorated when the parents separated to the point where the child spoke about suicide.

The mother applied to adduce further evidence about changed circumstances since the trial judge had issued orders, arguing three main points: that the children had not settled into the new access arrangements and that their relationships with the father had deteriorated; that the father made an allegation that the mother alienated the children from him; and that a new partner was exerting a negative influence on the children.

The Appeal Court noted that shared care arrangements for children to live with each parent week-about generally work only when parents show a high level of cooperation and an ability to co-parent.

The mother’s appeal was dismissed.