Massey & Cooper 2014 FamCA 574

The case involved a child aged 13 years who was diagnosed with ADHD and who took Ritalin.  The child had been on a week-about shared care arrangement with both parents.  Both parents had re-partnered.  The mother sought an order that the father’s new partner be restrained from being present during any time when the child spent time with the father.

The child reported that the stepmother treated him differently to his step-siblings by verbally abusing him, by making denigrating remarks about him, and that she had thrown an object at his head.  The child reported that the father had bent his fingers back.  The child protection Department reported no plans to intervene.

The child expressed a wish to see his step-siblings but not to live with them (child’s wishes).

The judge found that the father had not communicated with the mother about the child for some months and that equal shared parental responsibility was clearly unworkable (communication poor).

The judge ordered that the child live with the mother and that the mother have sole parental responsibility.  The judge ordered that the father be restrained from allowing his new partner to be present when the child spends time with the father (restrained from being present).  The judge ordered that both parties be restrained from physical discipline of the child (restrained from using physical discipline).