Sharp & Underwood 2014 FamCA 301

The applicant was not the biological parent of one of the children (non-parent) aged 9 and 7 years.  The applicant sought continuation of the existing parenting regime so that both children would continue to live primarily with him and to spent time with the mother.  While the applicant was not the biological father of one child, it was clear that he had been a constant and stable presence in the child’s life from when the child was aged about 12 months, and that he had functioned in loco parentis.

The mother had an older daughter who, when aged 13 years, had made allegations against both the applicant and the mother (child’s allegations).  The applicant denied the allegations and argued that the daughter wanted to be able to contact her biological father but the mother did not allow this, so the daughter made allegations against him to help achieve her desire to spend time with her biological father.  Police did not proceed with charges because of inconsistencies in the daughter’s allegations.

Two years later the mother had left the two younger children in the care of the applicant.

The judge found that the applicant had demonstrated an exemplary attitude to the younger children and to parental responsibility.

The judge granted sole parental responsibility for both children to the applicant, and ordered that it was in the best interests of the children that they remain living with the applicant and spend time with the mother.  This arrangement allowed the two younger children an opportunity to spend time with their half-brother who lived with the mother (sibling relationship).