Cambridge & Walter 2010 FCWA 30

A father applied for unsupervised access of his two children who were a daughter aged 12 years and a son aged 9 years following several years when access had been supervised due to an unsubstantiated allegation by the mother that the father had engaged in sexual abuse of the daughter.

An expert observed that the father had been affectionate with the children and they were affectionate with him, and concluded that the father was basically attached to his children but the attachment was not a very close one.

The mother was estranged from her own father, and the expert considered that the mother did not understand the important role that fathers have in the development of children (role of biological parent, alienate).  The expert recommended a graduated approach of increasing access time for the father to allow the mother to become more confident that the children would be safe.

The children then became reluctant to meet with their father, and the expert noted that both children appear to be very aware of the level of anxiety, suspiciousness and anger that their mother was experiencing in relation to their father, and this may have an impact on the children’s willingness to have access visits with their father (reluctant to contact). Both children were very close to their mother and they may want to lessen her level of anxiety by curtailing contact with their father, being enmeshed, (differentiate own/others emotions).

The expert considered that the children may feel that they have to choose between their parents (loyal).