Alan & Eastman 2013 FCCA 174

Before separation the mother had been the primary carer for two children aged 8 and 6 years.  Following separation the children lived with the father and spent time with the mother.  The mother had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  The mother re-partnered and evidence was given that the children had been exposed to serious family violence from the mother’s new partner that included the mother being verbally abused, being isolated from the family, and a serious incident of physical abuse that resulted in the mother’s new partner being imprisoned for assault.  The mother had self harmed.

The judge found that the mother’s affidavit gave no evidence that she had any insight into the harm that had been caused to her children from exposure to family violence (lacked insight).  The mother focused solely on her own sense of injustice, and portrayed herself as being a victim of family violence but did not portray her children in the same way (child focused).

The judge noted disadvantages of issuing an interim order after a final hearing of evidence.

The judge issued final orders that included an order for the parents to review the operation of orders after 12 months and to consider the need for any change to orders, with both parties being able to apply to the court for a change of orders.