Dyson & Hickey 2014 FCCA 136

A boy aged 9 years had lived with his mother since birth.  The father then applied for the boy to live with him.

The father acknowledged that he became passionate about decisions he considered unfair and that he had a sense of grievance about some topics, but the father denied being angry.  Evidence was given that the father had displayed strong unrestrained passionate emotions both in front of his son, and towards other people including police and workers in several services (personality emotionally volatile).  The father acknowledged that he had been diagnosed with a bipolar disorder and that he took medication to treat this disorder.

The judge found that the father loved his son, but lacked the ability to prioritise a child’s needs above his own interests.  The judge noted that the father made very low financial contributions to support his son, and the father informed the court that he would pay more if he gained more access to his son.  The judge described this attitude as niggardly and as an appallingly conditional financial contribution (parental attitude).

The judge ordered that the boy live with his mother and spend time with the father, and granted sole parental responsibility to the mother with a requirement that the mother inform the father about decisions.