Rose & Rose 2015 FamCA 200

A mother experienced an ongoing period of severe mental illness after the birth of a child, where the mental illness impacted on parenting.  The mother had been diagnosed with ADHD as a child and took Ritalin medication.  The mother ceased medication while she was pregnant.  After the child was born the mother experienced a range of symptoms including panic, depression, reduced energy and concentration, loss of motivation and mood changes.  During this period the mother experienced the father as being very critical about the orderliness of the household.  The father organised for his own mother to visit frequently, in a manner the mother considered to be intrusive and monitoring (personality ultra-critical).

The mother left the father and moved into the house of her own mother for a period, leaving the child with the father.  Both parents were distrustful of each other.

The mother commenced seeing a psychiatrist, recommenced medication, and attended the psychiatrist regularly.  The psychiatrist reported that the mother’s mental state had been stable for two years prior to the trial.  The judge found that the mother’s mental state was stable, and that the mother demonstrated insight into her condition.  The father remained concerned about the possibility of a relapse.

The father was concerned that the child’s behaviour was often unsettled and hyperactive when the child returned from visits with the mother.

Three family assessment reports were obtained.

The judge ordered that the child live with the father and spend substantial and significant time with the mother, and that the parents share parental responsibility.