Yardley & Niven 2014 FCCA 137

A mother left the father when twins were aged 6 weeks old, moving into a Women’s Shelter and alleging family violence.  The father denied the domestic violence and claimed that the mother had used him to obtain permanent residency.

When the twins were aged 3 years the father applied for overnight stays, and the mother initially proposed that overnight stays commence when the twins were aged 7 years.

A family consulted reported marked hostility between the parents, and that the parents had difficulty using a communication book (high conflict couple).  The consultant noted that when children sense hostility between their parents the children become caught in parental disputes and become involved emotionally in the antagonism and develop divided loyalties as they see that parents who love them dislike each other, with some children resolving their dilemma by rejecting one parent (loyal).  The judge found that family violence had occurred.

The judge ordered that overnight stays commence at the age of 3 years 10 months with the number of nights increasing over a six month period (age of child).