Taggart & Felton 2011 FMCAfam 395
The father left the mother and later established a new relationship (re-partnered). The father then applied for his 10 year old daughter to live with him although she would be separated from her two older siblings with whom she had a good relationship (sibling separation). The father had lived with the daughter for the first 5 years of her life, but his contact was limited in the two years after he first left the mother.
The father alleged that the mother was neglectful of the child and exposed the child to several risks, including: the mother had a history of living in 6 relationships involving family violence including her present relationship; the mother participated in alcohol abuse and took the daughter to hotels; the mother had unstable accommodation; the mother lacked insight into the psychological effect of exposing the daughter to frequent family violence and abuse; and the mother had been unable to ensure the daughter consistently attended school over a two year period (school attendance, marked instability). The mother reportedly had a borderline personality disorder.
The judge found the father to be a more reliable witness (credibility). The judge found that the daughter had been exposed to repeated and serious incidents of family violence while in the care of the mother. The mother had not made lasting changes to her lifestyle (capacity to change).
The judge ordered that:
- the daughter live with the father
- the mother be restrained from either direct or indirect contact with the father or his new partner
- the mother be restrained from contacting the daughter (restrained from contact)