An Auckland mother who was a former high flying public official who had been raising her child for three years now fears of losing her in a child custody battle initiated by her estranged husband who is a rich foreign retiree. She spent nearly $200, 000.00 fighting the application for guardianship and care of her child for the past three years of litigation. She sought the services of the legal aid, but she was refused and was forced to borrow from her parents and is now selling her properties to pay her bills.
The parties met in the early 1990’s, and their relationship was characterized by angry, bitter separations and emotional highly charged reconciliation. During the hearing of the case, the father admitted slapping the child in the face. The child was born in 2005, and the father has no contact with the child since birth until the child was 16 months old. This fact was brought as evidence of the mother in addition to the allegation that he never wanted the child to be born.
The Court found that the child has a consistently negative view of the father and does not want to visit him and that the child hated the father. It was also assessed by the court that the child was alienated and expressed freely unreasonable negative feelings towards the father and that the mother denied having engaged in any alienating behaviour. The child according to the court has disproportionate negative feelings to the father despite the limited experience with him.
Although the court was satisfied that the slapping of the child by the father was abusive, the same, however, occurred infrequently and seen at the lower end of the scale. And though he posed no risk to the child’s physical safety, yet the father had shown little insight into the inappropriateness of his earlier violent behaviour especially in times when he resorted to shouting.
From the testimony of the parties, the court found that the parties have the worst parental relationship it has ever heard and their case showed the effect of having large money in the court proceedings. Though the Court has the authority to stop all proceedings that are highly disruptive to the child’s life, however, when one got the money, that person can keep going back to the court to win the case.