a father of three children aged seven, eight and nine was granted sole custody.
The Victorian mother of these children was banned by the Court from seeing and spending time with her children because of the family violence she had inflicted upon them.
Although the Court upholds the principle of shared parental responsibility, it did not apply said principle in this case. The decision rendered was regrettable according to the court, but the same was made in order to protect the best interest of the children.
The children suffered family violence in the hands of their own mother, who according to the children had held the eldest daughter by her throat and lifter her up from the ground. In one weekend also, the mother submerged the head of her son under water because of the son prolonged washing of his hair. These children told their father that they fear for their lives.
During the hearing of the case, the mother abandoned her position stating that it would be for the best interest of the children. She accused the Court of engaging in a circus and biases. She alleged to be with her children when the father destroyed the children or when they resorted to alcohol and drugs for comfort.
The Court decided the case and granted the father the sole custody of the children. The decision was attuned with the proposed Gillard government changes to the family law, wherein the Court is under obligation to accord greater weight to the safety of the child if the same becomes in conflict with her right to maintain relationship with both parents. Shared parental responsibility was not applicable in the case because there were reasonable grounds for the Court to believe that the mother had engaged in family violence.
The mother was banned from seeing the children but she was allowed to contact them through the telephone and email at a given time. The Court ruled that to make an order for the mother to spend time with the children runs a substantial risk of her behavior which was found to be abusive, continuing unabated. This is because the mother had perpetrated physical and psychological family violence in her children.
The Court took note also of the psychological effect of the order on the children who might leave them concerned whether their actions have brought about the situation, yet neither alternative according to the Court was palatable, the risk of harm was just too great.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.