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FATHER CHARGED FOR BREACHING INTERVENTION ORDER SEEKS FOR JOINT PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY OVER HIS CHILDREN

Raywood & Gelston [2020] FCCA 2200 (14 August 2020)  

This case is about a father seeking for joint parental responsibility over is children even if he has charged on multiple occasions for breaches of the Intervention Orders and has a long history of mental illness  

Facts:  

Father seeks joint parental responsibility over his children.  He requests that the children spend time with him from Friday until Sunday during term times and from Thursday till Sunday during school holidays.    

The mother seeks sole parental responsibility over the children contending that:  

  1. The father has been charged on multiple occasions for breaches of the Intervention Orders  
  2. The father has had a long history of mental health difficulties arising out of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other matters. He even had significant mental health episode and was significantly suicidal in his ideation  
  3. She experienced family violence during the relationship inflicted by the father.  

Issue: Is the father entitled to shared parental responsibility over his child regardless being charged with multiple breaches of Intervention orders, being mentally ill and violent?  

Law:  

  • 61DA- Presumption of equal shared parental responsibility when making parenting orders  

(2) The presumption does not apply if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent of the child (or a person who lives with a parent of the child) has engaged in:  

(a) Abuse of the child or another child who, at the time, was a member of the parent’s family (or that other person’s family); or  

(b) Family violence   

Analysis:  

The presumption of equal shared parental responsibility is plainly rebutted.  The father has committed family violence against the mother and the court accepts her allegations in their entirety, despite the father’s denials. The long history of Intervention Orders and breach thereof by the father, in a sense, speaks for itself. It is clearly in the children’s best interests that the mother has sole parental responsibility.  

Conclusion:  

Hence, the mother shall have sole responsibility over the children. 

 

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