Insights and inspiration
Lesser of Two Evils
25 November 2013
The Family Court in Neill & Redford  FamCA588, dealt with parties who had consent orders in place for two years providing for equal shared parental responsibility until the mother made domestic violence complaints which resulted in an Apprehended Violence Order being issued against the father. The mother's application sought sole parental responsibility.
The mother had substance abuse problems which prevented her from attending to her children. However, case workers were helping the mother conquer her drug and alcohol use. The mother refused to attend the hearing and the Court suggested the mother's absence could be due to her fear of the father's anger.
During the hearing, the father swore and grew angry at being questioned. At one point during a lunch conference, the Court was required to call security because of the father's temper. The father had a record of assaulting, harassing and stalking the mother.
The Court believed the father's anger whilst not directed toward the children could harm them. Between the two unenviable positions of a father who could not control his anger and a mother who used drugs but was getting help, the Court granted sole parental responsibility to the mother.
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