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Courier Mail QLD
Judge makes tough decisions
Selfish separated parents who try to stop their children having a relationship with their former partners are having the kids taken off them by courts.
A judge recently took the drastic step of ordering that a girl, eight, who had lived with her mother since her parents separated when she was 13 months, instead live with her father.
Changing the childs primary carer from the mother to the father was the only way the girl could have a meaningful relationship with both parents, Judge Evelyn Bender decided.
The mother had for years interfered with her daughters court-ordered time with her father, who did not see his child for months at a time.
Judge Bender saidThe mother tells (the child) that her father is going to take her away and not allow her to ever see her mother again
The anxious little girl had told a Court family consultant it was her dream to be able to love Mummy and Daddy at the same time.
Brisbane family law specialist Deborah Awyzio saidit was only in extreme cases that a child was taken away from one parent and put in the care of the other.This is a warning that parents need to be child-focused in every parenting decision they make and not self-focused.
People think it is extreme when a child is removed from the carer they have been with, but the focus is on the childs right to have a meaningful relationship with both parents.
In the recent case the court heard the couple, who separated in 2007 after five years together, had been in ongoing litigation over their daughters living arrangements.
The court heard the mothers unremitting campaign to undermine her childs relationship with her father distressed the child, who loved both parents.
Judge Evelyn Bender saidIf the girl lived with her father she would be allowed to be a child
She gave the father sole responsibility for the childs health and education and allowed the mother to spend time with the girl on alternate weeks and during holidays.
Wayne Butler, from the Shared Parenting Council of Australia said
This case sends the strongest message possible to those wayward and errant parents who continue to deny a meaningful relationship for the child with the other parent. We are inundated with these sorts of cases and they take up all our time in dealing with a lack of contact for one parent and the maximum extraction of child support by the other.
Judge Evelyn Bender has made a very clear and unequivocal statement to those parents who make it almost impossible for the other to have any relationship with the child or children.
Every case has unique issues that need to be dealt with but we applaud this courageous Judge for making a stand on this vexed and increasing problem we are facing in all the cases we deal with