Case Study – Family Disputes (Children)
The below is an example of a case which demonstrates family dispute problems that we can solve, the approaches that we are able to take and the services we can provide to our clients.
Our client came to us, unsure of her rights. She had heard lots of different stories about visitation rights and the concept of shared parental responsibility. Our client and her then partner had separated 2 months after learning that she was pregnant. After the child was born, the Father sought to spend time with the child on an unsupervised basis and filed an application in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia seeking orders to that effect.
Our client was extremely reluctant for the Father to spend any time with the child. During the relationship, she reported that the Father had significant mental health and drug abuse issues. Also, she reported that he had physically and emotionally abused her.
We provided advice to our client about the family law process and the strengths of her application seeking sole parental responsibility. After the appointment of an Independent Children’s Lawyer and the provision of a Family Report, the parties attended mediation. The first attempt at mediation failed, as the Father had still not proven that he was drug free or that he had the capacity to care for the child. The second round of mediation however, proved to be successful.
After almost three years of litigation, the parties were able to reach an agreement. With our professional and well-thought out approach, the parties were able to come to a settlement where our client was given sole parental responsibility of the child. Over time the parties were able to work towards a progressive increase in care for the Father that they were both comfortable with and that were in the best interests of their child. The agreement was then turned into Family Law Consent Orders that were approved by the Court.
This case is a common example of the types of issues that parents have and their struggle to resolve disputed issues when they are still affected by the breakdown of their relationship. After years of the matter being in court, we were able to assist our client and the father to settle the matter by focusing on the paramount consideration, that being the child’s best interests.