Parenting Orders : Is Dad a Dad – not if Mum says no!


A recent case on parenting orders before the Family court concerned the custody arrangements for three children aged 15, 12 and 10. The parents separated during 2007 but remained living in the same household until November 2007, when the father vacated the house.

For the next three years the children only regularly spent time with the father on Sundays and additional time with him intermittently at his request, but only on condition that it occurred at the mother’s house or under her supervision.

In April 2011 the eldest child complained to the mother about the father’s treatment of her which led the mother to infer that the child may have been sexually assaulted by the father. As a consequence the mother severed all of the children’s interaction with the father. In April 2012 the father commenced court proceedings, and interim parenting orders were made with the parents’ consent. These parenting orders provided for the children to live with the mother and for the two youngest children to spend time with the father each Sunday under supervision. Time with the oldest child was to be at her discretion.

In May 2014 the Court was advised that the mother no longer sought any positive findings about either the father’s past sexual abuse of the eldest child or his presentation of any unacceptable risk of sexual abuse to any of his children.

The mother later told the children to call her partner Dad and changed their surname despite the father having shared parental responsibility and neither of them having greater power than the other in the exercise of that responsibility.

The final orders meant that the eldest child would live with the mother and spend time with the father in accordance with her wishes and the two younger children to live with the father and spend time with the mother.


This article remains the property of Kate Austin Family Law and can only provide basic information and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. This information cannot be relied on as a substitute for legal information and it is only general by nature. This information was generally correct at the time of writing but changes in legislation or procedure may change.