Fatherhood: No Guarantee of Good Behaviour

A case before the Family Court considered an application from a mother for sole parental responsibility for her nine-year old child. She also sought orders that the child lives with her, spend no time with the father and the father not communicate with the child, that she be at liberty to change the child’s name and place of residence without notice to the father.

The parents began living together in 2004 and separated in 2008. The mother claimed the father had not seen the child since he was one year old and that the two have no relationship.

The mother was the primary carer from birth and the father was rarely home. He provided only limited support in the care of the child and in mid-2008 the mother asked him to leave the home they shared and the parties separated without incident and the mother was not subject to any violence during their relationship.

About two months after the relationship ended the father began stalking the mother, threatening her and subjecting her to serious violence. He has a long history of substance abuse.

In August 2008 the father came he said to say goodbye as he was moving, however once inside the flat, he told the mother that “I’m not planning on going anywhere. I’ve come to do the job properly” which the mother took to be a threat to her life and she fled with the child. On another occasion, he came to the flat and assaulted the mother. A number of violent incidents followed even after an intervention order was taken out by the mother. These incidents included the use of Molotov cocktails.

The father was eventually sentenced to a period of nine years imprisonment.

The Judge made orders in line with the mother’s wishes.


This article remains the property of Kate Austin Family Lawyers and can only provide basic information.  It 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 correct at the time of writing but changes in legislation or procedure may change.