A case before the Family Court concerned an application by the mother of three children alleging that the father did not facilitate phone calls between the mother and the children while the children were in his care.
The mother and father began living together in June 2006 and separated on 17 June 2013. There has been a long history of litigation commenced in June 2013 and numerous professionals have been consulted during the litigation process. Parenting orders were made in February 2015 and, among other things, the orders provided for the children to live with the mother and spend time with the father. The orders also included the provision that the parents should facilitate the children telephoning the other parent upon reasonable requests from the children, and at 6pm on each of the children’s and the parents’ birthdays where they were not otherwise with that parent.
The mother alleges that the father failed, without reasonable excuse, to facilitate a phone call between one of the children and the mother on the child’s birthday and also on the mother’s birthday.
The father claimed that the children were given every opportunity to call the mother and were encouraged to do so but they refused the offer on both occasions.
The father conceded that he could have dialled the number and handed the phone to the child but he said he believed that it could lead to a further complaint.
The Judge noted that there was no issue that the phone calls which were part of the final parenting orders were not made and there is also no issue that the father was aware of the obligations involved. The Judge also stated that the father did not fulfil his obligations by providing the number to the children and telling them to ring.
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