Adult sibling seeking a relationship and time with younger siblings
Adult sibling – Ms C’s application
- In the previous final orders, Ms C (adult sibling) was a minor who was a subject of proceedings between the parents. In these proceedings, Ms C, now aged 21 years, has made an application to spend time with her younger siblings. The mother does not oppose the concept of face to face time between the girls but seeks that Ms C’s time with the children be supervised. In the witness box, the mother’s evidence was that the children have access to a phone and an iPad and they have Ms C’s number. She says they are able to call or FaceTime with Ms C if they wish to, but in the last 11 months, they have not chosen to do so. The father supports Ms C’s application to spend time with her siblings and, as I said earlier, he amended his application so that their proposed times to see the children do not overlap. The independent children’s lawyer’s proposal is that the children spend time and communicate with their sister in accordance with their wishes.
- Ms C’s living arrangements have been somewhat unstable since the 2013 orders. At that stage, Ms C had been living with her mother since separation but in early 2014, Ms C moved to live with her father during her final year of high school because, as Ms C put it, it was “geographically easier and more convenient to live with him” whilst she was completing her VCE at Z School. Ms C said she moved back in with her mother after the school year ended but left after three weeks “due to a serious incident”. She then lived with her maternal grandmother until July 2016, when she moved back in with her mother and sisters at Suburb F. Ms C said she did this because she missed her sisters. That arrangement ended in December 2016 after an incident to which I will refer later. Since then, Ms C has lived sometimes with her father and sometimes with her boyfriend.
- Ms C’s evidence about why she made an application to the Court was as follows:
25. …I feel as though I have escaped the toxic abuse of the [mother’s] family and that I can now be healthy, safe and free. I feel I owe this this [sic] to my sisters, to save them from the amount of trauma that was inflicted by my mother. I feel so scared for them and guilty as if I have left them behind. I have not seen my sisters since the night I had the operation because [Ms King] threatened to put an intervention order against me if I tried contacting the girls. She has me blocked from sending text messages, making phone calls, blocked on social media, Instagram. I have absolutely no way of getting through to them. I fear for [D’s] mental health, she is very sensitive and emotional in nature. I fear for [E’s] development and emotional abuse. My mother brainwashes [E] the most because she is easier manipulated being developmentally delayed and youngest. I am fearful of the people that my mother would allow to hit the girls. I am fearful of [Mr W] being around my sisters.
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