Child inclusive conference assists court
REASONS FOR JUDGMENT
- This interim hearing related to the child X born (omitted) 2015.
- On 28 September 2016, by consent the Court made orders that the child live with the mother; the child spend time with the father each Saturday from 12 noon to 2PM commencing 22 October 2016, such time to take place at (omitted) Park, (or at such other place as agreed between the maternal grandfather and the father), and periods of “spend time” to be supervised by the maternal grandfather.
- The father’s interim parenting proposals contained within his Counsel’s written submissions dated 8 March 2017 seeks orders, inter alia, that the parties have equal shared parental responsibility for the child; the child live with the mother; the child spend time with the father for 8 consecutive Saturdays, from 10AM to 1PM, supervised by the Father’s first cousin Ms Z (date of birth (omitted) 1983), and then unsupervised on an increasing basis ultimately leading to overnight time.
- The mother’s interim parenting proposals were set out in her Response filed 25 January 2017; inter-alia, that the child spend supervised time (supervised by the maternal Grandmother) with the father every second Saturday from 10AM to 12 noon, with such day time time to be very gradually increased, such that when the child turns 5 years of age the father’s supervised time on every second Saturday will be from 10AM to 4PM. The supervised time is to take place at the above park.
- In the event that the Court permitted supervision by the father’s cousin, the father sought no restriction on the place where the child spend supervised time with him, whereas the mother sought that such supervised time occur at McDonald’s restaurant, (omitted).
- The father’s documentary material is set out on page one of his case outline dated 30 January 2017 (although the Affidavit of the Father’s cousin Ms Z was actually sworn and filed 30 January 2017, and noting that the undertaking by Ms Z was filed on 31 January 2017). The Court also notes that Ms Z gave oral evidence at Court on 6 March 2017, relating to her proposed supervision of the child, which is referred to below.
- The mother’s material included her submissions document filed 31 January 2017, her Affidavit filed 27 January 2017, Notice of Risk filed 25 January 2017, and her Response filed 25 January 2017.
Agreed or undisputed relevant facts
- The father was born on (omitted) 1990 in (country omitted) and is aged 26 years. The mother was born in Australia on (omitted) 1993, and is aged 23 years. The mother now lives at (omitted). The father lives at (omitted).
- The parties married in 2012. They separated in January 2015, according to the mother, but, according to the father, resumed cohabitation in about mid-April 2015, and finally separated on about 10 May 2015. The mother asserts that during April to May 2015, the parties only visited each other.
- Before the child’s birth, the parties had been residing with the maternal grandparents in (omitted). Following the mother being discharged from hospital on 7 January 2015, the parties continued to reside with the maternal grandparents until the father left their home on 10 January 2015.
- Following the separation, the father spent quite limited time with the child, for less than an hour on each occasion, at the mother’s residence, and he was not allowed to hold the child. Even after the Court orders of 28 September 2016, the child’s time with the father was irregular.
- As at 25 January 2017, the father resides in rented accommodation, being a three-bedroom flat, being the top floor of a house. In that flat, the father states that he has two co-tenants, who are a married couple. He states that he has the right to the use of two bedrooms in the flat, and his co-tenants occupy the third bedroom.
- The father works as a (occupation omitted), full-time; his usual work hours are 7AM to 3PM weekdays. The mother’s occupation is stated to be home duties.
- In about March 2015, whilst the paternal grandmother was visiting from (country omitted), she and the father went to the maternal grandparents’ residence to see the child. (The father alleges that at this time he was assaulted by the maternal grandmother which assertion is disputed by the mother; both parties made a complaint to the police, as a result of the mother’s complaint, an apprehended violence summons was issued for her protection. When the matter was dealt with in the Local Court at Campbelltown on 24 March 2015, the father was not legally represented, and he consented to orders being made for a period of 12 months, without admission as to the facts).
- In mid-2015, the father completed the triple P Positive Parenting Program conducted 2 hours per day, over a period of six weeks.
- The father’s first cousin, Ms Z, aged 33 years, lives with her husband and their two children aged seven and four. The father proposes that Ms Z supervise the children’s time with him for a short period of time. Ms Z’s affidavit states, inter alia, that she is married to Mr R. They married in (omitted) 2008.
- Ms Z states that she has known the father since shortly after his birth and grew up with him in (country omitted). Since Ms Z arrived in Australia from (country omitted) in October 2014 she has had close contact with the father and usually sees him several times a week. The father has a close relationship with Ms Z’s children. Ms Z states that she has only met the child on one occasion when the child was a newborn.
- Ms Z states that she understands her role in supervising the child whilst the father has time with her, is to ensure that the child is safe and that no harm comes to her. She states if she was in any way concerned with the father’s care of the child whilst she was supervising his time with her, she would immediately telephone the mother, and take the child into her care and return her to the mother. The Court notes that Ms Z has filed an Undertaking in relation to her proposed supervision in the usual form.
- On 6 March 2017 Ms Z gave sworn evidence before the Court and the mother’s solicitor was given the opportunity to cross-examine Ms Z. Ms Z’s oral evidence stated, inter alia, that she is available to supervise the child’s time with the father on weekends, except on Saturdays between 10AM and 12PM when she is working. Ms Z gave some brief evidence as to the manner in which she would seek to make the child comfortable when the child spent time with the father supervised by her, and in this context she reiterated her own care of her four-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son. She confirmed that when supervising the child’s time with the father she would not hesitate to contact the mother in the event of any problem arising. Ms Z stated that she was in a position to supervise the child’s time with the father for the next 3 to 6 months. The Court informed Ms Z of allegations made by the mother against the father relating to the father allegedly inappropriately touching the child and hitting the child, in the context of Ms Z’s proposed supervision of the child’s time with the father.
Relevant legal principles
- The relevant principles in relation to parenting proceedings, including interim proceedings, are well settled: see Goode & Goode  FamCAFC 1346; (2006) FLC 93-286.
- In Marvel v Marvel  FamCAFC 101; (2010) 43 Fam LR 348 the Full Court (Faulks DCJ, Boland and Stevenson JJ), discussed the problems associated with making findings on disputed evidence as follows:
 As has frequently been emphasised interim parenting proceedings, and orders made as a consequence, are a necessary but temporary measure until all the evidence can be tested, evaluated and weighed at a final hearing by the making of final parenting orders. Decisions judicial officers have to make in interim proceedings are difficult and, often for very good reason, a conservative approach, or one which is likely to avoid harm to a child is adopted. This is often to the understandable distress of a party who may not achieve the outcome he or she desires, or thinks to be in the best interests of their child or children. Interim parenting orders are frequently modified or changed after a final hearing, and any allocation of parental responsibility made at an interim hearing is disregarded at the final hearing (s 61DB).
 In SS & AH  FamCAFC 13 the majority (Boland and Thackray JJ) discussed at paragraph  of their reasons the care necessary to be exercised in making findings in interim parenting proceedings. Their Honours said:
In our view, findings made at an interim hearing should be couched with great circumspection, no matter how firmly a judge’s intuition may suggest that the finding will be borne out after a full testing of the evidence.
 Later, at  their Honours amplified their comments and said:
The intuition involved in decision-making concerning children is arguably of even greater importance when a judge is obliged to make interim decisions following a hearing at which time constraints prevent the evidence being tested. Apart from relying upon the uncontroversial or agreed facts, a judge will sometimes have little alternative than to weigh the probabilities of competing claims and the likely impact on children in the event that a controversial assertion is acted upon or rejected. It is not always feasible when dealing with the immediate welfare of children simply to ignore an assertion because its accuracy has been put in issue.”
- Of this, the Full Court in Eaby & Speelman (2015) FLC 93-654 said at 80, 332:
 As would be immediately apparent, this approach enables the Court to appropriately and carefully deal with contentious issues relevant to the welfare of the child, and for those issues to not be ignored.
- The Court also refers to the recent decision of the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia in Banks v Banks (2015) FamCAFC 36, especially at paragraph 46 to 52.
- Section 60B of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (“the Act”) sets out the objects of Part VII of the Act relating to children that inform the making of parenting orders.
- In deciding whether to make a particular parenting order in relation to a child, a Court must regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration: section 60CA of the Act.
- Section 60CC of the Act provides that in determining what is in the child’s best interests, the Court must consider the matters set out in subsections (2) and (3).
- When making a parenting order in relation to a child, the Court must apply a presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for the child’s parents to have equal shared parental responsibility for the child: section 61DA of the Act. When the Court is making an interim order, the presumption applies unless the Court considers that it would not be appropriate in the circumstances for the presumption to be applied when making that order: section 61DA (3).
- If the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility in relation to the child applies, and is not rebutted, the Court must firstly consider whether the child spending equal time with each of the parents would be in the best interests of the child and reasonably practicable.
- If equal time is found not to be in the child’s best interests, or impracticable, as a result of consideration of one or more of the matters in section 60CC, the Court must consider making an order that the child spends substantial and significant time (as defined in section 65DAA (3)) with the parents, unless contrary to the child’s best interests as a result of consideration of one or more of the matters in section 60CC, or impracticable.
- If neither equal time nor substantial and significant time is considered to be in the best interests of the child, or impracticable, then the Court may make such orders in the discretion of the Court that it thinks proper, being orders that are in the best interests of the child, as a result of consideration of one or more of the matters in section 60CC: sections 60CA, 60CC, 65D.
The Best Interests of the Children
Section 60CC Considerations
Subsection (2a) – the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents: a primary consideration.
- The child has a meaningful relationship with the mother and would benefit from a continuance of that relationship.
- The Court notes that the father has not spent regular consistent time with the child since the child’s birth, despite, according to the father’s evidence, his past efforts to spend more time with the child. The Family Consultant reported in the Child Inclusive Conference memorandum dated 12 December 2016, having observed the child and the father together at that conference that the father did not appear to have a strong established relationship with the child as yet. The Family Consultant stated that such a relationship was likely to take time and consistency, if he was to have a relationship with the child, dependent on the risk factors identified.
- Subject to the need to protect primary consideration issue discussed below, it would appear that the child would benefit from having a meaningful relationship with the Father.
- At this interim stage, again noting the child has just turned two  years of age, the Court is of the view that the child’s relationship can best develop with the father by spending weekly daytime time with him but in the absence of the mother or the maternal grandparents (see discussion below).
- The Court is of the view that the mother’s proposals for the child to spend time with the father for two hours every second Saturday (and supervised by the maternal grandmother; and again see discussion below) until the child is four years of age, and subsequent proposals, would not be conducive to the child’s relationship with the father developing in a timely fashion.
- The Court gives significant weight to this meaningful relationship primary consideration.
Subsection (2b) – the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.
- The Court has considered all the mother’s allegations of family violence asserted against the father. The father, for his part, denies sexually assaulting the child, or indeed assaulting her in any way, and denies ever being violent or threatening to the mother or to her parents.
- The mother, inter-alia, alleges that the father was very abusive, both verbally and physically to her during the relationship; he would kick, punch, push, grab and force himself on the mother. The mother alleged that she would be left with multiple bruises because of the abuse.
- The mother alleges that the father was very controlling, demanding and short tempered during the relationship. He wanted everything his way and if things didn’t go his way that he would lose control. The mother alleges that the father isolated her from everyone including her family. She alleges that the father would not allow her to study or work.
- On a trip to (country omitted) in December 2013, the mother alleges that the father continued to control her, and would not allow her to spend time with her sister. He was verbally abusive of them, and grabbed the mother’s arm demanding she go back to the hotel room with him. The mother alleges that back at the hotel room the father attacked the mother’s sister, breaking her bracelet in the process, and proceeded to attack the mother.
- The mother alleges that on a later occasion the father yelled at the mother and proceeded to choke her. She alleges that her brother’s girlfriend witnessed this incident and told the father to stop (the Court notes that there is no Affidavit from the brother’s girlfriend).
- The mother alleges that in about March 2015 the father, his mother and the mother’s uncle came to her parent’s home. The mother alleges that an argument ensued when the maternal grandmother asked the father and his mother to leave. The mother alleges that the father kept jumping in front of the maternal grandmother and started yelling. She alleges that the father grabbed the maternal grandmother’s arm and continued to yell. The police came to the maternal grandparents’ home, because, according to the mother, the father had told the police that the maternal grandmother had hit him, but according to the mother she had not.
- The mother caused the Police to take out an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order which was made a final order for 12 months on 24 March 2015 in the Local Court at Campbelltown; the protected person was the mother and the child, with the defendant being the father (see Exhibit C). Not without relevance, after the Court case, the mother went home with the father and at a park the mother asked the father if he wanted to see the child. Further, later in the middle of April 2015, the mother visited the father at his home in (omitted) for him to spend time with the child.
- The mother alleges that in about April 2015 the father was bathing the child. She alleges that she saw the father using both his hands pushing down on the child’s vagina. The mother told the father to cease what he was doing. The father replied that, “I have to do this to push the fat down.”
- At the Child Inclusive Conference on 12 December 2016, it is stated by the Family Consultant that the father explained to her that he and the paternal grandmother were only massaging the child, which he considered to be a tradition for newborn babies (curiously, the father in his Affidavit filed 25 January 2017 denies stating to the Family Consultant that either he or his mother massaged the child’s genitals, although he agrees that it is traditional for babies to have massages with oil following birth). The mother states that later she attended a Police Station to report the domestic violence and also her concerns with the Father touching the child inappropriately. The mother states that she would not sign a Police statement as it was not accurate. Further, she states that in her presence the maternal grandmother told the Australian Federal Police and the Department of Family and Community Services (“DFCS”) to drop the complaint as they had lost faith in the Police system.
- The mother further alleges in her Affidavit that there is currently a Court order in place restricting the father from going near his new girlfriend’s children, and in this context relies upon Exhibit D, apparently being a copy of such Court order, together with copies of alleged text message conversations between the mother and the former partner of the above new girlfriend. The Court observes that these allegations of the mother lack particularity and are somewhat vague. The father had made certain statements to the Child Inclusive Conference Family Consultant in this context, stating that the mother had made allegations regarding child pornography against him to the above former partner of the above new girlfriend denying such allegations.
- The father denies ever sexually assaulting the child, or indeed assaulting her in any way. He states that he has never been interviewed by the State or Federal Police or officers or the DFCS in relation to any allegation of any nature in relation to his treatment of the child.
- The mother alleges that in late April 2015 she observed the father “slap” the child on the leg with an open hand and yell at her, having heard the child “screaming/crying” moments earlier. There is no allegation by the mother that the child was physically hurt in some manner (eg no bruising is alleged). Not without relevance, the Court notes that despite this incident, in early May 2015, the mother took the child to the father’s residence for the father to spend time with the child. The mother then alleges that she went to the police to report “the domestic violence” but she would not sign the police statement as it was not accurate.
- The father alleged to the Family Consultant at the Child Inclusive Conference that the mother had previously hit and kicked him.
- The mother alleges that she was physically abused by the father when she was pregnant.
- There is an allegation by the mother that the father held a steak knife, during an argument in early May 2015, and dropped the knife, in the presence of the mother and child which the mother alleges almost hit her foot, though the mother does not allege that the father had deliberately dropped the knife. Again, the mother alleges that she attended upon the police to report the “domestic violence” but would not sign the police statement as it was not accurate.
- The mother further submits that the evidence before the Court indicates that the father has insufficient parenting capacity for a two-year-old child such as to permit the child to spend unsupervised time with him. She submits that the father has only spent limited time with the child since birth to date. There is some force to this submission noting the Father’s own evidence appears to be consistent with it. The father frankly conceded in final submissions on 6 March 2017 that the father had only spent a total of about one month with the child during her life to date.
- In this context, the Court notes, according to the Family Consultant, the current state of the relationship between the father and the child, who has just turned two  years of age, is that there is yet to develop a strong and established relationship.
- The Court notes the disputed allegations between the parties as to the extent to which the father provided physical care for the child up until about May 2015.
- The Court has not overlooked the father’s apparent attendance at a Triple P Positive Parenting Program, but notes that he attended the program in 2014 before the child’s birth and there is no evidence as to whether the Father received any instruction in the Program as to the parenting of a child as young as the subject child.
- At this interim stage, whilst certain of the mother’s above allegations arguably are diminished by inconsistent conduct by her, the Court nevertheless has remaining concerns in relation to the child spending unsupervised time with the father. These concerns arise cumulatively from the serious nature of the mother’s family violence allegations, the alleged inappropriate touching and smacking of the child by the father, the lack of any established relationship between the child and the father, and the father’ s apparent lack of parenting capacity.
- However, in the view of the Court, at this interim stage, the above concerns can be appropriately addressed and minimised by the child spending supervised time with the father.
- Without proceeding to make findings of fact, such supervision, in the view of the Court, should not be provided by the maternal grandparents, by reason of what arguably has been past conflict between the maternal grandparents and the father, and noting the father’s assertions (as yet untested by cross-examination) that the maternal grandparents have not allowed him, on previous occasions of supervision in their presence, to spend meaningful time with the child.
- The father submits, by reference to in Exhibit B, that if he is to spend supervised time with the child at a Contact Centre, the waiting time will be about 6 months.
- In the view of the Court, noting such possible waiting time, such supervised time can occur initially through the Father’s first cousin, Ms Z. In this context, the Court refers to Ms Z’s affidavit and undertaking, and her oral evidence to the Court, including the father’s own affidavit evidence relating to Ms Z; by reference to this evidence the Court is satisfied that Ms Z will be in a position to appropriately and safely supervise the child’s time with the Father, albeit for a period of 3-6 months according to Ms Z.
- However, as soon as (omitted) Children’s Contact Service, (omitted), is able to provide supervision for the child’s time with the father, that service should provide the supervision.
- Further, the Court proposes for such supervision to be reconsidered by the Court after a period of about 6 months and, accordingly, the Court will list a further interim hearing in about 6 months. At that interim hearing, the Independent Children’s Lawyer can fully participate in the proceedings.
- For the purposes of the further Interim Hearing, the father will be directed to file and serve a further affidavit from Ms Z relating to her supervision of the child’s time with the father, and an affidavit annexing copies of relevant Contact Centre reports relating to the child’s supervised time at (omitted) Children’s Contact Service, (omitted), should such latter supervision have occurred prior to the adjourned Interim Hearing.
- At the further Interim Hearing, the Court can consider whether the child’s time with the Father should continue to be supervised.
- The Court has considered the father’s assertions of family violence against the mother. These assertions were addressed at the Child Inclusive Conference and lack particularity. They were not addressed in the father’s Affidavits or Notice of Risk. The father seeks orders that the child live with the mother. The Court does not view these allegations as indicating there is a need to protect the child from the risk of abuse neglect or family violence whilst living with the mother.
- The Court gives significant weight to this need to protect primary consideration.
Section 60CC(3) – Additional Considerations
(b) The nature of the relationship of the child with each of the child’s parents; and other persons (including any grandparent or other relative of the child)
(c) The extent to which each of the child’s parents has taken or failed to take the opportunity; to participate in making decisions about major long-term issues in relation to the child; and to spend time with the child; and to communicate with the child
- The mother states that from September 2015 to January 2016 the father sought to spend time with the child.
- Following the Court’s consent interim parenting Orders of 28 September 2016, the father has spent time with the child in accordance with those Orders on most occasions to date.
- The father states that he does not wish the maternal grandfather to supervise his visits with the child. He states in his Affidavit filed 25 January 2017 that he does not wish to have his time with the child supervised (in this context, the Court refers to the father’s proposed interim parenting orders).
- The father alleges that the mother or her family members have interfered with his time with the child on almost every occasion that it was due to be held. In particular, the father alleges that the maternal grandfather, acting as supervisor pursuant to those Orders, has been obstructive during supervised visits including not allowing the father to hold the child.
- The father states that on 26 November 2016, the maternal grandmother attended the supervised visit, and from that occasion the maternal grandmother came to each period of time. The father makes no criticism of the maternal grandmother during those visits, although he does criticise the maternal grandmother for repeatedly failing to allow the father to have any satisfactory time with the child, including, on most occasions, not allowing the father to hold the child or touch her, between the date of separation and prior to the Court’s orders being made in September 2016.
- The father states, through his solicitors, that the mother and the maternal grandmother have video recorded the time that the father has spent with the child on occasions, and which the solicitors objected to.
- The Court notes the mother’s contrary allegations to the Child Inclusive Conference Family Consultant that the child had been sick on some occasions, and on other occasions the father had attended a different changeover location than was specified in the consent orders of September 2016. The mother alleged that there had been times that the father did not show up, and times when “they left early because the father was causing a scene.”
- Whilst the father’s allegations that the interim parenting orders of 28 September 2016 have not been fully successfully implemented, by reason of certain behaviour of the mother and the maternal family, appear to be disputed by the mother, the father’s allegations are reasonably well particularised, and if accurate, indicate that the present interim parenting arrangements are not conducive to the child’s relationship with the father developing in a timely fashion. The Court refers, in this context, to the Court’s discussion above under the primary considerations.
(ca) The extent to which each of the child’s parents has fulfilled, or failed to fulfil, the parent’s obligations to maintain the child
- The father states that he pays child support for the child in accordance with a Child Support Assessment made in September 2016, being one hundred and fifteen dollars ($115) per fortnight.
(d) The likely effect of any changes in the child’s circumstances, including the likely effect on the child of any separation from either of his or her parents; or any other child, or other person (including any grandparent or other relative of the child), with whom he or she has been living
- Should the child spend supervised time with the father, as discussed, there should be no detrimental effect upon the child’s meaningful relationship with the mother.
3(f) The capacity of each of the child’s parents; and any other person (including any grandparent or other relative of the child), to provide for the needs of the child, including emotional and intellectual needs
- The evidence at this interim stage would indicate that the parents probably have such capacities, subject to the court’s observations discussed above as to the father’s parenting capacity for the very young child.
(i) The attitude to the child, and to the responsibilities of parenthood, demonstrated by each of the child’s parents
- Subject to the Court’s discussion under the need to protect primary consideration, both parents would appear to have demonstrated appropriate attitudes.
(j) Any family violence involving the child or a member of the child’s family.
(k) If a family violence order applies, or has applied, to the child or a member of the child’s family – any relevant inferences that can be drawn from the order, taking into account the following: the nature of the order; the circumstances in which the order was made; any findings made by the Court in, or in proceedings for, the order; any other relevant matter.
(l) Whether it would be preferable to make the order that would be least likely to lead to the institution of further proceedings in relation to the child.
m) Any other fact or circumstance that the Court thinks is relevant.
- The court sought brief written submissions from the parties, after the interim hearing, as to whether, if Ms Z was to supervise the child’s time with the father, such time could be spent at a place other than a public venue (such as at Ms Z’s residence), and further, as to the father’s ultimate interim proposal that such supervised time take place for 3 hours, between 10 AM and 1PM on each Sunday.
- Noting the mother’s primary proposal for supervised time as referred to in her Response, referred to at the outset of these Reasons, the mother’s written submission in response opposed any supervision by Ms Z at any place other than a public venue and she sought McDonald’s (omitted), in the event that the Court was to order the child to spend supervised time with the father supervised by Ms Z.
- In this context, the mother submitted, inter alia, that she would not accept the child’s supervised visits occurring in the home of Ms Z. She reiterated that the child does not know Ms Z, nor is the child comfortable with her, and the child has not yet developed a meaningful relationship with the father. The mother submitted that she still fears for the child’s safety and a public place is the only acceptable vicinity for supervision. The mother made no express written submission in relation to the father’s interim proposal that the child spend 3 hours, between 10AM and 1PM on each Sunday.
- The Court refers to its previous discussion above, and relevant evidence in relation to the father’s interim proposal that Ms Z supervise his time with the child, at least for 8 weeks.
- Again, the Court is satisfied that Ms Z will be in a position to appropriately and safely supervise the child’s time with the Father (albeit for a period of 3-6 months according to Ms Z) and that such supervision can be appropriately and safely provided by Ms Z both at a public venue (such as a public park) or Ms Z’s residence. The evidence of Ms Z refers, inter alia, to her own marriage of over 8 years, her 2 children aged 7 and 4 (it would appear a boy and a girl), the fact that these children are in good health, her close relationship with the father, and a clear understanding of her undertaking to the court.
- The father seeks to spend any supervised time with Ms Z between 10AM and 1PM, a three hour period. The father’s written submission that to facilitate and foster a meaningful relationship with the father and the child, three hours is sought (the previous interim order was for two hours supervised time between the child and the father) because it will give the father more bonding time and a family environment, under the supervision of a family member, has some force.
Equal shared parental responsibility: section 61DA(1) and (2)
- The father told the Family Consultant at the Child Inclusive Conference that he was unable to communicate directly with the Mother because she deferred to her parents. The mother told the Consultant that she was unable to communicate directly with the father.
- The child is just 2 years of age. The father seeks an order for equal shared parental responsibility, and the mother seeks no specific parental responsibility order. At this interim stage, the Court is of the view that it is not in the best interests of the child to make an express order for parental responsibility.
Equal time and Substantial and significant time
- It is not in the best interests of the child at this interim stage to make either an order for equal time or substantial and significant time, in particular by reason of the apparent lack of any established and significant relationship with the father.
- Evaluating the above primary and additional considerations under section 60CC of the Act, the Court is of the view that it is in the best interests of the Child to make interim parenting orders as follows:
1) Discharge order 2 in Exhibit A of the Court’s orders of 28 September 2016.
2) Commencing Sunday 26 March 2017, the child shall spend supervised time with the father each Sunday from 10AM to1PM. The supervision is to be provided initially by the father’s first cousin, Ms Z until such time as the (omitted) Children’s Contact Service, (omitted), can provide supervision of the child’s time with the father.
3) The above supervision by Ms Z shall occur at such place as is agreed between the father and Ms Z, and may take place at the residence of Ms Z.
4) For the purposes of changeover of the child’s time with the father as supervised by Ms Z, the child shall be collected (and returned) by the father and Ms Z from (and to) the mother at McDonald’s (omitted), located at (omitted).
5) Within 14 days of the date of these Orders, the parties shall take all appropriate steps to complete the client intake procedure with (omitted) Children’s Contact Service, (omitted), to facilitate the child spending supervised time with the father each Saturday or Sunday for at least 2 hours.
6) Pursuant to Section 68L of the Family Law Act 1975 the child X born (omitted) 2015 shall be independently represented and request that the Legal Aid Commission provide that representation.
7) The solicitors for the parties are to forward copies of all applications, responses, Affidavits and any other relevant documents to Legal Aid NSW for the attention and use of the Independent Children’s Lawyer when appointed.
8) Leave to the parties and the Independent Children’s Lawyer to issue more than five subpoena for production of documents.
9) Should Ms Z cease to be able or willing to supervise the child’s time with the father, then the father shall forthwith notify the Independent Children’s Lawyer of that fact.
10) The proceedings are listed for a further Interim Hearing on 22 September 2017 at 10am. The Independent Children’s Lawyer is requested to attend this fixture.
11) The father shall cause to be filed and served a further affidavit from Ms Z, relating to the child’s time with the father supervised by her, together with an affidavit annexing copies of relevant contact reports from (omitted) Children’s Contact Service, (omitted), if available, at least 7 days prior to the above fixture.
12) Leave to the Independent Children’s Lawyer to relist the proceedings on 7 days’ notice in respect to any difficulty arising out of the implementation of these Orders.