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Mental health impact on conduct of proceedings

Mental health impact on conduct of proceedings

Ladley & Farwell

Mental health

  1. I find that the evidence supports that the mother has unresolved and untreated mental health issues.
  2. Whether it is anxiety, depression or stress or more serious issues such as personality disorders or bipolar is unknown as there is little by way of medical information before the court as to the mother’s history or current state of her mental health.
  3. The extent of the mother’s mental health history is as follows:-
    1. In 2012 the mother was prescribed an anti-depressant after the birth of X.
    2. In 2012 the mother attended some sessions of counselling with Ms J.
    1. In 2014 the mother attended one appointment with Dr D (Consultant Psychiatrist) and in a short letter written to Dr B (GP) dated 5 November 2014 Dr D writes:-
      1. I did not get a full developmental history
      2. She was given Lexapro 18 months ago, which she took for a few weeks, but she felt like a zombie on it so ceased it. She uses Xanax occasionally
      3. I suggested she think about a second appointment. She said she did not have time during her working week to attend any groups at the (omitted) Clinic
      4. I have not heard from her since. I am happy to see her again
      5. I did not believe she had a major mood disorder”.
    1. The mother maintains that this letter is conclusive proof that the mother does not currently suffer from any mental health issues and is highly critical of the family report writer’s comment that this was an opinion of the psychiatrist “at the time” stating that “showing her true stripes however, nonetheless Dr L tries to make it sound like a temporary state of affairs by inserting the words in her report ‘at the time’ ……as if to remind everyone that it was some temporary apparition; the conceit of it” ([73] mother’s November 2016 affidavit).
    2. The mother did not return to see Dr D and the mother has not seen any other psychologists or psychiatrists since that date.
    3. In June 2015 the mother was reported missing to police after telling the family that she was going for a walk and then failed to return.
    4. In mid-2015 the mother contemplated suicide.
    5. In July 2015 the mother was reported to Family and Community Services (FACS) due to a long email containing adult issues which was sent by the mother to A.
    6. In August 2015 the mother was reported to FACS because “the mother…was planning on killing herself and leaving the world…about enacting revenge on the fathers of the children and…would get people to ‘kneecap’ X’s father…would get the fathers killed”. It was noted by FACS that the mother “appears to be suffering from mental health condition” and “there are concerns the mother is planning her own suicide…discussed this openly in front of the children and recently left suicide notes for A outlining what she should do”.
    7. In August 2015 FACS concluded “while not meeting the threshold for…danger there are concerns regarding Ms Farwell’s current emotional and psychological health. She talked freely about considering suicide and believes that this is her choice and cannot see that this desire may be connected to her mental health. She will not see a psychiatrist or psychologist and believes that suicide is a valid option given the horrible state of the world. She appears unable to understand the impact on her children should she do this especially given that D lost his father last year to suicide…talks about ensuring plans are in place for her children before she would end her life and she states that she would never do anything in front of the children. Despite these extreme views Ms Farwell appears to be functioning adequately on a day to day level to meet her children’s physical and emotional needs” and the mother is “in need of referral to support services”.
    8. In September 2015 FACS attended upon the mother as there were concerns raised about “her anxiety and…her emotional state re; her flippant comments around ending her life and how she has the right to do so, and no one else’s business but hers”.
    1. The mother informed FACS workers that there were only two options available for her at the time; leave the country with D or arrange for D to be cared for by someone else and end her life.
    1. The mother during cross-examination explained that she has the right to suicide and is a member of the Voluntary Euthanasia Party.
    2. FACS offered to refer the mother to services to assist her with her stressors but the mother informed FACS “that she did not believe it would make much difference” and did not follow through.
    3. In 2016 the mother was again placed on anti-anxiety medication.
    4. The mother occasionally takes Xanax which has been prescribed around 4 or 5 times in the last 3 to 4 years.
  4. The mother is in complete denial as to her suffering any mental health issues and is quick to explain any erratic behaviour as being due to external forces.
  5. But the signs that something is not quite right with the mother’s mental health is indicated by several factors as outlined below:-
    1. Presentation, demeanour and conduct in court:-
      1. The mother throughout the proceedings presented as somewhat dishevelled and disorganised and fluctuated from being over animated and dramatic, to being stoic and accusatory, to being jovial and joking, to being teary and defeated, to being softly spoken to raised voices; with such transitions occurring on a frequent and unpredictable basis.
      2. Accompanying the presentation were extreme arm and hand movements and face pulling.
      3. The mother, whether consciously or subconsciously, refused to take direction.
      4. The mother sat when she was supposed to stand, stood when she should have been sitting, interrupted repeatedly despite warning, talked over others, made glib comments, would not answer questions, rambled, went off on tangents and at times had her hands on her hips and waived her finger at the bench.
      5. When asked in cross-examination “do you think, in the course of the last two days, you have had difficulty containing your emotions in this environment” the mother answered “no. I think I’m frustrated and verbally expressing it. I don’t think there has been any difficulty with that. I’m clearly frustrated”.
      6. From the bench there was the following lengthy exchange which illustrates the difficulty the mother repeatedly demonstrated in answering questions:-

HER HONOURCan I ask you, Ms Farwell, your behaviour in the courtroom over the last two days, is that atypical of how you present?
MOTHERHow do you mean?
HER HONOUR– to everyone?”
MOTHERHow do you mean?
HER HONOURWell, I’m just asking you, is the way that you have conducted yourself in the last two days: is that very typical of how you present to the outside world?…. You spoke about being frustrated? But apart from being frustrated, would I be right in thinking that how you act is how you are with everyone else?
MOTHERWell, I don’t know. I’ve been a performer in schools and won accolades. I’ve run (omitted) successfully. I’m not ”
HER HONOURNo. But I’m just asking whether this represents how you present to everyone else?
MOTHERHow do you – when you say “this”, do you mean when I ask intelligent questions?
HER HONOURI mean overall. I’m not saying anything specifically. I just want to know whether my observations of you in the last two days would be an accurate observation of what you would be like in any other surrounds?
MOTHERI think the context changes things entirely. I think at home I’m laughing and chatting and singing music. When I’m going for a job interview, I’m talking politics and straight things if I’m trying to get a job that’s politically involved. If I’m presenting information about climate change I will be saying ‘Well, when we burn carbon, it all goes up into the air’ and I will be animated. I’m a (omitted) by training. I’ve got a degree. I’m able to switch modes.
HER HONOURSo how would you describe the role that you’ve played, then, in the last couple of days…. I mean, you’ve spoken about what you’re like at home…. what you’re like at work?
MOTHERI’m an inexperienced – obviously, I’m not a legal representative, so I’m not trained in the way to correctly conduct a cross-examination, which I failed spectacularly to do with Dr L, so obviously I’m not doing real well then.
HER HONOURNo. But I’m talking about your overall presentation. You put yourself in boxes in respect to how you are at home, how you are at a workplace, how you are at an interview, how you are if you’re promoting something. How would you describe your behaviours over the last two days?
MOTHERWhich ones? When I was asking questions of Mr Ladley or
HER HONOURAll of them. Generally.
MOTHEROverall?I’m extremely frustrated with this court system. I’m extremely frustrated, and I’m attempting to remain – I’m attempting to remain articulate about the exact reason for my frustrations. I’m finding it very frustrated to be disbelieved because I can’t prove what has gone on behind closed doors. It has become a matter of “he said she said” when there’s actual evidence and police record that seems to be being disbelieved. I’m guilty of seeing this courtroom as emblematic of the power structures in society with respect to gender and the failure of women to be represented properly in proper ways in Parliament. I don’t think that there’s any dispute that we’re 51 percent of the population, and we’re, like, 12 percent of the federal Parliament. . I see the violence that just happened in my family six weeks ago, where the man whose arms I was in in my Christening photo murdered his wife of 45 years, and their neighbours said that they were the nicest everyday couple you could imagine, that they walked the neighbourhood hand in hand. And that man was my brother’s stepbrother. I was assaulted on a main street, and he got away with it. He walked from (omitted) Court because no witnesses wanted to come forward, and yet there were people in the restaurant next to where I was assaulted, and I walked up to them and said, “Did you see that?” And they declined because, as one old woman, Italian, said to me, “We no want any of your problem.” I’m in this courtroom, and I can’t get Ms G to come here because she doesn’t want to attest to what Mr Ladley did to her. Ms M doesn’t want to attest. All over the world, women are cowered into not speaking out. They are cowered by domestic violence into not – in fact, as Ms G said in her affidavit, “I did not press charges for fear of consequences.” And you women are in this courtroom, and I can’t get anywhere in trying to communicate to you what I have been subjected to. It is understandable.

  1. Political statements:-
    1. The mother used the court process as a forum to repeatedly express her political views and to make political statements.
    2. In both her affidavit material and in court the mother vented (and at times repeated almost word by word these vents) on such topics as the Victorian Commission into Institutional Responses to Domestic Violence, World Health Organisation Report, the Law Reform Commissioner, the costs of living in Sydney, suicidal ideations, articles in “the Monthly”, the murder rate of woman in Australia and the international rape of women.
  1. Grandiose statements:-
    1. Repeatedly throughout the evidence the mother indulged in grand self-serving comments such as:-
      • Ms Farwell described herself as ‘an (omitted), disciplinarian and clown’ and a parent who can ‘speak philosophy’ to her children. She added that she does what she can to bring up her children as ‘intelligent, warm, respectful human beings’ and that her children see her ‘as the font of self-generated strength and willpower’” ([25] 2016 family report).
      • She said that, in the Court’s eyes, she presents as defiant but that everyone else she meets marvels at her and tells her that they do not know how she manages” ([27] 2016 family report).
      • In a question posed in cross-examination to the family report writer the mother prefaced it by saying “how likely do you think it is, on the balance of probabilities, that a woman who has got not one but two children enrolled in school – and if you see the report in the latest affidavit of my son from last year, D, from (omitted) in 2015 – right at the very crux of the moment that I was reported to FACS as being suicidal, my son has reported as a breath of fresh air, who’s winning the spelling bee, is beautiful at maths and makes intelligent and wonderful contributions to class. So let’s say that I was having an absolutely crap time in my life, the evidence that my children are thriving – all of whom I’ve been the majority carer of all of their lives is that my children are doing just hunky dory and in fact they’re widely reported as beautiful, intelligent, loving, kind, wonderful kids by me, by FACS case workers, by you. So if the proof was in the pudding you would say, ‘Wow, there’s this woman in this set of circumstances here that is just appalling, and maybe she deserved to call herself a,’ quote, quote, ‘fucking heroine’”
      • In a question posed to the family report writer in cross-examination the mother said “That I am a (omitted) who has just produced a (omitted)….and I am actually a highly-functional, quite reliable, nicely-regulated person except when I come into contact with people who are pretending that they aren’t violent and atrocious to me
    2. The family report writer noted after the 2015 family report interviews that “Ms Farwell perceives herself to be a ‘fucking heroine’ for all she does for her children given ‘the two revolting fathers’ she needs to work with….Ms Farwell described her children as ‘beautiful, intelligent, bright, spontaneous, loving and considerate’. She said that they are a credit to nature even though most people who know her attribute the credit to her” ([27] and [28] 2015 family report) and concluded that the mother “perceives herself to be parent extraordinaire…with flawless recommendations”([44] 2015 family report).
  1. Questionable complaints:-
    1. The mother is not shy in taking on persons or authority if she feels affronted or does not agree with them and is prepared to be quite personal and vicious in her attack.
    2. Some examples of this are as follows:-
      • In 2014 the mother complained to D’s school questioning why his report card was not as good as the mother had anticipated it would be, laying the blame on the school, but concluding, after two and a bit pages of complaints, with “please do not take offence. I know you have worked hard”.
      • In 2015 the mother complained to X’s child care centre about the child not being put into a more mature room when another child (omitted) was put into that room after having bitten and kicked X and how the centre chose “to deal with it” by “escalating the perpetrator”.
      • In 2016 the mother complained about the family report writer not taking into account the family violence issue which resulted in numerous lengthy emails to the ICL, the Chief Federal Circuit Court Judge, and other persons within the court.
      • The mother justified her actions by stating that the “family report is fundamentally, egregiously flawed and contains gross omissions of fact”.
      • The family report writer in cross-examination spoke of the “alarming” nature of the emails, the “intensity” of communication, and how “assaulting” it was and described the email bombardment as the worst example in the 37 years that the family report writer has seen “doing this job”.
      • The email bombardment was so intense that the mother was “advised by the Manager of Child Dispute Services that any further communication would not be accepted or read by the report writer” ([22] 2016 family report).
      • The mother could not understand the family report writer’s reaction to the emails stating that she was “astonished”.
      • The mother is in an ongoing dispute with the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal as to a payment for D due to his father’s death.
      • The mother has made complaints about the ICL.
      • The mother has made various complaints about FACS. In a letter written by FACS in September 2016 the mother was informed that an “internal review report had been completed” and that “the internal review did not find any breaches of the PPIP Act”.
    3. The family report writer opines as to why conflicts have been a common feature in the mother’s life stating that “there seems to be a pattern throughout Ms Farwell’s adult life whereby she projects her own shortcomings onto others. Anyone who disagrees with her becomes the target for her to attack and launches her into a flight to discredit their findings. This behaviour which is directed to the fathers of the children as well as professional staff tends to be extreme and suggestive of some compromises in personality functioning” ([43] 2016 family report).
    4. The family report writer expressed concern in cross-examination about the mother’s ability and “appropriateness to…resolve issues” and that “I can only put myself in the position of….X….and how it must be for her, for example, to walk into a school system….if this is the intensity of the communication that …her mother might have to try to resolve …an issue”.
  2. Disputes with ex partners of father:-
    1. In addition to her complaints against others, the mother has managed to have run in’s with former partners of the father, as illustrated by the following:-
      • Ms M, in a text to the father dated 15 January 2014, wrote in respect to the mother “!!!! She is harassing me!! She rang me!! She emailed me!! I blocked her. I don’t want to know about this garbage!! I don’t care what you do in your life. Believe me!! Same story just a different year!! Goodbye!!”.
      • Ms M in an email to the father dated 3 March 2014 wrote in respect to the mother “I told her to stop harassing me!! I want nothing to do with her. She threatened to send me emails affidavits Etc. and I asked her leave me alone on get on with her life!! I have blocked her. I want nothing to do with this garbage. She is more than insane!!”.
      • In or around 2015 Ms S (Ms S) took an AVO against the mother on the grounds of harassment due to the mother’s frequent contacting and wanting to share information about the father with Ms S.
  3. Attitude towards the fathers of her children:-
    1. The mother is highly critical of the three fathers of her three children and has no qualms in sharing this information with whoever the mother chooses to impart it to and does not take care in ensuring that it is not said in front of the children.
    2. Some examples are as follows:-
      • The male partners in my life have been deceitful, abusive, thankless, vexatious pricks (No, they’re not ISIS, no they’re not the males murdering their women partners twice a week in Australia – yet – or ensuring that only 2 of them are federal cabinet ministers), but they have been atrocious to me in front of my kids and I have EVERY democratic right to say so, and EVERY right to praise myself in lieu of anyone else doing so and EVERY ability to raise a male child with praise and love and to ensure that the male child does not turn out like (omitted), Ladley or Mr T
      • In 2014 the mother sent various messages to friends, family, employers, partners and ex-partners of the father accusing the father of being abusive and an unfit parent.
      • It is noted by the family report writer that the mother “did not dispute her behaviour and justified herself by claiming that she felt compelled to inform Ms S and her mother of Mr Ladley’s transgressions as any parent would want to know if their daughter was involved with such a violent man as Mr Ladley” ([7] 2015 family report).
      • The mother in the 2015 family report interviews described the father as being “very nice when he is nice” but also being “a revolting and appalling man” ([24] 2015 family report).
      • During the 2016 family report interviews the mother informed the family report writer that “she does not want to be seen as a woman who ‘goes down the blaming road’ and that she is against the culture of misogyny. She said she does not ‘hate’ men but finds that both Mr T and Mr Ladley have behaved ‘atrociously’ to other adults. She questioned their integrity as people and in their dealings with others and claimed that some of their behaviour has even had criminal intent” ([23] 2016 family report).
      • In September 2016 the mother informed FACS that she “feels that she has had very negative relationships with all of her children’s father’s and has been treated badly by all 3 men”.
      • During cross examination the mother referred to Mr T as a “not particularly well regarded character”.
      • In cross-examination when asked by the father as to whether the mother had been abusive to Mr T, the mother replied “Not abused him verbally…not personally, no. I just spoke to him in writing emails. You misleading idiot. You fuckwit……You’re fucked. You’re deceitful. You’re dishonest”.
      • In cross-examination the mother informed the father that Mr T “was not abusive verbally to me. He just lied and manoeuvred and manipulated me which changed my life and wrecked it. You were physically, emotionally and mentally abusive on a routine basis. I didn’t live with him. He was a sperm donor. You and I have known each other 16 years and you did it to Ms G and Ms M. So you’re a different kettle of fish albeit my reaction may be to put in words what’s wrong with you…..you’re lucky I’m not a male. I might have knocked your block off”.
    3. When asked whether the mother thought it was appropriate to share information about the father with others, the mother responded “I reckon that in a democracy I can discuss what I want, when I want with who I want and that it’s a public forum and I do anything defamatory somebody would take me for defamation and my out would be whether it was true”.
    4. The family report writer concluded that “anyone who disagrees with her becomes the target for her to attack and launches her into a flight to discredit their findings. This behaviour which is directed to the fathers of the children as well as professional staff tends to be extreme and suggestive of some compromises in personality functioning” ([43] 2016 family report).
    5. Further, the family report writer in cross-examination expressed the view that the mother sees herself as the “superior parent” and that the father “is significantly inferior to her as a parenting option”.
    6. Certainly the mother is dismissive of the father as illustrated by the following:-
      • In an email sent by the mother to the father on 14 April 2014 the mother wrote “Mr Ladley, Are you truly that THICK in the head?
      • In a text exchange between the parties the mother wrote in respect to D and A “My children are smarter than yours. Sad but true”.
      • In a text exchange between the parties the mother wrote “Your past shows who you are behind closed doors. X deserves more than you as a father. She deserves to see women respected properly. I will make sure that happens. Do have a lovely evening”.
      • In a text exchange between the parties the mother wrote “this time you chose the wrong woman to fuck with….I have balls of fucking steel and I’m going to break them over your head if you do not start to treat me with a modicum of respect. You left that child in my womb after I had the foresight and generosity to offer you 50% payment on a vasectomy in 2003. You will start to treat me properly or I will break you. And I mean it Mr Ladley. Watch me. I seriously mean it”.
      • In a text exchange between the parties the mother wrote “Now stop fucking with me; I’m her mother and its going how I say….Now pull your fucking head in and try and act like a decent male: even though clearly you are not”.
      • In an email sent by the mother to the father on 14 September 2016 the mother wrote “Mr Ladley, I didn’t read your emails today; I dragged them to trash. Literally straight in. Accordingly I am collecting X as per Orders”.
  4. Lack of insight by the mother as to her treatment of others:-
    1. The mother demonstrated no insight as to the inappropriateness of her behaviours.
    2. When put to the mother in cross-examination “that when people disagreed with you, or you feel that you or any of your children have been wronged you particularly feel the need to defend your position or the children’s position” the mother replied “No. I have been called a very good sport by people I have collaborated with. I’ve been called a fair and judicious and perspicacious person. I’ve got third party referees that attest that I am a lovely, caring, wonderful well-rounded mother. And so if there is a fishing expedition to try to portray me as intractable and constantly in need of an argument, it’s bullshit, with respect. I take everything on its merits. If something has been done that’s unjust, i.e., to the Aboriginal people of Australia, I will go and raise $80,000 for the (omitted) Foundation and try and help that out. I am a realist. I’m a pragmatist and I’m an honest person. And I say and do call it as Dr L said, “She presents as a direct and outspoken person.” Well, she got that right. It’s not against the law and we just – last time I looked it’s valorised in males. And I think we just elected Trump, or the first free world elected a venal pussy-grabbing person to the presidency. So if I’m trying to be portrayed as somebody who speaks about injustices socially or realities of gender violence and gender power imbalance and gender abuse, and if you’re trying to portray me as a problem for speaking about that, I reject thoroughly what you’re saying. And I reject that my sustained criticisms of Dr L failure to report my domestic violence abuse is a problem either. It should be reported to this court. This court should know about it”.
    3. Even after having heard the evidence and the raised concerns as to the mother’s behaviours in addressing conflict, the mother in her written submissions continued in her assault on the family report writer referring to that profession as “the same myopic, narrow-minded band of women cheerer leaders and apologists for male abusers and harsh judges of female sole parents under stress working 50 hours per week and subjected to DV when they sit in their safe house boxes, child less with no insight past an hours casual observation and a total swallowing of what the male parents says?….These reporters seem to think there is no hazard in abusing women when shutting down the women for commenting on this abuse or reporting these female parents as being somewhat ‘dysregulated’ in having a justifiably angry response to it; it is just an amoral guff of the most base, lowest order and sexism”.
  5. Stressors:-
    1. Throughout the proceedings the mother referred to the many stressors that have occurred in her life in recent years including (but not limited to):-
      • D’s bullying and related constipation issues.
      • The unexpected suicide and death of D’s father.
      • The dispute regarding a superannuation payment to D from his father’s superannuation policy.
      • The retention of A in the care of Mr T with the mother spending supervised visits with A since June 2016.
      • The current court proceedings.
      • Disputes with ATO and Centrelink.
      • Financial hardship.
      • The illness and death of her mother.
      • Health issues.
      • Family violence by the men in her life.
      • The murder of his wife by her godfather.
    1. The mother, however, denies that these stressors have caused her any emotional or mental health issues stating that “the father implies that the mother’s mental health is an issue. This is patently not the case as ‘reactive depression’ – depression due to circumstances, not a chemical imbalance – is not a mental illness and is in fact a temporary feeling caused by exterior forces; not an internal deficit….and it is indeed hardly surprising, given the confluence of appalling circumstances the mother was in, that she felt this way; to this end the mother – responsibly – paid $400 to get herself professionally assessed…in 2014 by Psychiatrist Dr D….found that the mother was NOT suffering a mental illness, concluding she had ‘no significant mood disorder’ ….and was in fact in need of a break” ([73] mother’s November 2016 affidavit).
    2. The mother denies that these issues have impacted on her parenting stating “the last 7 years have frankly been horrible and I object to the inference made by Dr L that there is anything wrong with me referring to myself as a ‘fucking heroine’ which I have endured, alone, unaided, isolated, in pain of body…. I doubt anyone involved in this court case could withstand what I have endured, unaided by alcohol or pot use….or any other substance….and so yes, I officially reiterate: I AM INDEED a ‘fucking heroine’ for having done so well….I have received more support and praise and gifts and actual assistance from newfound and old family friends than through any male whose children I give birth to, then raised” ([134] mother’s April 2016 affidavit).
    3. The family report writer disagrees with the mother stating that “as for Ms Farwell, there are phases when she functions at a satisfactory level, and seems to be providing an adequate level of practical care for the children. Her ability to manage seems to be compromised, however, when she is subjected to stressors……unfortunately Ms Farwell has negligible insight into the impact of her behaviour on others, including her children, and she seems to have been quite resistant to any suggestions that have been made over the years offering her help and support” ([43] 2016 family report).
      1. Embroiling children in adult issues:-
          1. There are several incidents where the mother has unnecessarily involved the children in the adult issues or exposed the children to adult issues, as illustrated by the following:-
                • In January 2014 the mother attended uninvited at Ms S’s house and in the presence of A berated the father and spoke of matters of an explicit sexual nature.
                • During the 2015 family report interviews the mother spoke about adult issues in front of X and when the family report writer suggested that the mother not do that the mother responded with the comment that “X was too young to follow what was happening” ([32] 2015 family report).
                • On 8 June 2015, during a period where the mother was contemplating suicide, the mother wrote a lengthy email to A (who was aged 10 at the time) which contained the following comments:-
                  “Mummy has never been deeply cared for or loved with any deep or real loving feeling by anybody and this has taken a real and deep toll on me”

            “Arsehole men all over the planet find kind and caring women to love them well”

        “D’s dad assaulted me when I walked away from him once when started to yell at me on the street when D was a baby, He was drunk and violent and I found out later that he had a history of doing this to others…….I went to police and court but nobody would testify that they witnesses this happening so Mr M didn’t go to gaol and walked free”

 

“Every week in Australia two women are murdered by their husband or boyfriend or ex-partner”

“Men have oppressed, in organised power control situations like government and church’s and been violent to women all over the planet since humans evolved from the apes”

 

“Your dad has been a good dad to you but he has been emotionally and psychologically very horrible to a great many women too. Not physically but mentally”

“Similarly, Mr Ladley, as you know, was very verbally and emotionally and mentally horrible to me”

 

“But one thing you know as a fact beyond all this is that men on this planet are brutalising and terrorising women all over the world in all sorts of ways as they have for a long time now. The overwhelmingly dominate worldwide power structures like government and corporations because they do not believe fundamentally that woman are as good or as rightfully entitled to power as they are”

 

“In Australia, 2 women each week this year have been murdered by a man who had either been their husband or boyfriend”

 

“All over the world men beat or burn women to death”

 

“As you know, the news at night has men all over the globe on the streets and in parliament and in the pulpit of churches ruling women; not more than a few women in sight”

 

“Women all over the world stay with men who are not loving or supportive of them – most of them are even outright violent and abusive”

 

“Thankfully your mum was, if nothing else, brave and strong enough to flee every man who she was ever around who did that”

 

“I have unleashed tirades of hell and verbal damnation on those who’ve abused me in the past 5 years because, after your father, who used me poorly, as he did other women, sadly, my limit was finished”

 

“Too many kids and too many wounds. Women with children don’t get out much to meet the few nice fellows there are on the planet and their lives are literally filled up when”

 

“At any rate darling girl, mummy is tired now of this situation and needs a break from dealing with the miserable males who put me in it”

  1. During cross-examination the mother was asked whether it was helpful for A to receive such an email to which the mother replied “I think it contextualised her understanding of what was going on ….I have actually looked at the research, and I can’t find any, that supports the theory that speaking truthfully to a child of 11, who is gifted and bright class, and who herself was already taking selfies and talking about boys and watches the news at night, and noticed that 98 per cent of everyone in the UN and in the government are male, and hears stories about women murdered….
  2. When asked in hindsight whether it was inappropriate the mother replied that the only things that she wished she hadn’t spoken about was reference to her dead paternal grandfather and her maternal grandfather’s treatment of women.
  3. The mother justified her actions in sending the email to A stating “so in that abject moment of despair, with the confluence of extremely unusual and extreme factors going on, I wrote a text to my daughter in a moment of despair and I do regret many of the things that are in it. But I am yet to see a single shred of evidence that it is a long term injurious occurrence. My child is still happy and thriving….and I think the expression is a momentary lapse of reason…..my kids are intelligent and it’s because I dignify with proper explanations in a very robust way”.
  4. The family report writer assessed this communication as “totally inappropriate and not child focussed” ([44] 2016 family report).
  5. The family report writer concluded that D and X probably have been “exposed to similar displays of outpouring and venting that is threatening, destabilising and undermining of significant others in their lives” ([44] 2016 family report).
  6. In March 2016 the mother used her IPhone to visually record a conversation between the mother and X, where the mother asked various questions of the child about her time with the father and the child wanting to live with the mother during which X became visibly upset.
  7. In the 2016 interviews the mother questioned the child in front of the family report writer as to whether she had been coached by the father.
  8. This denigration by the mother in front of the children has been a long ongoing issue for the father.
  9. In March 2014 the following email exchange occurred between the parties:-

FATHER TO MOTHERIt is not in good form to bad mouth the other parent in front of the children. It upsets and puts pressure on the children. It was totally inappropriate for you to say to the children that I am home and that I just didn’t want to see them….I have no idea what other things you say about me to the children. Ms Farwell, this is damaging to the children. Please confirm this with anyone you like or a child psychologists and please try to refrain yourself from this sort of behaviour in front of the children. And Ms Farwell, just because I may have said some inappropriate things in front of the children in the past, which I admit, doesn’t make it ok for you to do it. Especially on such a regular and unwarranted basis
MOTHER TO FATHERWhat, as damaging as you calling the mother ‘a fucking slut’ and ‘fucking fruitcake’ in front of them, Mr Ladley? Spare me anymore of your horseshit now; there’s too much documentation regarding who you are to partners for people to have to but it anymore; and I stopped listening to your lame lies years ago
FATHER TO MOTHERYou are not under duress when you behave like this. You have not been having an argument with nowhere else to go. You come out with this off your own bat, as part of your project to slander the person you are in conflict with…..You don’t seem to get it. You aren’t hurting him or I, you are hurting the children. Please desist, that’s all I’m asking

  1. In September 2016 the father emailed the mother stating “it is inappropriate for you to engage X in discussion of ‘When is Ms K and Dada going to fight?’ It makes her feel sad (Her words) Please choose other ways to probe her on her life with me and desist from running your own agenda over the top of the child’s wellbeing” to which the mother responded “every week to invent something to write about this is an elaborate rouse or defender of the indefensible; your consistent behaviour over 20 years with female adult partners. This goes to 60CC. When you start to fight with Ms K, as you routinely did with Ms G and Ms M before me, she should and will tell me. Until then, cease further instructions or emails on any topic except collection”.
  1. Anger towards children:-
    1. The father informed the family report writer during the 2015 interviews that “she frightens the children by ‘getting into a rage’ with them, making inappropriate disclosures in their presence and not having any ‘self censoring mechanism’….she models poor behaviour to the children and shouts at them when she is enraged….Mr T has reported to him that A has told him that her mother strike X” ([19] 2015 family report).
    2. In the 2016 family report interviews the father reiterated his concerns “she can be physically and emotionally punitive” ([18] 2016 family report).
    3. X, during both family report interviews, spoke about the mother’s anger and in particular the mother yelling and hitting D.
    4. The mother explained to the family report writer that “A can be defiant and…how their relationship can sometimes be compared to ‘two bulls butting heads’ with neither of them wanting to concede ground….she stated that X occasionally throws tantrums and, when necessary, she disciplines the children by using ‘an escalating scale’…she initially tries to stop the children misbehaving by reasoning and using nonverbal cues….if this doesn’t work, she gets strict fairly quickly and denies privileges. She agreed that she occasionally raises her voice with the children but she did not see that as a problem…said she hit X once and she believes Mr Ladley has done the same” ([28] 2015 family report).
    5. During an interview with FACS in August 2015 the mother “admitted that she does discipline the children physically…that this rarely occurs…that she only uses physical discipline if the children do something dangerous….she found that a smack has a shock factor…and intends to continue to do this when she believes it is warranted”.
  2. Emotional dysregulation:-
    1. The family report writer holds the view that the mother suffers from emotional dysregulation.
    2. During cross-examination the family report writer described emotional dysregulation as “the incapacity to…contain emotions….I see emotional regulations …as a kind of a band…we have ranges …of upset anger but emotional dysregulation…is when it spikes beyond….those barriers….of what would be considered, I guess, socially acceptable”.
    3. After the 2015 interviews the family report writer makes the following comments and observations about the mother:-
      • Ms Farwell…..presented as direct and outspoken. Her accounts tended to be tangential and she found it difficult to remain focused on the questions that were posed to her” ([22] 2015 family report).
      • The behaviour of the parties, especially that of Ms Farwell, has, at times been appallingly immature” ([40] 2015 family report).
      • The assessment identified numerous concerns about some of Ms Farwell’s behaviour including her grandiose accounts of her own abilities, her uncensored disclosures including those made in front of the children, her imposition into the lives of others to expose Mr Ladley’s shortcomings resulting in an AVO being taken out against her by Mr Ladley’s former partner, her derogatory references to the fathers of her children who in the cases of both A and X are assuming a very significant role in their children’s lives and her emotional dysregulation which repeatedly seems to occur in front of her children” ([42] 2015 family report).
    4. After the 2016 interviews, the family report writer made similar observations:-
      • Ms Farwell….presented as co-operative but her narrative was largely quite unfocused and circuitous” ([22] 2016 family report).
      • The concerns in respect of Ms Farwell’s emotional regulation, her very hostile criticisms of the fathers of her children including threats to their safety and her uncensored involvement of the children in the dispute are ongoing” ([43] 2016 family report).
    5. As at the final hearing the family report writer’s concerns continue as to the mother’s emotional state as illustrated by the following answers during cross-examination:-
      • In observations there was…as well with the children there was….some quite extremities in the interactions
      • There are elements to that behaviour that suggest some quite severe dysfunction in personality functioning
      • In the observations there was….as well as with the children there was….some quite extremities in the interactions that…in my assessment lacked containment
    6. The following exchange occurred between the bench and the family report writer:-

HER HONOURCan I just ask you this? You’ve just heard the way that Ms Farwell reacted to me when I asked her to stop. Is that an example of the emotional deregulation that you’ve been speaking about previously: not being able to read the situation and becoming quite emotive when not listening to a request that’s made to stop, in that example?
FAMILY REPORT WRITERWell, absolutely. And this – and this is – this is, dare I say it, a context where you would expect people to be really on notice of how their behaviour is being read and – and it concerns me that in – in this context, there is such – such a poor capacity to – to listen to what is a helpful direction about how to illicit the best for – for this matter and for X’s welfare

  1. During cross-examination the mother admitted to suffering emotional dysregulation but only in the “context of what I’ve been exposed to. It would naturally, logically, cause a consequence”.
  2. But the mother was adamant in her view that her emotional dysregulation had not affected X although it may have affected A (a child who is no longer in her care and with whom the mother has supervised visits every three weeks):-

HER HONOURDo you accept that your emotional dysfunction has a negative impact on your parenting ability?
MOTHERWhat I see is that my children are still being beautifully cared for and loved….irrespective of that….I don’t see that they have suffered negatively except for the case of A and me saying those things to her, and she has seen a lot of burden. She has seen a lot of burden
HER HONOURBut don’t you see that any of your emotional dysfunction has impacted on X?
MOTHERI’m yet to see….I don’t see that there is any evidence for that. I’m sorry I don’t….X’s needs are still very much met….Quite consistently and warmly and beautifully and lovingly and caringly, as reflected in all of my children’s progress and characters…..I’m trying to contain my upset to myself after hours, and I’m still singing with them, reading to them, teaching them games getting them off to school with beautifully healthy lunches, taking them on skiing holidays, taking them on swimming lessons….I’m acting to them normal. I’m giving them normal mum who has supported….
HER HONOURYou’re acting?
MOTHERIndeed, because behind the scenes, I’ve clearly broken down quite a bit….so when I am with them, I put on a happy face, and I get up and I choose to be a good parent, and I get up and I choose to be educational and fun

    1. The mother admitted in cross-examination to experiencing anxiety where her heart starts to race, the mother feels nervous and she has panic attacks.
    2. The family report writer is concerned that the mother’s emotional dysregulation is escalating, especially in light of the email traffic generated by the mother in her complaints against the family report writer leading up to the final hearing.
    3. The mental health issues are a recent phenomena:-
          1. The mother would lead you to believe that up until recent events related to her stressors that her mental health and coping mechanisms were intact and did not impact on any of the children.
          2. But this is not borne out in the evidence.
          3. As noted by the family report writer after looking at the material from FACS “there is reference to notifications which suggest level of instability in Ms Farwell’s coping capacity dating back to 2005…..health professionals and departmental staff who have had reason to interact with Ms Farwell on a clinical basis have, over the year, reported behaviour which is consistent with the way she acted leading up to the preparation of this report” ([43] 2016 family report).
          4. In the 2012 judgment of FM Hartnett (as Her Honour was then known) of Fraser & Farwell which concerned the parenting arrangements for A between the mother and Mr T, I find that there is a familiar ring between the two matters (now some 5 years apart) as to the mother’s behaviours, her attitudes, her uncontrolled emotional responses and her justifications for her actions.
          5. To give credence to this finding, I refer to the following paragraphs in the judgement:-

                [5]

            “The contents of her affidavit had no relevance to those issues to be considered when determining A’s best interests”

          [5]

      “The mother, in seeking to put that affidavit material before the Court, was really attempting to cause vexation and embarrassment to the father”

 

      [14]

“The mother’s ongoing palpable fury with the father which was on display in the courtroom over the course of the proceedings has its core she claims, his alleged deceit of her”

 

 

      [16]

“….the paternal grandmother….Ms B tried….to keep the relationship between the mother, A and her ‘nice, steady and calm’. Ms T impressed as a credible witness….she acted always to assist the mother….her evidence was that she considered the mother a ‘warm and generous person’ now, despite the mother’s abuse of her which has included calling her a ‘stupid old alcoholic stooge’ and misrepresenting her evidence to the mother’s father and others”

 

      [16]

“The father, on his evidence, was correct to conclude that the mother’s level of vitriol and irrationality directed at both himself and his parents (his father is now deceased) renders any communication between the mother and father impossible”

 

 

      [16]

“Ms T has never said to the mother…that in her view she is “acutely mentally ill” yet the mother persisted claiming she had and continues to so persist”

 

 

      [16]

“Ms T…..subsequently spoke with the mother in October 2009 about the mother’s difficulty in her relationship with A (as reported to her by the mother) and referred to that discussion in her affidavit sworn 15 July 2011…..at paragraph 5 ‘On 19 October 2009 Ms Farwell said to me ‘I have sought professional help for my relationship with A. The counsellor said that I have manic energy and need acute treatment….I admitted to the counsellor that I smacked A and the counsellor cautioned me about doing so’”

 

 

      [16]

“The mother’s difficulties at the time and throughout the first half of 2010 were also highlighted in other subpoenaed evidence before the Court…..the mother was reported as saying to a Department of Community Services worker that she was ‘a bad mother and emotionally corrosive to A’. The mother admits that she was struggling at the time but puts in in the context of an isolated stressful time in her life where her responses are in the normal range given that stress”

 

 

      [18]

“On 21 December 2010, A and her father phoned the mother from the father’s property in (omitted) and informed her that A had a half-sister, E….was approximately 14 months of age……The mother was enraged by the call and her level of ongoing abuse of the father, in particular via email and ultimately to the world at large, was heightened. She altered the father’s Wikipedia page, ignoring his privacy and in doing so engaging in reprehensible conduct. She wrote inflammatory and exceedingly inappropriate emails to his solicitor and her client. She continued her denigration of the father to as wide an audience as possible”

 

 

      [19]

“In the mother’s attempt to remove A from her school in (omitted), she involved not only the father and the child, but Ms H the principal of the school and staff members. She advised by email of the circumstances surrounding A’s conception, her view of the enforceability of the parenting plans as against earlier consent orders, and the quantum of maintenance to be paid by the father……..In providing the information she did, the mother asserted she was promoting A’s best interests”

      [19]

“The provision of such information was in fact to portray the father in a bad light. As she said in evidence in an insightless response to why it was she provided information to the school as to A’s conception ‘I thought it would have been apparent from the disclosure of that fact that there wasn’t really that much intention by your client to have such a long-term controlling and influential effect on her life. Correct’”

 

 

      [19]

“Otherwise the email correspondence of the mother exhibited her tangential approach and the inappropriateness of her responses. To a member of staff notifying her that she had been placed on the school’s email list and enclosing the ‘last newsletter etc, for you to look at’ before signing off ‘Have a lovely day’, the mother responded ‘Thanks for your wishes: I always have a lovely day in Sydney, being that it’s not Somalia. Or Afghanistan. Or virtually anywhere else in the increasingly miserable world. You have a great day too’”

 

 

      [22]

“Ms C’s (family) report dated 31 July 2012 was introduced into evidence”

      [24]

“Ms C noted as to the mother’s presentation at interview the following ‘During the interviews, Ms Farwell seemed to have considerable difficulty focusing on A and what would be in her best interests. She spoke at length about Mr T’s shortcomings, especially in relation to what she considers to be his lack of honesty and his failure to stand by agreements, which she said they had made. She described Mr T in a very negative way, calling him, ‘a manipulative liar’ and a ‘control freak’. Most of Ms Farwell’s responses to questions asked of her contained negative comments about Mr T’s (at paragraph 32). ‘At times it was difficult to follow what Ms Farwell was saying as she spoke very quickly, often in a very angry tone and she seemed to have difficulty focusing on a subject, as she digressed frequently. She did, however, at times seem aware of this and she apologised once for doing it. For significant periods of time, Ms Farwell spoke without looking at the family consultant, rather directing her eyes at the wall or the ceiling.’ (at paragraph 34)”

      [25]

“Ms C concluded that A’s needs, especially her emotional needs, were not being met in her mother’s household. She said of A ‘A is a very young child and she seems to have taken on a parenting role, in relation not only to her little brother and sister, but also to her mother. This is not in A’s interests as children who experience parentification often suffer long-term problems especially in relation to forming healthy adult relationships”

 

 

      [26]

“Ms C observed that the mother did not feel the need to monitor her own behaviour so that A was not exposed – as she clearly was – to the mother’s strong feelings of anger and distress, much of which was directed toward A’s father. She noted further, A’s sadness when speaking of her mother getting “stressed out” and her feeling of being not able to do that which she thought she should, namely make her mother feel better. She described A as feeling ‘rather burdened’ by the situation at her mother’s home and said A found her father’s home ‘a much more secure and emotionally safe environment.’”

 

 

      [28]

“Ms C referred to the mother’s ‘extreme anger’ at the father and her presentation as someone who is very burdened by her current circumstances and who easily becomes very distressed and angry. She viewed the mother’s comments during the interviews as indicating that the mother was more focused on her disagreements with the father than on A’s current needs. She noted that the mother often reacted to difficult situations with extreme anger, at least verbally”

 

 

      [29]

“…the mother often went off at tangents, had difficulty answering a question directly and at times used the proceedings for the satisfaction of her own needs being the conducting of a tirade against the father for the most part, with one notable concession, rather than an advancement of A’s needs”

      [29]

“Throughout most of the proceedings, however, the mother did not exhibit a capacity to contain appropriately her negative emotions. The mother’s inability to do so impacts markedly on A, as described poignantly in the following of Ms C’s evidence when talking of A and her mother’s interaction ‘A parent who a child perceives as getting angry and often angry for days and feels that there’s nothing that they can do about it, but feels that they should be able to do something about it and appear very sad and unhappy and tearful when talking about that, I think is significant’”

 

 

      [38]

“The mother admitted in the proceedings that she has a great amount of antipathy toward the father. She has varying derogatory expressions in respect of him including that he is a ‘slimy liar,’ a ‘self-serving fuckwit’ and ‘a little misogynistic fuckwit’. She does not hide this contempt from A. She believes that her daughter will grow to know her father for what he is, ‘a liar,’ and her evidence was that she would assist in this recognition. She has discussed the proceedings with A”

  1. Effect on children of mother’s mental health issues:-
    1. The father comments that X is “possibly afraid of her mother’s reactions and on occasion tells him she does not want to return to Ms Farwell’s care” ([19] 2016 family report).
    2. The possible impact of the mother’s mental health issues, and in particular the mother’s lack of emotional regulation on the children, and in particular X, have been canvassed extensively by the family report writer:-
      • Well, what it means is that the children have no containment…..the children have no idea what’s safe….children mirror their parent’s behaviour……its poor modelling…. You know for a child to feel safe they need to know their parents are in charge. They need to know that their parents are providing the kind of box of containment that’s not splitting off and going to extremes…..there are other factors to do with the physical environment as well….but to me the emotional environment is…paramount and…..if children get the sense that parents are in charge and control of themselves that makes for children who are emotionally in control
      • When asked in cross-examination whether it is frightening for children to be with a parent not in control and emotionally volatile the family report writer replied “absolutely….scary to the max because then children need to kind of look for their own sources of containment, and then we get children who are parentified who…..try to bring their parents back into….the box and very damaging to psychosocial development”.
      • It is very likely that when the demands of parenting or resolving issues in her life weigh heavily on Ms Farwell and she is not feeling centred herself she responds to the children in a chaotic way that evokes fear in them” ([44] 2016 family report).
      • Of her own admission, Ms Farwell acknowledged that she needs to yell at D to solicit his attention. The vicarious trauma A and X would experience from observing their brother being disciplined in this way cannot be dismissed” ([44] 2016 family report).
      • An insight into the parent/child interactions that are likely to be experienced in Ms Farwell’s household was gleaned on the day of the assessment. While X identified her mother as a significant other, their interaction was punctuated with quite extremes of emotion which were not contained by Ms Farwell” ([45] 2016 family report.)
      • It is very possibly the case that Ms Farwell’s parenting capacity mirrors her ability at any one time to manage her own emotions. Hence, while she loves the children, her poor capacity to emotionally regulate and lack of insight into this raises concerns about her as a parent” ([45] 2016 family report).
      • Should she (X) live primarily with her mother, there is a risk that she will continue to be exposed to her mother’s poor impulse control and self-preoccupation which could lead to difficulties with her own mental health” ([49] 2016 family report).
      • If X was to live with her father, she would spend less time with her mother. Ms Farwell’s emotional neediness which was observed in her interaction with X could leave X feeling she has let her mother down and responsible for her mother’s emotional welfare” ([49] 2016 family report).
  2. Lack of insight:-
    1. The mother does not accept the views of the family report writer that her behaviours impact negatively on the children stating in cross-examination that “I think she is wrong……she has a 20 minute window on my life. She knows nothing of how I parent my children, actually”.
    2. The mother, when asked in cross-examination whether “your emotional upset has impacted on your ability to parent and therefore has impacted on X” to which the mother replied “No, because X’s needs are still very much being met…..quite sophisticatedly and warmly and beautifully and lovingly and caringly, as reflected in all my children’s progress and characters….
    3. The mother maintains that she has insight into her behaviours stating in cross-examination “I have a lot of insight into my character and I have a lot of insight into my shortcomings, verbosity being one of them, and I have a lot of insight into many things, actually, if I don’t mind saying so myself. I stay abreast of a lot of things, and one of them is the way that men are treated by women, universally, on this planet, as in evidence”.
    4. The family report writer noted that the mother’s “extent of…denial and lack of insight into the damaging impact of her poor capacity to control her emotions or express them in an appropriate way are significant” ([42] 2015 family report).
  • Refusal to obtain therapeutic intervention:-
    1. In 2015 the family report writer recommended that the mother might “benefit from some therapeutic intervention to help her appreciate how her unresolved issues with Mr Ladley and her reactions in those situations impact adversely on their parenting relationship” ([40] 2015 family report).
    2. In 2016 the family report writer again “recommended that Ms Farwell seeks therapeutic intervention for her poor emotional regulation” ([55] 2016 family report).
    3. During cross-examination the family report writer reiterated the need for therapeutic intervention for the mother stating that “long-term therapy…will help her explore the – impact – well, first of all it maybe help her arrive at some understanding of what is happening for her intrapsychically that is giving rise to the reactions that…..I observed, and that I think many other people have observed” and provide “some insight….to explore some alternate ways to manage emotions”.
    4. As to the type of therapy, the family report writer recommended that because “there are elements to that behaviour that suggest some quite serious dysfunction in personality functioning” then the mother will require “long-term rather than short-term therapy” in the form of “cognitive behaviour therapy” that may run for ten or more sessions.
    5. The family report writer acknowledges, however, that the mother must arrive at the point where she accepts that she needs help and that that would require a “significant shift from where I currently see Ms Farwell in her projection of blame…onto others…for what is happening in her life rather than taking some responsibility for the part that she might play in the dynamics that play out in her life”.
    6. The mother does not agree with the family report writer that she requires therapeutic intervention.
    7. The mother has not pursued any therapeutic help and does not intend to, informing the court that she does her own forms of therapy such as (omitted) and meditating with friends.
    8. Apart from the occasional Xanax the mother does not want to take medication and maintains that she is effectively handling her situation in her own way explaining in cross-examination that “I don’t drink very much…..I don’t smoke pot, I don’t take anti-depressants presently…I don’t take any illicit substances and I am not on any routine medication for anti-anxiety treatment even though I have been in the past because I’m trying to do it and people seem to think this is terribly unfashionable because we like to pathologize our despair. But I’m trying to do it unaided by pharmaceutical’s because if your kid can fall off a boat in Syria and drown in front of your eyes and someone can lop your arm off over in North Africa and you can have your head stuck in a bag at 50 degrees through the middle east, I reckon I might be able to cop it sober. So I’m actually trying to get through the vast array of hideous circumstances that have actually befallen me circumstantially…by consultation with talking to friends, (hobbies omitted) and writing about it…

 

Conclusion on mental health

  1. This matter has been very difficult.
  2. It was difficult to hear, difficult to read and certainly difficult to write, hence the delay in its delivery, as I had hoped to be in a position to make orders for X and deliver reasons prior to the commencement of the school year.
  3. The reason for the difficultness is twofold.
  4. Firstly, as the new judge to the matter, without having any prior dealings with the parties, I formed a view by the conclusion of the two day hearing, based on evidence and repeatedly reiterated by evidence that the mother, due to her unaddressed mental health issues, poses a risk to X.
  5. That in itself would be of no surprise to the father, the ICL and the family report writer, all of whom had formed a clear view that it is in the child’s best interests for X to live primarily with the father.
  6. Secondly, and this is the more pertinent point, I formed the view that the risk is such that one has to consider very carefully whether it is in X’s best interest, at this point, to spend unsupervised time with the mother, or whether pending a psychiatric assessment of the mother and therapeutic intervention, the time between the mother and X should be supervised.
  7. This issue was not addressed by anyone during the court hearing with the father, the ICL and the family report writer all in agreement to a regime of time between the mother and the child of alternate weekends and half school holidays.
  8. This position was, at the conclusion of the final hearing, held despite the evidence that:-
    1. The mother has an extensive history of conflict with others, and in particular the fathers of the children.
    2. The mother, without thought or regard for the consequences, is aggressive, rude, self-righteous, manic, prophetic and unrelenting in her verbal and written abuse of others and has no qualms in displaying this in front of the children or sharing her views with the outside world, despite the potential damage it may cause.
    1. The mother has, on many occasions, embroiled and exposed the children to adult conflict to the extent that there has been parentification of one child (A) and possible parentification of X as time passes.
    1. The embroiling of children in adult issues is one of the reasons why, since mid-2016, the mother has been spending supervised time every third weekend with A.
    2. The mother has made admissions as to inappropriate discipline administered by her towards the children with an element of lack of control, especially with A and D, both of whom the mother has had difficulties managing in the past.
    3. The mother has been involved in protracted court proceedings for both A and X and it appears that D is not the subject of any proceedings as his father is deceased.
    4. There is a history of FACS involvement which raises concerns as to the mother’s mental health wellbeing.
    5. The mother admits that there are many stressors in her life and that at present she is “acting” in the role as a good parent whilst her life is unravelling.
    6. There has never been a psychiatric assessment of the mother and the mother has not availed herself of any effective therapeutic interventions.
    7. The mother believes in suicide, discusses it openly with the children and has contemplated suicide in the past.
    8. The mother has no insight into how her behaviours and actions impact on the children and in her eyes as she is “acting” out being a good parent and the children are having their basic needs, such as housing food and education met, then X cannot be affected by her conduct.
    1. The mother blames external factors for her condition, refusing to accept that there may be something internal which is causing her reactions.
  9. I had hoped that given the direction for written submissions due to the parties being self-represented litigants that perhaps with time and thought, these concerns may have been addressed in the ICL’s submissions and be reflected in the proposed orders; but that did not occur.
  10. The father has at some level given the issue some thought with a request that arrangements may need to be reviewed once the court proceedings with A are concluded.
  11. Given that the court’s position may be one that does not accord with any of the proposed orders, I have gone to great lengths to capture as much of the evidence as possible to support the findings I make in this matter as to the future parenting arrangements for X.
  12. Further, the mother has been very vocal in wanting to appeal the decision if I do not order for the child in her care and for the parties as well as any appellant court I want to ensure that my reasoning is comprehensive and clear.
  13. In conclusion, I find that the mental health of the mother is such that it poses an emotional risk to X.
  14. I make this finding based on the following:-
    1. The mother has mental health issues which need to be assessed and treated as required.
    2. The mother is uncontained, emotive and erratic around X and as a consequence exposes the child to conflict, adult issues, denigration of others (including the father) and questionable behaviour of the mother.
    1. X has expressed concerns as to the way the mother treats D and disciplines him.
    1. The mother has exposed X to her beliefs as to suicide.
    2. X is at an age where, if not addressed, the mother’s behaviours may impact on the child’s emotional development.
  15. In determining this matter, when considering all of the issues, this finding may support an order for parenting arrangements whereby:-
    1. The child live with the father.
    2. The mother spend time with the child which may need, on an interim basis, to be supervised pending the mother obtaining clarification as to her mental health.

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