When deciding parenting orders, the court’s first and most important consideration is what is going to be best for the children.

If a judge feels a child might be in danger as a result of spending time with one parent, orders could be made that will prevent that parent from seeing their child.

In a recent case, (Bielen & Kozma), the court ordered that two children, aged six and four, be removed from their mother’s care due to an “unacceptable risk of ongoing emotional harm”.

The couple married in 2015 and separated in 2019. Following the breakdown of the relationship, the children lived primarily with their mother and had limited time with their father.

During the course of several years, the mother at times stopped the children seeing the father, and even breached court orders by keeping the children with her.

The mother alleged the children had been sexually abused by the father, but the court found these allegations were “disingenuous and malicious”, as well as being “embellished and/or fabricated”.

The judge decided to remove the children from their mother’s care and ordered that she have no contact with them at all, “as a result of findings that they had been subject to emotional and psychological abuse arising from the mother’s ongoing false narrative that they had been the subject of sexual abuse perpetrated by the respondent father…”

The mother appealed the decision, claiming the judge “failed to consider whether steps could reasonably be taken to allow the children to retain their meaningful relationship with their mother” and that the “indefinite severance of the children’s relationship with their mother was … disproportionate to the identified risk”.

The appeal was allowed, and orders were made that the children were able to spend time with, or communicate with their mother, until final parenting orders were able to be put in place.

The court “strongly encouraged” both parents to attend family dispute resolution.

This case highlights the fact that courts will consider the possibility of both physical and emotional harm to children when deciding parenting matters.

It is best if everyone involved can put the children and their needs first, over the need for any kind of “payback” towards their former partner.

If you need help with separation, divorce, custody arrangements and parenting plans, as well as any other aspect of family law, GLG Legal Springfield are here to assist.

Take the first step in addressing your family law needs by contacting our office by phone (07) 3288 3511 or email at info@springfieldlegals.com.au today. Schedule an appointment, and let our experienced team guide you through the complexities of family legal matters.