Relationship breakdowns can be hurtful, bitter and full of angry recriminations. If that unfortunate behaviour spills over onto any children involved in the split, it can have a damaging effect.

When parents simply can’t get along, and express negative feelings about the other, particularly in front of their children, it’s called toxic co-parenting.

One of the top considerations for the court is determining what arrangements are in the best interest of the children. And one of those factors is whether both parents are able to have a polite relationship with each other and facilitate the child’s relationship with the other parent.

If one parent is constantly making their feelings about the other parent known to the children, this is a significant consideration for the court.

In a recent case before the Federal Circuit Court, the courts changed the primary residence of the children from the father to the mother, despite the fact the children had been primarily living with the father for three years.

The father’s unremittingly negative opinion of the mother, and his view that the children would not benefit from any kind of relationship with her, contributed to the courts decision.

The father expressed his concern about the mother’s ability to care for the children, given her financial position and the fact she did shift work.

However, the court had serious concerns that the father’s parenting style was affecting the children’s emotional and psychological development.

With the support of the Independent Children’s Lawyer, it was decided it was best for the four children to relocate and live primarily with the mother, while still spending regular time with the father. 

The court also ordered that the father not have any face-to-face contact with the children for about two months, to help with the transition to the mother’s care.

Although it is understandable that people may be emotional, angry, bitter, upset or hurt following the breakdown of a relationship, it is important for parents to remain focussed on their children and think about what arrangements are best for the children.

If it is safe to do so, maintaining a cordial relationship with the other parent of your children is in everyone’s best interest.

If you would like legal advice about parenting matters, contact GLG Legal Springfield on (07) 3288 3511 or fill-out our Contact Form here to arrange an initial consultation.