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10 April 2015

Who Should Supervise Contact in Parenting Matters? Court prefers commercial supervision agency over father’s fiancee

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In the parenting case of Joelson v Joelson [2014] FamCA 788 the father had a history of being prescribed antidepressant medication, had threatened suicide and he was the subject of a police report expressing “genuine fears that [he] will snap and hurt himself and anyone he holds responsible for the demise of his relationship”.

The single expert psychiatrist in this case reported being “dissatisfied with the progress made by the father in appreciating his underlying illness and the steps that he needed to undertake…to manage his illness.” The psychiatrist had initially recommended that the father’s time be supervised by his fiancée but changed his recommendation to, among other things, a commercial agency and a review before the progress from supervised time. The Judge in the case decided it was “safer” to make a final order for indefinite supervision in which it was noted that any application (after twelve months) for removal of the supervision was to be supported by a mental health assessment by the father’s treating psychiatrist.

For separated parents suffering from mental ill health which exposes the child/ren to physical or psychological harm or exposed them to, abuse, neglect or family violence there are services available to supervise the child/ren spending time with this parent in a safe environment either on an interim basis, indefinitely or until the Court determines on the expert evidence after further application to the Court the removal of the supervision.

There are a number of businesses, individuals and government funded enterprises offering these services.

At the commencement of this year the Government announced six new service centres in South East Queensland to assist separated parents. The service providers include:-

  1. Children’s Contact Service Ipswich – Relationships Australia Queensland;
  2. Children’s Contact Service Logan – Uniting Care Community;
  3. Children’s Contact Service Gold Coast – Relationships Australia Queensland;
  4. Family Relationships Centre Ipswich – Relationships Australia Queensland;
  5. Post Separation Cooperative Parenting Gold Coast – Centre Care;
  6. Post Separation Cooperative Parenting Sunshine Coast – Uniting Care Community.

You can obtain further information about the agencies or referrals to use these family law services from the Family Relationships Advice Line 1800 050 321 or their website here – Family Relationships.

If you would like to obtain advice about your parenting matter or discuss whether a supervised parenting arrangement is required for your matter, please make an appointment with one of our solicitors.

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