The recent family law case of Spence & Greco  FCCA 676 arguably highlights the importance of a child having a relationship with both parents. In this case, it was ordered that a 14 year old child spend time with the father on four consecutive monthly occasions for a period of 4 hours each, after which time the child could spend time with the father in accordance with his wishes.
Prior to this order, the child only spent irregular time with the father since birth, and never overnight time. The parties separated prior to the birth of the child, and the mother had been solely responsible for the long‑term decision making and day‑to‑day care of the child.
The mother held strong views that it would not be beneficial for the child to have a relationship with the father, and believed that the child did not wish to spend time with the father. The Court held that, in the absence of a court order, the mother would not positively encourage the child to have a relationship with the father, which carried a substantial risk that the child would not be able to develop a meaningful relationship with the father.
The court held that the mother had done little to actively promote the child’s relationship with the father, and that she lacked an appreciation of the importance of the child developing a meaningful relationship with the father.
Due to the age of the child, the court gave weight to some of the negative views expressed by the child towards his father, however the court placed substantial weight on the consideration of the child and the father having a meaningful relationship.
Please note this is not family law advice. It is important to seek specific family law advice from a very experienced family lawyer with an extensive background in children and family law.