Imagine taking your child to visit her father for the first time. She’s only little, just a baby, so you’ve agreed for him to take her for a few hours with supervision. You come back to pick your baby up and then something happens and you find yourself arguing and fighting with the father.
That was the situation a young mother recently found herself in. She and the father had been separated for between 12-16 months and that one visit described above was the only visit that the father had ever had with the child. The two went to court and orders were made for the parents to each have unsupervised time; even though the court stated they had some reservations about the parenting ability of the father. The orders also suggested the parents be kept as far away from each other as possible at pickups.
The Mother appealed this order. The matter returned to court under a new Federal Magistrate. The new Magistrate felt that previously the court hadn’t given enough attention to the evidence about the first visit between father and daughter and the argument/fight that had broken out. The court now believed that a more beneficial way of introducing time with the father would be to have supervised time at a contact centre. This would allow the father time with his child; protecting him from any wrongful or exaggerated allegations about his parenting abilities, it would give the mother peace of mind that there is adequate supervision and protection for her daughter. It would also give the father a chance to prove he could parent and show his genuine desire to be a parent.
These orders could be changed in the future once everything had settled down between the parents and when they were both happy for change to occur.
These orders are a great way for the father to see his daughter, especially when he doesn’t have any experience with the child and especially while the mother has great concern over the care of their daughter while he is the supervising adult. This gives them both a way to learn to trust themselves and the other parent where hopefully a better relationship can build and he father’s access to the child could greatly increase.