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QLD Separation and Divorce - Forced to Leave Child in Husband's Care?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by sf03, 31 July 2015.

  1. sf03

    sf03 Member

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    I am married but cannot leave our young child alone with my husband any longer, as my husband is not a responsible adult. E.g. the few times early on I allowed him to look after our child (while I was also at home, but in another part of the house), he left him alone in the pool area (at 18 months old) while he went into the garage, strapped into his seat in the car with no windows or doors open (twice), and let him wander out onto the street alone from the yard (aged two, twice) while my husband went to the bathroom / tinkered in the shed / etc. All times I wasn't far away and was able to get to him before anything horrible happened.

    My husband is angry that I won't leave our child alone with him, and has said that if we were to get a separation or get a divorce, I would have to leave our child alone with him, so I may as well do it now.

    Is that true? Even with my husband's past record being "responsible" for my child, could I be forced to allow my husband to take our son into his "care", with me not present?
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Your husband is correct.

    Under section 60B of the Family Law Act 1975, your son has a legal right to know, spend time and communicate with each of their parents on a regular basis, regardless of the status of relationship between said parents. Summarily, your mistrust of your husband does not grant you any power to impede on your child's rights to know, spend time and communicate with his father on a regular basis.

    You would experience difficulty persuading the court that the incidents you've listed impose an unacceptable risk of harm to the child in such a way that time between parent and child should be impeded with supervision. At best, what you've listed are examples of errors in judgement, and they're errors most parents will make at some time in their life. In the court's view, being unforgiving of these errors, or unrealistic about expectations that parents shouldn't make mistakes, is more a reflection of your parenting capacity than the father's because it's a reflection of your priorities. It demonstrates that you are aware of the physical risk to a child of being a near a pool or a road, of course, but it also demonstrates you're unaware of the hazard of psychological damage that would be imposed on your son by not having a meaningful relationship with his dad.

    Have you considered counselling, or perhaps a parenting course that you can do together so you can learn to communicate and address your concerns with each other? Even if you do divorce, these courses can still help build an amicable post-separation relationship, which is the most important and rewarding thing you can do you for your son.
     
  3. sf03

    sf03 Member

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    Thank you for responding. I would not intend to prevent my husband from spending time with our child - sorry I didn't make that clear in my post. I am only afraid of him spending time with our child alone. I truly understand that everyone makes mistakes, but my husband does not see any of the things mentioned in my post as mistakes, or as a bad thing to do with a child.

    After each of these incidents, I have discussed them with my husband, citing examples of what can happen to a two year old who is left alone in a pool area, or walking down a busy road by themselves, or how long it takes a child to die in a closed car when it is 37 deg C outside. Each time he's said - "He'll be fine." My husband truly believes (I know this because he has told me more than once in no uncertain terms) that leaving an 18 month old child alone in beside a pool is ok, because he would be able to come back out of the garage (which doesn't have a view of the pool), run across the yard, unlock the fence and get in to the pool area quickly enough should "anything happen".

    I've tried to explain that being in the garage for ten minutes (I had removed my child from the pool area as soon as I saw he was alone) is plenty of time for a child to drown or suffer serious brain damage in a pool, but he just tells me I'm being ridiculous. We have a friend who tragically lost a child in exactly this way, but when I remind my husband of this, he says that it couldn't happen to us because he would be able to get from the garage to the pool "fast enough". Of course I do not want my son to be psychologically damaged, but he's not going to have a meaningful relationship with his dad or anyone if he is dead.

    Sorry this is a bit long and emotional - but the thought just terrifies me. We have been to a psychologist, who recommended that we agree to differ on the definition of "safe", and that the best solution for keeping our child safe is to ensure that he is not left alone with my husband. I consistently make the effort to let my husband spend time alone with our child, usually at home (we don't have a pool any more) in the evening, or we'll all go to a park and I'll sit far away from them so they can play together without me, but I can still supervise. Both of them enjoy this and honestly my husband forgets I'm there most of the time (as he usually does! :p).

    Thanks again for your response; I really appreciate you taking the time to write.
     

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