personality disorders

Personality disorders Family Law Parenting Dispute

Personality disorders Family Law Parenting Dispute

Personality disorders in a family law parenting dispute can raise issues for what parenting orders should be made. Often in a high conflict and emotionally charged family law parenting dispute, parties will raise a myriad of allegations in an effort to persuade the court to make the orders that they are seeking.

Sometimes, these allegations relate to mental health and on occasion extend to personality disorders. If present but untreated and managed, a personality disorder of a parent can have a highly detrimental effect on the wellbeing of a child or children. In this blog, we consider how parenting orders that the family court may make can, in appropriate circumstances, be affected where personality disorders in a parent are established.

Contact us at LGM Family Law or call 07 3506 3651 if you would like advice particular to your circumstances in this area or need other assistance to obtain parenting orders or a parenting plan. Our family lawyers Brisbane CBD (Brisbane CBD office) or family lawyers Brisbane Northside  and North Brisbane family lawyers (Grange office) have the experience to advise you regards your child’s best interests at law and to assist you to resolve your parenting issues. You are also welcome to a free initial phone consultation with one of our experienced Brisbane child custody lawyers.

Otherwise, read on for more information right now……..

It is not sufficient to simply make allegations that the other parent suffers from personality disorders. The family court must be satisfied as to the existence of personality disorders. Establishing the existence of a personality disorder will generally require the opinion of several appropriately qualified independent expert witnesses. This may have the effect of  delaying an outcome in the matter and increasing the costs to the parties. However, if the disorder is established, dependent upon the nature of the disorder, it may effect significantly the parenting orders that the family court is willing to make.

This is one area in which you will want to obtain the advice of Brisbane child custody lawyers in resolving your family law parenting dispute. Child custody lawyers in an appropriate case will likely recommend that advice be obtained from a qualified professional regards the impact of the alleged personality disorders, were it established, on children.

The paramount consideration under the Family Law Act 195 (Cth)(“Act”) when considering what parenting orders should be made is what is in the child’s best interests. Generally, in considering what is in the child’s best interests, the court must consider the matters that are set out in subsections (2) and (3) of section 60CC of the Act.

Under section 60CC (2) of the Act, the primary considerations are:

  • the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents; and
  • the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.

However, the Act provides that in applying the considerations set out in section 60CC(2) to determine what parenting orders should be made and what is in the child’s best interests, the family court is to give greater weight to the consideration set out in paragraph (b) above concerning the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.

In the circumstances where personality disorders in a parent are shown to expose the child or children to physical or psychological harm, or the risk of such harm, the family court can be expected to make parenting orders which address that harm or risk of harm. This may be done by making orders for only supervised time for the children with that parent or in some cases, orders that restrict or do not even  provide for, time for the parent to spend with the child.

Where personality disorders exist that expose a child to such harm or risk of harm, there will likely be evidence (apart from any medical report) available to the family court of the parent having committed acts of family violence against children, whether involving physical or psychological harm to the children. In some cases, that evidence in itself may be sufficient to persuade the family court that parenting orders restricting (or in a severe case) eliminating time for the children to spend with that parent need to be made in the child’s best interests.

In a recent case before the Family Court of Australia in Melbourne: Burgess & Galbally [2018] FamCA 673 (31 August 2018), Justice Johns made orders which took into consideration the diagnosed personality disorders of a parent. The parenting orders made  in the child’s best interests provided no physical or verbal communication or relationship between the diagnosed parent and the children, no ability for the diagnosed parent to have input into the parenting decisions for the children and only communication of the diagnosed parent to the children through Christmas and Birthday cards which could be reviewed and discarded if deemed inappropriate by the other parent.

Contact our family lawyers Brisbane CBD (Brisbane CBD office) and family lawyers Brisbane Northside or North Brisbane family lawyers (Grange office) or call 07 3506 3651. We can assist you if you have concerns regards personality disorders of your former partner and your childre, if claims of violence have been made against you or if you need any assistance to obtain parenting orders or a parenting plan. We offer free initial phone consultations when you will speak to one of our experienced Brisbane child custody lawyers. We are ready to assist you to resolve your family law parenting dispute.

Kindly note that this blog contains information only concerning a family law parenting dispute and does not constitute legal advice to you. You will need to obtain specific legal advice tailored to your particular circumstances. Our experienced family lawyers Brisbane CBD, North Brisbane family lawyers and Brisbane child custody lawyers are ready to assist you to resolve your particular family law matter.