New case- child with special needs
In the recent case of L and L, Chief Federal Magistrate Pascoe had to deal with the situtation where both children had medical needs, and one child had quite special needs. The mother had set in place a stringent regime for that child, and whilst not stating that the father was incompetent, that he would not reach the requisite standard of care that the child needed.
In his conclusions, Pascoe CFM held:
Children, to borrow the words of the Act, have “a right to know and be cared for by both parents”. Indeed, one of the key considerations under the amendments to the Family Law Act, which took place last year, was the need for children to develop meaningful relationships with both their parents. The best interests of the child is the paramount consideration.
This case is unique in the sense that not only do both children have medical issues that both parents must deal with, but one child has medical needs which are quite severe, and which requires daily treatment. I am satisfied that the father can deal with these needs. The father does not demonstrate an inept understanding of the children’s needs, which would lead me to the conclusion that the children’s medical issues are such that substantial and significant time with their parents would not be in their best interests.
Separation has been painful for both parents and it is clear that it still remains a factor in their relationship. This is indeed unfortunate. Cooperative parenting is beneficial to all children, but more so to children with special medical needs. I am confident that the mother and the father will find strategies to communicate with each other as parents of children with such needs.