Family Court supervised visits -resented by father and stopped then resumed

Family Court supervised visits -resented by father and stopped then resumed

In the case of Samad & Haider [2022] FedCFamC2F 1256 (16 September 2022) the father was found to have a sense of entitlement in resenting the fact that his contact with his child was ordered to be supervised.


The mother and father married in an Islamic religious ceremony in 2019 and had a short relationship of approximately 6 weeks duration. The father did not live with the mother during this time, nor was the marriage registered. The relationship produced one child, a daughter born in 2020 after the parties divorced, now aged 2 years old.

At the time the court heard this matter, the father had not spent any time with the child apart from 4 supervised visits of one hour’s duration each at a contact centre. These visits were discontinued by him. The court later found that he ceased time due to a sense of entitlement that he should not have to be supervised when seeing his child.

Court proceedings

The father initiated court proceedings in 2020 seeking that the child live with him and the mother have supervised time with the child at a contact centre. He alleged a risk to the child caused by the mother’s mental heath issues and lack of family support.

Alternatively, he did not oppose orders that the child live with the mother provided that there was no risk to the child, and sought time on a graduated basis, with 2 hours each Saturday increasing to alternate weekends once the child commenced school plus mid-week and holiday time.

Mental Health Concerns

The father’s concerns stemmed from a two week period where the mother underwent in-patient treatment for mental health concerns, where the child was placed with a friend before being returned to her. The court considered that this was not a proper basis for the ongoing concerns expressed by the father as to the mental health and parenting ability of the mother.

The court, aided by expert evidence from a family report writer, and the mother’s medical records, was satisfied as to the mother’s mental health and ability to perform parental responsibilities. She had been the sole carer for the child since birth, and the primary carer of her two other children of previous relationships. The court found no risk to the child posed by the mother’s mental health.

Family Violence

The mother sought sole parental responsibility, that the child live with her and spend supervised time with the father. She alleged a risk to the child caused by the father’s controlling behaviour which constituted family violence.

The mother gave evidence of controlling behaviour during the relationship, including the father impeding the mother’s communications with the father of her other children, derogatory and critical remarks, absence of any real or significant emotional or financial support, and using the threat of divorce. The court accepted that this controlling behaviour constituted family violence.

The court also considered that the father has exhibited controlling behaviour during the court proceedings by attempting to dictate what he believed to be best for the child regardless of what the court ordered.

This included the father seeking to dictate the circumstances in which his access to the child should recommence and ceasing supervised visits with the child even though it was in the child’s best interests to have this time with him to establish their relationship.

While the court made a finding of family violence committed by the father toward the mother, it did not make a finding that there was any risk to the child as a result of this behaviour. It viewed the behaviour as contextual and brief in the context of a very brief relationship, then in the course of the father’s endeavour to have immediate unsupervised time with his very young child.

The court was satisfied that because of the father’s lack of insight and controlling behaviour (supported by expert evidence) it was in the child’s best interests to live with the mother not the father.


The court considered that it was in the child’s best interests for the father to participate in a period of supervised contact with the child for at least 3 months in order to facilitate the growth of their relationship through significant and meaningful time together in a graduated way.

Acknowledging the father’s discomfort with supervision, and evidence that he would be unable to undertake supervised time with his child, the court considered that this was a misplaced entitlement by the father which demonstrated a lack of insight and understanding of his parental responsibility to advance the best interests of the child.

The court considered that the adverse consequences for the child in terms of paternal neglect and self- esteem and her future wellbeing significantly outweigh any purported distress or anxiety that the father may have to undergo in the brief period of supervision.


The court saw no risk posed to the child of mental health concerns raised in relation to the mother. Orders were made whereby the child would live with the mother, who would also hold sole parental responsibility, and for the child to spend 6 visits over 3 months of supervised time with the father to establish a relationship with him.

After the supervised period of time, orders were made for the father to have graduated time periods with the child increasing to unsupervised day time and then overnight time from the child’s sixth birthday.
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