Going to Sport

In a perfect world separated parents can co-parent, focus on their children and continue to encourage their growth into adulthood.  In this utopia separated parents attend soccer matches of their children together, watch them graduate high school as a family and go on to celebrate milestones as a group.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, and the utopian ideals described are not always possible.

What happens in circumstances where parents have equal time with their children but are unable to cordially attend children’s events without negatively affecting the experience for the children?

In the recent Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia decision of Dalby & Jemmett (No2) [2023] FedCFamC2F 800 (4 July 2023) Judge McGinn addressed this very issue.  Final Orders had already been made with respect to the children’s care (7 nights a fortnight respectively) when the mother brought an application to the court seeking an injunction restraining the father from attending the school grounds during her time with the children.

The father has a particular interest in sport and the sporting activities of the children, attending most of the sporting games and training days while the children were in his care but also in the care of the mother.

The issue in this matter was how the father’s presence affected the children because of the father’s obvious attitude towards the mother.  It was determined by the Family Assessment Report that the father’s obvious negative attitude towards the mother enabled the children to form the view that the father “hates” and is annoyed by their mother.  As a result of this the children’s emotional wellbeing was affected by both parents being in attendance at events.  The report writer determined that the children should be able to attend events without having to worry about their parents, and that they should be able to have an equivalent relationship with each parent without the other interfering in that relationship.

Her Honour issued injunctions preventing the father from attending the school grounds while the children were not in his care (save for presentations, end of year assemblies, concerts, school excursions and parent teacher interviews) and that he does not attend extra-curricular activities for the children while they were not in his care.

While in this case it was sport, as children get older, and become adults themselves if separated parents cannot be “in the same room” this can create conflict for all milestones.

If you are struggling with co-parenting and you consider that the actions of the other parent are having a negative affect on your children, you should seek expert family law advice regarding how this issue can be best addressed.  Contact one of our Family Lawyers today for an initial appointment.


turned_in_notCo-Parenting, Family Law
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