Hope for alienated parents
In what will no doubt be welcome news to many Australian alienated parents, ABC News reported this week that Federal Circuit Court Justice, Michael Jarrett sentenced a Brisbane mother to jail for breaching parenting orders. The mother had abducted her two children and kept them in hiding from their father for three years.
Justice Jarrett said the mother had shown "flagrant disregard" for the parenting orders which allowed for equal shared parental responsibility and equal time spent with the children for her and her ex-husband, both of whom cannot be named.
He found her guilty of contempt of court. She was sentenced and taken into custody immediately.
Allegations of abuse unfounded
In defence of her actions, the children's mother claimed her ex-husband was violent having abused both children and threatened the mother’s life.
Justice Jarrett said he was "completely unsatisfied" that the mother had proven the allegations.
Mother on the run for three years with kids
What was proven was that after the Family Court ordered equal parenting between the mother and father, the mother, assisted by family and friends, went on the run from Brisbane with the children and hid from authorities for the next three years.
It is understood the mother and children moved various times and were able to stay undetected because, aided by their network of allies, they did not make use of bank accounts or mobile phones.
The Australian Federal Police finally located the mother and children late last year after they moved into the maternal grandmother's home north of Brisbane.
The grandmother had been instructed to provide any information about the whereabouts of her daughter and the grandchildren to authorities but failed to do so, instead, sheltering them from authorities for almost six months.
Traumatic experience for kids
Justice Jarrett said the mother's offending was "significant" and that she had shown no remorse for her actions. He said a fine was inappropriate given the "gravity of contempt".
"Even more significant is trauma these children have been subjected to as a result of many shifts from residence to residence."
In sentencing, he added that by non-complying with orders, the mother had deprived the children of the opportunity of developing their relationship with their father.
Justice Jarret sentenced the mother to serve the full term of the 18-month sentence.
The children were returned to live with their father.
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Published by: Divorce Resource