Concerns about paternity as interim care order extended – 2018vol1#25

An interim care order for two children was extended for two weeks amid concerns about the paternity of one of the children in the District Court in a rural town. The mother of the children was living with one of the fathers, and the purported father of the second child had been a party in the case, but a DNA test had recently revealed that he was not the biological father of the child. At the time of the hearing the biological father of this child was unknown, and the status of the purported father in the case was questioned by the judge.

The judge said he was going to make an order on the paternity of the child, with a stay of two weeks to permit an appeal. The interim care order was also extended for two weeks, and a Section 47 application to allow the children travel outside the jurisdiction with their foster parents on holiday was granted.

Twelve other interim care orders were extended with the consent of the parents, while access was discussed in a number of them. In one case the CFA solicitor said the case was ready to go on, and the mother, who was represented by a solicitor and counsel, would be contesting the care order. The CFA solicitor said no reports were outstanding.

In another case the CFA solicitor said the mother was “not doing very well.” She consented to the extension of the interim care order, but wanted access, which had been suspended, reinstated.

“We are all trying to help the mother. Unfortunately she slides down the ladder again,” the judge said. “It seems the mother resents any form of interference by the agency.”

The social worker said there had been a serious incident during access some time earlier and the mother and child had been very distressed. Access was stopped. A social worker would be available to give evidence in two weeks’ time, and the access matter was adjourned until then.

In another case the mother, who was not represented, said she was not consenting to the extension of the interim until September, two months away. She would consent for one month, but it was explained to her that the court was not sitting in August.

“I think 28 days is long enough,” she said. “I should have a house in the next week or so. This is the longest we [the child and I] have ever been apart.”

The judge said he would extend the order until September. “If you get the house in the next couple of weeks the CFA will have to assess the house. If you consent I will give you liberty to re-enter. Come into the office and it will be re-entered in the month of August. There will be a special sitting.”

The mother agreed, and said the house would be fully furnished, and the judge extended the interim care order until September, with liberty for her to re-enter the case.