Sorry I took daddy – Federal Magistrate Tom Altobelli

June 7, 2012
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Federal Magistrate Tom Altobelli published his decision on the court’s website, ordering the boy, 11, and his sister, 6, to live with their mum and the dad’s contact to be restricted to letters and birthday cards. A judge has taken the extraordinary step of writing to two children involved in a custody dispute explaining why he gave sole custody to their mum even though he doesn’t accept her claims their dad abused them.

Federal Magistrate Tom Altobelli published his decision on the court’s website, ordering the boy, 11, and his sister, 6, to live with their mum and the dad’s contact to be restricted to letters and birthday cards.

The judge’s letter, which is to be opened once the children turn 14, is a plea that the children renew contact with the father, explaining that their mother’s claims he abused them are false.

“At the time I had to decide the case your mum believed in her heart that your dad hurt you,” he has written.

“My job is to look at all the information, and listen very carefully to what everybody says, including the experts. I decided that you had not been hurt by your dad,” Mr Altobelli wrote.

“Even after I told your mum what I decided, I think she still believed in her heart that your dad had hurt you. This just goes to show that sometimes words do not change a person’s heart.

“I told you this was a hard, sad case to decide. I decided that even though your dad really wanted you to live with him, it was best that you lived with mum, even though this might mean moving away from where you lived at the time.

“I knew your mum would look after you really well. I decided not to make your mum let you see your dad, even though your dad wanted this very much. I thought it would make things harder for you if I had done this.”

The mother, in her 30s, and father, in his 40s, began their relationship in 2001 before separating in 2009 after what the court described as an unhappy relationship.

The mother became convinced the father had sexually abused their daughter, a view she reached after her own mother had seen a clairvoyant who had predicted the abuse.

The mother was given sole custody because the court ruled she was the better parent.

“Despite the mother’s grossly distorted lens through which she views the father and the events that bring this matter to court, she is a more than adequate parent,” Mr Altobelli wrote.

“Indeed that parenting capacity will most likely increase with relocation. Despite the father’s good intentions, optimism and courageous position in this case, I am far less satisfied about his capacity to parent these children on the facts of this case.”

Source: Sorry I took daddy (http://www.familylawwebguide.com.au/forum/pg/topicview/misc/7930/index.php&keep_session=307426767)

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