Monday, February 19, 2007

sloppy judgment

The judgment of Justice Carmody
In his Contact Orders, Justice Carmody followed the recommendations of the Family Court Child Psychologist. He was only going to make orders until the beginning of 2007 which would have meant both the father (me) and the mother would be posturing for the next two years preparing for the next round in the Court. The judge had given me some excerpts from the Family Law Act to read during the lunch break. One part of the Act is a recommendation - when making orders, consider orders which minimise the need to return to Court. I pointed this out to the judge. Justice Carmody seemed irritated. However, in his Final Orders he put in a fourth contact stage beginning in 2007 and continuing indefinitely.

I pointed out to the judge that while stages one to three were progressively increasing contact, his stage four would reduce contact and that there was no apparent logic in this. Justice Carmody responded that when a child starts school, both parents have less time. I responded that even taking this into account, the child would have less percentage contact with the father. The judge replied irritably “well I'm not going to change it now !” Easy for him to dismiss but his sloppy decisions can have a major impact on our lives and relationships for the next decade or more.

We were handed a copy of the Orders for perusal. Eddy Lago, solicitor for the mother, approached the father after about five minutes saying, 'Well we're finished. Are you finished ? We should go back in.' He was obviously pressuring me to agree. However, I took my time reading over the Orders.

I noticed that the judge had deviated from the recommendations of the Child Psychologist by ordering pick up at 7.30pm rather than 7.30am. The judge, again irritable, remarked that that was just a 'typo.' 'Typo' it might have been, but had I not pointed it out at that moment it most likely would have become irrevocable.

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