Re­turn cat­a­clysmic for girl: judge

Weekend Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

Judge Coyle said the over­seas courts ruled he was not a safety risk to his daugh­ter.

The Ap­peal Court in the coun­try also found the mother had an “on­go­ing lack of will­ing­ness” to let the fa­ther be a mean­ing­ful par­ent.

“Cer­tainly her ac­tions in re­mov­ing [ the girl] from . . . and hid­ing from him . . . mean that he has had no abil­ity to be in­volved in her life,” said Judge Coyle.

Psy­chol­ogy re­ports ac­cepted by the over­seas courts also ruled the fa­ther — not the mother — was the pri­mary at­tach­ment fig­ure.

But be­cause of the length of their sep­a­ra­tion, the mother was now her pri­mary at­tach­ment fig­ure.

And she would stay in New Zealand if the Fam­ily Court or­dered her daugh­ter to re­turn to her birth coun­try.

Los­ing her mother and leav­ing her life in New Zealand would be “cat­a­clysmic” for the girl, said Judge Coyle.

De­spite the mother’s ac­tions in de­lib­er­ately flout­ing a for­eign court or­der and the fa­ther’s in­volve­ment in their daugh­ter’s life, Judge Coyle found re­turn­ing the girl to Europe was not in her best in­ter­ests.

Do­ing so would put her in an “in­tol­er­a­ble sit­u­a­tion”, in a psy­cho­log­i­cal sense, part of the le­gal test.

How­ever, Judge Coyle did not re- voke a pre­vi­ous court or­der pre­vent­ing the daugh­ter from leav­ing New Zealand. The judge also did not re­turn her pass­port.

This leaves the door open for the fa­ther to seek day- to- day care of his daugh­ter in New Zealand.

“There is a real risk that if I were to dis­charge that or­der, then [ the mother] may at­tempt to flee.”

How­ever, the fa­ther has ap­pealed the Fam­ily Court decision to the High Court.

De­spite his an­guish he wants to share cus­tody in his coun­try with his for­mer part­ner. He of­fered to let her live in one of his rental prop­er­ties.

“I don’t have any bit­ter­ness. I just want to see my daugh­ter.”

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