A lesbian mother has failed to stop her former partner from having visitation rights to their child.
The case of Aldridge and Keaton moved into the Family Court last week, where a magistrate again ruled against the biological mother’s attempt to put a stop to parental access.
The same-sex parental rights case previously came before the Federal Magistrates court in 2008, where it was decided that an interim order should be granted to allow Keaton (the non-biological mother) limited access to the couple’s three-year-old child. Initially granted three hours a week time with the child, this was to gradually increase to a full day of access.
Aldridge, the biological mother, appealed to the Family Court to put a stay on the orders while appeals continued, but was unsuccessful.
The Chief Federal Magistrate upheld that it was in the child’s best interests to spend time with the non-biological mother.
Aldridge’s lawyer had argued that temporary visitation rights could lead to further distress down the track if a court ruled against Keaton’s application for custody rights.
The Chief Magistrate countered that it would seem to be potentially much more harmful to the child for there to be another break in her relationship with the respondent, if at the conclusion of the appeal process, time with the respondent was to be resumed.
If I were to grant the stay and stop contact between the respondent and the child or limit that contact to three hours per month, there is in my view, potentially a much greater adjustment for the child who may, by the time an appeal is heard, have established new routines and lost her existing relationship with the respondent.
A final decision in the custody case is expected in the coming weeks.