Elizabeth Pender v Marcus Pender [2016] NZFC 2229

Published 31 July 2016

Care and contact of children — supervision — interim decision — Care of Children Act 2004. These Care of Children Act proceedings related primarily to what supervision conditions would be suitable in the circumstances. Supervision was deemed necessary as the respondent/father lives with a degenerative illness. His disability limits his physical capacity to undertake tasks required of a parent responsible for three young and active children. Supervision was ordered to ensure that the respondent had assistance with day-to-day parenting tasks such as changing nappies and bathing as well as assistance with meals. The Judge stressed that supervision was to compliment the respondent’s parenting and that the applicant had no concerns as to the respondent’s suitability and safety as a parent aside from those associated with his disability. The parties previously had a supervised contact agreement in place but contact had ceased after an incident where the supervising person had to leave in an emergency and the applicant’s mother had arrived to find the respondent alone with the children. The Judge reached an interim decision giving the father fortnightly weekend contact provided that one of the four agreed adults be present to supervise care and the father not drive with the children as passengers. The driving condition could be reviewed once the respondent had made enquiries into more easily-operable child safety restraints. Conditions around Skype/phone contact and the possibility of the respondent enjoying contact at the children’s school were also decided upon. A review was ordered for three months’ time. **Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements.