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No custody for husband and house to wife in legal separation where violence and other property

No custody for husband and house to wife in legal separation where violence and other property

Woman abused by husband granted separation.

Judge says father, who was jailed for violence, is unfit to share custody of young son.

Irish Times, Wed, Oct 19, 2016,

A mother of one, whose estranged husband was jailed earlier this year for serious violence against her, has been granted a judicial separation at the Dublin Circuit Family Court.

The mother was also granted sole custody of their young son and full ownership of the family home. A barring order was made preventing the father, originally from another jurisdiction, from entering the mother’s home or from contacting her through any means.

Delivering her judgment, Judge Elma Sheahan said the father had made submissions to court and had been present during his estranged wife’s testimony, but had then excused himself from the case. She said he had perpetrated physical and emotional abuse against the mother and was likely to serve at least five years in prison.

No insight

A report on the family had been prepared for the court by an expert, the judge said, and the father denied what he did to the mother and had no insight into the effects of his violence on their son.

She said this made him unfit to have custody of the child. She noted the father did not want the boy to visit him in prison and she said any contact would be inappropriate. The judge also said if the father wished to make an application in court for access to the child, he would first need to show he had undergone “intensive educational interventions” because of his “lack of insight”.

Ordering the transfer of the family home to the mother, she said she was taking into account that the mother had been paying the mortgage and had contributed €100,000 to the purchase, as well as the father’s “gross and obvious behaviour”.

Lump sum

She said the father had sought the sale of the home and a lump sum to be paid to him or its transfer to his name. The judge said, when she looked at the violence and all that had happened to the family, they needed “respite” and “time to be left alone”.

The young boy was also entitled to the security of his home, friends and school, which were all he had known.