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FM Tom Altobelli takes innovative approach

Magistrate praised for kids letter on custody call
ABC News
June 07, 2012

A magistrate has been praised for writing a letter to two children explaining why he had given sole custody to their mother.

Federal Magistrate Tom Altobelli banned the father of the 11-year-old boy and six-year-old girl from seeing his children.

But Mr Altobelli wanted to explain to the children that he had not believed allegations that their father had abused them.

He wrote a letter for the children saying that he had to make a hard, sad decision.

The letter was written for the children to open on their 14th birthdays.

A former chief justice of the Family Court of Australia, Alastair Nicholson, says the letter may help the children in years to come.
Former chief justice of the Family Court said
Children are inevitably going to be affected by being the subject of a dispute like this and they're going to need help whichever way but this is perhaps one way of tackling the problem.

It's an extraordinarily difficult decision but I certainly think that what he's done in terms of the letter is quite innovative and if that decision is to stand, well, it would at least give the children some explanation of why.
Blogger on ABC News said
The mother became convinced the father had sexually abused their daughter, a view she reached after her own mother had seen a clairvoyant who had predicted the abuse.
A judge has taken the extraordinary step of writing to two children involved in a custody dispute explaining why he gave sole custody to their mum even though he doesn't accept her claims their dad abused them.

Gaylard & Cain [2012] FMCAfam 501 (30 May 2012)

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