The Daily Telegraph
27 January 2012
By Janet Fife-Yeomans
A mother has lost custody of her two young daughters after she conducted an "obsessive" campaign against their new stepmother.
The judge said the sisters, aged 10 and seven, would be better off living with their father, 29, and his new wife, because their mother "would not likely change".
Family Court judge, Justice Peter Young saidI suspected it was the mother, 30, who painted "bitch" on the woman's house and wrote "die dad haters" on her own car in felt-tipped pen and then sought to blame the stepmother, 28.
He ordered an end to the shared custody which had been going on for more than five years and said the two girls should live full-time with their father.
The judge rejected claims the stepmother had stalked, abused and "tailgated" the mother, who made nine reports to child protection authorities, seven of them against the father or stepmother, of which three had been investigated and found to be unsubstantiated.At the dispute's worst point, the police were called in after the mother found scratch marks on the back of the seven-year-old's hand after the stepmother had collected her from a swimming class.
Family Court judge, Justice Peter Young saidI find that he is capable of a greater level of responsive behaviour and conduct than is the mother and that is one of the considerations I have evaluated," Justice Young said.Caught between warring parents, the sisters had to "tiptoe" around both households for fear of upsetting anyone.
The stepmother faced criminal charges, which were dismissed in court, and Justice Young found the innocent explanation was the scratches were caused when the stepmother grabbed hold of the girl's hand after she started running towards their car after swimming.
He said the mother may have also set up a Facebook page calling herself a liar and child neglecter - then sought to blame the stepmother.
The father and the mother's new husband may have been able to form a sensible relationship but their wives never would, Justice Young said.
A family consultant told the court: "The children need a life that is not routinely complicated by allegations of abuse."The mother and father, who met in 2000, married in 2002 and separated in 2006, had both sought sole custody of their children.
The mother will now see them on alternate weekends, birthdays and during school holidays.