By Padriac Murphy July 20, 2009 1:53AM
The Daily Telegraph source
A 62-YEAR-OLD lesbian has been awarded access by the Family Court to the three-year-old child of her former partner, despite the couple splitting after living together for less than a year and a judge ruling the woman was not legally the child's parent.
The child's 44-year-old mother has been ordered to allow her 62-year-old former partner, who has suffered from psychiatric conditions and has a history of self-harm, to have access to the child.
The Family Court has ruled that, although the 62-year-old did not live in a de facto relationship with the woman and was not legally a parent of the girl, she could have court-ordered access because she was a significant person in the child's life.
The 62-year-old grandmother met the girl's mother in 2001. The mother said the couple ceased sexual contact in 2004 and from then on she thought of her as more of a friend than partner.
In 2005, the mother was artificially inseminated and the couple moved in together.
But disagreements about how the child was to be raised saw the relationship end, and the mother and child left in late 2006.
Although the mother initially allowed some contact between her daughter and her former partner, she eventually ceased all contact, claiming her former partner was not a parental figure to the child.
The older woman went to the Family Court, initially seeking equal shared parental responsibility and time with the child.
Family Court Justice John Pascoe rejected the claim, ruling the couple could not be considered de facto at the time of the child's conception, the mother had planned to have the baby independently of the older woman, and that the older woman could not be considered a parent of the child.
Justice Pascoe allowed the older woman weekly access and on special occasions such as birthdays.
But a full bench of the Family Court last month dismissed an appeal by the child's mother over access and granted the older woman visitation rights to the child for three hours a week, which will increase to overnight stays.
Editor saidMr John Pascoe AO, is in fact the Chief Federal Magistrate of the Federal Magistrates Court - Sydney (appointed 14 July 2004)