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Parenting Orders: Cute nickname or derogatory term?

By August 22, 2016No Comments

An Australian mother has been successful in obtaining a court order from the Family Court banning the father of her daughter a “coconut”, amongst other parenting orders.

The mother alleged that the African father continued to call their 9-year-old daughter a coconut which was a derogatory term that referred to someone who was “black on the outside but white on the inside”. Both parents are black Africans and they separated before the girl was born. When the girl was 3 she moved with the mother to Townsville. The father still lived in Africa and spoke to the daughter via Skype. The mother gave evidence that the girl was very upset by her father’s use of the term, in addition to the fact that the father would communicate in his Shona dialect, in which the girl was not fluent.

The Judge commented that the father “appears to have formed the view that the child, whilst a black African, is growing up white…I have little doubt the father believes the child is not growing up as he believes a black African should. He has used the words “snobbish coconut” in correspondence with the mother and I have little doubt that not only has he used that word directly to the child, but that he genuinely believes that to be the case.”

The Judge ordered that the father only use the girl’s name and that he could only have contact by Skype at the mother’s discretion.

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Do you need legal advice in relation to a parenting dispute or other family law matter please contact Cristina Huesch, Sharla Stevens or Angela Li on (02) 6223 2400 for a no-obligation, cost-free first conference.


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