1987, 92 Minutes
Each year an average of 41,000 Australian couples get divorced. This works out to be about one in every four marriages. After 12 years Christine and Andrew Byrne find their marriage is about to become another divorce statistic. This docudrama follows the couple to the Family Court, where they battle for custody of their children.
When Christine and Andrew can’t agree on what was best for the children, they start a chain of events that has a shattering effect on everyone involved. Their main battle focuses on who will keep the children. Custody follows them down the twisting and highly emotional path that eventually leads to a fully contested custody battle in the Family Court. Along the way it shows the points of view of both parents, and the somewhat different view taken by the lawyers and the Court Counsellors who become involved. Above all, it shines a light on what it is like to go through the Family Court.
The members of the Byrne family are played by actors. The legal aid representative, the solicitors, barristers and members of the judiciary all play themselves. The storyline draws on a number of real case histories. Custody presents a delicately balanced dilemma in which both parents are shown to be caring, responsible people, thus making it difficult for viewers to decide who should have the children. The case is heard by a real judge of the Family Court.
Produced by Film Australia. © National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Director: Ian Munro
Narrator: Peter Carroll
Principal Cast: Judith Stratford (Christine), Peter Browne (Andrew), Michael Cudlin (Justin), Sheridan Murphy (Kathy), Susan Leith (Margaret), Mary Acres (Grandmother).
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Classification: PG. Adult concepts.
Curriculum Links: Human Services, Community & Family Studies, Law/Legal Studies, SOSE/HSIE, Sociology, Counselling.