Paula Beeman Peta Doodson
Paula Beeman 2006, 2007
Occupation: Family Court Psychologist
When Susan and Katya Kinski were fighting for custody of Susan’s stepchildren, and Katya’s younger siblings, Rachel and Zeke, all parties were interviewed by psychologist Paula Beeman, who had to give an assessment before it went to the family court. Things started badly when Susan was forced to spend all night at the hospital when neighbour Steph Hoyland went into labour, and missed a family breakfast celebrating Zeke’s birthday. Although Susan had some information on Katya’s past problems, including drug addiction and prostitution, which would have tipped the scales back in her favour, she opted not to say anything, and Rachel and Zeke both told Paula that they’d prefer to have both Katya and Susan in their lives, though Zeke admitted that he felt that Katya needed their support more. During her meeting with Paula, Katya was convinced that Susan would have told her all about her past and started exclaiming that she’d changed, but Paula had no idea what she was talking about. Seeing how much pressure was on Rachel and Zeke, Susan decided to end the custody battle there and then, and offered to step away and allow the three Kinski children to be together.
Eighteen months later, another custody battle was underway, with Ned Parker and Kirsten Gannon fighting over access to nine-year-old Mickey. During their assessment with Paula, both parties were worried, with Kirsten unable to offer a stable family upbringing for her son, while Ned's hot-headed girlfriend Janae had thrown a glass of water over Kirsten the previous day, putting their hopes of custody at risk. After listening to the views of everyone, and most importantly Mickey, Paula explained to Kirsten that she was going to recommend that they share custody, but that Ned be the primary care-giver. This news tipped an already troubled Kirsten over the edge, and she snatched Mickey and drove off from the hospital.
• To read our interview with Peta Doodson, click here