Home and Away widow VJ Patterson is devastated when he loses custody of baby Luc to brother-in-law Ash.
Since tragic Billie Ashford succumbed to terminal illness and passed away just hours after her wedding to VJ, there's been a tug of love for her daughter Billie involving half of Summer Bay.
Billie wanted VJ to have custody, but there was no official paperwork giving the lad any legal rights to the child as he's not her biological father. Billie's brother Ash wants Luc with him and girlfriend Kat, while Irene has also staked her claim as the tot is technically a blood relative as her real dad is her wayward rapist son Mick.
In upcoming episodes, VJ, mum Leah, Ash, Kat and Irene all attend a mediation session with the authorities to see if they can resolve the issue. Irene has dropped a bombshell the previous day by revealing to Leah she is formally applying for custody herself, but promises her and VJ she'd give them as much access as they wanted and it's only to stop Luc living with Ash.
Agitated Ash accuses everybody of neglecting Luc, highlighting VJ's violent streak and exposing the fact the lad he's been struggling so much he shook the kid's cot. Irene's alcoholic past is also raked up, but Ash is no angel what with being a convicted armed robber and the session ends with no compromise able to be reached - it's up to the courts to decide who gets interim custody.
When the call comes from the mediator, VJ is devastated when Ash is granted interim parental responsibility for six months. Begging his brother-in-law to let him hold onto the little girl for just one more week, Ash relents.
But the custody issue has torn apart the bonds between Billie's loved ones at a time when they should be pulling together - with VJ lashing out at Irene for not supporting him and effectively letting Ash win.
It seems VJ's heartbreak is set to take him down a dark path as he turns to drink to drown his sorrows - is there any hope he'll get baby Luc back?
Home and Away airs these episodes on Tuesday 30 May and Friday 2 June on Channel 5 at 1.15pm and 6pm.