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Can I Sue My Ex for Emotional Damage?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Yoni, 4 May 2014.

  1. Yoni

    Yoni Member

    Can I sue my ex for emotional damages done to myself and our two children for denying access?
  2. rebeccag

    rebeccag Well-Known Member

    G'day Yoni
    Are you able to provide further details about situation/incident(s), what you mean by emotional damage and what you hope to achieve by pursuing your ex? (Without being too specific so as to reveal identities/identifying information.)
  3. Yoni

    Yoni Member

    I allowed my ex temporary custody of our sons, the arrangement was that he would return them to me at Christmas and I would have unrestricted phone contact. After two Weeks in his care, he turned off his phone and never returned them to my care! I have spent the last six months legally pursuing access. Them address he provided to me and the school was a vacant block of land! His only motivation for denying access is to hurt me and in the process he would also be hurting our children! I want him to pay for the damage he has caused to the relationship between myself and my sons, in the time they have been absent me, I have given birth to a new son, and their other siblings have also suffered! My three year old has regressed since they left and now hardly speaks to anyone, he cries when looking at their photographs! This has been emotionally distressing for our entire family!
  4. rebeccag

    rebeccag Well-Known Member

    Just another question: You said you've been legally pursuing access - Do you have any written parenting agreements in place? (Family Court orders or mutual agreement)
  5. Yoni

    Yoni Member

    Nothing written, it was a mutual verbal agreement between myself, my children and my ex
  6. rebeccag

    rebeccag Well-Known Member

    It sounds like you need your arrangements to be legally enforceable so that your ex must comply with them (rather than relying on him to stand by your verbal agreement which isn't legally enforceable).

    See the responses to this recent post 'Children Custody Rights - Travel Distance' which outline that you can apply to the Family Court for Consent Orders (if you and your ex can agree on arrangements) or Parenting Orders (if you and your ex can't agree on arrangements). Those Orders would be legally enforceable and your ex would have to comply as there are consequences if they're breached.

    Here is another LawAnswers post that touches on child abuse/family violence considerations with Family Law Court issues. If you believe that your ex's behaviour might have gone/go that far, then that might be used against your ex when deciding who looks after the children for what periods of time, etc and might also speed things along with your application for a Parenting Order.

    You can see the the Family Law Courts have a lot of good information to help you help yourself and they have a helpline if you need help with filling out forms.
  7. Yoni

    Yoni Member

    As I said, I am currently involved in legal actions to regain custody of my children. The question is, can I sue my ex and get compensation for my children, who have emotionally suffered as a direct result of my ex's spiteful behaviour towards me.
  8. rebeccag

    rebeccag Well-Known Member

    My understanding is that you can't sue your ex for emotional distress.

    So unless he committed domestic violence or child abuse (or perhaps a criminal offence like deprivation of liberty?), then your remedy will likely be in the Family Law Courts where you can put forward your arguments and evidence showing he has not done the right thing (and such actions caused you and your children emotional distress, which is not in the best interests of the child - which is the paramount consideration of the Family Law Courts when making Parenting Orders).

    As I said above. I think the remedy lies in the Family Law Courts. I imagine it would be even more costly and stressful trying to sue for money from him in a separate action when that is actually what would be considered in the Family Law Courts (unless he committed a specific offence, which you'd need to get a lawyer's specific legal advice on).

    Happy for other forum members to add their thoughts.

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