WA 14 Year Old doesn't want to live with other parent

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MatildaL

Member
17 November 2021
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Hi. I have 2 children 12 and 14. Separated from their father 11 years ago and have had orders is place since 2013. Children been in equal care since 2015. The oldest has been increasingly unhappy over at least the last 12 months with having to live with their father. They are showing signs of becoming depressed and withdrawn and have indicated on numerous occasions that they are miserable when they are at his house. My understanding is that they are basically ignored while their with their father paying little attention to them, spending little time with them and has that he doesn't care about them and only wants them there as he doesn't want them with me. I am very worried about their mental health. I have for years followed the directive of telling them how much fun they will have with dad, how he loves to see them etc but now they are more mature its fairly obvious they know exactly how they will feel about their time with him. Their father has been openly hostile toward me since we separated and divorced and has tried to undermine my relationship with both children since we separated. He was violent towards me at the end of our relationship and for many months after and I do not feel safe around him and find communicating with him extremely difficult. It is heart breaking seeing my childs mental health decline and I feel it is wrong to force him to continue to go to their fathers house when they feel like this. I would never stop them seeing their father but I dont want to force them to either. I have engaged the services of a mediator but the process is really long and am on waiting lists for counselling etc for my children.
My younger child has never been happy with the care arrangements but seems less affected but is very bonded to their sibling and unlikely wanting to be separated from them.
Is it ok for me to send their father an email saying they are struggling with the current arrangements and for now want to stay with me while we try and work on a more suitable arrangement and get some other professional help?
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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offering mediation would be a good start to help as obviously there are communication issues.
Crystal ball... If you refused to follow the orders, what would dad do?
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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ok, so look. you have 3 options
1. Take panadol. If pain persists learn to accept it because nothing is gonna change. There is some merit in this. You've explained some bad parenting... Not child abuse - kid isn't at risk? and sometimes kids will tell their parents what they wanna hear. Sometimes I don't like my mum and I'm a big boy now....
2. Do mediation, if that fails apply to court to have the orders changed. Now part of the problem here is you won't likely have met the threshold of Rice and Asplund - Basically, to seek a change of orders you need to show a substantial change in circumstance. The kids getting older and louder doensn't cut it.
3. Facilitate for the kid to breach the orders. It is actually YOU breaching the orders, by not sending the kid. Now if that happens dad will have to get advice on what to do. He might find a solicitor who will tell him that the courts won't force a 14yr old. But I don't have a crystal ball and maybe the solicitor will give that advice but your ex will apply to court anyways. Maybe the solicitor will give differenent advice - no crystal ball here.

For what it is worth - my kids are trained. If mum refuses to return them as per the orders they are to sit down in a shop. They know to sit and refuse to stand up until the police are called and they know my number. Look, I'm not happy that I've trained my kids to do that, but I'm not spending any more in court over this BS. So what I'm getting at is you might need to teach your child some strategies if he/she is gonna apply this option.
 

Atticus

Well-Known Member
6 February 2019
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I have engaged the services of a mediator but the process is really long and am on waiting lists for counselling etc for my children.
Ask about child inclusive mediation. They are old enough... The kids can talk openly with the mediator in private about whatever concerns they have regarding time with dad. The mediator may then be in a better position to look at options and look for common ground when suggesting a solutions.... In the meantime you should meet your obligations under the order.