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NSW Abusive Father Has Recovery Order - What to Do under Family Law?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by lizzie333, 7 November 2015.

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  1. lizzie333

    lizzie333 Member

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    Hi,I'm looking for some help in family law.

    A year ago I gave birth to a daughter. I was still with the father at the time. He was an abusive man sometimes physically but mostly mentally. Also at the time, I had my 3-year-old daughter that wasn't his.

    Every week or when we had money, he would get blind drunk and become uncontrollable. My 3-year-old was also told to stay in her room to play all night and day. She only came out for meals. I thought things would change when I had his child but no it didn't. Often, when baby would cry, he would scream and tell her to shut up.

    He began introducing my 3-year-old as his stepdaughter and they baby as his biological daughter to my 3-year-old's face thus she began introducing herself as that which broke my heart.

    I wanted to give my baby daughter my last name but I was intimidated into giving her his last name. When she was 3 months old, I left the state without his knowledge and lived with her ever since. She is now a year old.

    He hasn't paid any child support. He keeps demanding me to go back and let him see her, but he is the one more mobile and can come here to see her. Now I heard some news that he has put out a recovery order for her. I don't know what to do and I don't understand how he got a recovery order, but I need to protect her.

    He is a very angry and unsafe person to be in a house with. I also came to know that he, with 2 other people are suspects in an 18 month old's death 5 years ago, which is an unsolved case.

    Please help me. What action should I take?
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    He can't 'put out a recovery order' on the child. He has to apply for a recovery order through the court. You have to be served with the application so you have an opportunity to respond, and the court has to hear the case before a recovery order can be made.

    Have you reported the abuse to the police at any time? Have any child protection services been notified of the abuse?
     
  3. lizzie333

    lizzie333 Member

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    Ok, so he could just be trying to intimidate me with saying that he does have a recovery order? No abuse has been documented by authorities but when the baby was just born, there was a anglicare worker that visited the house and she ended up asking if there was abuse in the house because she could pick up the signs.
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Well, if he has applied for a recovery order, there's a process he has to follow to attain it, so until you are actually served with the application, it's not worth paying any mind.

    Broad scope, though, of how things may go if he does pursue court proceedings, he's probably going to be granted time to spend with the child.

    Kids have a legal right under section 60B of the Family Law Act 1975 to know, spend time and communicate with their parents on a regular basis, regardless of how those parents feel about each other, and the court will go to great lengths to uphold that right on behalf of the kids. It will decide parenting orders based on what it believes to be in the best interests of the child, which is usually always to have a meaningful relationship with both mother and father. Of course, if the court decides there is an unacceptable risk of violence, abuse or neglect toward the child, then the court will take those risks seriously, but that doesn't mean it will oust the father from the child's life. More likely, it would order supervised time, or for the father to complete an evaluation and treatment with a psychologist, or a drug and alcohol test.

    I'm not saying that's what will happen, but I am saying you should prepare for the very likely possibility that the court will order the child spend time with the father on a regular basis. You haven't said he's ever hit the child or poses any serious risk to the child (e.g. yelling isn't really a serious risk), and in the court's view, if you felt that risk was serious enough, you would have contacted the police or child services about it, otherwise the evidence is just he-said-she-said, which just isn't given that much weight.

    Certainly, you can and should raise your concerns with the court if proceedings commence, but as I said, I think you should prepare for the very likely possibility that the child is going to be ordered to spend some time with her father.

    He won't be able to pursue proceedings until he organises a family dispute resolution conference with you, but for now, neither of you have any obligations under to the law as to how you parent because there are no court orders in place. In the meantime, you can make a civil application for a domestic violence order against the father if you fear for yours or the child's safety. Your local courthouse or police station will be able to provide you with guidance on this.
     

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