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VIC Amending Family Law Final Orders or New Application?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by alpha, 17 January 2015.

  1. alpha

    alpha Active Member

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    Hi,
    I have final orders ( family court orders) which were issued in Aug 2014. Despite that, the judge had verbally stated that he was to allow phone contact between the children and I, unfortunately it wasn't written in the orders.

    Would this be considered a "slip rule" or should I make an application to the courts to include phone contact?

    I have tried contacting the father on several occasions regarding phone contact- but my emails fall on deaf ears. The father will not allow the children to call me or vice versa- he tells them that it is unhealthy for them to speak with their mother daily and punishes them if they call me secretly or hides the phone under his bed etc as so they cannot have any contact. Would this be considered a form of parental alienation? The children are only 7 and 8 years old.

    Sadly, the children do not want to go to their father's and are suffering from anxiety about it. The father does not believe that they have full on panic attacks prior to going. He is very intolerant of how they feel and regularly yells at them and intimidates them- its an awful situation for them and to not be allowed phone contact with their mother is only adding to their anxiety.

    I would appreciate any family law help on this matter.


    Thank you
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps you could obtain a transcript of your hearing and seek an amendment under the slip rule, but call the Family Law Registry on how to achieve this.

    Be wary of claiming parental alienation. At 7 and 8, children are almost exclusively responsive to the emotions of their parents - if you are anxious about them seeing their dad, they will be anxious about seeing their dad. If you are encouraging about them seeing their dad, they will reflect same. Kids of that age are simply incapable of having their own opinions about such adult matters, and in a very recent case decided in the Federal Circuit Court last year, an 8-year-old girl was removed from her mother's care because the mother refused to acknowledge that her own behaviour had negatively influenced the child's opinion of the father (Ridgley & Stiller was the case name).

    In terms of phone calls, a phone call every night is rarely ordered by the court, it's more like every third night, which is what they tend to deem as reasonable. If the kids are seeing each parent about as often as such phone calls would be made, e.g. every third or fourth day, litigation would probably be more detrimental to the kids than not having the phone calls. If the orders are for week-about arrangements, then two phone calls a week is reasonable, which is when you would be a bit more justified in pursuing the slip rule amendment.

    I hope this gives some insight about some other things to consider before heading back to the very painful process of court. Mediation is also a good option to consider for this particular matter - it'll be a lot less strenuous and you could present the transcript from court to urge that phone calls should be facilitated. Probably try not to have your heart set on every night though, that's all. :)
     
  3. alpha

    alpha Active Member

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    Thank you for your response. The children spend 6 nights (consecutive) per fortnight with their father- so I think 1 or 2 phone calls is reasonable. As much as I would like to speak with them daily, I know that its not possible.

    Unfortunately I don't have a copy of the transcript (far too expensive for me to get- though I know his solicitor does have a copy)

    Thank you for the advice regarding the Ridgley & Stiller matter- that's awful.

    I have to admit, I'm not exactly encouraging of when the children go to their fathers, but I'm not discouraging either. They just don't have fun there and don't look forward to going.

    I have already enquired about mediation and am waiting to hear back from them- fingers crossed it works this time.

    thank you again
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    I understand it can be difficult to separate your feelings about the kids' father so that you can encourage them to spend time with him, but it is so important that even if you don't respect him, you respect the relationship your kids have with him and the biological love they have toward him. It may not seem like that biological love is there, but the consistent findings from psychologists is that kids will simply mask their feelings if they feel the other parent is against it. Essentially, they will hide what they feel, which tends to lead to rifts in the parent-child relationship.

    Encouraging them, not simply 'not discouraging' them, to spend time with the other parent has also proven to be very rewarding for parents. Kids who grow up in environments where both parents support their relationship with the other tend to have closer, more connected relationships with their mother and father, and the kids tend to suffer less depression, anxiety and anti-social behaviours.

    There are some courses that can help parents better tackle the challenges of parenting after separation, which IS very challenging. There are child-inclusive consultations that can help you work out how your kids are feeling (which can be a hard thing to do when you're still getting through your own grievance process), and post-separation parenting courses that teach parents how to approach the co-parenting relationship with the other parent objectively so as not to react to button-pushing and what not. Most of these courses are free through family centres, and speaking from experience, they are very helpful!
     
  5. alpha

    alpha Active Member

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    Once again- Thank you!!!

    I know you are right- and of course I want the children to grow up in a loving and stable environment (even if it's to be shared)

    I have done a post parenting course (when we first seperated) Sadly the father is not very encouraging of myself/heritage etc. The children are not allowed to speak about me, their grandparents,cousins....(you get the picture)

    Once again, thank you for your very thoughtful responses- definitely some food for thought.
     

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