LawAnswers.com.au - Australia's #1 Legal Community

LawAnswers.com.au is a community of 10,000+ Australians, just like you, helping each other.
Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
Join us, it only takes a minute:

VIC Can I Go Back to Family Court Orders Visitation Arrangements?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Makayla, 16 March 2015.

  1. Makayla

    Makayla Member

    Joined:
    16 March 2015
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    My daughter is 11 yrs old and has been going to see her father 50/50 for just over a year. I've just had my second falling out with her father in regards to her request of changing schools next year. She has been going to a private school since grade 3 and is now in grade 6 but wishes to attend a public high school as she has suffered extreme bullying at the private since grade 3.

    Her father and maternal grandmother have been paying the fees for her private education, but there financial situation has diminished and her father is struggling to keep up with the payments. So I thought why not send her to the public secondary college, as I can't afford to help out with the private education cost as I'm a single parent with a 2 yr old girl as well.

    Her father has flatly refused to accept the transfer to the other school and has told me in a text message that if I choose to send to this school he will no longer be paying for her private education until the end of the year. He also got very angry with when he asked what she wanted to do. Now my daughter is scared to return to his house in case he yells at her again.

    My question is can I stop the 50/50 visitation and go back to the current family court orders which are in place? And can I enrol her in the secondary college without his blessing?
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 July 2014
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    423
    If the 50/50 arrangement has been in place for a year but is not in any formal agreement, you can go back to the orders, but it increases the risk of new proceedings from the father. If that happens, please know that the court frowns upon parents who uproot kids from their school routine and re-enrol them without the other party's consent. You also run the risk of seeming like you are using the child's time with the father as a tool to try and get your way if you revert to former care arrangements as it coincides with your falling out over school arrangements. There is also, of course, the potential damage this may cause to the child - she has been in the same routine for a year, it would be better to maintain that routine and settle the matter amicably than undo that routine now and potentially reinstate it when things go back to being manageable once the school matter is settled.

    I would also add that suspending the child's time with the father unilaterally because she 'doesn't want to be yelled at again' is undermining the father's role as a parent and his relationship with the child. While you may feel that yelling at the child is an extreme behaviour warranting a suspension of the child's time with the father, what the court will see is a father simply parenting his child in a fairly standard and common way that is simply different to your way.

    I would suggest attending mediation to see if you can reach an agreement long before I would suggest uprooting the child's routine and school unilaterally, risking further litigation around a child who is old enough to understand what is going on. I would also suggest bringing to the mediation some information about the school you are considering to show the child's education will not suffer at the proposed school. I would also suggest being flexible about when the change if enrolment might occur. If the father is willing to pay fees until the end of the year at least, then you might suggest changing the child's school at the end of the year rather than immediately.

    I hope this helps.
     
  3. Makayla

    Makayla Member

    Joined:
    16 March 2015
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello allforher,
    Thank you for your response. But I'm just wandering what I do in regards to her saying also that while she is with him if he finds out she has contacted me, he will disconnect her iPad. The father is NOT willing to pay the fees until the end of the year if our daughter is leaving the school next year.
    Thank you
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 July 2014
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    423
    Unfortunately, the iPad issue is outside of your control, but try and keep some perspective. Is it an unfortunate scenario? Sure, but is your daughter's relationship with you going to deteriorate because she doesn't contact you while she's with her dad, or in the alternative, because she doesn't have her iPad? Probably not. In fact, child psychology studies suggest that such behaviour may be more detrimental to her relationship with her dad than with you.

    There's a few other questions that might be asked about this issue. For example, why is the father hesitant to facilitate contact between you and the child when she's spending time with him? Are the phone calls drawn-out episodes of 'I miss you, I know you don't want to be there, but the court says you have to, I know, it's a terrible situation', or are they 'Hi, how's your week going? Good? Great, have fun with you dad, see you later!'? If they're the former, rather than the latter, the father may be justified in limiting this contact because he would not be compelled to facilitate a conversation that is not supportive of his relationship with the child.

    Basically, it's important to acknowledge and understand that children, especially those under the age of about 12, respond near exclusively to their parents' emotions. If you are outwardly anxious or sympathetic about the child being with the father, or the iPad issue, or the father's choice of discipline, then the child will be anxious about those issues, as well. Just as parents can inadvertently improve their children's well-being with their positive attitude, they can also inadvertently damage it with their own anxieties.

    If you wanted to address the matter of communication, you could pitch in mediation that you and the child be free to communicate via telephone two or three times a week on certain days and between certain times. For example, you might negotiate that the parents be at liberty to communicate with the child between 6:00pm and 7:00pm on Sundays and Wednesdays when the child is not in their care.

    As for school fees, if the father is willing to pay until the end of the year, perhaps it would be better to shelve your daughter's re-enrolment until the end of the year when school fees have already been covered.
     

Share This Page

Loading...