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QLD Consent Orders - Change of Living Arrangements for Stepson?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Amy84, 17 July 2016.

  1. Amy84

    Amy84 Member

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    I have been with my hubby for 11 years, since his son was 4. I have seen a gradual change in thoughts of his mother over the years to the point now where he says he would be quite happy if he never speaks to her again.

    A bit of history ...

    There are consent orders in place between my hubby and his son's mother for their son. It has been in place since 2009, with 70% custody for the mother, 30% for the father. Over the years, the son has wanted more and more to stay with us over his mother, and although the order is in place when she has had enough of him or his "attitude" she sends him to us. Although the order is in place, she has allowed week on week off visitation in the past, only to go nuts over something petty and force their son to stay with her and strictly abiding by the order once again so she has control.

    Almost 2 years ago, the son's mother kicked him out of her home and told him she didn't want him back. He lived with us and we advised child support of the change in care. It took about a month and she started to try to coax him back. He initially refused and she got the cops involved, which they told us he has to return to her due to the orders being in place.

    We tried to organise mediation for the dad and mum in an attempt to get an official change of order to be agreed on. She refused to attend mediation and we got a certificate to go to family court. She called us and said she would allow 50/50 but didn't want to go to court to change it officially. My hubby agreed as we didn't have the money to go to family court and it helped his son from getting away from his mother for half of the time. It stayed that way until December last year when he started living with us and he got his first casual job (he still goes to school). It was more convenient for her for him to stay with us so we could drive him to and from work.

    The son had been living with us for about 6 months and is going to stay with his mother for a few days at a time every 2-3 weeks. A few weeks ago, his mother cracked it again and said we weren't being strict enough and she was going back to the order again and forcing him to stay with her. The son came back to us again Monday last week, (convenient for her as he told her he is on call for work). He said he doesn't want to go back to mum's again. He is sick of her overly controlling and irrational behaviour, even stating to him she said she was forcing him to stay with her as punishment!

    We do not collect any benefits from the government for him and as order is still in place, no doubt she is probably collecting everything she can as that is the sort of person she seems to be.

    I am aware that we can apply to have the order dropped / changed but it will cost thousands and the son's mother will fight it and is probably able to get Legal Aid where we won't be able to. Is there an avenue that we can take where the son can have his own say to have this order dropped (it doesn't appear to have an expiry), as his mother uses this to keep control when she feels necessary? The son will be 15 in a few months and is thinking the only way is to move out of the home so she can't control him any more.

    We are just waiting for the next time she decides to force him to go back there. What can we or my stepson do?
     
  2. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    easy.... If child wants to live with you then so be it.... He is 15 the court will seriously consider his point of view....

    So she might get legal aid. BUT legal aid rarely sees things through to court. So if it goes to court she will have to pay her own legal fees. Legal aid will invite you to mediation. Great - you wanted that anyways. They could advise her to seek an urgent recovery orders but there are variables there, especially if you're smart enough to agree to weekend visits occasionally, takes some of the urgency out of urgent recovery orders....

    So what can you do for step son? Well make rules and plans.... Rules regarding twoing and frowing - Poor parenting means a kid can go where they want depending on which parent gives in... Don't do that . Plans.... So what is he to do IF mum tries to pick him up at school? Maybe he can have a mobile and he can contact you guys and refuse to get in her car.

    Now the dept of human services has a calculator on their site, see how you go working it out. you'll at least see how much money she is getting from the govt....

    Now it is all about consistency.... Mum cant just crack it and you guys crumble. so tell her to get stuffed (nicely). And tell her that she can take you to court and that you'll look forward to it..... I'm willing to bet you'll never see inside a court and once you stand up to crazy person they will back away.
     
  3. Amy84

    Amy84 Member

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    The consent order is stopping us from keeping him with us, she can get the cops to bring him back to her if we refused to take him home or he refuses to go back home when she requests it. Is isn't 15 for a few months, mediators couldn't take what he said into account last time as he was too young, also she refused to pay for her own mediation we went private as public was long waiting list.
     
  4. Amy84

    Amy84 Member

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    If we go to mediation again she will Likely want us to pay if she is to attend, which we will refuse again as she will drag out sessions without resolution. She should be paying for her own if she has any concern for her sons wishes. Then court will be only option again. Unless we wait for the public mediation and play it out when that happens
     
  5. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    The police will not get involved. They could come to the house and do a welfare check on the child but they won't remove him from your care unless they deem him to be in danger. They might even try to bully you, but they really can't take the child unless you consent.

    Yep she should pay for mediation. She is unreasonable. But you knew that.

    Court and mediation are two separate things. Mediators can't make decisions, they can help people come to an agreement, so mediators won't listen to a kid... But if it went to court then a family report is likely to be requested by the magistrate. So a psychologist would interview all involved and make a recommendation based on the interviews. Now if a 15-year-old expresses a clear opinion and the psychologist determines it to be honest and that the child hasn't been manipulated by you, then the psychologist is likely to follow the child's opinion.

    So, what to do? If the kid is adamant he doesn't wanna go to mum's then keep him and inform her that if she has a problem with it she can apply to court. Now given that you tried to get her to mediate and given there is a history of her kicking him out making him come back etc I don't fancy her chances in court.

    The current orders don't say that she can decide when the orders are applicable true? She can't say the kid can live with you and then that she can change her mind? Right... Like you said, the mother uses the orders when necessary. Well really, the orders don't allow for that, you've allowed for that.

    So invite her to mediation one more time. When she refuses, keep the kid, when she whinges tell her to organise mediation because you tried but she refused. Simple.

    Last thought - people that try to use consent orders, refuse to mediate, do all the stuff she's doing only get away with it if you let them.
     
  6. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    The Court accepts there's a point where a child will vote with his feet. I have seen maybe two cases in the past three years where orders have been made for a 15-year-old, but for the large majority of kids in this age group, the only order made is "That the child spend time with the [non-resident parent] in accordance with the child's wishes".

    In my view, you're in a safe enough space to enforce the child living with you. I assume there's been no contravention orders previously, and there's been a history of changing living arrangements, which works in your favour. On top of that, the mother clearly wants to avoid Court, so that means she's unlikely to file for contravention orders, but even if she did, you should leave it up to her to take that step if she wants.

    Police will do nothing. They're state police, they can't enforce federal orders, but they will try and persuade you to follow orders if it keeps the peace. You can simply refuse and force the mother to follow the proper avenues if she wishes.

    This isn't legal advice, just a reflection of my opinion and experience, but the Court gives a lot weight to the opinion of a 15yo, but like sammy01 said, make sure there's clarity about the expectations on the child. He can't just go to whichever house is giving him the best deal at the time.
     

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