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NSW Consent Orders - Enforcement for Teenagers?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Jaesae, 8 April 2015.

  1. Jaesae

    Jaesae Member

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    There have been consent orders in place for my two teenage children (13 and 15) for the last 5 years. On my part, these orders were followed as written until about three months ago. In the summer holidays the children and their father had a very aggressive argument which resulted in the children leaving and returning home. There was no contact from the father following the incident until three weeks later when I informed him that the children were refusing all visits with him.

    He has emailed them, called them, turned up at the school, had a meeting with their school counsellor, approached them on the streets but they are adamant that they do not wish to communicate with him.

    I am sympathetic with them and will not be forcing them into any visits...mindful of their age and also not wanting to alienate them from both parents I am now stuck between their father threatening court action and the children threatening to run away.

    What are my options legally and does the father actually have grounds for any legal action under family law?
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Well, the father certainly has recourse through court proceedings, but the outcome will probably be far from what he is hoping.

    One of the considerations of the court in what constitutes the children's best interests is the views of the children, under section 60CC of the Family Law Act 1975. In most circumstances, children above the age of 12 are considered mature enough and aware enough to make their own informed decisions about what's best for them and how their own care arrangements play out. An order that places significant weight on the views of the children might be something to the effect of "That the children spend time with the father in accordance with their wishes".

    It's important, of course, that you ensure you are encouraging the children to spend time with their dad, because even at 13 and 15, they're still very influenced by their parents, and if you're seen to be discouraging or unsupportive of the relationship between father and child, it may be detrimental to you if the father does pursue proceedings. Remember, as well, that kids are very skilled at manipulating their parents and playing them off each other, and this might just be a case of the kids overstepping their boundaries at dad's house and then coming to you for solace because they didn't like the punishment for doing so. Even if you don't agree with the parenting style, it's important that you appear supportive of it because not doing so undermines both you and the father. Really, they are old enough to be sorting their differences out directly through their dad, rather than through you.

    Anyway, I hope this helps give you some perspective. :)
     
  3. Jaesae

    Jaesae Member

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    Thank you for your response.
    To be quite honest I really can't rebuild a relationship that hasn't existed. I am not sure what encouraging or supportive actions look like...the children are free to visit with their father whenever they want... They certainly go and visit their friends without too many restrictions.
    I will however be mindful.
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Of course. It's not your responsibility to rebuild the relationship between father and child, but more to ensuring that father and child are wholly free to establish that relationship for themselves, without discouraging influence.

    I'm not suggesting at all that you're interfering, more just giving some insight about what I have often seen become a problem in court proceedings, that's all. :)
     

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