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:

WA Consent Orders - What to Do With Disagreeable Ex?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Freycinet, 16 June 2016.

  1. Freycinet

    Freycinet Active Member

    Joined:
    16 June 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Quick background:

    We have Consent Orders, which are a little dated but the main points are still relevant (i.e. shared parental responsibility and I have her 6 nights a fortnight). Our daughter is 12 years old and we have been separated 11 years. I have since married and have two other children. My ex is single and has no other children.

    There is so much I want to say, but I suppose I am here because I don't know what to do next. I've been told to seek legal advice because we're perpetually in a state of reaction (i.e. waiting for my ex's next "threat" or legal letter). She huffs and puffs, but lacks the commitment to go too far most times.

    We've recently done workshops, although she refused to share any ideas she picked up from that on how to improve our communication or shared responsibility. I even offered some real basic tips I picked up from it, hoping for some response but nothing. We've also done mediation, but we were referred to a therapist because nothing could be agreed upon (she was very hung up on events that occurred 5 plus years ago and she wouldn't discuss any current matters).

    The therapist (which we saw separately) has now recommended that I seek legal advice and that she doesn't believe negotiations can be successful with my ex (as my ex couldn't detail to them what she wanted to achieve). The therapist also recommended I raise concerns that my daughter was taken to a counsellor without my consent and knowledge by her mother (the therapist said I should be suspicious of "why" I wasn't informed, i.e. what was the "agenda").

    Through this whole process, the impression I have received from the mediators and therapist is that my ex is doing this whole thing with malicious intent - that is to hurt me, stress me out, try to make her bend to her will, and to drive a wedge between my daughter and I (make her look good).

    I really don't know where to next. I don't want to "fight" for more custody of children, it is very exhausting. My daughter would probably get dragged into it (and I know my ex would lay the guilt trip on her), but the more my eyes are opened to my ex (I've given her the benefit of doubt for over 10 years when friends and families have been saying the worse), the more I wonder, do I need to "fight" for my daughter?

    Put it this way, I would not let a person with my ex's characteristics have anything to do with my daughter if she wasn't her mother. But from my experience, a difference in values / morals is not enough to persuade a family court decision.

    What legal help (if any) do I look for?
     
  2. Julie Mag

    Julie Mag Active Member

    Joined:
    14 June 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    I feel your pain as my situation is quite similar. I am interested to see what information comes forward for you. I wish you all the very best of luck and hope that your daughter gets what is in her best interests without too much trauma from the process. Wrap her in love with a bit more love on the side.
     
  3. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 July 2014
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    423
    Whether or not you need legal assistance really depends on what you're trying to achieve with your ex. Are you looking to change residency arrangements? Attain more care time? Relocate? Get a passport? There are some things that you might need legal assistance for, but others that the law probably won't provide much help in, given the circumstances (such as the child's age and the history of care arrangements).

    If, for example, your only complaint is the child's attendance on a psychologist, I don't think that's worth going to Court over. Does it show poor parenting on the mother's behalf? Sure, but are there avenues other than Court to be included in this situation? Certainly - you can contact the psychologist yourself for insight about the appointments, and you can even refuse your consent for continued treatment until the matter is agreed between the parents.

    So, in short, and to help us give you the best possible guidance, if you went to Court, what would you want to achieve with proceedings?
     
  4. Freycinet

    Freycinet Active Member

    Joined:
    16 June 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    That is my problem AllForHer, I don't want to go to court. I don't want to change residency arrangments, or locate and we already have orders dealing with passports/international travel (she is pretty good with that stuff actually). It is my ex who continually is chasing me with legal threats, and a return to Court when I don't agree with her on parenting decisions.

    The therapists recommended legal advice just to try and ensure we were being proactive rather than reactive. It is very stressful knowing that any time I don't agree with her on some parental decision that we'll most likely get a legal letter within the next few weeks, e.g. my ex wanted her to have a phone, I said I didn't think she needed one as she has access to our phones if needed and isn't overly social. But I said my ex could get her one if she wanted. So I get a letter from legal reps complaining I won't give her a phone.

    I got the same issue when I disagreed with her on which high school our daughter should attend. I wanted her to go to the local high school (which was the local one for both of our residences, and next door to the primary school my other two children attend) but her mum wanted her to go to the high school she went too (which wasn't too far away, so was an option but not our preferred). My ex thought it was my daughter's decision ultimately, but I said yes she can have a say but ultimately as parents, we must decide. So I got a letter complaining that my daughter couldn't pick her high school (she ended up picking our local high school and my ex was happy because she got accepted into an accelerated science program there too).

    As you can see these are matters that two adults should be able to discuss and negotiate outcomes too, but I've reached the point where either I have to agree with her or deal with responding to legal letters or the like.

    I generally am quite flexible, as she at least every two months will ask for some slight change in the set times which I generally will agree to if we don't have something else planned. But she won't engage in any discussion on decision making (her way or the highway) and will definitely not respond to decisions in writing (via email).

    FYI AllForHer, I am visiting the psychologist today with my daughter. I had/have no problem with her seeing one, I just don't like my ex not telling me about it and mostly that she made my daughter withhold that from me too.
     
  5. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 September 2015
    Messages:
    1,064
    Likes Received:
    126
    Your ex-wife's name isn't L by any chance? Sounds like my ex....

    So from what I've learnt and I am a slow learner. Forget it. Look up 'parallel parenting' and don't get involved in the stupidity. So, for example, depending on the tides, winds, lunar cycle, temperature, etc., she would change her mind about every set of holidays. Sometimes the holidays start on the Friday when school breaks up, sometimes the Saturday, sometimes the Sunday, sometimes the Monday. Sometimes the school holidays ended with the same osculations and every time - every time I wound up with less time with the kids.

    So even with court orders, she was still causing me all sorts of grief. So get used to it. No court orders can make an unreasonable person become reasonable.

    Storytime:

    Every time I had to pick up the kids, my ex would whinge and whine about something. Can't even remember what anymore. It used to really upset me... But one day, I decided to ignore her. Not just ignore her but be completely ambivalent. I pretended that a really really pretty woman was walking behind her and all of my attention was on looking at the pretty woman, so I was staring over my ex's shoulder at this pretend sexy woman. My ex even looked around to see what I was looking at.

    So no real legal help here, just practical suggestions - learn ambivalence. Ambivalence is a wonderful thing - but it is something that requires practice. These days I am ambivalent when I speak to my ex, but more importantly, I'm emotionally ambivalent. So when she rocks up half an hour late to change overs or whatever her latest drama is, my emotional response is ambivalence.

    Now as to the threats of court - laugh. Not in front of her, but laugh it off.

    Mate, my ex is up to her 5th or 6th solicitor. Every once in a while, I get a letter threatening this or that. It is almost a hobby of mine to write back to her solicitors with really really long letters just to waste their time and her money. She knows that we have rock solid court orders. That means she can't move away with the kids, can't change their religions, can't force me to feed them vegetarian / gluten free / organically certified food.

    So ignore it...
     
  6. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 July 2014
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    423
    Thank you for the additional information.

    At this point, I don't think you need legal advice. I think you need a short course in post-separation parenting, not because I think you need to learn to co-parent, but more because I think you will benefit from what they teach about learning how to cope when the other is high conflict.

    See, threatening legal action is easy - it's cheap, it has the desired effect of intimidating the other party, especially if it comes from a lawyer, and it has virtually no consequences, but it benefits her because it appears it motivates you to do as she wants you to.

    Taking legal action, though, that's significantly more difficult - it's very expensive, it's very time-consuming, and it's very, very high risk. At a wild guess, I would say only 1 in every 20,000 threats to take legal action actually results in legal action, and the crazy thing is that you can't do anything about the threat anyway until it actually becomes legal action.

    So, call her bluff. If she wants something, you refuse, and she retaliates by threatening you, you say 'Thank you for your e-mail, however, my position on this issue remains unchanged. I would be happy to discuss it with you at a family dispute resolution conference.'

    Weak people threaten, my friend. Strong people act.
     
    HLee likes this.

Share This Page

Loading...