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VIC Custody of Children and Child Support - Ex Withholding Children

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by captivemind71, 30 September 2015.

  1. captivemind71

    captivemind71 Active Member

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    Hi thanks for reading my post.

    BACKGROUND (skip if you want)
    I've had consent orders in place for the last 5 years, and at every opportunity my ex has breached it when it suits her, missing father's day, no custody of children during Christmas, changing start dates of weekend custody in school term, etc.

    She lives in the city and I'm from the country, so when the orders were written I had access every fortnight, and I would spend one weekend per month in the city with my parents. I knew my parents were due to move away, so I had a clause that when they did I would get all my visits where I lived in the country (we meet halfway for handover)

    This happened two years ago, and since then my ex has refused to honour that clause missing half the handovers, meaning I only got one weekend every month. As the boys were in high school I was worried that having them every fortnight would interrupt their homework, so I decided not to be selfish and let it slide.

    My ex did a great job hiding her income and muddying her wages to child support. Over the course of 2 years her wage bounced from a part time 46k up to 100k full engineering wage. In the meantime she repartnered so she now has his wage to help her. I repartnered and I now support two lovely step-daughters and my wife who is a registered carer for them (so she cannot hold down any work while catering for them)

    Recently my ex decided she didn't even want to bring the children for ANY handovers (although she did make a stunt last holidays at trying to hand them over, but purely because she didn't want to take time off work to look after them). I know I could try tackle her with breach of orders, especially given her history, but to be frank I just don't have that money. On paper I earn pretty well at around 120k per year, however paying tax reduces that to 80k, then child support reduces it a further 15k, and then I have to support my new family. Over the last 5 years I've saved nothing, in the meantime I know my ex has doubled her assets to around 700k.

    To top off everything, the children are boys and the youngest has always expressed right from the very start he wanted to live with me and my ex refuses to listen. He's now 13 year old and sometimes talks about running away to live with me. Its truly heart breaking.

    I've tried mediation many time with my ex, leading to the last session where I think she abused the mediators (they were in another room) and now the mediators refuse to see us. At court apparently she spent most of the day yelling at her solicitor. With my previous partner she even attacked her daughter which lead to a court AVO. She's quite the rager so I can understand the duress that must put the children under.

    RECENTLY:
    Yesterday child support rings me and says she advises them that my care percentage is now 0% (since she won't bring them for handovers), and now my annual support is going up to 25k per year! OMG this puts me into an impossible financial position, but going to family court would be throwing 10-15k (which I don't have) at lawyers, not to mention the wages I will lose not working (I'm paid hourly)

    (Sorry, I don't like lawyers a lot and I'm convinced they don't have their clients best interest in mind. I've often said asking a lawyer if you should go to court is like asking a prostitute if you need sex!)

    So there you have it, I was in a tenuous financial position and now its much much worse. Frankly I've got very little faith in the legal system as I've seen often how its twisted into the mother's position. I can't throw money at a case that's only a maybe, and legal aid won't help me purely based on my income. I'm guessing it would be a bad thing if the youngest ran away to me, but then his intention is clear and it would do a lot in addressing how she's basically holding them hostage and bleeding any financial future I'm trying to create.

    What would happen if he did this overt thing indicating his clear choice and I then didn't drag him back to her ?

    I'm truly at wits end, the system is so unfair. What do I do?
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Options:
    1. Pay the extra
    2. DIY fight in court
    3. Pay lawyers
    Only you can decide what is best. Sympathy here is not going to fix your problem. If you want changes, YOU have to make them happen.

    If your son genuinely wants to live with you, and you want him to live with you, take it to court for a custody hearing. Doesn't have to cost much in legal fees.
     
  3. E. Bennet

    E. Bennet Member

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    Hi Captivemind71
    I'm so sorry to hear that you're going through such a tough time at the moment. It must be very stressful and I'm sure that it's really upsetting.
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    If you have court orders, that's proof enough as to what the care arrangements should be. CSA will accept that as proof.
     
  5. captivemind71

    captivemind71 Active Member

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    Nope, in my chat to CSA the lady didn't seem to care what the care arrangements should be. Apparently if my ex says I'm getting 0% care, unless I can prove otherwise (receipts or something), then I'm paying more !

    Or are you saying I should be ringing back CSA and trying with someone else ?
     
  6. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Get the court ordered custody arrangement first, then go fight with CSA.
     
  7. captivemind71

    captivemind71 Active Member

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    But thats my point though, there is a court order custody arrangement in place already, and she is ignoring it and benefiting financially !
    The catch-22 is I dont have any money to chase her in the courts, so this is making it worse. Even if I won costs that would only cover legal not my lost time off work and travelling into the city multiple times !
     
  8. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Does your ex have any evidence other than her word that the care arrangements are now 100% in her favour? Because you have a court order which says exactly what they're supposed to be, and that's pretty persuasive...
     
  9. captivemind71

    captivemind71 Active Member

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    Well with her mucking me about for the last few years, I've sent her numerous emails that said I'm sick of her missing appointments and reneging on arrangements. Just recently the last time when she flatly refused to bring the boys I said I would no longer tolerate her only bringing them when she felt like it and it should be all or nothing, even suggesting that she needed to want to come to mediation reasonably. I didn't understand the implication of that and it is in emails.
    Also, when CSA rang me it was unexpected, and I didn't think of any proof otherwise so I just agreed at the time.

    Its a public holiday in Victoria today, otherwise I might try and give CSA a ring just to chat about it ....
     
  10. captivemind71

    captivemind71 Active Member

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    Update: I talked to CSA and they said care described in the court order only applies if it was previously fully complied with.
    That is, because she had previously partially stopped providing me with the proper care I should have had, now when she has cut me off completely the court orders are not considered.

    Even if they had made an interim order, at best it would have only applies for 14 weeks, which would quickly run out while waiting for the wheels of justice to turn.

    Wow, its almost like she planned this ! :(
     

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