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QLD Custody of Children Dispute with Child's Father - What to Do?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Margaret may, 13 July 2016.

  1. Margaret may

    Margaret may Active Member

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    Hi,

    So this is a bit long-winded, sorry.

    So I'm a grandparent carer. The child has been with me for 4 years. Child's mother has little to no contact, so here is where it gets messy!

    At first, I thought the child was to father number 1. Months after birth, it came out the child is the son of father number 2. My daughter is 16 and the father 32 at the time of the relationship. There was violence, so police organised the mother to return home where she started living with father 1. The baby was born and the father 1 signed the birth certificate or details at the hospital, I'm unsure.

    Now in the hospital, the nurse and the social worker was worried about the drugs used, so the baby was sent home with me. During this time, the mum cleaned up her act for few months and had the baby, but eventually the baby came back.

    During this time and up until 2014, father 2 denied the child and went on with life. Fast forward, and mum moves to the city, leaving the baby with me. Fast forward and my family, including the child moved interstate.

    Father number 2 makes contact, does a peace of mind D and A test, and from there, I organised visits. The father quickly takes over the child who was only 2 and a half and isn't returned on time from visits. The father moves 4 times FTEs, breaking up with his girlfriend. Docs became involved and removed the other child. Docs will not tell me the reason why, but in the end, the family lived in the caravan park and he had drug problems.

    The father blamed all this on the new girlfriend. I also find out the father was on parole. I spoke to Docs, who tell me they are happy for the child to stay with me and will not get involved, but I may be investigated if I allow visits.

    I spoke to the father who demanded a birth certificate for Centrelink payments (at this stage, I find out the child is not registered). I saw a lawyer who also says to stop visit for intern and we attend mediation. The father does not go to mediation. I cannot afford family court, so the child just stayed with me.

    Fast forward 12 months later, my daughter is in jail and the father is taking me to court for full custody of children.

    The child has Autism, separation anxiety, ADHD, and neither parent will organise a birth certificate so the child can not attend school! The father has also sent me messages threatening to 'expose family violence and to be careful of my next move' (I have kept all messages but not sure if I'm grasping at straws).

    The father has claimed he had the child 40% of time (his visits were never that often though I did organise extra days around holidays, etc.)

    I have most things in text including evidence he knew about the child when the child was a baby.

    I'm lost and have no idea what to do!!
     
  2. Margaret may

    Margaret may Active Member

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    Sorry, when I say take over, I mean he would give me a hours notice to drop the child of. I would also provide all food. I have organised Childcare, pre school, Medicare, sports, and all the normal things a child does.

    If I didn't jump to demands he would threaten to take the child and on occasions did keep him until he got bored or the child was too much. I know I have no rights but what are the chances of the judge giving full care to the father?
     
  3. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Margaret may likes this.
  4. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, just a few more things.

    Does Centrelink know you've got primary care of the child? Look the reason dad is claiming 40% care is because that gives him a big chunk of free money from Centrelink.

    Now as for the birth certificate. Again that is something I think you should be able to gain access to.

    Have a chat to someone at births deaths and marriages in your state. You can probably get your daughter to sign a form and that will get the birth certificate.

    Do not engage in any conversations with the father...

    What a mess.
     
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  5. Margaret may

    Margaret may Active Member

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    Hi, thanks for your reply

    Yes, it's a huge mess.I receive a grandparent allowance from Centrelink that helps with childcare. The father constantly bombarded me with % and how many days of the year he wants care so he could give it to his job provider. I didn't even know what that was then, so what you say makes so much sense!

    As for birth certificate, when I rang yesterday (this has been going on over 6 months) BDM said nothing can be done unless I have court papers. The poor little mite isn't even registered, so my application is on hold until one parent could be bothered with paper work! All I have is a stat dec signed in front of lawyer from my daughter giving me care of child. Really, I don't think it's worth the paper it's written on!

    I was only served paperwork on Sunday and court is in less than a week and I haven't even gotten a response done. I'm sure the judge will not be pleased about that! So I'm hoping I don't start off on the bad side of the judge!

    I've been busy reading all posts and even though the father has this awful background. I'm scared to tell the judge as I don't want to come of as the 'difficult 'grandparent'! The father has not said I'm a bad parent, just that child is his son and it is in his best interest to be in his full-time care. He has sent me a number of posts made by an Australian fatherhood group, talking about the psychological damage I have inflicted on him and the child (and how they are supporting him).

    Now I'm a mum of 5 sons and my ex-husband and I shared care with all our children. We still do now, so father's rights is definitely not the case here, considering I also stopped open visitation for my own daughter! So now, apparently, I'm a bad person for doing that as well!

    My daughter's lifestyle was down right frightening and considering she is in court ordered rehab, I feel I made the right choice at the time for the child's safety...

    Legal aid has granted me a lawyer for mediation. I pay a contribution of around $800, which is better than the quote I got from a private lawyer so I'm very grateful, though from what I can tell, the father wants straight to court.

    I'm worrying about what to bring up and what to leave out, again not wanting to look like I can't facilitate a relationship with either side. On a side note, the father has used the same lawyer I had spoken to last year about the situation when I rang the lawyer. She said she didn't realise and dropped him and sent him back to legal aid but I feel that wasn't right either?

    The other thing is, the father made a statement about the child having no cultural lifestyle or traditions. The child is indigenous and the father is very aware as he had asked me in past about entitlement for housing care, things like that. I was shocked and told him we are a working family and as far as I'm aware, there are no entitlements. Now I see how unaware I was about it, all I feel quite stupid, even thinking we could of co-parented! It seems this poor child is a meal ticket! Again bringing stuff like this up seems so petty!
     
  6. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Just checking - Docs have said you could get into trouble if you let the father spend time with the child?

    Ok, so the child is Aboriginal? Are you? I'd be making a call to Aboriginal legal service.
    ATSILS | Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service

    Now I realise you're scared to bad mouth the dad...but it is one thing to make up stores, it is a whole other thing to speak the truth.
     
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  7. Margaret may

    Margaret may Active Member

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    When I rang docs to inquire about the case, I was advised that docs could very well investigate me if I know they are involved had removed a child and continued with unsupervised visits. That did make sense to me, so I didn't question it. Docs would not give me any information and told me as my grandson was with me, they didn't need to do anything. She then gave me a phone number to call if the child went back to the father's care and that was it!

    They didn't even come for a home visit, talk to anyone or make enquires about my grandson. I went into the office just to be fobbed off again. They just said as long as the child is in my care and because there were no reports against me, they couldn't help my situation and told me to seek legal advice.

    So that's what I did and almost died when I got the fee! I really don't know what you have to do to get any help with them (docs)! They seemed happy to see the end of me.

    Yes, we are both aboriginal
     
  8. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Ok cool - contact ATSIL hopefully they will give you some more guidance.

    When is court?

    I understand that this is stressful but I do think you'll be ok. Remember the father will have to pay a solicitor too and it seems like he doesn't have a huge income to fund that and magistrates are not stupid. I'd suggest going to the nearest family court if possible and sit in on a few cases. Just to get your head around it all.

    Be respectful...

    Dumbest thing I ever saw was a bloke walk into court on a drink drive charge. He wore thongs, a Jim Beam shirt and told the judge he has been drink driving for years and that he was good at it. He interrupted the magistrate and tried to tell the magistrate that he could only really do without his licence for a month or so and that any punishment beyond that wouldn't work because he'd drive anyways.

    Oh, he also mentioned that he couldn't afford a fine so no point in giving him one because he wouldn't pay it. How do you think that went for him?

    But in your case - the magistrate will look at what has been happening and the kid has been living with you. You have been doing the best you can.
     
  9. Margaret may

    Margaret may Active Member

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    Thank you for your help. I don't think I've had a smile since this happened but your story did make me chuckle. I'll be sure to have my church gear on, and sitting in sounds like a very good idea.
     
  10. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    No worries - keep us updated
     

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