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NSW Directional Hearing at Family Court - Change of Custody of Children Arrangement?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by LeeM, 28 February 2016.

  1. LeeM

    LeeM Active Member

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    My ex took my kids interstate without my approval.

    After recovery orders, we are at 60/40 share ( mostly with me - dad). We are not even close to a final agreement (she wants 80/20 share, plus has made some wild claims and accusations). Seems we are heading for trial.

    Our next hearing is next week. What are the chances that the family court will change our current arrangement of custody of children or will they just leave it the way it is until the trial?

    The kids keep being told by her that it will change at the next hearing. Her claims of violence have fallen apart as there was no evidence because she made it up. Her latest tactic is to keep convincing the kids to decide to be with her and manipulate them. I just keep the kids out of it and get on with life, but I do worry about what she tells them.
     
  2. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Please keep us informed how you go. But you're not gonna get any definitive answers here. Look, it is hard to predict.

    So if the court has concerns that you're dangerous, the court might change the parenting arrangments, but once those accusations are found false, then the ex has blown her case. Same with the manipulations. Once the court catches on to it, well, not happy.

    Mate, it is a slow process, but I reckon the courts get it right more than they get it wrong.

    One more thing. I sometimes think the process is too slow, but from my experience, I reckon there is some logic in all the delays. Hopefully, it helps the parents sort it by consent. Bit if they don't, the magistrate will have had plenty of time to get an accurate picture of the situation. In short, give 'em enough rope and watch 'em hang themselves...
     
  3. LeeM

    LeeM Active Member

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    Thanks so much for the reply.

    Yes, I would absolutely love to come up with an agreement and not go to trial - but it is proving impossible. (I've asked for mediation at least a dozen times)

    Yes, I do sense and kind of agree that the slow process can help sort out the best way forward and I'm not too concerned about all the silly claims against me as the evidence suggested does not exist. (I've been an ever-present father and have had the kids in my care anywhere from 50/50 to 80/20 depending on where the ex was living).

    The main issue I have is that she is working very hard to influence the kids' opinions of me, my new wife & my family (she is a master manipulator). The longer it goes on, the worse it gets. (This is very hard to take, but I refuse to play the same game in reverse. They say kids work it out in the long run - geez I hope so)

    So, assuming the court keeps it the way it is until the trial, I feel that she will show her true colours to all involved as she slips up but if they swap it, she will develop an "I told you so attitude" and she will be quite difficult to deal with.

    Thanks, again.
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Do I think the court will change the interim care arrangements at the next interim hearing? It might, but I doubt it.

    First, the Court has already made a relocation order in your favour - that says the mother doesn't value the children's relationship with you, which means their time with you should be maximised to overcome the mother's negative influence on the kids' relationship with you.

    Second, the Court doesn't like too much disruption to kids' routines as a result of court proceedings, so it's reluctant to change interim care arrangements too often or too much before the final hearing. I've seen parents withhold children, keep them out of school, fabricate allegations of abuse, disappear for months, and still, the Court didn't change interim orders.

    Third, if the Court has already made interim orders for 60/40 - which is pretty substantial, really - then the mother would likely need to tender some persuasive new evidence (like a family report or evidence of an investigation under way by police or DHS) before the next interim hearing to change the Court's mind about 60/40 being what's best for the kids. If you haven't been subject to any involvement by a third party, then that kind of persuasive evidence probably doesn't exist.

    So in short, no, I doubt the Court will change the existing interim orders.

    Now, though, you need to work out how to field the kids' questions without denigrating the mother.

    Remember that you can't control what the mother tells them, so don't create more friction by trying. Instead, deal with the reactions to her behaviour in your own home. In my experience - and this is only in my experience with a five-year-old - it's all about delivering the right message.

    Q: "Mummy says I can go to her house whenever I want, I just have to ask."
    Wrong: "Well, mummy is wrong."
    Right: "Well, you can certainly ask, but it's up to mummy and daddy to decide together. If you want to call mummy, though, you can."

    Q: "Mummy says things will change at the next hearing."
    Wrong: "Well, mummy is wrong."
    Right: "I think mummy maybe hopes they will, but we don't know what's going to happen. You don't need to worry about that, though, mummy and daddy are taking care of that because we both love you very much."

    Take it from being a competitive commentary about the parental dispute to a co-operative one about raising the kids. If you want help on how to do that, enrol in a post-separation parenting course with Relationships Australia. They're very helpful, and the court will like it, too.
     
  5. LeeM

    LeeM Active Member

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    Thanks, AllforHer,

    I feel a little less nervous now, about the next hearing, as I know there is zero (negative) evidence from 3rd parties.

    I do keep getting reminded that any "bad" talk by a parent usually backfires in the future.
     

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