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Divorced. Ex Wife Changing Child Care Arrangements

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by mark roskell, 5 May 2014.

  1. mark roskell

    mark roskell Active Member

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    Hello,

    I have been divorced for 9 years, and we have a 10 year old daughter. We have both since remarried other people, and I now have a 6 year old son. Over the last 9 years, we have had an agreement between the two of us, which is 50/50 care for our daughter. On family events, holidays, we have always negotiated changes to the days or weeks we have her and there is always a solution to it.

    Recently my ex wife told me she wanted to take our daughter to the USA to celebrate her nieces birthday in July 2015. I am fine with that, but as it turns out, she will miss nearly 2 weeks of schooling. I said I am not happy about her missing that much school. She replied OK then.

    A few weeks later (last Friday night), we spoke on the phone, she told me she has had legal advice, and she doesn't need my permission, and she is going to take her away for the holiday regardless of my feelings, and refuses to change the dates!

    What has really offended me is that when anything remotely like this has come up in the past, we have always negotiated, and worked out differences amicably with no problems.

    Basically, my rights and feelings as my daughters father have been totally disrespected, not to mention all the things my 2nd wife of 7 years has given up for the sake of my daughter. She never sees her family on Xmas day, so her step-daughter can see her mum and dad on that day (my wife's family live far away) is just one example.

    My question is - legally, can either party just change the dates that have been mutually agreed upon in advance in our agreement when the other party does not agree? If this is a yes answer, then what is there to stop it happening continually in the future or happening for months on end? Also, if it is a yes answer, I feel it opens the floodgates for future incidents of totally disrespecting the feelings of the other party, and there will only be one victim - my daughter - and that is a road I do not want to go down. If it is a yes answer, it is basically stealing time with my daughter!

    There has to be some way I / we can resolve this situation amicably. I have suggested moving the holiday a week earlier, so they will still see everyone, and my daughter will not miss that much school. Total refusal to do so. Basically, she is going to do what she wants, and to hell with my feelings!

    I do not want to stop them going, and I have said that, it is just the dates I am uneasy with, but she refuses to change the date what should I do???

    Can someone please reply soon to this, I am very anxious to have this cleared up.

    Thanks for your time.
     
  2. HarrietJ

    HarrietJ Well-Known Member

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    Hi Mark,

    If you cannot reach an agreement over the dates of travel you can actually prevent your daughter from going overseas. When one parent wishes to travel with a child, The Family Court states that the other parent must give permission for the child to leave the country.

    Can children travel overseas?
    Every time a parent wishes to take the children overseas for a holiday or permanently, the permission of the other parent must be obtained. Before an Australian passport can be issued for a child, the law requires the written consent of each person who has parental responsibility for a child. This is usually the child’s parents but may include grandparents or other relatives.
    Your ex wife is able to apply to seek permission from the Courts to override this, however if the trip is not deemed in the best interests of the child it won't be approved. If you daughter is going to miss a lot of school it may not be in her best interests to go.

    I found all this information at the link below:
    http://www.familylawcourts.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/FLC/Home/Children's+Matters/Relocation+and+travel/
     
  3. mark roskell

    mark roskell Active Member

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    Thank you for your reply.
    No one seems to be able to answer this - how often can one parent just change our agreement and for how long can that helped for? Would one be able to say "we are going to china for 4 months" for example, surely that could not be allowed. Where does the line in the sand get drawn?
     
  4. mark roskell

    mark roskell Active Member

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    Also, my ex does have a passport for my daughter, they went to Fiji a few years ago for 5 or 6 nights.
    Some people tell me she needs my permission, and someday she doesn't. It is hard to understand who is right, and who is wrong. I do not want to say something to my ex which is incorrect.
    Thanks
     
  5. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi Mark,
    1. The answer generally depends on the circumstances of your relationship between your ex and whether you've made any parenting agreements or received consent orders in relation to how custody of your daughter and parental responsibilities will be managed between both parents.
    2. You refer to an "agreement" - What type of agreement do you have with your ex?
     
  6. mark roskell

    mark roskell Active Member

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    hi,
    our agreement was made 9 years ago between ourselves, as i didnt want to involve lawyers to decidee something we should be able to decide ourselves. up until now, this has been fine, i just do not know what has changed.
    Thanks very much.
     
  7. CathL

    CathL Well-Known Member

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    Hi Mark,
    You might want to look at my previous LawAnswers Family Law Forum post about legally enforceable parenting arrangements and putting them in place: "Custody of Children Rights - Travel Distance?". Having either Consent Orders or a Parenting Order in place means that you both have to comply with them and can hold the other person to them if they try to breach the orders (which would help you in this situation). From what you've said, you ex has sought legal advice, so it seems the rules of the game have changed for her.

    In the meantime, you might want to contact the Family Law Courts about procedures for stopping international travel if you think its in the best interests of your daughter - linked in HarrietJ's post above. It might be worth trying to negotiate with your ex again to reach a middle ground, but you could potentially apply to the Family Court to stop your daughter for traveling outside of Australia.
     

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