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QLD Do I Have to Go to Mediation Again?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Complex16, 28 July 2016.

  1. Complex16

    Complex16 Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    Was just hoping for some information regarding Family Dispute Resolution.

    My ex-partner requested mediation a few months ago through Relationships Australia. I attended the intake and detailed the various domestic and family violence issues. Following this, they deemed our matter to be unsuitable for mediation and issued a 60i certificate.

    My ex-partner has now requested a Family Dispute Resolution conference through Legal Aid and I am being advised by my solicitor that I should attend as the Legal Aid process is different and whilst Relationships Australia have deemed us unsuitable, Legal Aid may not. Legal Aid has also advised that they do not recognise the certificates issued by Relationships Australia.

    If I don't participate on account of having already received a certificate and Legal Aid then issue their own stating that I refused to attend, is this relatively easy to justify on account of already having been deemed unsuitable, albeit through a different organisation? Or will this be looked upon unfavourably if and when it proceeds to family court?

    Thanks in advance for any assistance...
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Generally speaking, the Court frowns upon parents who simply frustrate all art pets by the other party to resolve the dispute outside of court. Indeed, and this is especially true if you have never actually attempted mediation before going to court, I am 100% confident that if it does proceed to court, the judge will order you both to go to mediation anyway at the first interim hearing.

    Your lawyer is right in advising that you attend.
     
  3. Complex16

    Complex16 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your quick response, much appreciated.

    There is a final DVO in place and our son is a named person. Visitation takes place under supervision at a contact centre on a monthly basis (mainly due to the high cost of the visits as it is at a private centre).

    Do you believe it would be considered unreasonable to continue to only offer this on a monthly basis during mediation or is it more likely that fortnightly should be on the cards? Perhaps if visits moved to a more affordable centre?

    Trying to balance the need to protect my son and I vs encouraging a relationship with his father is something I am currently struggling with, especially considering the family violence history.
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    The Family Court has a significantly higher threshold for what behaviour it considers to pose a risk to children. Generally speaking, a DVO - especially if made by consent without admissions - is not going to halt the other parent's attempts to see the kids more. To the contrary, if the alleged family violence has been targeted primarily toward the other parent and not the child, the Court will often make orders that reduces interaction between the parents, rather than between parent and child. It takes extreme circumstances, maintained as a pattern, usually for the duration of proceedings, to show that a parent should only see the child under third-party supervised conditions.

    Without knowing the facts, and not being in a position to judge them as such, I can't say whether supervised once a month is reasonable or not, but I think you should prepare yourself for the possibility that the other parent could end up with significantly more time, significantly more often. The Court simply doesn't weight domestic violence allegations in the same way society or the State Courts do.
     
  5. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    So unless you have genuine fears for the safety of the child, why not agree to more access?

    Now as far as the family violence goes, look, you need to just take a deep breath in before reading. You are a victim of DV - that impacts on your ability to make rational judgements about issues.

    Again without all the details, it is hard to give complete help, but if the father wants more time with the kid and if all you have is an AVO then the courts are likely to grant more time. If, however, you have an established history with Doc's, police, school notifications, etc...

    So why not do the mediation and agree to something reasonable. Now, what is reasonable? Well, the legislation states that a magistrate must consider 50/50. Now that doesn't mean that 50/50 is the starting point. So why not agree to alternate weekend and half holidays in the hope you can save yourself a protracted court battle that is likely to cost you lots of money and cost you lots emotionally.

    So to help you out....

    I had an AVO against me. My ex will tell you all sorts of horrible things about me. That is her opinion and to be fair during our marriage, we both behaved poorly at times... But that doesn't make me a bad dad. She just can't see that because of all the arguing we used to do. Might be worth you thinking about.
     
  6. Complex16

    Complex16 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the response AllForHer and Sammy01, much appreciated.

    My ex has a detailed history of DV and FV with prior partners and their children including police arrests, and then again post our relationship. A pattern of stalking and harassment also exists. His other ex-partners have all informed of family violence occurring with their children (none of which were his) and even actions that were "inappropriate" with the daughters. I do have a genuine safety concern for my son if he were to spend time with the father unsupervised. My son is almost 2. The father had always threatened to take my son and issued threats against my life if I were to ever leave the relationship.

    He also has a detailed and documented pattern of being unable to follow instructions/orders (whether court or otherwise). There have also been numerous breaches of the current DVO although considered minor and I have been advised to not report each of these so as not to appear vexatious. The contact centre procedures have also been breached by him which placed my son and I in a potentially dangerous situation.

    He is a controlling, manipulative man who actively prevented our son from forming bonds/relationships with anyone outside of the family home whilst we were together. This even included his own family, not just mine. He has also been witnessed by authorities telling our son what an awful person I am (insert your own colourful language here!).

    Based on all of this (and more) I really would not feel comfortable with offering him any unsupervised time (at this stage). I would be thinking along the lines of maintaining monthly supervised visits for a period of say 6 months with a view to then reviewing this and increasing to a fortnightly basis for a further extended period depending on him being able to demonstrate an ability to follow the required safety procedures etc.

    I'm not sure if any of this information alters your initial comments but if it does then please let me know. I have been following this forum for a little while and found the matter-of-fact responses to be incredibly valuable, so thank you.
     
  7. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    My thoughts...

    Look have faith in the system. Do mediation. Ultimately, only a magistrate can make you give dad more time. So go along participate. See what his thoughts are and make your suggestions...

    If you don't go, nothing will change but at least if you go, you've tried
     

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