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QLD Domestic Violence & Mental Health Issues Being Ignored by Judge

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by ConcernedMother, 3 March 2015.

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  1. ConcernedMother

    3 March 2015
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    My ex partner has had a proven history of drugs (speed, Ice, cocaine & ecstasy) & prescription abuse, mental health issues which had him committed into a mental health unit under a involuntary order in which he slipped out of the system in 2013 after released and not attending his appointments and further became uncontrollable so he has never been given the green light of being ok.

    I have had all documents provided to the court to prove this as fact as well as the domestic violence (DV) police reports, affidavits of the events & witness statements. My children at the time the physical abuse took place in their presence where 3 & 6 months old, they are now nearly 6 & 4 years old. My eldest has had counselling in the past due to the nightmares and memories he has of his father. This report was also provided to the court with her conclusion of supervised visits only for a minimum of 12 months due to his distress and my youngest not knowing the father.

    So far the judge in the federal circuit law has not even taken any of this evidence into consideration let along look thru the file. He firstly nearly ordered my 2 children into the father's care fort nightly for weekends until my lawyer informed him we would appeal this and asked if he had knowledge of the DV history....a few seconds later the judge ordered supervised visits only.

    Next court date was adjourned, there has been 2 visits so far. I have been appointed a ICL (Independent Childrens Lawyer). She has ordered a drug test recently which I had no issues with and under took with negative results as expected, the father has refused with excuses he cannot afford it (he currently works cash in hand while receiving Centrelink & just brought a $15,000 car mind you). He has not followed court orders such as providing document from his previous treating psychiatrist for his schizophrenia to the new psychologist the court ordered him to see for assessment in my opinion leading to a false assessment being made, nor has he re-contacted to make a new appointment with the new contact centre we agreed to use since my relocation on my own accord back home to QLD from NSW after he failed to attend the first intake appointment with them he made so now there is a big gap of 3 months between the visits. He has not addressed his drug issues or proven hes mentally stable since his psychotic episode.

    My son has become further more emotionally distressed as of late and explain on the phone to his father he does not want him to keep calling him (as court ordered 3x a week but is only usually once a week if he decides to call) he has become violent towards his fellow classmates with a recent issue involving a pair of scissors (he is usually a calm, caring young man) when asked by my sister in law of my new partner of nearly 3 years why this happened he expressed his anger and memories of his father's DV and saying he wished hed go away and was not his father. I'm at a loss. My son's emotional state is deteriorating the more he is encouraged to talk with his father. I have now enrolled him back into counselling and asked the school to document this recent situation and further behaviours for court.

    So my questions are:

    How can I get the court to recognise the history?

    My lawyer and the ICL are afraid next hearing the judge will order home visits regardless and without taking the history into consideration as I'm also afraid for my children. If the judge orders this, can I appeal straight away and what's the likelihood of it being appealed? Can i get a court order for the $6119.90 he owes in child support?

    How can I prove Legal Aid the judge is being bias by letting him continuously break orders & have no consequences for doing so. I have not broken one order and provided all and more of what has been asked of me as well as evidence for all my claims. What is the likely hood of me being granted sole parenting?

    I'm sorry for the novel but a clear picture must be drawn of this situation and i appreciate your time in reading and any advice you may be able to offer me.
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    23 July 2014
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    First, nobody can predict whether or not you will get sole parental responsibility. It's a presumption that parents have shared parental responsibility, and you need to provide substantial proof that domestic violence has occurred or that it would not be in the children's best interests in order to successfully rebut the presumption.

    Drug use and past mental health conditions, while concerning, are not often seen to be convincing. If the father can provide evidence of attempts to improve these lifestyle choices and medical issues, you may have difficulty persuading the judge of your position.

    The other challenge you may encounter is in relation to the kids' ages. The court takes the view that the younger the kids are, the less likely it is that their opinions and behaviours have been established independently of their parents. Your oldest, for example, will likely be seen to have had his anxieties influenced by your own anxieties. I understand this probably isn't what you wish to hear, but it's ordinarily found by child psychologists and family reporters that kids in this age group, when in an environment where nobody is critical of either parent, will admit they want to see the other parent more often. Based on what you've reported here about pursuing an appeal for interim orders, you also run the risk of being seen as the 'unsupportive, high conflict parent'. In a fairly recent case (just for interest's sake), supervised visits were ordered by the court for the sole purpose of protecting the father from further false allegations of sexual abuse against the child.

    The judge obviously has some concerns about the child's well-being. They won't order an ICL or supervised visits if those concerns are not genuine. However, the judge doesn't favour either of you at this stage, so he likely won't make an order for sole parental responsibility to the exclusion of the father without first testing all of the evidence. The decision to exclude a parent from a young child's life is very delicate and very dangerous, not to be made lightly by a judge who would have seen cases just like yours a hundred times before.

    I also add that you won't have any success persuading Legal Aid of court bias, and I would wager that trying to do so may damage your credibility when it comes to final hearing. Parenting cases are the most unfortunate to be included under a judge's jurisdiction because it's asking a stranger to decide the date of a child's life in stakes where the exclusion or absence of one parent is well-known to cause significant challenges for kids in future. Parenting cases turn parenting from a cooperative effort into a competitive effort where one person wins and one person loses. Just because you don't like the results so far doesn't mean the judge is biased. To give yourself the best chance of a favourable outcome, I strongly suggest having faith in the court to make the right decision in the long run, even if you don't like what that decision is.

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