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WA Ex Threatening Family Court - Does Daughter Have a Say?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by NDM0808, 6 July 2017.

  1. NDM0808

    NDM0808 Well-Known Member

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    Hello, it's been a while but by ex has reared his ugly head again.

    In a nutshell, my ex was seeing our daughter every second Sunday and over the Christmas holidays, he had her every day (day visits only) for nearly a month. He then upped and moved to the a country town without informing me and the informal arrangement stopped. He would tell her he was coming to see her and just not show up or text half an hour before with an excuse. He would often go weeks without answering her phone calls, text messages etc.

    It has been 18 months. He has paid child support only once in two years - that was when CSA garnished his account after the proceeds of the house were transferred to him. It has been over 6 months since he has paid. Anyway, he has lost his job and has decided to move back to Perth and wants to meet to discuss his "visitation rights".

    I have written back and stated that I am happy to restart the previous arrangement however as he hasn't seen his daughter for 18 months they should start with a lunch and then build up to it from there. I have stated that I have no wish to meet with him (the VRO expired last year) and that all arrangements can be made by email and that I am happy to drop off and pick our daughter up from his parents house and that as a teenager she is entirely capable of walking from my car to their front door and vice versa without an escort. I do not wish to see him nor do I see the need.

    Anyway I told him that if he can give me the dates that he will be available, I will make sure our daughter is free to see him. I then got an email back stating that it is evident I do not wish to discuss his daughter with him and that he will seek Family Court's assistance in arranging contact. I fear he is only going down this road to try and get me into a room with him. I am very fearful of him. He is mentally unstable and by his own admission has lost his mind.

    There are no orders in place. Our daughter is almost 13. She is a very independent and intelligent young lady. She is happy to see him - but wants it to be on her terms not his. I actually don't know what I am asking here - if we do end up in Family Court - what say does our daughter get? And is my suggestion of only emailing acceptable to make arrangements?
     
  2. Berry

    Berry Active Member

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    NDM0808 - I had a similar situation. My ex can be very verbally intimidating and very irrational. I've limited all communications to email or if text (in the case of drop off and pickups). I initially had all his emails going to a separate email account so I could quarantine them and not feel that gut wrenching stress every time I checked my mail. My ex hated it and called me a coward and all all sorts of names - but I think because it was because it took away his control - prior he always got his way through intimidation and bullying. Email's limited his ability to do that.

    Be factual in your emails - but don't engage in any arguments -I always had to be the one to make suggestions about resolution options (time splits etc) but at least I managed to hammer out an agreement. It was very difficult.

    The other benefit was that it allowed me to gather evidence on his behaviour and have everything documented.

    I would try arranging mediation - As much as I didn't want to be in a room with him I did and my ex refused to attend. At least the court saw that.

    We my ex I had to lay out a 12 month schedule - all nicely written out and in a calendar, with pick up and drop off times and everything clearly documented so that eliminated any need for ongoing contact. The whole process sucks. I'm sorry you have to deal with this.
     
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  3. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    At 13 the child will considerable say in how it pans out. Court is slow. She could be 14 by then and that means her opinion will matter all the more.
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    1. If you haven't been to Court already, the likelihood of going to Court now is probably pretty slim. Any lawyer will tell your ex that the child's age is going to play a very significant part in the outcome. Indeed, it's common for the Court to just order that the child spend time with the parent in accordance with the child's wishes.

    2. Email is perfectly reasonable, especially if there's been a VRO in the past. Don't deviate on this. Keep everything in writing, in case you need it later.
     
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  5. MartyK

    MartyK Well-Known Member

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    The High Court Case of Boldemonte v Boldemonte (March 2017), recently held that while children's views should be considered they are not determinative. The boys in that case were teens.

    Family Law professionals will often direct you towards mediation, and further advise, that if resolution cannot be reached (in mediation) that children's views of this age (13), usually hold reasonable weight and as such Court would be a waste of time and money. A sensible approach.

    In terms of Court each case is determined on the facts of the case, and, there are a number of considerations the Court takes into account. In yours (if correct and you have proof) as well as other factors that will be considered, of importance will be that dad moved away, was still offered time with his daughter, and, while agreement was reached between you both for him to see his daughter, come the time of doing so, he failed to turn up. That was on more than one occasion. This rejection of his daughter has possibly lead to you daughter, as you say, "only wanting to see him on her terms". Quite valid.

    I understand you are fearful of Court. However, in some cases (where rigid structure from Court orders is needed) court can be a good thing. In your situation, if he were to file Court proceedings, while I realise you state you are scared, the ultimate outcome may well lead to a reduction in communications and a dissolution of the hierarchical dynamics which appear to presently still exist.
     
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  6. motherof2

    motherof2 Member

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    if your daughter is over 13 she does get to have a say. I know that much and for him to take you to court you will have to do mediation first and they will make it that you both in different rooms if there was previously verbal abuse . if they don't think it wont help then it will go to court.
     
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