WA Ex Threatening to Take Daughters Overseas to Live

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8 October 2014
We have agreed to separate but have been living together for about 2 years since ....i am waiting on a sale of my business's to separate. It has been amicable. She has a boyfriend in Bali and visits him regularly. I decided not to move out of family home since my wife has an alcohol problem...of course she doesn't admit this but when i come home there are 2 bottles of red wine and a swaying mother of kids unattended and occasional abusive for sake arguments.

I recently gave up alcohol (3 glasses max person) to show her it can be done. Now I don't drink at all. This has reduced her alcohol consumption and alcoholism to maybe 2 or 3 nights a week drunk.

We agreed on an amicable separation and divide assets when we can in next 6 months. I work away 30% of my life so have been in guest room for last 4 years really. So with a large house and looking after kids I have been happy with current situation.

I have just started a relationship now this has caused her to go a bit erratic. Threats to go to court or threats to take girls to Albany to live with an aunt 5 hours away or to go to Bali to live with father or boyfriend and take girls (custody of children).

Not sure what my rights are under family law, I have considerable worth on paper but no cashflow. My business is a constant struggle working 70hours per week to keep it afloat. My main concern now is that I want to make sure we can separate and live in same state in close proximity? How do I achieve this?

It's a bad situation I need to resolve, but I have been determined to stay around and look after my daughters.

Thanking you in advance.


Well-Known Member
23 July 2014
Tough situation.

I think the first step is to probably take control of your kids' passports. Recovering from abroad is a difficult and expensive exercise, so the last thing you want is her skipping the country with your daughters on a whim. I probably wouldn't mention it, either - just take the passports on the down low, give them to someone you trust to keep them safe, and whatever you do, don't give them up.

The second step is to organise care arrangements on paper. The best way to do this is to contact Relationships Australia or a similar organisation and begin the mediation process. Basically, they will invite both you and her to mediation to discuss care arrangements and to hopefully meet an agreement to put into a parenting plan, which can (if you choose) be made into consent orders through the court. This basically means any care arrangements you make are enforceable by the court.

In the agreement, you can request that neither party relocate outside of [x]km of [y] township; that the kids spend time with mother/father on [z] days and times; etc.

Even if you don't reach an agreement, however, you will receive a s60i certificate, which will enable you to commence court proceedings if you need to. The court will make orders that it deems to be in the best interests of the kids, and how it decides what's in their best interests is outlined in s60CC of the Family Law Act 1975. It isn't until this stage of the process that your concerns about alcoholism and what not would really require attention.

If, in the meantime, your former spouse relocates with the kids without your consent, you can file for an urgent recovery order. Basically, if the court deems it necessary and in the kids' best interests, they will make orders enabling federal police to seek out the location of your kids and have them returned to you.

As a matter of personal advice, I would strongly urge you to move out, for the kids' sake. Psychologically, it is not in their best interests to see their parents fighting all the time, and on top of that, it's not really an ideal example of what a healthy, adult relationship is.

Additionally, please know that the laws aren't like they used to be - fathers have far more recognition in the court system than they ever used to, so rest assured that your history of involvement will serve you well in your pursuit of care arrangements that enable you to continue raising your daughters.

But first thing's first - get the passports, then start the mediation process.

Hope this has helped.