VIC Ex-wife False Accusations to Schools - Recourse?

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yobt

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6 February 2016
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Is there any legal recourse in the instance where my ex-wife is telling lies that my children's school principal that I abducted my children in attempt to destroy my reputation?
 

Rod

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27 May 2014
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Yes.

Is there any truth to the accusations? Like withholding of children?

What do you want to do? Do you want to spend money initiating court action, or just have a lawyer write a letter?
 

yobt

Active Member
6 February 2016
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There is no truth in it. There has been no withholding of the children whatsoever. In fact, subsequent to the allegations we have consent orders giving 50/50 custody!

Perhaps both. I am self representing in family court. Could I run a case myself for defamation? Is it defamation? It has certainly had a hugely negative impact on my reputation at the school and in the local community. Life changing really.
 

Rod

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Yes, it is defamation.

Defamation is not really DIY and nowhere near as forgiving as family courts who are used to dealing with SRLs and have different rules of evidence (ie more relaxed).

I'd be seeing a lawyer to have a concerns notice written as a first step. Let me know if you you want to proceed, I know a couple of lawyers who can help.
 

yobt

Active Member
6 February 2016
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I read that in order to have a hope of success I would need evidence of exactly what she had said. In other words i would need the school to tell me what the allegations were right? I imagine that they are unlikely to divulge this information and they may not be able to if it's covered by some kind of privacy.
 

Rod

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You are correct, you need to get evidence of what she said or wrote.

And if the school doesn't volunteer the information (unlikely they will) you get a court order (subpoena) saying 'tell us what she told you'. This is part of the value of having a lawyer.
 

yobt

Active Member
6 February 2016
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Yep sounds good. But surely I can do the notice of concern and court application myself. Won't get a subpoena without a hearing ... are they likely to grant a hearing for such a matter? How would the court calculate damages?
 

Rod

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Of course you can attempt DIY. I have no idea how well you will do. Get the concerns notice wrong, or your pleadings wrong, and you likely hamstring your own case and if you lose and she has high priced lawyers you'll be paying a significant portion of her costs.

FYI, you have 1 year from the date of 'publication' to initiate a defamation case.

Even the big boys get it wrong. Hockey went for broke and it cost him, even though he 'won' against Fairfax. The Tele the tried to amend their defense against Rush and were refused.

Damages in your situation are not going to be a windfall, likely more than $1,000, less than $100K if you are not a very high income earner and not prominent in the community. Though having said that I have no idea of what your reputation is worth.
 

Tim W

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28 April 2014
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Ummm, you don't run a defamation action in the Family Court....
 

Rod

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I didn't read that into the OP's post, but good point, it is a State matter run in a State court. Can even be done in the local magistrates'court.