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NSW Ex-Wife's New Violent Boyfriend with AVO - What to Do?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Matthewo, 4 March 2015.

  1. Matthewo

    Matthewo Member

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    I have been separated for 9 months. In 3 months time, I can file for divorce. Property settlement all sorted. No formal arrangement with care of the kids, just a verbal arrangement that has been going reasonably OK to date. Kids are 1 & 3 years old. I have them every second weekend only at present. Ideally I would like them more and shortly plan to try and get a legally binding agreement (hopefully by agreement with my ex).

    My ex-wife started seeing a new man about 6 months ago. They are boyfriend/girlfriend. He has children to other women and does not get to see them very often. I believe there is issues with him being able to get time with his kids because his ex’s don’t trust him, etc. He has anger management problems and a history of violence. He has more than one AVO against him and possibly a criminal record. I have also heard that he has been involved with drugs in the past (not sure whether using or selling). I also know that he has threatened my ex-wife at times things like he was going to kill her or hurt her when he is having these anger episodes. However nothing has been reported to the police in that regard etc.

    Quite honestly, I would be fine with my ex seeing another man, that is her business, etc. Also would be OK with another man being around my children. However a man of this nature and background is very worrying to me and personally I am not very comfortable with him being in her life in terms of safety concerns for my children. I expect in reality it should be OK, like why would any person want to harm or attack my children, even if the toddler is cheeky and does something to aggravate him surely he would have enough self control not to be violent etc, but can I ever be certain?

    Is there anything I can do about this situation? They don’t live with each other and he is apparently not around my children very often at all (I cannot confirm this though). I suspect they may be planning to move in together shortly.

    Should I somehow try and get a background check done on this man? I don’t even know if members of the public can organise such a thing. Is this a legitimate thing that I could apply to a court to prohibit them from being able to live together or him being able to be around my children or basically nothing I can do? I expect if he is simply having a relationship with my ex-wife there is nothing I can do to stop that. Also if he sees her around the kids and she is always present I expect again I cannot stop that. But can I somehow prevent them from living together (when my children are in her care) and also prevent him being left alone with my children (I know this is all hard/impossible to enforce..).

    Just don’t know how to deal with this.
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, your powers in this respect are limited - it is up the mother to ensure the kids' safety and well-being when they are spending time with her. If at any time circumstances change and you sense he is hitting the children or in any other way harming them, you will have grounds to act.

    I really strongly suggest sorting out a parenting plan or consent orders at the earliest opportunity, though. The family dispute resolution conference you will no doubt have to reach this agreement will give you an opportunity to voice your concerns. Of course, I always suggest being assertive about how you address it - people are easily defensive of their partners and it may cause a rift in what otherwise sounds like a reasonably workable co-parenting relationship.

    Nobody wants to feel like their kids may be in danger, but you have to trust that the mother loves them as fiercely as you do and would never put them in harm's way.

    You've said here that you would like to see your kids more often, so I just want to provide some comment about that, too.

    At 1 and 3, the kids are very young and may experience separation anxiety if away from the primary carer for too long, but they're also at an age where it's critical that they see both parents on a regular basis to ensure both connections can be maintained. Kids under the age of four have memories that start to turn hazy after a few days of no contact with the non-residential parent, which can cause distress and a sense of abandonment for them. To work out what care arrangements are most suitable for kids in that age group, you might consider chatting to Relationships Australia. They offer a very informative child consultation where they provide lots of information about how kids react to different care arrangements.

    What I would suggest is starting out with alternate weekends and once each week, for example from 4:00pm to 7:00pm on Wednesdays, then graduate to Wednesday overnights, eventually moving to equal care when they're about six or seven. As always, it's dependent on what the relationship is like between the kids and each parent, but this is a fairly common routine for kids with involved, but separated dads.
     
    ourlawisnotfair likes this.
  3. Matthewo

    Matthewo Member

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    Thanks for the reply AllForHer. So basically there would be no legal avenue to prohibit this man from being around my children based on his background/history, and only if he physically laid a hand on the children could I then do something about it? The courts would never order anything as a prevention strategy would they like prohibiting him from being around the children when he hasn’t actually done anything to them?

    I do trust my ex wife that she would never allow the children to be hurt, but I also do just worry she may get herself into a situation with this man that is bigger than she can control.

    I completely agree with you about the different care arrangements needed for younger children and also don’t necessarily think equal care or close to equal, is necessarily good for children under say 6-8 y/o. I personally also believe that the children need stability of the main carer at this younger age and only regularly seeing non-custodial parent. Do you know of any resources like books etc on the various structures of parenting options for different age groups? I will check out Relationships Australia etc for some advice too. Thanks :)
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    No, there is nothing you can do to prevent him from being around your kids on history alone. You will need proof that he has, or is harming them in some way, to attain that kind of injunction, and even then, it would only be granted in such a way that the children are protected from harm. For example, that might mean any time the kids are around the mother's boyfriend, it is supervised by the mother.

    As for your other question, I don't have any books to share with you, but there are plenty of resources online about kids' emotional development and the like. My favourite source is here: Brisbane_Madiations_content

    The articles on parenting are very informative and helpful for understanding children's psychology and what they experience at particular ages, and there's one or two in there that provide 'best practice examples' of care arrangements for kids of different ages. It's been a godsend for me as I've never even dated a man with a child before, let alone married one, so having some idea of what to expect as my step-daughter grows up has helped me answer her hard questions and develop a better bond with her than I think I otherwise would have.

    I hope this helps.
     
  5. hlly

    hlly Well-Known Member

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    In addition to what has been said, threatening or violent behaviour can and should be reported to the police
     

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