NSW Family Court - Contact with Children Over the Top?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by stepmum, 14 May 2019.

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  1. stepmum

    stepmum Well-Known Member

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    My partner has his children 7 & 9. 5 days one week and two days the following week. His ex is very controlling and manipulative.

    Through advice from here, we have a phone specifically for her. We ignore the majority of her calls and texts when the children are with us as it is just abuse on what is happening at our house in my partners time with the children.

    She has been contacting the eldest one through chat on a game app and questioning everything that goes on whilst the kids are with us. The messages start from 6.30am and continue all day till 8 pm at night. She tells her daughter to call her so she then comes out and asks if she can call her mother. Her mother tells her to demand that we let her call. We have and never would stop the children from ringing their mother it's just they never ask to as they are happy being here.

    The 9-year-old is being secretive about it all and is even lying to us about it. We have seen the messages and have copies as we have court on 21st May.

    We confronted the ex about it in a civilised way and asked her to let him enjoy their time together and she as usual just abused us and said it was her daughter's idea.

    She has now gone out and bought her a phone so as to be able to contact her daughter whenever she likes. The phone her daughter was using was given to her from us for games only.

    Is this constant need to have 24/7 communication with her children whilst with their father just interrogating them right? How will this look in family court?

    We just want peace and enjoy the time we have with the kids without her interference. We call the kids once in the 5 days that they are with her as it is their time with their mother. Also the majority of the time she won't answer the phone.

    Any help on how to handle the situation would be great.
     
  2. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Hey - can you remind us... How did you come to have 50/50? if memory serves mum was heavily restricting time with dad back in the day?

    Do you have a solicitor?
    Options.

    1. Seek an order for both parents to be able to contact the kids at specified times. Nice easy solution right? NOPE. WHY? hard to enforce, especially in a world where every kid has a mobile... And are you gonna take mum back to court just because she is calling outside the allocated times.
    2. smile and nod... You guys must be close to getting final orders. The fact that you have 50/50 care is a huge win and suggests this thing must be finishing up in soon. Clearly the ex is a nutter and is doing all this to try and establish some waky 'evidence' to present to the judge....
    "You're honour, the children have been abused, their father gave them bean toasties for dinner on at least two occasions. THIS IS CHILD ABUSE", SHE will call out triumphantly....
    IT is madness. So ignore it... The kids are 7 and 9? wont be very long before they start growing up and seeing this for what it is too.

    Is what she is doing right? HELL NO. Will it look good in court NOPE. But is it reason for her to have no contact at all with the kids and for the kids to live with you full time? NO.

    I'm quietly confident that shortly after you get final orders things will settle down. If not, don' worry. But, you can establish some rules like no mobile phones at the dinner table and no devices for an hour before bedtime... Read up on electronic devices, all I'm suggesting is good parenting and if it means the nutter cant contact the kids during dinner and the hour or so before bed - Oh well... Your house your rules.
     
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  3. stepmum

    stepmum Well-Known Member

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    Hi Sammy,

    Next Tuesday will be our first court hearing. We have yet to receive any documents from her so not sure what will happen there? We don't even know if she will turn up. We used a solicitor to help with affidavits and can ring for advice. My partner is going to self represent. We are unsure if this is the right thing to do though.

    50/50 was agreed upon by both parents when they first separated it was actually 70/30 my partners way before I came on the scene.. It's not the fact that she has contact with her mother it's the context of the communication. Getting her to lie to her father, being messenger, telling her to go and tell her father that she can not stop her from calling her mother which she would never say to her father. We never stop them if they ask to call her. The messages are in my opinion very manipulative of a 9 year old. She finds out everything that is going on in our house and if we have disciplined or doesn't like something we are doing with the children she finds out then abuses us about it.

    We found out last night that her mother went and bought her a phone with a sim card so she can have constant contact with them as the other phone was given to his daughter for games from us.

    We have asked in our orders for Sundays between 4.30 & 5.30 for a call with the other parent. Obviously if the kids want to speak to her at any other time that's fine. Again if she wasn't so manipulative and controlling we wouldn't have an issue.

    We constantly check the phone as you stated. You never know who they are talking to and not realise it. This phone we have been told by his ex will have a pin code on it which will not be given to us and we are not to go trough the phone as it is not our phone.
     
  4. Jake Matherson

    Jake Matherson Well-Known Member

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    If the other party is being represented by a lawyer you can expect paperwork will be emailed to you 1 hour before each court session you have giving you no time to respond.
    This shouldn't be the case however it happens. Your options are to roll with it, accept it and move on or seek an adjournment in court on the day as you need time to go over the material and respond.

    If she doesn't rock up to the first hearing and you have served her all of the initiating documents and filed your acknowledgement of service then she runs the risk of a decision being made in her absence in your favour.
    However, it's likely the registrar will just adjourn the matter for a week or two and make Court Orders that say the mother is to file and serve her material by XX date (personal experience I've been here).

    In short. If the Ex or her lawyer do nothing or don't show up expect nothing more than a slap on the wrist and a new court date in a few weeks time.
     
  5. stepmum

    stepmum Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jake,

    We don't know if she has a lawyer or not. If we were to get it emailed an hour before I think we would need to have it adjourned as I guarantee it will be a lot of false accusations. Would this look bad on us if we ask for an adjournment? we don't want to go to court but we have been given no choice. His ex will not mediate on anything.

    Advice from a solicitor if she didn't turn up was an undefended hearing.
     
  6. Jake Matherson

    Jake Matherson Well-Known Member

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    Lets just assume the Ex files her Response to application, response to finial orders, notice of risk and her first affidavit the day before court and emails it to you the day before or on the day of court.

    If the first hearing you have is a "directions hearing" nothing will happen. You might wish to point out to the Registrar that you only got the paperwork yesterday but nothing will come of it.

    It is likely the court will glance over it ensure that your Ex hasn't said anything like you are going to physically hurt or sexually abuse the children (doesn't sound like you have those worries) and give you procedural Orders such as Order you to go away and mediate or go away and do XX parenting course.

    Hopefully they will make and Order setting a date sometime in the near future for your "Hearing Registrar Duty List" or your Interim Orders Hearing maybe 4-8 weeks away.

    This is the hearing where they will give you formal parenting orders for the interim period between now and your Final Hearing +2 years away. Between the first directions hearing and your Interim hearing you will have time to read over the Ex's material and write a response by way of affidavit outlining all of the items you don't agree with and why.

    If at the directions hearing or at any point you were Ordered to undertake a Family Report you would ensure your response affidavit is filed and given to the report writer and you would absolutely crush your Family Report because it's the most important thing in your case in the early stages. No pressure.

    To answer your question directly. No it won't look bad on you if you seek an adjournment for a valid reason such as being given no time to respond. You just need to weigh it up, it might cost you 4 weeks time, another day off work and another trip back to court. I would probably proceed with the first date and file my response papers before the next one.

    Not a lawyer just a bloke going through his own mess.
     
  7. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    So what are you applying to court about?
     
  8. stepmum

    stepmum Well-Known Member

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    Hi Sammy,

    So we went to court represented on the 21st May. The ex turned up and represented herself and said that she had not been granted legal aid after applying for it on the 28th March. She had not lodged any documents as she was waiting on a lawyer. This was advised to the court and she was told to have all documents submitted by the 28th June.

    The week before they were due her solicitor got approval for an extension till 5th July. We have received her affidavit all lies quite laughable actually. (If not for this site and your help to me and others I would have let it get to me. So thank you.)

    Her consent orders are changing the 50/50 arrangement that has been in place dictated by her for 4 years. We have been advised this is due to the youngest (7) having anxiety, diagnosed by her. We have in her affidavit found out that she is taking him to one. True or not can't say as we were not advised about it. The other side has now asked for legally assisted mediation which is frustrating as this is what we have wanted since August 2018 to no avail. Our solicitor has recommended we try and mediate. We do not agree with any of the changes she is suggesting.

    For example, week 1 we have the children Monday & Tuesday night, drop off to her Wednesday morning. Week 2 Pick up after school from her place Friday drop off to her Wednesday morning.

    The only changes we are requesting are we drop off Wednesday mornings to school and our weekend picks up from school Friday afternoons as to not put the children in a position where they see their father or myself get abused in front of them.

    Her proposed orders are reading that we drop off to school on Tuesday morning now instead of Wednesday due to the anxiety of the 7-year-old as 5 nights straight is too much for him in her eyes as she has diagnosed him after 4 years of this arrangement, with separation anxiety. She is also requesting week on week off for school holidays as well which is contradicting herself with 5 nights being too much during school but school holidays he can stay 7 straight.

    We have worked it out and by her changing school holidays, she gets a lot more than just the 2 days per fortnight from us.

    My partner is not happy about what she is requesting as the 7-year-old will not handle the change, he loses time with his children who mean the world to him also. Bearing in mind before I came on the scene he had them 70-80% of the time.

    We are confused as what to do as our solicitor keeps pushing mediation which we know is not going to work as it is always about what his ex wants not the best interest of the children and she will not back down as she has to control everything.

    Should we try our luck in court as we have so much evidence to shoot down her affidavit as all lies and we really do believe it is not in the best interest of the children to change the current arrangement so drastically as the little one has to have a routine?

    Any opinions would be really helpful.
     
  9. Jake Matherson

    Jake Matherson Well-Known Member

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    Mediation would be great if it's actually possible to mediate with the other party.

    Reading what you write if you asked me I would say it's a waste of time trying to mediate.

    You're just going to pay your lawyer thousands of dollars to get nowhere.

    Example:
    You propose a logical offer that any normal human would accept.
    If she had a lawyer they would suggest she accept that offer on account of it being the right choice.
    However she in unrepresented and therefore just say NOPE because she doesn't like you.
    Congratulations you just wasted $3,000 and cost her nothing.

    Personally I'd skip the mediation and aim for Interim or Consent Court Orders and save your money.
     
  10. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Do mediation. Smile and nod... But don't agree to any changes. I'd suggest you request your solicitor to NOT attend. Maybe the ex is trying to bleed you of funds. Since nothing is gonna get agreed upon at mediation why waste $$ on having solicitor present?

    But do the mediation - it is a game. By doing it you're playing the part of trying to co-operate play by their rules.

    As to the affidavit ignore it. Now I want you to read something on another thread. Here is the link. Basically same deal - same advice, so I'm not gonna write it twice - focus on the stuff about being the positive parent. Stay calm. But have a read...
    NSW - Child support how much to pay
     
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