NSW Family Court - Ex Withholding Kids if Girlfriend is Around?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Louise too, 15 January 2019.

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  1. Match

    Match Active Member

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    sammy01, I was hoping to clarify part of this reply because I'm in a similar situation (new member here, not sure if I should be creating a new thread for this).

    I have been with my partner for 8 months; he and his ex-wife split up a year ago; they have an 10 year old daughter who stays with her dad two nights a week. The split was not mutual and communication between them has rarely been friendly. They have started the process for mediation but have not actually had the mediation session yet. Although his relationship with his daughter has always been loving and attentive, his ex was the much more involved parent pre-split - but post-split he has had to step up (being the only caregiver when his daughter is in his care), and has been a wonderful and active dad.

    My partner's ex-wife has emailed me calling me names and sent him a great number of emails telling him how unhappy she is about me being in his life and that he left her, getting angry and saying that she will take their child away from him, that she doesn't think he's fit to be a parent (my partner has never responded in kind, and continues to pay $1,800 a month directly to his ex as child support - a great deal more than what CSA would order and frankly more than he can afford).

    About 6 months ago she told their daughter I was her dad's girlfriend after I met the daughter at a carnival in a group of friends (I was introduced as a friend), and ever since has kept the daughter informed about me being in her dad's life, told her it is wrong for her dad to have a girlfriend, and not done anything the allay her daughter's subsequent trepidation about seeing me (that she's being replaced etc.). The daughter is well aware of the conflict between her parents - and much of this conflict is related to him being in a relationship with me - and it causes her great distress (although my partner has been very careful to always promote a relationship between his daughter and her mum).

    I have seen the daughter once since the carnival (as her dad's girlfriend), we went to the movies and had a nice time, and she seemed very comfortable in my company and keen to tell me stories. I didn't stay long afterwards and her dad said she was cheerful and normal after seeing me. However, when his ex found out that I'd seen her, she stopped all contact between my partner and his daughter for 3 weeks. I think this was a very traumatic time for the child (being separated from her dad and knowing full well about her parents' animosity toward each other). The ex has freely admitted that the daughter knows how she feels about me, but says that the daughter doesn't want to see me and that I'm causing her harm (not me per se, she has said the daughter doesn't dislike me, but is too confused about her dad having a girlfriend).

    A few months on and things going well (including daughter's mood and behaviour), he has informed his ex he's planning a day trip with myself and their daughter in a few weeks.

    The ex then said that she will not grant my partner access unless he agrees to pretend I do not exist (as in, the daughter must not see nor hear me - or hear anything about me) for an absolute minimum of 8-12 months, and even then, that it must be agreed with her that the daughter is ready to see me. He has said no, he won't agree (not because he wants to force his child to be around me or do the wrong thing by the child).

    He wants to see his daughter but knows his ex will just withhold contact to keep me away as long as possible - and I'm really concerned she will make her daughter more and more distressed about seeing her father and me, and what that will result in if it goes to court. She has already told her daughter she will stop contact with her dad if it means keeping me away, and that the daughter can testify in court that she doesn't want to see me. I think this is all incredibly inappropriate.

    We wanted his daughter to be able to get to know me slowly as we would like to get a place together, and don't want me to be living there all of a sudden without her even knowing me, but her mum is making it impossible. The problem is - she is saying she's only acting in the daughter's best interests - that knowing about me is bad for the daughter's mental health.

    Once he refused to agree to her terms, she promised contact would stop until court. What should he do? I want to get to know his daughter but I can wait, I just think 8-12 months before the possibility of any contact starting is totally unreasonable.

    There's slightly conflicting opinions on this thread about what emails / texts to send her and I really want to know - should he cave and say he'll keep me away or should he not enter into any conversation about me and just reiterate that he would like to see his daughter as per the normal access arrangement and will she allow this?
     
  2. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Probably should start a new thread.
    But. Since it is 4am and I can't sleep...
    Agree to mum's terms but with some compromise.
    To be fair to the mum. A relationship of 10 yrs or more ends. and within months a new person is on the scene. Same for the kid. This stuff is emotional for all concerned.

    You're welcome to think 8-12 months is unreasonable and I can kinda agree. But, mum's argument might have some merit too. I don't doubt some of her reasoning is probably not really logical. But that is the situation you're in.

    Look, I'm a fan of the path of least resistance. (strategically). So dad can refuse. he won't see his kid and will have to chuck a huge amount of $$$ at solicitors to get this rectified. It is likely that it will take 3 months or more to get into court. He is likely to get interim orders on that first hearing and it is unlikely that the orders would restrict who dad allows to see the kid. But assuming dad hasn't done meditation in the past 12 months with a registered mediation provider, then it could be 5 months before interim orders are made in court.

    5 months of not seeing the kid all because dad will refuse mum's (stupid) rules. Now what does the poor kid think of this? Especially given the kid will only be hearing mum's version? The kid is gonna think dad has chosen the new girlfriend over her and I doubt mum is gonna do anything to correct that perspective. None of this sounds like fun.... true?

    Or - compromise. Offer her an agreement where there is 6 month with no contact with you if she insists on 8 months then suck it up. Get it in writing, so in 6 months she can't change her mind. Get consent orders written up, offer to pay for them. Do whatever it takes to get a legally binding agreement that ensures dad's time with the kid is non-negotiable.

    Same with the child support. He is stupid to be paying anything beyond what child support assess. So, for example, he could argue with her. Tell her that he won't pay the extra if she is gonna continue to be so unreasonable. Do you think that is gonna work? nope me either. I've always been a fan of paying a little bit extra, if that is what it takes to get things sweet with the ex and for a while, it seemed to work. But all of a sudden she felt entitled to the extra, and entitled to tell me I needed to pay more.

    Stupid comparison - You go to a restaurant. The waiter is wonderful, food great, service awesome, table cloth clean, same with the plates, etc. Do you leave a tip? Yes, of course you do... You go to a different restaurant. There is a ciggie butt in your soup, the waiter farts as he walks past, the food is served on paper plates that are dirty. Do you leave a tip? Hell no.

    so I reckon he needs to suck it up. Keep paying, play by her rules, but once you have consent orders in place - then stop the extra payments.

    If that fails - then apply to court.
     
  3. Match

    Match Active Member

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    Thank you Sammy, appreciate the opinion and have convinced the partner to follow it. We shall see how the response goes :)
     
  4. Philly2020

    Philly2020 Well-Known Member

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    There were no orders in place and we'd been dating for approx 1.5 years. I'd been in contact with the son for 1 year.
     
  5. Hanna jaye

    Hanna jaye Well-Known Member

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    Recording phone conversations is illegal without her consent. Past judgements have had a no-contact order actioned over recording conversations. It was alleged to be a form of controlling stalking fear bought on behaviours.

    Have you thought about the fact that maybe the children don't like your partner for good reasons? As again shows courts your unwilling to put your children's best interest first and foremost.

    Regardless high conflict situations end up with 1 party getting next to no contact orders. As ultimately fit parents make fit choices.

    Regarding weekend visitations. What happens at one house cant be controlled at another home. If your ex has any grounds example would be FACS involved. If you are not protecting your children & instead allowing your children to be around that risk, then be prepared to have a no-contact order granted until they are 18 years old.
     
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