QLD Family Court - When Can Child's Views be Taken into Consideration?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Hope01, 3 March 2018.

  1. Hope01

    Hope01 Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm hoping for a little help about my 8-year-old son.

    I was with my ex for 18 months, left when my son was 9 months due to ex being emotionally and psychologically abusive, and became physical with my oldest son (not his child, and I think he did it to see how far he could push me).

    I got away. I was dragged through court and was basically called a liar, and because I left with the children without permission, even though I called the police out (rural property), and I was trying to protect my kids in court, he had visits with our son as soon as possible, even though I wasn't comfortable with it.

    They were supervised at first. He wanted to take both boys off me in family court but lost that.

    He lives 1200km away.

    Since 2013, my 8-year-old has been going to him every school holidays for 7 nights, and 3 weeks over Christmas. My 8-year-old is living with me and spends time with his father on these times. Court also granted that when the father is able, he is to give 14 days notice to me and come and spend time with our son from Friday to Monday whenever he wants, and also from a Friday to a Friday, dropping off and picking up at airport.

    Our son started school in 2015 in prep.

    There was an incident that resulted in the hospital reporting to DOCs in mid 2016, when I got my son back from a visit. He claimed his back was sore and I checked it. He told me what happened. I took him to hospital as doctors were closed to have it checked, and my son stood there and lied to the nurse about what happened in front of me. I explained that that was not what he told me and I told them what he had said (which was more consistent with the injury) and they re-questioned him about the injury and how it happened and he finally told the truth. He was scared of getting into trouble.

    I was shocked that he lied the first time and became concerned that he may be lying about other things that have been happening.

    Since then, his reluctance to go with his father has increased greatly. I just dropped him off and he was in tears trying to pull away from his father, but his father grabbed a firm grip on him and pulled him out the door with my son in tears trying to come back to me with me smiling saying have a good time being as positive as I could. I felt like crap later but I had to do it.

    In the early stages as a toddler, I wanted him to see a psychologist due to his aggressive behavior when he returns from visits, but the father said there was nothing wrong with him. Now our son has anxiety. He will repeat questions over and over to me, such as, 'Are you picking me up tonight from school?', 'Will the 7 sleeps go quick? (that's time with his dad)', and he will repeat and repeat and if I don't give him an answer right away, he gets angry at me then cries.

    As with this visit, he only gave me 6 days notice. I said that he could only have him after school and be back Sunday so he can go to school on Monday and he accused me of not supporting their father-son relationship, threatened me with family court orders again (this is a constant that I get threatened with the orders), threatened to exercise his right to take our son for a full week when he wants to regardless of school or not, all because I stood up for myself and no, not this time and said you did not give me 14 days notice.

    I am sick of feeling that I have to bend over backwards for him all the time and if I don't, I get threatened with court orders. I feel like he is making me responsible for his and his son's relationship, but it's not up to me. When he has him for the time, it's his time to build the relationship, not me. I hope that made sense, sorry for the rant.

    He questions my son constantly about what I am doing, who my friends are, if I have a boyfriend, what goes on at home. My son has told me all this. My son says that he gets annoyed when his father questions him all the time.

    My older son used to have to go on visits at the beginning but started refusing because he was sick of being threatened that he would never see me again by the ex. He now sees my oldest as a threat.

    My youngest is asking now why his brother doesn't have to go and see his dad. I can only say it's because he is older, and he and his dad sort out between them when they want to see each other (my oldest is now 15). So my youngest says now that when he is older, he's going to decide when he wants to go there or not.

    I have never ever said to my son at what age. I have just said "when you're older" and only because he brought it up. And I really hope I haven't said anything wrong.

    My concern is that he is (and has been) emotionally abusing our son. He is unpredictable with his rants/anger. He hides behind the fact he got married and has 2 kids, that he is a great father (thats what he said to DOCs).

    I can't seem to have a conversation with him as he uses all information against me at a later date.

    I'm sorry I wrote a lot, this is just a brief. I really am wanting to know, would my son's wishes, feelings, concerns be taken into consideration by the family court if it gets taken back to court?

    I will continue to try and co-parent with him but I feel some strict boundaries need to be put in place by the court.

    I hope someone can assist

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Hope01

    Hope01 Member

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    Does anyone know if I could edit my post? I think I put too much information in. I feel very silly and should have waited and re read before posting.
     
  3. SamanthaJay

    SamanthaJay Well-Known Member

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    I think you only get a short period of time to edit. I don't think you put too much info in. Give a few of the experienced posters a chance to read it and I'm sure they'll give you good opinions.
     
    Hope01 likes this.
  4. Hope01

    Hope01 Member

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    Thank you, I got a little nervous
     
  5. SamanthaJay

    SamanthaJay Well-Known Member

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  6. Lennon

    Lennon Well-Known Member

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    Are there existing court orders? If so, has there been a significant change in circumstances since those orders were made?

    In what respect is your ex "emotionally abusing" your son?

    Is your ex ranting/angry at your son? You haven't mentioned this.
     
  7. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    My first word of opinion is this: eight-year-olds don't make for reliable witnesses.

    From my understanding, what you want to do is essentially tell kiddo and dad that kiddo doesn't have to see dad if he doesn't want to.

    Not correct.

    You already have parenting orders, they remain in place until kiddo turns 18, and you have a legal obligation under those orders to ensure you're actively following those orders. This means more than just making the kids available, it means positively encouraging them to spend time with the other parent. All this is explained on the back page of your orders.

    So, let's say your next option is to have those orders amended and you want to use kiddo's opinion to influence the outcome.

    Let's look at this in perspective.

    If all the proof you have about this alleged abuse is coming straight from your son, and your son isn't even getting his story straight between you and a Nurse Jane from Saint Joe Bloggs Hospital, your chances of getting a reliable and consistent narrative from the kiddo for all the very big, very important people he's going to have to speak to about dad's alleged abuse, are pretty damn slim. The Court isn't convinced by kids who can't tell the same story twice.

    On top of that, the kid is only eight. Even if he gets to speak with a family consultant to get their recommendations about what's best for kiddo, he won't be considered old enough or educated enough to understand the long-term consequences of whatever he thinks he wants.

    Would you let kiddo have ice cream for breakfast because he asked for it? Stop going to school? Why not? Is it because he doesn't know what's best for himself? The Court doesn't think so, either.

    Now, there are also already Court orders in place, so all the evidence of this alleged abuse has either already been tested at trial or essentially made irrelevant by the parties because they overlooked it all and reached agreement instead.

    DOCS was made aware of concerns raised by a third party and the investigation amounted to nothing.

    There's no police involvement, no DVO, no breached DVO, no first-hand evidence about what's going on in dad's house, and as to kiddo's anxiety about coming home from dad's, maybe that's because he doesn't know when he's going to see his dad next. As to his resistance to go to dad's house, maybe that's kiddo's way of trying to make you feel better about it.

    Personally, I think you're on a hiding to nothing, here, but you might benefit from a post-separation parenting course.
     
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  8. Hope01

    Hope01 Member

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    Thank you for your thoughts.
    I know I only put up a brief of what has been happening I can't put it all on here, so I understand and appreciate your response.

    I have just spoken to my solicitor in regards to everything today. And I am now put at a little ease with what I can and can't do for our son and what our son can and can;t do for himself.
    I will continue to follow the court orders as I have been doing since they were made, and continue to support and encourage our son no mater what.
    Thank you again for all your advice and thoughts.
     
    nat 2015 likes this.
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