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VIC Family Law - Access to Only One Child on Christmas?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by EllyElly, 22 September 2016.

  1. EllyElly

    EllyElly Member

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    Hello.

    I have 2 kids under the age of 3. The father is requesting the eldest of the 2 for Christmas (he has no interest in the youngest, he won't even acknowledge him as his child even though the DNA testing proved he was). I've said that it's fine for him to have the child on Christmas day after 9 am, give or take.

    He hasn't seen either children in more then 6 months now and has very little interest in video calls. I don't think it's fair to the kids to be separated on such a special day cause dad all off a sudden feels like been a dad to one child and not the other.

    I haven't said no to the whole day. I've just said no to Christmas eve and wake up morning. The days following or prior, he's welcome to have the child. He's hurling abuse left, right and center at me. I won't even repeat the foul words and posting nasty picture quote things on Facebook about what a dead beat mother is and mums who use their children to get back at dads, etc. (I found this out from a mutual friend, ringing me to question me about what I've done...)

    I know you guys give very black and white opinions. Am I wrong by saying no under Family Law?

    I feel that until he has a good relationship with both kids and wanting both kids at the same time, they should never be separated for special occasion mornings. When they are old enough and one says no, I want to be with dad, then so be it, but while they are so little? I don't know if my sentimental side of wanting them together for the morning is getting in the way of what's best for them.

    thank you
     
  2. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Look, without court orders / consent orders / parenting plan, there is no right answer. So the best answer is do what is best to make you look good if it were to go to court. Based on what you've written, offering him 4-5 hours with both kids Christmas morning is reasonable. I would also suggest that you offer him some weekend time leading up to Christmas and if he accepted that then maybe extra time around the holidays would make sense....

    But - how old is the youngest kid? How far away does dad live from kids?

    Yep, the kids should be together, unless the youngest is 18 months old or younger. Then it gets messy.

    For a while there I had my eldest 2 kids 4 nights a fortnight but the youngest only 2 nights. Fair enough he was still breast feeding. So there are other factors to be considered...

    So, nope, not wrong under family law... But it would be a good idea to try and find a reasonable compromise. So I'm assuming this is the first Christmas since the separation?

    So what if you agree for him to have the kids from 2 pm until 6 pm for example and explain that you'd expect him to have both kids for Christmas eve / Christmas day next year....

    Sound sensible?
     
  3. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Tricky situation. I'm assuming there are no court orders?

    Look, ordinarily, Christmas is split on an alternating yearly basis. One parent has Christmas Eve and the majority of Christmas Day, the other has Christmas night and the majority of Boxing Day. In our case, one has Christmas Eve night and Christmas morning, and the other has Christmas night through to 2nd January, because that's what works best for the time each parent has off over the Christmas period.

    The tricky part in your situation is that dad will only take one child, not both.

    Over the long haul, and especially if the youngest grows up aware that her dad is the father of both siblings, that's going to cause some major problems for both children. I am not easily guided by my own emotions, but even I find myself wondering how comfortable I would be sending one child away to spend time with dad while the other is rejected and made to feel not good enough for his attention.

    At the moment, you can probably get away with treating the situation like parents do in blended families - for us, our kids are going to know it's normal for their sister to be separated from them for at least part of Christmas Day because she's going to go spend some time with her mum, who is different to their mum.

    But as your kids get old enough to gain some awareness about the situation, and they learn that dad's love only extends to one child and not both, it's going to cause immense pain for them both, so I think it's important to try and get that addressed sooner rather than later, maybe through counseling for dad or similar. Unless you plan to raise them as half-siblings, I just can't see how it's in the children's best interests to have dad spend time with one, but not the other.

    If it were me, I would probably agree to him having the older after 9am this year, but I would also insist that such arrangements won't be facilitated in future until he is prepared to celebrate such occasions with both of his children, rather than just one.
     
  4. EllyElly

    EllyElly Member

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    Thank you very much to both of you for your help.

    Sorry for the lack of important details. There is no court order or parenting plan. He gave up on mediation, so nothing was settled there and since he doesn't care much to see them or talk to them, I just left it be. He lives about 17 hours away; his choice to relocate.

    I'm happy for him to have the eldest for over night visits. There is a small bond the two share. I'm flexible in every way for the child to see his father other than I won't separate them for Christmas.

    The youngest is about to turn 1 in 2 weeks. There is nothing stopping the father from having him, no breastfeeding or things that can only be done by me for day visits other than the fact that the child does not know who dad is at all.

    Sammy you mentioned if the child was under 18 months things gets messy? Is that to say as he is so young he knows no different if his brother is or isn't there for Christmas?

    This is the second Christmas since the separation. He had zero interest in seeing them last year, even though he was 2 hours away from my location for a sporting event. He did do a Facetime but used it as an opportunity to abuse me in front of the eldest.

    I personally don't know what to do about him not wanting anything to do with the youngest. He left me when I was pregnant with the youngest for another woman who he has had a baby with 2 months ago, so for my youngest I feel like there will be all sorts of problems to deal with. And suggesting him doing counselling will score me nothing but an earful of abuse. I won't win.

    Thanks again for your help.
     

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