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VIC Family Law - Can Ex Refuse to Share Information About Children?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Kmacmumma, 22 June 2016.

  1. Kmacmumma

    Kmacmumma Active Member

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    At the moment, my ex-partner has our children Wednesday night through to Friday morning one week, and Wednesday night to Sunday night the other week. He lives 45 minutes away (not in a city, regional area). I have expressed my concern to him about not knowing how our 8-year-old gets to and from school in his care. He works 6:30 am to any time in the afternoon as his work dictates. He says he doesn't have to tell me what goes on when the children are in his care.

    I've said I'm not happy with the arrangement and we have a Legal Aid Family Dispute Resolution conference in August. He wants 50/50 shared care. I have said no due to distance, history of Domestic Violence and his lack of communication about the children. I also don't know how our 3-year-old is cared for on Thursdays. He goes to two different daycare centres the rest of the week.

    He also does not tell me where he is going away with the children when they have holidays. I don't care about how they are fed or clothed and other day to day things, but it worries me about not knowing if the children are cared for and if they get to school or not.

    Is this unreasonable under Family Law?

    He is aware of who collects and drops off the children at my care times.
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    These aren't major, long-term decisions that fall under the legal doctrine of shared parental responsibility, which makes them day-to-day decisions and the responsibility of the parent with whom the children are spending time. In short, provided the child is actually attending school (which can be determined from the child's attendance record), how the child gets there when with the father is not your business. The same applies to where the children are going on holidays during their time with the father.

    For the record, my husband's ex refused to facilitate court-ordered holiday time on grounds that we refused to tell her where we were going, and the judge told her, quote unquote, "Where they go on holidays is absolutely none of your business." It was seen as an act of control and an unjustified invasion of our privacy. I'd suggest against pushing this matter too far.

    If the father doesn't alert you to any major incidents while the children are in his care, and the child's attendance record looks fine, then you may need to simply accept that it is what is is and assume they're just fine.
     
  3. Kmacmumma

    Kmacmumma Active Member

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    Just worries me in case of emergencies. Don't care about the rest!

    Oh well, Thank you anyway :(
     
  4. MartyK

    MartyK Well-Known Member

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    Do you have Court Orders? If yes, is there anything in them in relation to having to inform the other parent about holidays et al? If not, then, he is right when he says he does not have to tell you. Just as you would not have to tell him, although, I can't see how not answering such simple questions asked to each other could be of any benefit to the children or to the present shared care arrangement. Most parents wouldn't bat an eyelid in answering the same questions to anyone else.

    What you hope to accomplish with the FDR?
     
  5. Kmacmumma

    Kmacmumma Active Member

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    No court orders. My daughter has said she is scared when she doesn't know who is picking her up or where she needs to go. Also, in case of emergencies. For instance, we live in Vic, if either of us go to Queensland for a holiday, for example, what if something happens?

    I mean, it would be a shock for him too to get a call saying "Hey, your kids are on life support, you need to get to Queensland ". I know that's extreme but it could happen. He's abused me for taking our kids on a day trip to Melbourne once as well.
     
  6. MartyK

    MartyK Well-Known Member

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    How you raise things can sometimes make a difference. FDR might well be a good medium for you to discuss these issues together. If you can express your concerns while still making it clear to him that your intentions are not to attack his parenting, rather to improve the exchange of communication between you and him for the children, he may be more amenable to the discussion.
     
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  7. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Just for insight, the reason we ceased telling my husband's ex about where we were going on holidays, is because she would use the information as a transparent excuse not to facilitate my stepdaughter's attendance. Of the many holidays we've taken in the past few years, exactly 0% have been enjoyed without some associated drama, all for reasons that insinuated we had to meet her expectations before we were able to take holiday time. Examples include, 'I don't know where that is, so she is not going; That is too far away, so she is not going; I do not want her going on holidays with her step-mother, so she is not going; I do not want her driving on the beach, therefore she is not going.'

    She also showed extraordinary commitment to her position, much to the detriment of my stepdaughter. The police were called on three occasions when holiday time commenced, we sometimes received 100+ text messages from her every day of the holiday, and even the holidays that were just my husband and I without my stepdaughter were met with aggressive, critical text messages at our departure, stating 'You're a terrible father for not taking your daughter with you!'

    Rather than simply ask herself if her daughter would enjoy a vacation with her father, she was focused entirely on getting her way, and reigning hell upon us if we did not comply with her demands.

    I give her credit for creativity, but the consequence of her actions has been a severance of communication all together - we no longer have to inform her of when we are going on holidays, let alone where or for how long. Our care arrangements are 50/50, but our parenting regime is strictly parallel, as ordained by the Court, to ensure the degree of conflict that my stepdaughter is exposed to is kept to a minimum. Never knowing all the finer details of the other parent's household has forced the parties to trust each other, and I would say it's been more beneficial than the excessive and abusive communication style they had before.

    Long story short, find out, without accusing anyone, what the hesitation is about keeping one another informed, and address that first.

    For us, the concern was the exploitation of the information we provided to withhold the child's holiday time with her father. It could have been addressed easily enough by an agreement that such information would be provided for information purposes only and is not a condition of holiday time taking place.

    Hopefully, this provides some helpful insight from the other side of the fence, though I certainly hope things are significantly more amicable for you than they have been for us.
     
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  8. Kmacmumma

    Kmacmumma Active Member

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    Wow that's crazy. I feel for you. All I'd like is to know they got there safe, no address just roughly where and when they will be returned.

    I hope things will be more amicable for us too.
     
  9. MartyK

    MartyK Well-Known Member

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    Yours is a situation I have heard time and time again AllForHer from both sides of the fence.

    The original posters question is not something you can answer from a law school text book but you are correct in saying it is never good to assume anything when details are unknown. All texts and research support co-operative parenting over parallel parenting.

    The parents here do not have Court Orders and have been able to work it out on their own so far. While this could certainly change, and does sometimes, it is always better to try the co-operative approach and see how it works out rather than jumping to conclusions about the other parents reactions.

    Many separated parents, again from both sides of the fence, will never be able to get past the acrimony.
     
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  10. Kmacmumma

    Kmacmumma Active Member

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    Thank you both. It's difficult. I must say I have no hate for the children's father. I'm disappointed in him and his behaviour, especially the DV. He still tells me I have mental disorders all the time ( I have anxiety, and go to therapy but do not require medication). I do genuinely worry for the children though, especially my eldest who remembers the DV and it affects her the most. Hopefully the FDR conference sorts things out. I saw it has an 80% success rate.
     

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