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QLD Family Law - Can't Find Ex and Daughter - What to Do?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Jamie0191, 26 January 2016.

  1. Jamie0191

    Jamie0191 Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm a young 25 Year old father to a beautiful 5-year-old daughter. I've been trying to get some kind of custody of children for my daughter since she was about 8 months old since my Ex-partner would randomly allow me to see her and then refuse. I've been through relationships Australia & I am currently seeing my second lawyer and he seems to tell me "we should have court on x date" a lot. I think I've heard that line at least 20 times in the last 3.5 Years.

    2 years ago, my ex-partner Allowed me to have our daughter for her 3rd birthday, then again on the weekend a fortnight later. Long story short, she would allow me to see our daughter when she felt like it. Sometimes, I could go 6months to a year without hearing from her and then suddenly she wants to allow me to see our daughter.

    My ex-partner was living in a house on her parents' farm, But they have since sold that property & my ex-partner has since disappeared and rumour has it she has moved to Brisbane (5 hours drive from a place of birth/my current Residency). My family and I have not seen or heard from my daughter or her mother for 2 years now.

    There are no Family Court Orders in place, no Domestic Violence Order, nothing at all going against me or my family. I am on her birth certificate, I am even forced to pay child support as it comes directly out of my wages.

    My lawyer called me last in August 2015 telling me the date for Family Court, told me to call him back in the first week of June to confirm, which I did and of course, he was in court that day and I was told he would get back to me. He never did, so I called again later that week. The same thing happened. Since then I have not heard from him or his office.

    The last thing I did for my lawyer was to fill out paperwork for a children's solicitor. I believe that was late 2014/ early 2015 (Questions such as: where I live, who lives with me at this address, my birthdate name, etc., and the exact same questions about my ex-partner which I couldn't even begin trying to answer and also if I had any concerns about my daughter's well-being)

    What can I do as a worried father under Family Law?

    My lawyer seems like he's hardly doing anything, or is this just how slow it is trying to get custody?

    Can my ex-partner legally take off and "hide" like this?

    From what I understand both parents have the right to be a part of the child's life, but I thought legally unless a court order of some description states otherwise, you must inform the other parent of the child's whereabouts?

    What makes this even harder on me is, it is not just me being refused access, it's also my whole family. Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. My daughter should be starting Prep this year and I don't even know where she is, who she's living with or if she is even safe.

    Regards
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    So, to clarify, has your lawyer filed an initiating application for parenting orders to be determined by the court? Have you had any appearances at court at all?
     
  3. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    You take your car to a mechanic, it breaks down on the way home. Do you go back to the same mechanic? Nope. So go see another solicitor.

    Here is a really rough guide to solicitors: If the solicitor gets back to you within 2-3 days, they are ok at their job. If they take a week or more, then forget it and go get a decent solicitor.

    Based on what you've written, you really need to get to court and if your current solicitor has not at least filed for court then he has screwed you around. Sadly, I don't have any good suggestions on remedying that. I reckon that is why people aren't always fond of solicitors.
     
  4. Jamie0191

    Jamie0191 Member

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    I had to pay a small fee I think about $180 which was to initiate court proceedings but I have never stood in the courtroom or in front of a judge. My lawyer has stated that he has "brought my case before the judge" but I am yet to actually be in the courtroom myself. This is what confuses me.

    The lawyer I am using is the owner of his law firm and is praised as "The best lawyer in town" yet 90% of the time I contact him he is in court either in Brisbane or Townsville. To me, it seems like he hasn't done a thing/ has taken on too many clients and is just screwing me around. I haven't had a bill from him, but he has sent letters to my ex-partner in the past which I received a copy of.
     
  5. Jamie0191

    Jamie0191 Member

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    I know exactly what you're saying their sammy. This is why I'm asking. The lawyer/solicitor I'm seeing as mentioned above is praised as "the best in town" especially for family court matters. Sometimes, he will call me from Brisbane when I call his office, other times it could be up to a week before hearing from him, and usually, that is because I keep going to his office asking for him.

    My first solicitor was my mother's solicitor, a female solicitor and after being accused of using drugs and being alcoholic with anger management, I was told I needed to attend an anger management night class and provide clean urine and blood tests and then I would be allowed every 2nd weekend. I did all this as those claims are just outrageous, but nothing was given as promised. This is why I changed lawyers mainly. Also, the fact any letter sent to my ex-partner was basically ignored and they just kept making their own demands but never delivering the promises.

    Is finding another lawyer my only option in your opinion? Child Services or any other government group or even the police can't help with anything. Like right now, my main concern is not knowing which town/state/country my daughter is in. Yes, I want to see her and be apart of her life but right now, I'd like to know if she is even still in the state/country.
     
  6. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    I would be making an appointment with your solicitor to find out what is happening. Or change solicitors. Maybe even go back to the first solicitor, but you're gonna have to push them into action.

    Look no one else has the authority to provide private details. If anyone could, it would definitely be child support but they're not gonna help you.
     
  7. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    This sounds like a really frustrating case.

    Generally speaking, initiating applications cost about $580 to file with interim orders, potentially more if your solicitor did it for you. The low cost and the fact that you haven't appeared at any hearings yourself makes it sound like they've filed for consent orders, but I'm not sure how that could be if the ex has seemingly disappeared and won't play ball.

    I agree that it's probably time to change lawyers and get a clear handle on your case. I don't have a great deal of experience with Commonwealth Information Orders, but it is my understanding that you can seek such an order to find out the location of the child in one way or another. The Court may order Centrelink or another government department to disclose any information it has about the other party's whereabouts.

    Your first priority, however, is getting legal advice, and I would suggest doing so from a party that is not yet involved in the case, even if it's just a free consultation with Legal Aid. There needs to be a clearer understanding of where you case is at in terms of court proceedings if it's in the court system at all.

    I also think it would be beneficial to you to inform yourself of the legislation and processes for family law matters, even if it's only to a basic level. I realise lawyers are hired to deal with the jargon on your behalf, but if I have learned anything about lawyers during my time in the field of law, it's that they're not always sympathetic to the term 'lay person', so to speak.
     
  8. JohnDadof3

    JohnDadof3 Active Member

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    Hi Jamie0191,

    I had a similar problem but with 3 kids.

    I persuaded my ex to move back to Brisbane from Sydney by buying her a car and giving her $4000 on top of the $2000 I give her per month.

    As soon as I knew she was here, I went straight to the Family Law court and filled out an initiating parenting application form. It cost me $460 and it stopped her from leaving the state.

    In the application, I am requesting full custody of my 3 children, however, if that fails then I will have a court order stating that I will get shared care every 2nd weekend. This will give me a chance to stabilise my children, give them the appropriate health care like the dental work that is needed and also teaches them morals, principles and ethics.

    My court case is late February.

    I will respond with the decision.

    PS. I was instructed by CSA to spread the word that parents should pay child support to CSA but the funds only are released to the responsible parent upon visitation, however, there needs to be a change in the law.
     
  9. Gary Huddleston

    Gary Huddleston Active Member

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    Hi Jamie,
    Until the final hearing, everything is simply paperwork, with brief court appearances. When you appear in court the Judge will ask you to make submissions. In other words briefly describe what has happened to date, and the interim orders you require.

    Orders sought:
    1) Significant time with the child. State what you want and how it will be achieved. i.e Third party handover etc.
    2) Within the Orders sought, ask the Judge to include that the child can not be removed from the town you live in or Australia without consent of both parties. Ask the Judge to include the child on a watch list to prevent being taken out of the country.
    2) A recovery Order. You can download a Recovery Order Form from the Family Law website. You can ask the Judge to make an order allowing relevant agencies to locate the child.

    Depending on your financial circumstances the court may ask you to pay a fee. You can also ask that the fee is waived.

    A recovery Order is an Application in a Case: Fill out the form, and file with an Affidavit.

    At the court mention, ask for a final Hearing date at the earliest point. If not, solicitors will drag the matter out for as long as possible, which will lead to further conflict between you and your ex.

    Try to have as little contact with your ex as possible.

    Good Luck
     
    Negel likes this.

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