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WA Family Law - Case Information and Affidavit for Family Court?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Mel1972, 9 February 2016.

  1. Mel1972

    Mel1972 Active Member

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    My ex-partner has (via legal aid) initiated the proceeding in regards to our 4-year-old son. The first family court date is 12 February 2016.

    I wasn't served the paperwork until 3 February. I am representing myself as I am a single mother receiving the Single Parent Pension and as he is getting legal aid, I am not entitled to their assistance. I was unaware that the rules require me to file and serve my Form 1A- Response to Initiating Application.

    I filed my Form 1A and Case Information Affidavit today 9 February with a letter explaining why I didn't file and serve within the correct time frame.

    My worry is that my response and case information affidavit may not be accepted into evidence and I may not have the chance to have my say and that he will get everything he is asking for.

    If anyone can provide me with some feedback I would appreciate it.
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    So, your first hearing is really just a mention - the evidence isn't tested or heard, it's basically two minutes in front of the judge so s/he can determine interim orders while proceedings get under way, and then set down a date for the next mention. Interim orders are generally an order for the time between the other parent and the child, and usually, for both parents to attend a family dispute resolution conference or attend a post-separation parenting course. The Court will try and use interim hearings to motivate both parents to try and sort out their dispute for themselves, rather than relying on the Court, which is why they don't test evidence.

    For the record, my husband's ex-wife filed her response 12 hours before the first mention. That's not to say you should make a habit of it - filing late may result in the other party seeking a costs order against you - but the court is usually tolerant of late filing in the case of early hearings because the evidence won't be tested. The other party, though, might prefer to adjourn, but probably won't bother since it's early in proceedings.
     
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  3. Mel1972

    Mel1972 Active Member

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    Thank you for your reply AllForHer.

    My ex is getting out from prison for breaching the VRO protecting myself and our 4-year-old. He's asking for interim orders which give him our boy Saturdays and Sundays every weekend.

    I have major concerns for his safety and fear that as I'm representing myself I'm very worried the court will grant my ex access.
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Without knowing anything about the case, I can say with a reasonable level of confidence that he probably will be granted time with his child because even if your ex is an unsavoury type, your child still has a legal right, under section 60B of the Family Law Act, to know, spend time and communicate with his father on a regular basis, insofar as his best interests can be met. If the court determines that the child's safety will be at risk, it might order supervised visits, but the chances of the court refusing time between parent and child all together are extremely small and rest assured that has nothing to do with your decision to self-represent, it just is what it is.

    Be careful about going overboard on restricting time between parent and child. The 'friendly parent' principal is holding strong in the Court these days, such that parents who go to unreasonable lengths to refuse a child's right to have a relationship with both parents run a high risk of losing custody. You're better off seeking orders for some time between parent and child, even if it's supervised. Seeking no time at all between parent and child is risky.
     
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  5. Mel1972

    Mel1972 Active Member

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    Thanks for your feedback. My ex is a domestic and family violence perpetrator( of which most of this was done in front of our boy) with 3 violence related criminal convictions and 6 DUI convictions. He has VROs against him from an ex-male co-worker and both women he was in relationships prior to me had VROs against him as well.

    Unfortunately, it would be irresponsible of me to support any contact between my ex and our son. All I am focused on is keeping my boy safe and protecting him from emotional abuse and exposure to the violence that comes hand in hand with his father.

    I don't want the courts to view me as an unfriendly parent and cannot run the risk of losing custody.

    As I've filed my response with final orders of no contact sought, how do I go about showing the court I am willing to explore the supervised visits option?

    Can I request he have supervised access and he attend a parenting course? If so how do I do this and when would it be appropriate?
     
  6. JS79

    JS79 Well-Known Member

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  7. Mel1972

    Mel1972 Active Member

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    Thank you for your feedback JS79.

    I filed the Form 4 at the same time I filed Form1A and Case Information Affidavit. I will definitely study the handbook you've recommended.

    I was advised by Legal Aid that I can call them back after the first hearing and then make an application for legal aid.

    My major concern is the safety and wellbeing of my boy however I don't want to alienate the court by appearing to be an "unfriendly parent."
     
  8. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    You can express your openness to the prospect of supervised time between parent and child and a post-separation parent course during your first mention. There will usually be a duty lawyer at the court on the day of the hearing who you can speak with before going in, so it might be worthwhile talking to them about what you are considering, and about proposing interim consent orders. Quite often, they will speak with your ex's lawyer on the day about negotiating consent orders in the interim as well, and then you can inform the court of your proposal during the hearing, or they can.

    To minimise the risk to yourself and your son, you should consider requesting the use of a contact centre, which is supervised by professionals who also report on how well or how poorly the time goes. It will provide a professional log that may support your case for no contact, and ensure your child is in a safe environment in the meantime.
     
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  9. Mel1972

    Mel1972 Active Member

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    Thanks so much AllForHer. Your feedback has helped me understand the unknown and put my mind at ease during this stressful time.
     
  10. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    No problem, please let us know how you go.
     
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