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QLD Family Law - Grounds to Get Sole Parental Responsibility?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Pickle, 13 October 2016.

  1. Pickle

    Pickle Member

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    Hi,

    I'm seeking help on obtaining full parental responsibility and custody of children for my 3-year-old child. The father and I were together for over 10 years, before he became addicted to meth and is now a dealer and involved in crime, burglaries and assaults, which resulted in our separation.

    I have a temporary Violence Restraining Order against him. He's facing charges on intent to sell and supply and will likely to go jail. He's currently on bail at the moment. He's a dangerous man and involved in instigating attacks on other people and had also been attacked (and hospitalised) himself in retaliation.

    I don't want him near us and would like to relocate interstate. He's said he will stop me from leaving and is not interested in negotiating (ie I said we could come back for holidays each year so he can see our child, Skype, etc).

    He had nothing to do with our child when we were together, spent no time with him or undertook any care/parental duties. He was not interested. He's even said that he wants our child nearby just so he can pretend to be a doting father in the hopes of getting sympathy from the court to try to get a lighter sentence.

    I know it's hard to get sole parental responsibility, but do I have grounds to try to get it? Is it any easier to get if/when he goes to jail?

    I'm desperately worried about my child being exposed to his lifestyle and activities and coming to harm.

    Thank you for any family law help.
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    It is extremely difficult to get an order for sole parental responsibility, but provided everything you've said is backed by the evidence and isn't just speculation, then you might have a reasonable chance of getting It.

    That doesn't mean he won't get some time with the child, though.

    If you have no current orders, there's no rules for parenting, so he can't stop you from moving interstate (though likewise, that also means there's not much that can be done if he takes the child unilaterally). At best, he can apply for a recovery order, but like I said, if what you've said is accurate fact, then the Court is less likely to order the child be returned.

    What would I do? I would do whatever is necessary at this point to keep the child safe and I would wait until he, the father, files for parenting orders through the Court. The longer it takes him to file, the harder it is to disestablish any routines and circumstances that you've created for the child, and let's be frank, the father is facing proceedings of criminal nature, which is probably a reasonable deterrent for pursuing proceedings concurrently in the Family Court.

    If the police weren't pressing charges, I would probably take a different position, but the police won't generally press charges unless they are confident the evidence they have will result in a conviction, so that leads me to suspect this could potentially be seen in the Family Court as a risk scenario.

    In any case, you should have a chat with Legal Aid, which offers free legal advice for family law matters, but personally, I wouldn't be instigating Family Court proceedings of my own accord yet, because once you do, you lose all control of the situation and the Court takes over, which may result in an outcome at the opposite end of the scale to what what you applied for.
     
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  3. Pickle

    Pickle Member

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    Thank you for your reply.

    If I did move interstate without any orders, and then he tries to get a recovery order (or files parental orders), would it go against me having left the state without having his consent to move? What I've said is backed up by evidence. I think the police are pretty confident of a conviction.

    I don't want to risk doing the wrong thing in case it goes against me later, but I'd really like to go ASAP if I can.
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    I would be lying if I said it can't *potentially* go against you, because it can, but what's important to consider is how it would affect the outcome, if a recovery order was filed by the father.

    Generally, the pattern in relocation cases is hard to determine, but it's fairly common knowledge that the Court doesn't like to undo a parent's right to freedom of movement unless it has very good reason to do so.

    Often, that 'very good reason' is because the evidence shows the child will be unable to maintain a meaningful relationship with the parent left behind if the relocation is allowed, because the relocating parent does not support or encourage a child's relationship with the left-behind parent.

    It doesn't sound like that's necessarily the case here. It sounds like you've tried to negotiate about returning with the child for school holidays and facilitating Skype calls, so clearly, you're not seeking to cut dad out completely, and the Court is going to give you credit for retaining that attitude.

    Provided your hands are clean of wrongdoing, and considering the circumstances around the father's criminal charges, then it's probably not terribly likely that the Court would make a recovery order if you relocated, especially if the relocation was for good reason.

    So, I guess it comes down to assessing the risk. Will the Court order the child return without you to live with the father? Probably not. Will it order you to return to live with the father? Maybe, but it's probably not as likely as the Court enabling you to remain wherever you relocate to.

    But, my guidance comes from a place of knowing only a tiny fraction of the story. I don't know what the father's position is, which is why I suggest speaking to Legal Aid. Hope this helps in some way.
     
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  5. Pickle

    Pickle Member

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    Thank you very much for your help, it's given me some hope. I'll follow up with Legal Aid and see what my best course of action is.

    Thank you.
     

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