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NSW Family Law - Mother Representing Herself in Family Court?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by cheyanne beard, 27 April 2016.

  1. cheyanne beard

    27 April 2016
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    My mother and her partner had 2 children together while being together for 9 years. My mother left him due to constant drinking & lack of communication with us kids. She had taken us 3 kids to a car park to stay temporarily until we had better accommodation. Basically, we had to move away from the area in which the father was due to harassment & consistent drinking & driving from him. We had moved to Heathcote a few hours away & were staying in a caravan park whilst my mother & her new partner looked for work for better housing.

    Us kids were enroled into the local school & were to begin after the holidays. The 2 kid's father's friends & brother had said that he had been drinking, driving & had been using drugs. For this reason, mum had not let him visit the kids. Around Christmas time in the holiday, mum had been in contact with the father & his family & was convinced enough to let him see the kids. His brother met my mum & her new partner In the next town & let his brother take the kids to see their father as she didn't drive under the agreement via speech & text message that he would drop them off after Christmas day.

    Mum then received a phone call from him saying things that were way out of context & in no way were true for this matter. He decided to keep the children. Mum had made the mistake of not going to family court straight after the breakup leaving this situation without a court order changed our lives forever. This happened all in 2012-2013 & still are without them.

    We get visits but due to the kids' poor behaviour as their father works constantly & has them with babysitters, it is quite hard to enjoy the time with them. Mum disciplines them & as soon as they start behaving properly, they have to return to their father's & when they come back here, they are misbehaving again & really it's just an unhealthy cycle. Mum has been looking for someone to help a bit after 2 years with a local solicitor who sent her on a goose chase all for nothing & then literally ditched her.

    I'm looking for help on whether mum could possibly represent herself as she is a caring mother & if our situation is told straight up & with the father working literally day and night all week and weekend, I believe she has a fighting chance to try to get her kids back.

    We have tried legal aid but haven't found anyone with the experience in family law so they do not want to help as much or those who just in it for the money & it's becoming quite stressful for us all. If anyone has any information on any of the above, I would be most grateful & appreciative.

    I thank you all for your support in advance.
  2. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

    27 September 2015
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    So next time the kids visit don't return them.
  3. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    23 July 2014
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    So, my view, just on what you've said?

    Likelihood of gaining residency is extremely, extremely low.

    If your mother withholds the children now, the father could apply for, and would probably succeed in getting a recovery order from the Court, which he would combine with an application for parenting orders. There's a status quo for care arrangements in place - the kids live with dad and spend time with mum, that's the routine they're now used to, and uprooting them unilaterally now from home, school and community are not going to be a good demonstration of your mother's capacity to put the children's best interests first. It will be hard to persuade the court to undo current care arrangements after nearly four years, and you haven't provided any compelling reasons as to why the residency arrangements should be changed.

    To the contrary, in fact, the father has shown more willingness to support and encourage the children's relationship with their mother than the mother has shown in reverse - she unilaterally relocated with the children without the father's consent, withheld them for reasons unproven outside of the mother's personal opinion to have posed a risk to the children, and is now highly critical of the father in such a way that the Court may have concerns that if the children were placed back into her residential care, they would be at risk of losing the meaningful relationship they now have with their father. The father, on the other hand, is facilitating regular contact between the mother and children even under the risk that she might one day relocate unilaterally again or decide not to return them.

    For context, you are critical of how much the father works and immediately blame him wholly and absolutely for the children's behavioural problems, but the more likely cause is a blend of issues across both households, not just his - difficulty transitioning between households because the parties are unable to communicate to establish shared routines for the children; negative impact on the children due to conflict between the parents or denigration of one parent against the other; etc. etc. etc. It's not a good look before the court to blame the father for the children's poor behaviour when they're in your mother's care.

    It's also not a good look to call the father a drunkard and a druggie when he quite clearly poses no significant risk to the children, and his capacity to work suggests it doesn't impact on his capacity to parent, either. They're housed, clothed, fed and financially supported, and if there was a risk to the children, the court would ask why, then, was it not acted upon four years ago?

    So, in short, if you present this case, as it is, to the Court seeking residency, it will probably result in a lot of wasted time and money, so you're better off considering this case in the context of it being what it is - the kids live with dad, and spend time with mum, and it's unlikely the Court would award a change of residency when there's no compelling reason to do so. Tell your mother to attend mediation, try and negotiate more regular care time, and attend a post-separation parenting course.

    Otherwise, it might be time for legal advice.
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    teflongirl likes this.

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