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SA Family Law - Prevent Access to Mother Due to Inconsistent Behaviour?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Concerned step parent, 28 December 2015.

  1. Concerned step parent

    Concerned step parent Active Member

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    Hi, this is my second post regarding our situation and it's not directly at what's occurring right now, but just something that might be good for future knowledge on our behalf.

    My partner and I have had 100% care of his daughter for just over 2 years. (All documented through Centrelink, child support, schooling, etc.). Stepdaughter's biological mother has a long history of drug abuse along with her partner who was incarcerated for some time due to manufacturing 'ice', dealing the drugs and outlaw bikie gang association.

    In the 2 years we have had 100% care, the biological mother has been on and off with her contact. In one instance we did not hear from her for just over 6 months until we made contact to advise her we were moving interstate.

    I'm just curious as to what would the outlook be given at some instances we have asked the biological mother to stop contacting until she could uphold a consistent relationship and visits/phone calls, etc. with my stepdaughter. She would call very sporadically & promise to call the next night which never happened, visit for a few weekends then be uncontactable and it affected my stepdaughter a great deal to even the point we needed to have a meeting with her school due to behaviour changes and endangering other students along with herself in some cases (she is only 4 and since living with us full time is the first time she had rules, etc).

    She is a great kid, very smart and normally listens well especially to her teacher. In the meeting, we were asked if anything changed at home and the only thing that had changed was her Mum started calling sporadically again. My partner then asked her mum not to contact again until she could be consistent because it seems to have a negative effect on his daughter.

    Would my partner and I be slammed if it ever went to family court for cutting off contact until her mother can maintain a consistent and positive relationship? We have lots of proof via messages of how long it will be before we hear from her again and that we usually make the contact first & we also have proof of a mediation agreement (was never sent through the family court to become a parenting agreement or court order) that the mother broke on the 4th visit by not turning up to collect step daughter for her visit, but instead, 4 hours later called and sent abusive messages advising she was at the location for pick up and we should have waited for her no matter how late she was because it was her time and she didn't care if we had plans.

    There's much more to this story, but I don't think it's relevant to the question I'm looking for an answer to.

    So in short, under Family Law - is it wrong for us to ask my stepdaughter's mother to only contact her once she can keep a consistent relationship or, at least, make consistent calls and not promise my stepdaughter she will call if she won't?
     
  2. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    My thinking goes like this: basically, the family law is common sense. So the agreement made at mediation is a proxy parenting plan. So that is one thing, it shows that you tried to come to an agreement. Good.

    So, is it wrong for you to ask mum to go away unless she can get her s**t together? Nope. Look, if it went to court she could argue that you've tried to alienate her daughter from her, but the missed visits, etc., are worse...

    Family law has one basic premise. The golden rule of family law is "best interest of the child". So, if you can reasonably establish that your motivation was in the best interest of the child then the court will be satisfied. Meanwhile, the mum is gonna have to establish her case and based on what you've said it seems pretty obvious that the mum needs to learn a bit about the whole 'best interest of the child' thingy.

    But more importantly, don't worry until you actually get a court attendance notice.
     
  3. Concerned step parent

    Concerned step parent Active Member

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    Thanks, Sammy, I didn't think we would have too much to worry about considering there is a substantial amount of evidence that she has never been able to be consistent for more than 4 weeks. I guess the school reports of the behavioural changes and whatnot might also work in our favour.

    We clearly understand she needs to have a healthy relationship with her mother but we believe that should also be consistent & also when her mum is 'sober' to be considered healthy.

    At this stage, we are not too concerned about family court as its threatened here and there but no notice ever comes but we can't afford to initiate it just yet, so focusing on preparing ourselves if it comes to the crunch.

    Thank you for your response.
     

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