NSW General Custody of Children Questions?

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Groovecow

Active Member
3 November 2016
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Hi all,

I am the father of two children; my daughter is 3, and my son (not biological, though he has no contact with his bio-Dad) is 8. I have started family court proceedings to apply for full custody of children and am now waiting for a date. My solicitor has marked the application urgent as contact has been ceased completely with threats of an AVO if I get in contact with her or the children.

There was no precedent for this except for a new relationship on her part. She has since gotten engaged to this man, moved my son's school and moved towns without any consultation. She also wants to get a paternity test done for my daughter (though I have no doubts on that).

There have been multiple times the children have been in an unsafe environment, from taking incorrectly stored alcohol and tablets, to ex boyfriends of hers stalking and trying to break into her place, to her breaking into my place, to my son not having enough lunch to go to school with, to her now saying she wants my son to have a relationship with his bio-dad despite previously putting an AVO out on him... the list goes on!

She has also lost custody of her two older children, and they live with their father.

I am aware that the courts have to notify my son's bio-dad, that an application has been made. I'm not sure he will turn up, or even if the danger from him is real, (as in I'm not opposed to my son knowing his bio-dad, and having regular contact if safe.) Though I have been his Father since he was two, during which he has had no contact with the bio-dad.

She plans to represent herself, though I think she is entitled to legal aid. She can also be quite volatile. She has only spoken to my solicitor twice, both times she has hurled expletives at him, and I can see her doing that to a judge... or at the least, not following correct court proceedings.

I guess at the end of this, I'm asking what are my chances of full custody of children? (She would still have access of course) Are the courts likely to award custody of my son to me despite the circumstances? Is my daughter's age a factor?

Any help or support would be fantastic! I also realise it's only one side of the story you are all hearing, and apologise for that. It's been two months since any access at all, and it's been one of the hardest things I've ever been through.

Thank you!
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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What are your chances? Look, no-one can really help with that. It would be picking a number out of a bag.

You have lots going for you. So legal aid rarely see things all the way through to court. They help with mediation, etc. It is possible to have success self-representing - but only if she is smart - doesn't seem to be the case...

Get to court ASAP.

Why did she lose the other two kids?
 
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Groovecow

Active Member
3 November 2016
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Hi,

Thank you for your reply. I guess I should rephrase, (though the answer might be the same!) Would the judge be willing to give custody of a non biological child to a person of interest? We, unfortunately, split before any sort of adoption could take place. He was known by my last name at his school for at least three years though, and calls me dad. My solicitor says it's pretty much a non-issue, just more if people have had experience with that?

I can tell you this, she would have no logical answer as to why contact was cut for me. I have a stable job, don't do drugs, have never put the children in danger or neglect, and have a very supportive family that live local.

I did not know that with legal aid, though, I don't think she does either. She would be on a higher wage than me now if combined with her partner, so I'm not sure why she won't seek any legal advice. I'd love to say it's arrogance on her part... I don't know.

I'm hoping to get to court this year, at least for the interim hearing. I believe she will try and postpone the court, either by being sick or things like that. I'm not sure what happens in that case?

What she told me with the older children and custody was that he had a solicitor, she did not. If I had to hazard a guess, it would be for the same reasons as I'm going for custody. Her ex always seemed like a reasonable person, and had a good stable job, and relationship.

So many red flags in this relationship... good god, what was I thinking at the time!

Again, thank you for any help or general help!
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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Ok, so chance of getting primary care (not custody - don't use that word anymore) of son? Look, you would have to establish for both kids that there are welfare risks.... But anyone who can establish an ongoing relationship with a child can make a claim in court to grant some access - so grandparents, etc.

Courts are impatient with fools - so if she plays games it will help you. But it is a long process, sometimes I think courts drag it out so that fools can hang themselves...

Now if she has no access to the older kids, that isn't because her ex had a good solicitor - not even close. Look, I reckon you're better off going for lots of time - unless you can well and truely establish that she is a negligent parent, that requires lots of involvement from welfare services.
 
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Groovecow

Active Member
3 November 2016
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31
Hiya,

Sorry for the lingo, will correct that for the future. I realise again it's only one side of the story, I do believe the children's welfare are at risk at present, though I don't intend to deny her access. I do think she shows repeated poor judgement, though not intentionally.

My primary concern is getting access restored at the very least. I worry about what a drawn out process would have on the children, but don't intend to give up the fight, so to speak. She has moved 40 ks away, so I'm not sure what sort of time would be reasonable with that?

My son has had some behavioural issues in the past year, which his old school were on top of, the newer school is a much smaller one, and when I spoke with the principal, she had not made him aware of any of the issues he had been having.

Her court orders for the older children were every second weekend, and split holidays. Her eldest refuses to visit, and the other only for a few days in the holidays. I was going off what she told me with the court. I don't really believe that anymore. I'm not sure how much that would influence my application, (I'm pretty much asking for the same thing.)

If she were to draw out the court appearance, at what stage do the courts get sick of that? Would they make a ruling that some time gets restored to me, without hearing her side of the argument?

I worry about all the time apart and how it would affect them.
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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You should expect interim orders pretty quickly - basically, ask for half holidays every second weekend, Friday through to Monday morning if you can. Or more... So you should get that pretty easily uness she accuses you of abuse.

40 km? Inner city? Suburbs? The country?

Now hint - makes sense and is reasonable to meet half way, but don't seek orders where you pick kids up from school. Makes it harder for her to withhold the kids from you or be a few hours late dropping them off. There are lots of nasty tricks out there that nasty people play.
 
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Groovecow

Active Member
3 November 2016
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Hi Sammy, again, thank you for replying!

Solicitor and I have gone in with myself having primary care, and my ex having every second weekend/ holidays split between us. He didn't like to give chances (who does really?). He initially wanted to go as you have suggested, but upon hearing more said lets go full primary care.

He stated there is about a 65-70% chance of succeeding, I'm not sure if they are good odds for a case? I'm taking any time given as a win though, as any time is better then no time at all. Previously I had the children every Monday night, Tuesday night for dinner, (and swimming lessons that I initiated.) And every second weekend from Friday to Sunday evening. That's not including extra days where she had to work, or wanted "time off."

I live in a town that is close to Canberra of around 30000 people, she has moved to a smaller one of around 2000. I hear you on the tricks! Have got the solicitor to cover them pretty well, as experience has taught me.

I'm at the stage of getting cameras for the house and car, as I'm expecting some blow back from the affidavit being served. I'm not sure she will go the abuse road, I've steeled myself for it, but there would be no grounds at all for it... though I know that does not stop people.

I'm hoping that the interim may get heard this year, I'm not sure of the turn around on them? Again I've steeled myself for the wait.

From reading the forum I see a lot of suggestions that the parent who works to establish the relationship with the other parent is usually seen as the more responsible parent. I've laid some pretty harsh truths in my affidavit, I'm certainly open to working with her. I know she isn't, (it's always been a her way or the highway type deal,) and I have seven parenting plans from her, with no input from me, that I have been expected to follow.

I'm hoping the courts wont see me as vindictive, though I'm not sure how they could not. Would it sound stupid to say to a judge, that despite what I have listed, I'm open to working with her?

Despite the danger she puts the kids in, they do love her and I don't want to deny them time. I genuinely believe she has some mental health problems and cannot see what she has done, and what she is doing is seriously detrimental to them.

Again, thank you! :)