ACT Likelihood of family court

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sally234

Active Member
3 September 2020
5
3
31
Hi my ex husband is behaving badly again. Despite agreeing on a parenting arrangement to try out for 3 months during mediation, he went to a lawyer and sent me a nasty letter with an unreasonable parenting plan quite different to what was agreed at mediation stating that if I don’t agree to it he will take it to a court. I have a good lawyer and they have got agreement to stick with what was agreed in mediation for now, however he is still threatening to take it to a court as apparently he did not agree with what was agreed at mediation. My question is how likely is it that this will end up in a court?
I am very happy to discuss and negotiate with him either through a mediator or the lawyers but I am afraid that it will end up in a court if he doesn’t get everything he wants as there is a pattern of behaviour where he has a tantrum if I don’t do as he says. He has also threatened to make me pay for his legal costs if I don’t agree with his parenting plan. Does this ever happen ~ that the other person who is trying to avoid conflict has to pay the person taking it to courts costs?
How can I keep this out of a court and get agreement on a reasonable parenting plan that truly puts our daughters needs first not himself?
What behaviours would mean that he wouldn’t get 50 % if it went to a court? He has made many threats, ultimatums, put our daughter in the middle, etc. thanks for your advice
 
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sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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how old is the kid? what are the current arrangements. See it is hard to give advice when you've missed the most important info.

Chances of it going to court. 50/50. Maybe dad will apply, maybe dad wont. But again, without the most important facts it is hard to advise.
 

Step2Three

Well-Known Member
21 December 2018
35
12
154
As Sammy's said, there's not alot of information provided to base advice on.
As long as all you have are parenting plans, rather than orders (by consent or determined by the court) then you can only rely on goodwill to stop either party from refusing to follow it and unfortunately goodwill is often in short supply where separated parents are concerned.
My experience of mediation (even with lawyers) is that there is little incentive for some people (especially those seeking to maintain the status quo) to come to the party. Once a case is filed in court, that can change because people don't like others (i.e. judges/magistrates) making decisions for them and they will be more incentivised to find a solution themselves. To go to your questions:

My question is how likely is it that this will end up in a court?
Entirely dependent on you and the ex and how hard either one of you is going to push.

Does this ever happen ~ that the other person who is trying to avoid conflict has to pay the person taking it to courts costs?
This is likely to be a scare tactic from his lawyer. As I understand it, costs are not often awarded in Family Court, however if he could demonstrate that you were refusing to entertain reasonable offers and have effectively forced him to incur court costs in order to get the same outcome from a court as he has offered previously, there is a small risk.

How can I keep this out of a court and get agreement on a reasonable parenting plan that truly puts our daughters needs first not himself?

If you do not believe that he will agree to a parenting plan that is in the child's best interests then maybe you actually do need the court to force his hand.

What behaviors would mean that he wouldn’t get 50 % if it went to a court?

The phrasing of the question is concerning- you seem to be asking "How do I stop shared care?" without articulating any reasons why it would not be ok. The behaviors you've listed seem to be triggered by the uncertainty/dissatisfaction with the current care arrangement- would they continue in the future if the care was sorted out? At age 6, and in the absence of risks to your daughter, shared care can and should be a consideration, depending on practicality of such an arrangement- can both parents access school, can both parents provide a good living environment, can both parents make care arrangements if they are working etc.
It doesn't work for everyone, and it's not a default by any means, but if that's what he is seeking and you have another round of mediation, it would be worth having him clarify the reasons why he wants it and explaining what your concerns are with doing so and try and resolve those issues incrementally rather than just arguing over #'s of nights.
 

sally234

Active Member
3 September 2020
5
3
31
she stays 5 nights per fortnight with him at the moment and I think that this arrangement is working. It is not just the number of nights. In his plan there are a few things around Christmas, school holidays ( half the holidays is fine but in the 6 week summer break he is wanting week about which means neither parent can go away for longer than a week) etc that I don’t think will work.
There is a lot in his plan to suit him but not necessarily best for our daughter. I would rather just sit down with him and talk through things calmly than have lawyers and courts involved.
 
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sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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I think he is trying to intimidate you. It is not like you're refusing access.
But - Calm down.... Before you continue.
See your post reads like this. Dad is bad dad is bad and dad is bad. By the sounds of things he is getting some pretty dodgy advice. For example. You having to pay his legal bills. Nope no chance. Not unless you're being completely unreasonable... And you are not.
But - there needs to be a bit of give and take here. It isn't unreasonable for it to go week about during the long summer break. Maybe dad is mindful that YOU are the primary carer and as such more than a week away might be a bit to much for the kid at the age of 6.

Your best bet it to chill. Find ways to de-escalate situations. It is hard, obviously when relationships end there is tension. But do you really wanna be going through solicitors all the time for the next 12 yrs?

Find solutions. Week about - fine agree. But only if he agrees to do half / half from the time the kid is 10? Or have an order that states that you'll agree but you reserve the right to trade some time so you could go away for longer each alternate summer holidays. Find solutions...
cheers
 

Step2Three

Well-Known Member
21 December 2018
35
12
154
"Is this the hill I'm willing to die on?" <- practice asking yourself that question.

If you really want to close things out and move forward you need to work out what the non-negotiables are and what can give.

I get the frustration over holidays. One of my Step-daughters mothers insists that more than a week is too long for her to be away. The kid is in high school. Her younger sisters do spend 2 weeks with each parent through January, so she misses out on time with them, and then ends up here by herself when they're with their mother. It's not the best arrangement for her. Is it worth a fight in court? NOPE. So holidays are week about, unless mum and dad can make an alternative agreement for a specific holiday. Is there a reason he needs it to be week about?

Christmas- are the current Christmas arrangements in our house what we think is best? No- the kids spend Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day running backwards and forwards from house to house. It's crap and not 'best' for the kids. But in the grand scheme of things is it hurting them? No. Was it worth continuing a court case that had already kicked off all manner of mud-slinging and allegations, with all the surrounding conflict getting projected onto the kids, just to be 'right' about this? Nope. So we find a way to make the best of what we've got, like all separated/blended families have to.