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SA Mediation and Family Court - Son's Mother Threatening to Call Police?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Heidi Watson, 13 August 2015.

  1. Heidi Watson

    Heidi Watson Member

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    In previous mediation we had allowed her to collect our son on Monday, our week and take him to tutoring after the stress of her constantly questioning our son, then texting or calling us, blaming and abusing us.

    We went back to mediation and said we no longer want her collecting our child on Mondays. We said she can either change the days on her week or we will take our son to the tutor. She said no and now been handed a certificate to go to family court. Now she has sent text messages saying she will be picking our son up on our Mondays and threatening us with violence and police.

    Does she have a right to call the police if the mediation have wiped the contract previously put in place.
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    If there are no formal court orders in place, then the parenting agreement between you isn't legally enforceable. Police will serve only to protect the peace and intervene on any domestic disturbance, but they can't force you to give the child to the mother.

    Be careful about doing it this way, though. If you are aware that conflict may arise, it is your duty to minimise the child's exposure to it. It would be better for the child if he was not exposed to conflict and you instead just endured the mother's criticism. After all, are you not better able to manage the impact of conflict better than the child?

    You might consider filing for parenting orders as well.
     
  3. Heidi Watson

    Heidi Watson Member

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    Totally agree. We should never of agreed to this Monday in our week we have no idea where he goes or who he sees if that is anyone. We have asked for details of who and where and also wanted to take him on some occasions and she has said no to all questions. Considering it's our week we have the right to take him to tutoring.

    Just wondering how this would stand in court because we are not suggesting he won't attend tutoring but we would like to take him and have no more of her integrating the child and then texting us and abusing us of our personal life with our son. All we want is peace in our seven days we have our son and no interference from her. Will the court accept and hear our side?
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    What does the parenting plan state? Does it include a provision about the mother collecting the child on Mondays for tutoring? Do you know who the tutor is and where to contact them?

    I can't predict what the court will hear or accept, but if you have 50/50 care, then court orders maybe aren't necessary. If the conflict is too high, the court won't often order equal time - you might end up with more or less than what you currently have, so you might consider some other options first. Realistically, the court would likely have no issue with you taking the child to tutoring (it would be healthy and even encouraged to be a part of that aspect of the child's life), but it may have issue with the level of conflict and whether either party has made efforts to reduce that conflict, so there may be unintended consequences associated with seeking a court order.

    Definitely, the mother's criticism is a lot to deal with, but there are other ways you can deal with that, such as blocking her number and moving to a different communication medium, such as e-mail or a communication book. The problem with texts and phone calls is that emotions can come to life straight away, whereas e-mail or a communication book means there is a time gap in which the anger can die down a bit. Other things you can do include not responding to texts criticising your parenting or personal life, and only responding to text messages that are of relevance to the child, such as changes to the care schedule or school meetings, etc. If you respond to text messages that are about your personal life, you're just feeding the beast, and it's better and healthier to rise above that petty tug-o'-war.

    It's universally in a child's best interests not to be exposed to conflict, but if the mother isn't willing to try and reduce the conflict, that job is left solely to you. Unfortunate, yes, but quite often, it's found that if your behaviour changes, the other party's will very slowly start to change, too. Relationships Australia offers a free post-separation parenting course that is very helpful in teaching communication styles to reduce conflict. One of the main things taught is about 'the business of parenting', which is where you communicate with the other party as though it is a business relationship, like a client or a supplier. That means being respectful and polite (since you need that business relationship to be workable), but also not entering into personal conversations (the same as you would not do with a business colleague).

    Anyway, this isn't really a post offering guidance for the legal aspect, but more an informative one from my own experience as a step-mother entering into a life with my husband and his high-conflict ex-wife and co-parent. Like you, we have one unintended changeover during the child's time with us so that she can attend an extra-curricular activity, and like you, it was often followed by derogatory and hateful commentary by the mother about our personal lives and parenting styles. Now, however, that aspect has died down, and I believe it's because we just didn't feed the beast, no matter how tempting it was to do so.

    I hope this in some way helps. I know that dealing with a hostile co-parent can be draining, but that just means the co-parent is still dealing with some demons likely related to the breakdown of the former relationship, and there is nothing you can do or do to improve that situation for her. However, you don't have to be dragged down by it. Your house, your rules, her house, her rules, end of story.
     
  5. Heidi Watson

    Heidi Watson Member

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    All we wanted from mediation yesterday was our 50/50 care as always with no interference by her. One, I never text or have her number and my partner chooses to ignore her text messages and has asked years ago to email his personal email unless it's an emergency.

    She has now disagreed and now we have to go to court which I feel is unfair because why do we need to go to court over our Monday not hers. Just feel like giving up we, have had enough of the behaviour and abuse every week by her over our son. It affects the whole family and our other son. Thank you very much for your information
     
  6. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    I understand your frustration, but I don't think court is the best option. You have 50/50 care arrangements. It's generally accepted by most judges that if you need the court to determine a matter for you, the conflict is far too high to support a 50/50 care arrangement, so you may find yourself going from week-about to alternate weekends. Court outcomes are impossible to predict, at any rate.
     
  7. Heidi Watson

    Heidi Watson Member

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    Can It work in our favour ? I'm guessing dads don't get more than mums ?
     

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