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VIC Mother of Child Refuses to Attend Family Dispute Resolution?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by maxim, 1 August 2016.

  1. maxim

    maxim Member

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    My daughter used to stay with me every Friday evening through to Monday morning. I kept on hearing of more and more erratic behaviour of the mother that convinced me she has mental health issues and it was having a direct impact on the well-being of my daughter.

    After months of asking for an explanation and receiving no response, one weekend I did not return my daughter on the Monday as I was worried for her welfare and requested that the mother attend a Family Dispute Resolution with me ASAP. The mother's response to this was to run away to an unknown location and change her phone number, and so my daughter now lives with me full time and has done so for 10 months now.

    After a nine-month absence the mother sent me a text message from a new number saying she was back and healthy. When I asked her to explain where she has been and to attend Family Dispute Resolution she did not reply for weeks. This has happened a further two times over six weeks. As soon as I mention Family Dispute Resolution, she stops replying. I still have no answers as to where she is currently living, where she has been, if she has sought help, anything at all. I am scheduled in for Family Dispute Resolution myself and have sent all the details to the mother but she does not reply with anything.

    I am not sure where I can go from here. If she does not attend Family Dispute Resolution I will get a certificate and presumably can go to court. What happens if I go to family court and she does/does not attend? Can I even go to family court without knowing her address?

    I actually strongly think the mother should be a part of her daughter's life but I want everything done correctly and to ensure the safety of my daughter.

    Regards.
     
  2. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Why go to court? Why even bother with FDR? I'd be having a chat with the child about not going with mum if she appears at school or whatever...

    If mum wants to see the kid, she can contact you and you can arrange it... In the meantime, it isn't your job to make mum see the kid.
     
  3. maxim

    maxim Member

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    Hey Sammy.

    Firstly because even though the mother has caused tremendous problems and emotional suffering to my daughter and myself I believe that my daughter should have a relationship with her. It's her legal right and I will fight for her to have that right even if the mother is unwilling to do so.

    Secondly it would be nice to have closure. One of the toughest challenges has been the uncertainty. I would like to be able to give my daughter answers and not always have to tell her that I don't kniw where her Mum is, when she will see her or why she left.

    I admit that it seems doing nothing is the easiest option and that the mother is an adult who needs to take reponsibility for her actions but I don't think it is the best reault for my daughter. In the end I have to try do what is best for her.

    Regards.
     
  4. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    So god bless you. But the court can't make her see her kid. The daughter has a right to have a relationship with mum but no one can force the mum to provide that level of consistency. Now you can go through all this for nothing.

    Yep - get the closure thing too... The help about what to tell your daughter is probably best sought from a child psychologist than a law forum.

    I hope it works out for you.
     
  5. maxim

    maxim Member

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    Thanks Sammy.

    Actually the mother has repeatedly requested to see our daughter. In fact, it's the only thing she talks about and refuses to answer any other questions or address any of my concerns.

    The problem is that I worry about my daughter's (6-year-old) safety. The last time the mother had any contact with our daughter was November last year. She arrived unannounced at a grandparent's visit, and took our daughter to an unknown location and would not answer her phone or respond to messages sent from anybody, including her family and the police. They were effectively missing. This lasted for three days. Our daughter was only returned after I sent many threats about legal consequences to her actions.

    Prior to this, my daughter had told stories to a psychologist of emotional abuse and that she "didn't feel safe to be alone with her mother".

    I want the relationship to be re-established but not without an agreement in place and not without knowing things like where she is living. Without this, I do not trust that my daughter is safe with her. Unfortunately, as soon as I ask any question about where she is or make a request to sort things out in FDR she stops responding to communication for weeks until I send more messages and the whole cycle starts again.

    I'm trying to do the right and reasonable thing here and don't want to be seen as denying access.

    If she's not sound enough to attend FDR then I'm certain she wouldn't attend court so I'm curious as to what happens in a family court matter when a parent does not attend? Has anyone had this experience?
     
  6. Matthew Lynch

    Matthew Lynch Lawyer

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    Hi Maxim

    You have done the right thing by trying to encourage FDR at first instance.

    If the mother does not attend FDR you will be given a certificate that will permit you to file an Application in court.

    After you file your Application if the mother does not attend court you the court has the power to compel her to attend. If she evades repeated attempts by the wardens to detain her to attend court then the court can make Orders in her absence. The court will likely make interim Orders (Orders in the meantime) that the child lives with you subject to the mother making an application.

    It might take 18 months to 2 years from when you file your Application before the Court sets it down for final hearing and makes final Orders.

    If you have other questions, please contact Matthew Lynch - Sydney, NSW - LawTap - Find a Lawyer & Book Online Instantly
     
  7. Danstar

    Danstar Well-Known Member

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    As sammy01 said, no one can make a parent see their child...

    I did the FDR, got the certificate and am currently in court trying to get everything settled. I made the application ex-parte (meaning the other party would be a no show) as my ex never responded to any of my emails/phone calls/letters. Although she did attend the first court date surprisingly, which has made my case very frustrating, cause she never has any documentation prepared and the hearing is always being adjourned. And my hearing next week looks like it will get nowhere again, as she still has done nothing.


    She has no interest in the kids as she has made no attempt to see them or be in their lives for over 2.5 years and is only interested in money. I'm hoping the Judge sees this and I'm not forced to sell our home....
     
  8. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    You say you don't want to be seen as denying access to the child? Forgive me, but I have some bad news for you.

    In my view, all of the issues here aren't lining up properly and I suspect there is a very long and interesting story on the other side of the fence that we won't ever get to hear.

    For example, you've referred to 'erratic behaviour' by the mother, but there's no indication of what you've decided constitutes 'erratic behaviour'. Parties in family court proceedings don't make habit of being vague where allegations of violence and abuse are issued.

    You've also indicated you don't feel the child is safe with the mother, but again, no reference to the kind of behaviour which might justify this fear. As a step-parent of a six-year-old myself, I also find it surprising that a child of that age would know the language to say she 'doesn't feel safe' to a psychologist. Who took the child to the psychologist first? If it was you, did you have the consent of the mother? Did the psychologist make any disclosures to DOCS about this, as required by mandatory reporting laws?

    You've also said the mother has been absent for ten months, but that's not quite true, is it? To the contrary, the only contact she has had with you has been to request contact with the child. If you're demanding that questions be answered and conditions met before you will facilitate the child seeing the mother, you're denying access.

    I think you need some perspective here. This child is six. She hasn't seen her mother in ten months, not under any circumstances, except for the time she took her for three days, which I'm sure was time well-spent fending off police and phone calls. Do you think you're acting in the child's best interests? Because I don't agree that you are.
     
    Junior likes this.

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