Mother seeking out child at school while in father's care

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rjm

Well-Known Member
2 February 2020
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@ Sammy. So when you see a divorced parent walking around the school do you ask if it's their designated week to look after their child?
I'd imagine the teachers would stay right out of any such argument.
I couldn't find any statistics on the issue at hand but I did come across an interesting essay. Titled "Suffer the children." Written by Jess Hill in 2015.
Informative reading for men who are of the opinion that they're getting a raw deal in our family courts.
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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"So when you see a divorced parent walking around the school do you ask if it's their designated week to look after their child? "
900 kids at my school. Do i know all of their parents? nope. And because of my experience in family law I know that in a 50/50 care arrangement the parents will have shared parental responsibility. That means both parents are welcome on school property at appropriate times. APPROPRIATE TIMES.

When I see anyone not in school uniform that I don't know and they are not wearing a visitors pass I ask them who they are and what they are doing in the school. EVERY TIME. I approach them with caution too and I would direct them to the office, so they're not just randomly walking around the school.

The exceptions are a designated assembly day, presentation awards ceremony OR knock off time when parents pick up kids. BUT this punter is asking about a parent randomly rocking up at times outside the norm.

Remember back in the day - you got picked for the school footy team. Your mate's mum agreed to drive some kids to the game. So did a few other parents. Sweet. Nice easy... I liked it back then. Sure there was a permission note. It was about 2-3 sentences...

These days - I have to see the parent's licence and comprehensive insurance and registration papers. The parent needs to have completed a working with children check and have that paperwork to show. The permission note requires a parent to give consent for their kid to travel with a particular parent. It is not enough to simply say permission to travel with any parent that volunteers. Hell - the note even asks if the parent gives permission for their kid's photo to be taken during the event. MADNESS.

Back in the day - Dad knocks off from work early, gets to watch the end of the game. Asks if he can take the kid home with him. I say sure, ask dad to write a note on a piece of paper for me to use to cover my arse.

These days - I'd call the school, wait on hold until a head teacher / Deputy principal or principal can talk. I'd ask them to check the kid's details on the computer to see if there is any current concerns - An AVO for example. Only if there is nothing to notify me of a risk of concern would I agree for the kid to go with dad... All the while I'm having to supervise up to 25 kids.

RMJ - You're not gonna find the 'numbers' with which Tim was referring. They don't exist. His assertion is probably right, but it doesn't actually contribute towards helping the original poster work out what to do about mum spending time with the kid during school hours. But hopefully, by highlighting what is expected of teachers, the poster might get some comfort in knowing that the school should take steps IF the teachers involved see it is a problem. If they are 'conflict averse' oh dear... Then it would be reasonable for the teacher to take it up with their boss and if it is deemed necessary, the principal could contact the parent and tell them that the parent must stop with the random drop in's.... So Jade, if it is a problem and dad doesn't wanna deal with mum, ask the teacher. If the teacher seems fine with it, then it isn't a problem... But by talking to the teacher you might motivate the teacher to take further action...
 

rjm

Well-Known Member
2 February 2020
92
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Thanks Sammy. I kinda already new that there wouldn't be statistics on that very specific topic. I thought it silly that Tim was being asked to supply them. I assumed he was relying on his professional experience.
I guess what the OP needs to consider is the consequences of having this declared a breach of the orders.
You're ex can make life very tedious when you've got a 50/50 arrangement. It's a lot of contact & organising. If the Mum is being easy to get on with in general I'm not sure it would be worth your while to make this a big issue.
If the separation is fairly recent the Mum is probably still finding it hard. Hopefully she'll get her head around it in time & not feel the need to turn up at school when the child isn't in her care.
The 50/50 thing must be so hard when kids are as young as 6. What they need at that age is routine & stability. I'd sooner let my husband have the kid most of the time than put a 6 year old through changing house every week.
 

Tremaine

Well-Known Member
5 February 2019
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Why does having 50/50 care suggest they have final orders?

And what does your school’s policy about visitors on campus have to do with children’s best interests in the context of family law? I’m sure every school has a policy about people being on campus, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable in the view of the court for a parent to go and hang out with their kid while they’re at school during the other parent’s care time. It’s pretty easy to find cases where this kind of behaviour has been raised as an issue and the court has rarely, if ever, supported it, regardless of how the school deals with it, because it’s usually summed up as an attempt to interfere with the other parent’s parenting time.

And I agree, this wouldn’t be considered a contravention (I don’t think I ever said it would be considered a contravention, either) if there’s no explicit orders restricting either parent from attending the child’s school during the other parent’s care time, but if they don’t have final orders, they could consider amending the initiating application to seek an injunction that would make it a contravention. Failing that, it is certainly something that I would raise with the other parent - hanging out with your kid at school isn’t appropriate or acceptable behaviour for ordinary parents who can accept that it’s disruptive to their education and personal growth and development outside of the home, and it doesn’t become appropriate or acceptable behaviour just because the parents have separated.
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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Hi Tremaine - most parenting matters are disputes over the amount of time the kids spend with each parent. I just inferred that given this case is 50/50 parenting that the parenting stuff was final...

"what does your school’s policy about visitors on campus have to do with children’s best interests in the context of family law? " Nothing. The school has a duty of care to make sure people are not in the school grounds when they should not be. I agree there would be cases where the courts would not see this sort of stuff as acceptable.

Sure - it could be something that could be raised if not final orders... But might not be a good idea, especially if the school hasn't confirmed it a problem. I agree, talk to mum, talk to the school. I'd talk to the teacher involved first... I'm a high school English teacher. My experience with this stuff is overbearing parents harassing the teacher for one more mark in assignments. Hell, I even had to sit down with a parent who was a solicitor... She told me that she had a degree in literature so she was qualified to ascertain that her kid should have gotten a 18 out of 20 not a 16... Separated parents - When I spoke to dad (by accident) called the wrong number... Anyways he was quick to tell me that he was satisfied with the 16 and wanted nothing to do with the stupidity...

So here I am in the principals office. Crazy parent telling me all the different initials after her name because of all the uni degrees she had. Clearly she was of the opinion that meant she was better than this punter who only has a BA dip Ed... So when I explained that for all those letters after her name, none of it mattered because she doesn't have the Dip Ed. Diploma in education.... So she can practice law with her law degree quote shakespeare with her Arts degree in literature, but she can't choose a mark for her own son because she isn't a teacher...

My point is this. Schools don't wanna deal with crazy parents... And if the school sees what mum is doing as a problem they will act. In fact I'd argue they have a legal obligation to act. In nsw it is covered under the inclosed lands protection act NSW legislation
 

Atticus

Well-Known Member
6 February 2019
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It's been 25 years or so since I was at school, but even back then, a parent (or any adult that shouldn't be there) seen wandering in or around the school perimeter was approached & questioned... I can only imagine it would be enforced even more these days....

If mum is on grounds not being questioned, I can only assume that she has cleared the visit. Can't see the school principal allowing it too often
 

Atticus

Well-Known Member
6 February 2019
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I kinda already new that there wouldn't be statistics on that very specific topic. I thought it silly that Tim was being asked to supply them.I assumed he was relying on his professional experience.
I always like to see an actual source when statements like this are made claiming "numbers"... More especially when they are being made by a 'professional'....

Going by the numbers I'm not sure you are the best judge of what may be silly
 

JadeGoldCoast

Well-Known Member
7 October 2017
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Hi all,

Sorry my alerts for responses appear to not be working, appreciate all the advice provided!

Unfortunately all correspondence regarding the child between father and mother ends in mother responding 'now do not message me again unless it is an emergency' and so far trying to reason with the mother has proved successful 0% of the time. We have not contacted her regarding her being in the child's classroom as we believe she might enjoy the attention or be looking to cause as issue.

Interestingly we have discovered since last week that the child is having a lot of time off in the mother's care, 25 days last year with 2 days off in our care. It appears she struggles to get the child to school while in her care but is happy to make the hour drive to see the child while in our care?

*Edit - I missed the second page of comments. I think I will try and talk to the child's teacher when we have him back in our care next week. The day the mother visited the child she gave him money to get ice cream and an ice lolly which he ate instead of his lunch. The teacher had informed us on pick up that day that the child had been in a bit of an altercation with another boy (harmless 6 year old stuff) and needed to be separated from him. This is very unusual behaviour for the child (never received a report like this through all of prep) but made a bit more sense when we realised he hadn't eaten any proper food since breakfast and filled up on sugar instead. We do feel like she's interfering so we will see what his teacher thinks and suggests. I do think it would be really hard for a teacher to know which parent the child is supposed to be with on a given day and then even harder to approach a parent to tell them they shouldn't be with their child. We must make a teacher's job quite difficult unfortunately.
 
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sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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Sadly the system is overworked and underfunded.... A home school liason officer (term in NSW) should be getting involved if the kid is absent that much.

I'd be having a chat with the teacher. Personally, as a teacher I'd rather have the occasional phone call and parent teacher night as the extent of my communication with parents.
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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Just for fun...
I looked into that interesting article... "Suffer the children." Written by Jess Hill in 2015. It uses the term 'child custody'. A term deliberately removed from the lingo of family law nearly 20 years ago because it was deemed corossive. That goes back to the law reforms of about 1996. Leads me to think this isn't top notch journalism.

The professor quoted in the article is a right wing conservative... Hey who am I to judge I'm a left wing radical.... He has made comparisions between trans-gender teens and the coronavirus.
University of Queensland law dean Patrick Parkinson, speaking in a personal capacity, conceded authorities would be worried and busy with the coronavirus but said the explosion in transgender-identifying teenagers, chiefly girls, was “another epidemic” — one that had “so far escaped public attention”.
Source: The Australian, on 14 February 2020. Reporter Bernard Lane. The Australian - one of the most reputable media outlets in the country.

What else does our expert have to say? Well he didn't quite go as far as to say the we should NOT have marriage equality.... He just wanted the marriage laws for homosexuals to be different to hetrosexuals on religious grounds. That is a nice way of saying we should NOT have marriage equality. But again, free country - right to his own opinion. Gee I'm glad we all got a say on this one though, rather than having 'experts' like this guy making the call...
Prof. Patrick Parkinson: Why all political parties ought to care about religious freedom

I would argue that article isn't informative reading for men who think they're getting a raw deal. It is hyperbolic scare-mongering. The sort of stuff best left alone on a site like this. I wonder how a parent who bumps into that article from this site is gonna go moving foward in getting access to their kids after reading that? Or how it helps a parent who is concerned about the welfare of their kid when with the other parent. Is it gonna encourage them to speak up about their concerns? NOPE. NB the gender neutral language I'm using....

This place should be about helping folk navigate the complexities of family law. Not scare mongering.

This makes for interesting reading since the topic seems to have swung towards what the 'numbers' look like in family law.
Shared care time
Granted it was published in 2011. So not overly recent. But good data analysis. Factual stuff without all the emotive hyperbole and a reliable source. It shows a trend towards increasing the time kids spend with both parents in the 5 years between the 2006 changes to the law and when the report was published in 2011.

I'd love to have access to more recent data from a reputable source. I'lll keep looking when I get time.

Given the law states that where practical a magistrate must at least consider 50/50....
I'd like to think there would have been an upward trend in shared care parenting... And I'd like anyone who came to this site and bumped into the article "suffer the children" that there is an aweful lot of mis-information out there about family law so make sure what you're reading comes from a reputable source.