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NSW No Family Court Orders - Child Access with Disclosure of Details?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Kara77, 25 September 2016.

  1. Kara77

    Kara77 Member

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    Hi,

    We've been separated since May. As yet, no formal parenting agreement or orders. Kids live with me. My ex sees them on Sundays. This has worked fairly smoothly except he now wants to take them away for two nights over the long weekend, to the Central Coast.

    I've asked for details as to where they will stay, who with, and a rough itinerary. He says "with an old friend" and refuses to give me any more details as he says he shouldn't have to have his itinerary approved by me!

    I replied that I need to know where they are for safety reasons and he said "well, once you agree to it, then I'll give you the details." But I insist on the details first!

    He has a history of mental health illness, alcohol and gambling addiction and whilst he claims to be "clean", I have no proof of that. I'll be moving forward with family court orders, etc., soon (I have a lawyer, but ex has his head in the sand and has refused all correspondence and attempts to settle anything), but this situation has me very nervous!

    I just want full disclosure of the details so I can make an informed decision but he says I am not his mother and he doesn't need my permission.
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Okay, so, legally, my opinion is you don't have a leg to stand on to restrict him taking the child for a short holiday.

    Personally, I really strongly suggest you don't press the issue, either.

    My husband's ex refused to facilitate his daughter's holiday time with him because he refused to disclose details of where they were going and who with.

    In the past, when he had agreed to disclose such details, she used those details as an excuse not to allow such holidays - 'It's not safe, I don't like those people and I don't want X around them, she's not going without her mother, that's her first time flying and she needs her mother to be there to comfort her'.

    So he had started to refuse disclosing such details, and she refused holiday time as a result. The child missed out on a lot of very fun and memorable experiences with her dad and his extended family until he brought it to Court as evidence in his affidavit, and do you know what the judge said to the mother, quote unquote?

    "It's absolutely none of your damn business where he takes the child for holidays."

    Wanting to know where the child is, is not related to the child's safety because unless you have persuasive evidence to the contrary (and gambling, alcohol consumption and/or 'mental illness' is not persuasive evidence), the Court will assume the child is safe in either dad's or mum's care, whether it's at home or away somewhere on holidays. If he decides to tell you where he's taking the child, it is a courtesy to you. It's certainly not a requirement.
     
  3. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    so - you always provide him with details of the kids movements for the 12 days a fortnight the kids are with you.... Right? oh..... And you inform him in the event that you deviate from those details right? oh - no you don't... Yet you want 'full disclosure' of what he is gonna be doing...

    Now if this winds up in court you'll be able to make the case that his time with the kids needs to be minimised. But the magistrate might not believe you.... BUT - he will be able to make the case that you're controlling and difficult....
     
  4. Kara77

    Kara77 Member

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    Thanks for the replies and I do appreciate the honesty. There are, however, genuine reasons for my concerns. My ex has recently been an inpatient in a mental health facility for 14 weeks following a severe manic episode where he was a missing person for several days.

    He is heavily medicated on four new medications which could cause unpredictable behaviour (I'm a psych and I know how powerful these meds are!) He has driven drunk with the children in the car on at least three occasions and has also left them unattended to go purchase alcohol.

    My lawyers have advised that once we do get to court, he most certainly will not be allowed overnight access until he can prove at least 6 months sobriety. They also said that if anything happened to them on this trip, the courts could place blame on me because I knowingly allowed them to go with him. Now he says he is clean and sober but how do I know for sure? What if I say yes and something happens? Or I say no and he turns up? No time for a court order and not sure if the police could do anything?

    Please understand this is not coming from a selfish place, I want my kids to see their dad, but I'm also worried about their safety.

    Yes, if I ever take the children away from home overnight, I do indeed tell him the details. It's only happened once but I gave him the address and phone, etc. It is actually strange that he won't tell me, his secrecy makes me even more concerned if could be an old drinking buddy!
     
  5. Kara77

    Kara77 Member

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    Sammy, I did want to say please do not make inferences that someone is "controlling and difficult" when you do not know them, their story or their situation. It is most hurtful. I have fought for my marriage and my family for 15 years, endured most types of abuse, lost everything we've owned to gambling.

    I saw my husband every day he was in hospital, all 8 times, 10 weeks each time, in 15 years. I've worked overtime to pay off his debts. I've seen him at the edge of life, literally, I've spent nights at police stations and lied to my kids. I've had my wedding ring pawned. Still, I did not leave him. Call me stupid but not controlling or difficult. I am selfless and compassionate, I will always love this man, but I know he cannot always control his thoughts and behaviors and I will do anything to protect my children from harm.

    So sorry for the essay mate, but your reply could have had a little more kindness behind it- this is a site for assistance not judgement. People are fragile going through this s**t, remember that.
     
    SamanthaJay likes this.
  6. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Actually that is all anyone here can do. Make inferences based on info provided and my posts are well intentioned.

    So let me give you some food for thought... Yep, I don't know you, your ex, etc, etc... But how does it look in court if you want to know all those details? It looks controlling and difficult. True...

    Now I understand your concerns around mental health, alcohol abuse, etc., but please answer me this: how does it help/change things because you know his travel plans? What is to stop him picking up the kids, driving to the nearest bottle shop then driving the rest of the way while skolling vodka all the way. Unless, of course, he writes on his travel plans that he provides you that he is going to pick up a bottle of vodka for the drive. Now he isn't likely to do that, right? So how does it help/ protect the kids because you know the address or what ever other info you requested? The answer is, it doesn't. So all it does do is make you seem controlling.

    Now I posted based on the info you provided. Please don't waste my time by posting a part of the story - Then adding other important information afterwards. If you'd have posted in your original post that you had solicitor's advice. Then I'd have written to take their advice.

    I also think that unless he has convictions for drink driving / drunk and disorderly conduct, etc, etc., then enforcing a 6-month sobriety requirement is gonna be hard work. Why? Well, it ain't like drug tests. My understanding is, you can't test for alcohol consumption weeks after the event...

    Now I happen to think my posts were intended to 'assist' and I showed you how your insistence of wanting to know his travel plans could easily be perceived negatively and without court orders in place to stipulate such a requirement the courts/ law will work on a presumption of equal parental responsibility, and as such, you demanding his travel plans is unreasonable unless you're prepared to do the same.

    I also made the point that you will equally be provided with an opportunity to argue that his time should be minimised because of mental health concerns. So really, I fail to see how I've been judgmental, so please read my original post again then consider reviewing your response...
     
  7. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    If you have advice from a solicitor, then follow it. The second opinions you'll get online are from strangers with only a fraction of the facts. For all you know, we could be guessing with no real experience of our own in this field.

    In my view, you're still going to have a lot of difficulty justifying your refusal to facilitate two days of time between the kids and their dad.

    First, if he has been an in-patient at a mental health facility, then he's also been treated by qualified professionals who have deemed him well enough to be discharged. Likewise, his symptoms are also being managed by medication. Aside from changing history, I don't know if there is anything more persuasive than that to say that his mental health challenges have been addressed. from your position, perhaps even understandably, he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't, but that's why the Court gives more weight to the opinions of the experts than the opinions of the parents.

    Second, you haven't indicated that he was actually charged with DUI, so I'm not sure what evidence there is of him having done so outside of hearsay. The same goes for leaving the kids unattended, which can also have a lot of different meanings - leaving a one-year-old at home unattended to drive to the shops for booze is different to leaving a 12-year-old in the care to pop into the shop for a bottle of wine.

    Third, if alcoholism was found to be a problem, the Court would maybe place an injunction on the consumption of alcohol before and during the kids' time with him. It probably wouldn't refuse overnight time all together.

    And finally, gambling does not an unfit parent make. A poor role model in some aspects, sure, but not an unfit parent.

    The best argument a parent ever has for not facilitating overnight time is if the parents have never lived together and the child is very young. Given the length of your marriage, I'm inclined to believe that's not the case here.
     

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