NSW Parenting Orders Contravened Because of Ill Health - Help?

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8 December 2019
My partner and his ex-wife have parenting orders in place since 2014 for their son, who is now 12, with all things going relatively smoothly.

Fast forward to Dec 2016 when my partner had a significant stroke, which resulted in his being hospitalised for 6 months and being impaired permanently requiring a wheelchair. Also, he has aphasia (difficulty with his speech and recalling words) and also suffers badly from neuropathic pain. He will never work again. He can care personally for himself but that is about all, everything else, including looking after the son is done by me.

When the stroke occurred, the parenting orders where unable to be followed and his ex-wife took on all of the care for the son. Gradually, over the past year or so a very small part of the orders have been restored with us having the son over every second weekend. Pretty much the rest of the orders are not complied with either by us or by the ex-wife.

My problem is that on very rare occasions, it is not possible for us to have the son over on a particular weekend. For instance, this year in January, when my partner was in the hospital for surgery and more recently when we went away for 2 weeks.

We did notify the ex-wife that we would be away with more that 5 months notice but on return, a letter was waiting, advising us of our lack of parenting and non-compliance with orders and threatening with no access to the son should we continue our bad behaviour.

Where to go from here? Note that she no longer wants to communicate with us (unless she is writing us a letter or text about our bad or unacceptable behaviour) and any arrangements are to be made through the son which is not going well.

My partner has attempted to speak to her (although that will not go well due to his speech problems) as yet she has not returned his call. I'm fairly certain that she won't. Also, I believe from past experience with her that any attempt at mediation and a parenting plan would not be voluntarily entered into by the ex-wife.

What would your opinion be?

Thank you.


Well-Known Member
28 August 2018
Well the fairly obvious first step is mediation, regardless of how likely she will cooperate with it. Mediation, or at least an attempt, is a requirement in most cases before you can file in the federal circuit court or family court. You'll probably need to speak to a lawyer unless you plan to self represent, but that sounds difficult given your partner's speech issues.

A letter from a lawyer (and the threat of legal action) might also be able to provide enough pressure on the mother that she may relent.