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WA Parenting Plan and Long Distance Travel

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by davecp, 13 March 2015.

  1. davecp

    davecp Member

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    Hi I am a father of a 9 year old child with Cerebral Palsy, The child has been in my care now for three years after his Mother did not want to look after him anymore and sent him to live with her parents. Her parents released the child into my full-time care.

    The Mother has since had two more children and moved 187km away from the child and emotionally neglects the child by often missing phone calls, promising visitation then cancelling and argues with the child about going to court so that a judge will order me to be 100% responsible for all transport and costs for her visitation as she lost her drivers licence for drink driving. We have done mediation which failed as she always forgot what she had agreed to phone calls and she only wanted 4 hourly visits fortnightly but she refused to any transportation responsibility.

    I applied for Legal Aid, but it was declined then she applied for Legal Aid and we both got lawyers and had a mediation appointment, once again this was a waste of time and legal aid funding as she was moving and was trying to write a parenting plan without knowing where she was moving to and once again only wanted 4-hourly visits fortnightly and her lawyer refused to her making any contribution towards transportation for her visitation but eventually our lawyers agreed that we could have three week parenting order that had phone call times, fortnightly 4 hour visits and she was to supply $10 for fuel costs and I was to give her a fuel receipt for her records.

    Over the three weeks she missed 80% of her phone calls she cancelled every fortnightly visit as she refused to pay $10 for fuel. Now she has moved 187km away, the phone calls were never stopped but she still forgets to ring the child, also her visitation with the child has been limited because she demands that I do all the transportation and costs and I am on a carers pension so I just can not afford the fortnightly fuel costs. She has also requested I drop the disabled child off in his wheelchair at the closest public train station which is 127km away which is still a long distance and I also worry that the child will get hurt as the mother tries to carry his walking frame whilst navigating a wheelchair and two prams.

    There is a bus service that operates from where we live that has disability access and the cost is only $20 and I would do pick up at her house so we are sharing the transportation costs but she refuses and still insists that its my responsibility not hers. I am now at a loss I can't afford a lawyer, I have been refused Legal Aid and the child is the one who is missing out.

    Does anybody know what my next move is?
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, even court orders can't force the non-resident parent to spend time and communicate with the child, and it's unlikely that you would have to pay transport costs, given that it's been the mother's decision to relocate.

    Is the main problem that she doesn't want to pay transport costs?
     
  3. davecp

    davecp Member

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    Is one of many problems she refuses to agree on anything fair as she thinks I should organise all the visitation as she has two other kids to deal with. She has made it very clear that she wants to go to court so a judge makes me do everything she is demanding because she knows I cant afford a lawyer,
     
  4. davecp

    davecp Member

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    I dont think I am being unfair I just want a parenting plan that makes it equal for transport
     
  5. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Well, I can certainly provide information on what the court would consider if this matter appeared in court, but while ever there is nothing workable in place, you really have free reign as far as parenting decisions go.

    As a matter of interest, one of the secondary considerations as to what is in the child's best interests under the Family Law Act is the extent to which a parent has taken, or failed to take, the opportunity to know, spend time and communicate with the child.

    Your obligation as the primary carer is to emotionally support the child's relationship with the other parent and ensure the child is available to spend time with the other parent at agreed times, but to act in the child's best interest, the mother also has a responsibility to 'take the opportunity to know, spend time and communicate with the child'. If the opportunity is there, and she is not taking it, then that is at no fault of your own.

    Basically, you're responsible for making the child available at the agreed time. You're not responsible for making the mother available, as well.
     

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