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NSW Paying for Ex's Visitation Rights - What to Do Now?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Angels mum, 6 October 2016.

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  1. Angels mum

    Angels mum Member

    5 October 2016
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    What is the best type of evidence to provide to the magistrate that there is a unacceptable risk to my child?

    I was under the impression that evidence through psychological reports, doctors and FACS and police would be enough factual evidence. However, the magistrate ordered my child to have supervised contact with the father 2 days after school total of 6 hours per week with a supervised contact person through a third party, and I have been ordered to pay for the contact visits for the next 3 months until it's reviewed. I'm paying over $400 a week for his visitation rights.

    It is a high cost to pay, leaving me with a $120 to live off per week with one dependent.

    I'm currently homeless and residing with relatives. Due to the domestic violence, I left the home. My ex changed all the locks and put himself on Centrelink benefits and resides in the family home. Due to him being on benefits, he has no money and has had to get a loan to pay his solicitor hence can't contribute to his child.

    I have borrowed money from a relative for legal representation and this was the result.

    It seems my ex, the abuser and perpetrator, has all the rights. In need of help? Where do I go from here?
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    23 July 2014
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    Generally speaking, evidence from a Court-appointed expert witness is the best type of evidence to show there is an unacceptable risk of harm to the children, because it's the only real third-party evidence that considers both parties objectively.

    Some home truths, if I may...

    All a police report does is prove that you've called the police. Anyone can do that. If, however, the police then go on to file for an AVO, investigate the allegations and decide to press charges, then you might have some unbiased third-party evidence to give to the Court for your parenting matter.

    Likewise, DHS reports only show that a report was made. It's the outcome of the investigation that's important.

    A psychologist's report isn't going to be worth the paper it's written on if that psychologist has only ever talked to one parent, not both. The only way you'll really get unbiased third-party evidence in this area is through a Court-appointed family consultant, who will interview not just you and the kids, but also dad, as well.

    In the event that unbiased, third-party evidence is adduced and tested at trial and an unacceptable risk of harm to the children is subsequently found to exist, then the Court will make final parenting orders that reflects the children's best interests.

    Only in very extreme circumstances does the Court deem it to be in the children's best interests to have no contact with a parent.

    So, in regard to your interim orders, it sounds to me like the interim orders you have is the Court doing its job. Supervised contact is how the Court eliminates an alleged risk of harm to the children while providing the Court with an opportunity to receive a report about that contact from an unbiased third-party, namely the contact centre.

    The Court does not (and should not) simply accept rafts of biased reports produced by one of the two parties at face value during an interim hearing where that evidence can't be tested, and determine that a child should grow up without a parent.

    My view about the costs is that they've been assigned to you because it's obviously you who needs to prove that an unacceptable risk of harm to the children actually exists. By seeking a no contact order, you're asking the Court to remove the rights the Family Law Act grants to your children about having a relationship with both parents. You're also rebutting a legal presumption of shared parental responsibility - a presumption being the assumed position of the law before either party even enters the Courtroom.

    Both of those are very, very rare outcomes, so really, by ordering supervised contact and assigning costs to you, the Court is giving you the best opportunity it can to get the evidence you need to get the orders you want.

    Now, personally, I would also suggest the Court is wary of you. It's clear you don't support the children in having a relationship with their father, and you seem unable to comprehend or in any way consider a parenting order in which the kids can have both a relationship with their father and be protected from harm at the same time.

    To the contrary, instead of looking at supervised time as a solution for the fears you purport to have for your kids safety, your first question is about how to prove that even that small allowance is too much (yet the complaints you've listed are also focused on money and have nothing to do with risk of harm to the kids).

    In my experience, this is the attitude which poses the greatest risk to a parent retaining residency of their children. If dad argues that the children won't be able to have a relationship with both of you while ever they live with you, and all of the Court-appointed expert witnesses come back citing no concerns for the children's safety, then you're at risk yourself of ending up with six hours a week in supervised contact (and probably still funded by you).

    Anyway, if you are still going to seek a no contact order, then I would suggest going to the next interim hearing with a request that the Court appoint a family consultant and an ICL to your case.

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