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QLD Possible to Get Sole Custody of Children?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by JessicaSs, 30 June 2016.

  1. JessicaSs

    JessicaSs Member

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    Good Morning,

    I separated from my child's father over 3 years ago due to Domestic Violence and his drug abuse. We went through mediation and he was to have supervised visits at a contact centre once a week. We had planned to have the mediation agreements signed by the family court, but he failed to attend any visits, dropped off the face of the earth, got heavily involved in methamphetamine and had altercations with police (breaking and enterings, domestic violence, drugs).

    It's now been three years. My child is only 5 years old and has no recollection of the biological father.

    He has recently returned to our city and I am worried that he will try and obtain visitation rights again. It's unlikely, though, he would be more likely to do something like take the child without consent. What steps can I take to have his parental rights removed or gain sole custody of children? I have nothing but the mediation agreement and it makes me feel unsafe.

    There is a big contrast between our lives. My child attends a private school, plays weekend sports and we live in a nice suburb. My partner (who she recognizes as her Dad) and I both have secure employment and above award wages. We do not use drugs and are strongly against them and we have no police records.

    Her father, however, has a history of drug abuse and violence, has domestic violence orders against him, not from me but others after me. He is unemployed and is $6000 behind in child support payments.

    I understand that fathers have rights but it makes me feel incredibly ill to think she would be subjected to his way of life. It worries me that his heavy drug use would have resulted in mental instability. There has to be something that can protect her?

    Sorry for the lengthy post.
     
  2. fbueller

    fbueller Well-Known Member

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    @JessicaSs how did you find out he had returned to your city?

    Has there been any indication that he wants to obtain visitation rights?
     
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  3. JessicaSs

    JessicaSs Member

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    I ran into his mother shopping and she mentioned it. She doesn't bother to contact much but will say hello in passing.

    No he hasn't but the way his mother spoke indicated that he might in the future.
     
  4. fbueller

    fbueller Well-Known Member

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    Does she want to see her grandchild?

    Until it happens I guess you won't know for sure and maybe it's worth thinking that there's no point in stirring up the hornets nest.
     
  5. JessicaSs

    JessicaSs Member

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    No she doesn't. I have been running with that notion for a while now but I just don't see where the security is in that.
     
  6. fbueller

    fbueller Well-Known Member

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    I know what you mean. It sounds like you're dealing with a fair bit.

    I found when I was able to get my head kind of straight, create some space for myself from the constant battle with my ex and what seemed like everyone's opinion, I kind of stepped back and realised I had to go with things a little more.
     
  7. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    So, I'm going to look at this in practical terms, rather than legal terms, because there's no real action yet and I'm not sure you would benefit from taking said action.

    Basically, let's say you commence proceedings for sole parental responsibility.

    Say Dad files a response and attends first hearing, so he appears interested in the outcome. The child has legal rights to know who her dad is and have a relationship with him, so the Court grants interim orders for time with the child, though probably supervised since that's what was already agreed.

    This starts a process of observation carried out by the Court. You'll be called back to another interim hearing at six months to see how the current arrangements are working, and then you'll be called back again six months after that to see if the situation has improved. If Dad participates, but you're claiming DV, it'll go on like this for another year or so to see if your concerns are valid or not. If they are valid, the Court will try and find ways to fix the situation first, rather than violate the child's legal right to have a relationship with her dad.

    It's not until the Court is satisfied that the situation can't be fixed and the child will not benefit from having a relationship with her dad that it will make final orders for sole parental responsibility.

    This could be two, even three or so years down the track after you first file for orders, and there's no way of knowing how it will impact your situation. What if dad cleans his act up and wants more time with the child? What if the argument is made that the reason the child hasn't seen her dad is because you haven't let her and dad ends up with custody?

    See, I don't think it's wise to go down this path as a precautionary measure. I think it should only be pursued if there are immediate issues that need to be addressed.

    Sole parental responsibility is a rare and difficult order to have made, so it's probably better right now to simply wait and see.
     
  8. JessicaSs

    JessicaSs Member

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    Thank you for your reply. So let's say I don't take any action and he picks her up from school one day and refuses to give her back. Then I will have to apply to family court to get her back?
     
  9. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Even with parenting orders in place, he could potentially do that anyway, but if you have a signed parenting plan, even though it's not legally binding, it will still have weight in the pursuit of an urgent recovery order, particularly since the agreement was supervised time.

    If you fear for the child's safety, you can also apply for a protection order that names the child as an associated party.
     
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  10. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    So if he picks kid up from school, you call him. You don't have his number, then you call the cops. They will do a welfare check and could demand the child be returned to you. They don't really have the power to do so but they have some discretionary power.

    Look, the one thing is that you have not mentioned concerns that he is dangerous - good. So if he does want to be reunited with the kid, great. Hopefully he has sorted his life out and can be a positive influence. If he lifts the kids without conversation with you then what he has done is he has given his legal position a huge kick in the arse. It would be one of the dumbest things in the world for him to do...

    Now let's spend a moment looking rationally at your concerns. How many kids do you hear getting lifted and disappearing? Yep, not that many. So is your fear rational or a hyper-vigilant parent? Trust me, I understand. I have not had a cigarette in 5 years but every time I'm waiting at McDonald's for my ex to return the kids, I crave a cigarette. Why? because I have an irrational fear that she won't return the kids and I'll have to apply to court for a recovery order.

    The fact is my ex is useless - she is always late and always will be I know that because I've known her for 10 years. I also know she doesn't want the kids but I still get really anxious waiting for her. But it is not rational. You just might be the same....
     
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