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SA Put a Response Time to Personal Emails - Legal?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by TanyaP, 23 January 2015.

  1. TanyaP

    TanyaP Member

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    My ex-husband has started putting the following type of statements in our email correspondence regarding visitation with our son. We have family court orders regarding his access but they are not very specific so we always have to arrange dates, flight times etc as he lives interstate -

    "In the absence of your response indicating otherwise within 14 days, you will have been deemed to be in agreement with the above proposed dates and I will commence to make travel arrangements forthwith."

    "In the absence of your response indicating otherwise within 14 days, you will have been deemed to be in agreement with the above changeover times and other members of the travelling party will be informed accordingly."

    My question is, do these statements have any legal standing under family law or Australian law generally? Am I legally obliged to reply within his set time-frame?

    Thanks
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Short answer: Maybe.

    Sorry I can't give a definitive answer. Depends on specifics of the case and what a court would deem to be reasonable given all the relevant factors.

    It seems as though you can object to the proposed arrangements so at face value it doesn't seem unreasonable. If you think don't think this is reasonable, why not?
     
  3. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    In the greater scheme of things, I would suggest it is reasonable for him to expect a reply within 14 days. I would even argue that's a generous time frame, so it is better for you to reply to such requests within that time frame because not doing so really just looks like you're being difficult, especially as travel arrangements require some time to be organised.

    Why has he had to impose timeframes? Has he often not received responses previously?
     
  4. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    As the others mentioned above, it is difficult to say.

    However, these statements are commonly used in communications to speed things along. It avoids delayed responses or no responses at all. Essentially, if you receive a letter and don't agree with it, you should let the other person know within 14 days so that they know where you're at in relation to this issue. This would constitute a "response". It is also a point of courtesy.

    If you ex-husband (or his solicitor) did end up taking action against you, or which you believe is unfavourable to you, and you genuinely did not receive the letter, then you should let him know as soon as possible (upon finding out that the action was taken) and have it reversed.
     
  5. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    You are not "legally obliged" to respond within the time frame. However, if you do not respond within a reasonable time frame (which 14 days could well be reasonable) and you have no reasonable excuse for the delay in response, then the other side can use your delay in support of their application in court, or show that you are being uncooperative or in some other way that paints you in a negative light. If this does get to court, the court may choose to accept the other side's picture of you.

    A "response" need not be anything more than "yes I have received it, I will need some time to review the documents you requested and I will aim to get this back to you within x days". And if you need a further extension, to let the other side know ASAP with a brief justification on why. It really is just courtesy and keeping the other side informed about your progress and managing their expectations.
     

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