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NSW Queries on Mediation and Family Court?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Erinj1983, 23 July 2016.

  1. Erinj1983

    Erinj1983 Member

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    This is my story in a nutshell!

    My ex-husband and I have been separated for 2 years. Divorce and Property Settlement has all been finalised. We have two children together - 11 years (boy) and 8 years (girl). Have tried Mediation for parenting issues a few times in the past but have never had a response from him.

    We have no formal orders for the children. Over the time that we have been separated, they have just had time with their Dad when he is available and willing, and when they are happy to do so. My daughter (8) has no relationship at all with her father - part of the reason of our separation and has only spent 5 nights in his care in the last 2 years.

    My son had a strong relationship with his Dad at the start of our separation but it has sadly crumbled due to choices that his Dad has made. Dad has been in a relationship with another woman for about 12 months. They have just had their first baby (fast, I know!) and she also has a 9-year-old girl.

    My ex-husband has made it very clear to the children that he has a 'new family' now and that has, therefore, over time destroyed any relationship that my 11-year-old had with his Dad. About 6 weeks ago, my 11-year-old was subject to an abusive conversation with his Dad's new partner and his Dad, stemming from my 11-year-old expressing to his Dad that he was not happy with how things were going and he would like some time with his Dad only.

    He has not had any time with just he and his Dad for 12 months. New partner and daughter are always present and he says he feels like a 'stranger.'

    In December, upon advice from my solicitor, I changed the child support percentage to 1 night a fortnight (which is generous!) and therefore, the care percentage changed. Child support was previously just the standard every second weekend (86% me 14% him). In February, I received a really dodgy (lol) set of consent orders to change parenting arrangement. With my solicitor, we responded that we need to attend mediation firstly. We haven't had a response until now, July - saying that he will now attend mediation.

    So my two questions are!

    - If we don't agree at mediation, what kind of family court costs are we possibly looking at to take it further? (No access to Legal Aid)

    - I am represented in mediation by my solicitor. He is unrepresented - does this make any different to outcomes?

    - My plan for resolution in mediation is to encourage my ex-husband to rebuild a relationship with his children (if he chooses to do that) and then reassess any plans for possible family court orders in a period of time.

    - I keep a diary of all contact that he has with the children. I have never denied him access. Will this evidence play a part in proving he has not made any effort to have a relationship with his children? So to put some strategies into place before any final decisions are made?
     
  2. Erinj1983

    Erinj1983 Member

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    I have just re read it and realised I had missed a few things! I pressed enter too quick!

    In the two years that we have separated, my ex husband has refused to communicate with me at all about our children. He has not contacted the kids for long periods of time, doesn't respond to text messages or emails regarding the children. He has never once stuck to agreed drop off and pick up times and has exposed the children to adult situations in which they should not be subject to.

    Will this have any weighting to support some counselling or something similar before parental orders would be put in place?
     
  3. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    1. If you don't agree at mediation and either you or he decides to pursue parenting orders through Court, the only real definite costs will be filing fee and trial fee. There are numerous variants in between, however, that will change the bill substantially - lawyer fees, ICL fees, family report fees, etc. As an average, most parenting matters cost between about $20,000 and $50,000, though potentially higher if the case is complex or one party is being particular stubborn throughout.

    2. Having a lawyer at mediation is really just good for ancillary orders (like no denigration clauses, changeovers, that kind of thing) and getting the wording on the agreement squared away so they can't be manipulated (though a truly narcissistic parent will find a way regardless). They can also tell you if they think you're getting a raw deal. However, if the parties can't cooperate and can't reach an agreement, then having lawyers there won't make an ounce of difference. In my husband's circumstances, he doesn't bother taking a lawyer to mediation anymore, but he doesn't sign any agreements on the day until we have mapped out any possible issues together (advantage of having a wife with a law degree, I guess).

    3. Keep a diary, certainly, but I wouldn't bother strategising a case yet. A lot of parents fall into the trap of turning a diary from a 'monitoring tool' into a book of petty complaints about differences in parenting styles, particularly if there's a case afoot and they're looking for any old thing that will help their case. The only strategy you need is to act always in the best interests of the kids. If you're genuinely supportive of the kids having a relationship with dad, that's the best thing you can do, and be it on his head if he doesn't come to the table. It won't be up to you to tell the Court how poorly his relationship with the kids is, though. The Court will order a family report to determine that for itself.

    4. I would definitely request that both parties attend a post-separation parenting course as a necessary inclusion in the agreement, regardless of whatever else is or isn't agrees. They're very helpful.
     
  4. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    I can't help but think you're wasting money on solicitors. Solicitors are great for court, everything else you can do without the expense... So if you keep using a solicitor for everything, then all of a sudden you're in court but can't afford to continue with a solicitor, what then?

    Now, what exactly was wrong with his proposed consent orders? 14% care or less all the same when you look at child support, so I don't see avoiding child support as being the issue here.
     

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