NSW Relevance of chronic pain medication/access being denied

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now

RAM7778

Well-Known Member
28 October 2020
31
0
121
Hi,
My partners ex has been with holding the children for 3 years and only allows him to see them once every 3 weeks for 2 hours with her present. My partner suffers with chronic pain and is on prescribed opioids the help manage his condition. For years she has threatened him that if he tries to take her to court she will tell the judge he is a drug addict and he will never see his kids again. There has never been an AVO or history of domestic violence she sees the kids are her kids and scares my partner into thinking a judge would deem him unfit due to medication.

How does the family court view prescription medication of this sort? He works full time, we have 50/50 shared care of my 2 kids and he functions no differently to any normal healthy person. He is a wonderful step father and my boys just adore him. All medication is locked away in a digital safe in our walk-in robe to ensure that the kids can not reach it or able to open it. Only I know the combination.

We have just contacted relationships Australia to start the process but I need to know what I am in for in regards to this threat as we will be representing ourselves.
 

Atticus

Well-Known Member
6 February 2019
1,417
210
2,394
How does the family court view prescription medication of this sort?
No evidence of abusing the medication? No problem...
For years she has threatened him that if he tries to take her to court she will tell the judge he is a drug addict and he will never see his kids again.
See if you can get hard evidence of this, email,text, voice recording... Will come in handy if he chooses to pursue it through court... Start by calling an accredited mediator. From there you can obtain a section 60I certificate that will allow him to file for final & interim orders if no agreement is reached
 

Rosscoe

Well-Known Member
21 October 2020
45
2
124
How old are the kids and are there any parenting orders / plans in place?

Perhaps the best thing to do is to start off by e-mailing the ex stating you are not happy with the current access granted to the kids. Maybe even make a proposal for access? This most likely, by the sounds of things won't work but it's a start.

The best bet may be to engage a mediator and start the FDR process. If this is unsuccessful at mediation then you will be issued a 60i certificate that will allow you to file for interim orders in the even no agreement is reached at mediation. Relationships Australia can certainly help with this.

In the mean time it may be worth your while obtaining something from your partner's doctor stating that he poses no risk to the children. This is clearly the case as his step children are in his care, but the medical "approval" will be helpful. It may be important to show that there has never been abuse of the prescribed medicine. I would think this can be shown by prescriptions, recommended dosages etc etc.

Is there any evidence you have of the threats made? Keep a record of all of these. Once you start embarking on this process it is imperative you become excellent record keepers. Perhaps keep a diary / e-mail yourself at the end of the day.
 

RAM7778

Well-Known Member
28 October 2020
31
0
121
No evidence of abusing the medication? No problem...

See if you can get hard evidence of this, email,text, voice recording... Will come in handy if he chooses to pursue it through court... Start by calling an accredited mediator. From there you can obtain a section 60I certificate that will allow him to file for final & interim orders if no agreement is reached
Hi,
Never abused the medication he sticks to exactly what is prescribed. As I said I lock it in the safe as he gets a fortnightly prescription. I seperate it all into days of the week and get it out each morning so there is never a risk of medication being accidentally left on a bench or what not.
Yes we have evidence of her threats. We have an appointment with a mediator next week then she will be invited to attend. If she refuses we intend on obtaining the certificate 60I and get court orders in place.
 

RAM7778

Well-Known Member
28 October 2020
31
0
121
How old are the kids and are there any parenting orders / plans in place?

Perhaps the best thing to do is to start off by e-mailing the ex stating you are not happy with the current access granted to the kids. Maybe even make a proposal for access? This most likely, by the sounds of things won't work but it's a start.

The best bet may be to engage a mediator and start the FDR process. If this is unsuccessful at mediation then you will be issued a 60i certificate that will allow you to file for interim orders in the even no agreement is reached at mediation. Relationships Australia can certainly help with this.

In the mean time it may be worth your while obtaining something from your partner's doctor stating that he poses no risk to the children. This is clearly the case as his step children are in his care, but the medical "approval" will be helpful. It may be important to show that there has never been abuse of the prescribed medicine. I would think this can be shown by prescriptions, recommended dosages etc etc.

Is there any evidence you have of the threats made? Keep a record of all of these. Once you start embarking on this process it is imperative you become excellent record keepers. Perhaps keep a diary / e-mail yourself at the end of the day.
The kids are 16, 6 and 4 with no parenting agreement in place.

we already have letters and assessments from doctors as we needed to supply them when he started a new job. However nothing stating there is no risk to the children. Thank you that’s great advice.
He is an awesome dad he treats my boys as if they are his own, he does everything for them and they are always his first priority. God most of the time my boys go to him first. We have shared care week on week off and they have a better and more loving relationship than they do with their actual dad.

This women won’t even let their grandparents take them to the zoo, she must always be present. She would not let the eldest go to year 6 camp back in the day because the school said she wasn’t allowed to be present.
 

Atticus

Well-Known Member
6 February 2019
1,417
210
2,394
This women won’t even let their grandparents take them to the zoo, she must always be present. She would not let the eldest go to year 6 camp back in the day because the school said she wasn’t allowed to be present.
Gather any hard evidence of this sort of behavior... Clearly she has some sort of problem. That's not normal behavior. Her problems don't trump the kids right to a meaningful relationship with dad & other family members... That's not possible spending 2 hours once every 3 weeks with mum insisting on being present.

The court is on your side... When you get your s60I, seek final & interim orders..... May take a while, be patient & study up on self representing & the aspects of the family law act you will be dealing with.
 

RAM7778

Well-Known Member
28 October 2020
31
0
121
Gather any hard evidence of this sort of behavior... Clearly she has some sort of problem. That's not normal behavior. Her problems don't trump the kids right to a meaningful relationship with dad & other family members... That's not possible spending 2 hours once every 3 weeks with mum insisting on being present.

The court is on your side... When you get your s60I, seek final & interim orders..... May take a while, be patient & study up on self representing & the aspects of the family law act you will be dealing with.
Yeah we have a heap of text messages and voice recordings. I know it is so far from normal it's not funny, the kids only go to school the bare minimum time. She keeps them home because she says she doesn't want to be lonely. Out of one school term they had 38 days absent, god only knows how many it was for the whole year. We don't get school reports the only reason we saw one is because we got my partners father to drop in unannounced and he saw it on the table and took pictures for us when she went to the toilet.

I have downloaded the family law act and have it sitting beside my bed with a highlighter and notepad.
 

Rosscoe

Well-Known Member
21 October 2020
45
2
124
Yeah we have a heap of text messages and voice recordings. I know it is so far from normal it's not funny, the kids only go to school the bare minimum time. She keeps them home because she says she doesn't want to be lonely. Out of one school term they had 38 days absent, god only knows how many it was for the whole year. We don't get school reports the only reason we saw one is because we got my partners father to drop in unannounced and he saw it on the table and took pictures for us when she went to the toilet.

I have downloaded the family law act and have it sitting beside my bed with a highlighter and notepad.
Yeah - it does not sound very normal.

I assume you have done your intake session for mediation then? That would be a good place to discuss with the mediator some of the concerns you have and the behaviour that you have witnessed. In the discussion (intake session) it is a good idea to try and show the mediator the impact on the children and concerns you have with respect to the children.

Remember the mediator is exactly that (it's someone to help the negotiation not someone to make a judgment on the merits of your case). There are two stories and their job is to bring the parties closer to an agreement. So it is a good idea to formulate in your head as to what your absolute "worst outcome" is and negotiate for anything better. I assume you will go to mediation asking for 50 / 50 care or more? It is often a good idea to go with multiple different care options which shows that you have given thought to the kids and other parents situation and show a willingness to negotiate and look for options. Bear in mind the impact this might have on the kids being apart from what is their "primary carer". As much as it sounds like she has not acted in a very good manner with respect to the kids she has still been their carer and it is what the children "know". A change to this will likely be disruptive. A gradual re-introduction into the other parent's life is often preferred once matters where there has been minimal to no access go to court. Playing the patient long game is certainly prudent advice.

Re: the other parent being lonely (and saying so) and keeping the kids out of school - Do you have evidence of this? I believe that this is something the courts will be critical of and deem as a risk factor to the children. Putting your own interests before the children's is not on. With evidence such as this (compromising your children's education to satisfy your own loneliness - sounds like borderline abuse to me) you may want to look for obtaining orders where care is primarily placed in your hands. I'd suggest you seek legal advice with respect to this.

Good luck
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
4,442
644
2,894
38 days off? WTF? That is nearly 8weeks. Please tell that that was because of Covid? But even with Covid schools only closed for 2 weeks and then had partial attendance for 2 weeks.

Contact the school. They should be compliant with a request for school reports and attendance records. Start applying some pressure to her to be a parent.

Get yourself into court and go for 50/50 care. IF your partner is on a disability pension he might be considered appropriate for legal aid. So he gets free legals (or heavily subsidised) and she will have to pay a solicitor. Get this stuff sorted.
 

RAM7778

Well-Known Member
28 October 2020
31
0
121
Yeah - it does not sound very normal.

I assume you have done your intake session for mediation then? That would be a good place to discuss with the mediator some of the concerns you have and the behaviour that you have witnessed. In the discussion (intake session) it is a good idea to try and show the mediator the impact on the children and concerns you have with respect to the children.

Remember the mediator is exactly that (it's someone to help the negotiation not someone to make a judgment on the merits of your case). There are two stories and their job is to bring the parties closer to an agreement. So it is a good idea to formulate in your head as to what your absolute "worst outcome" is and negotiate for anything better. I assume you will go to mediation asking for 50 / 50 care or more? It is often a good idea to go with multiple different care options which shows that you have given thought to the kids and other parents situation and show a willingness to negotiate and look for options. Bear in mind the impact this might have on the kids being apart from what is their "primary carer". As much as it sounds like she has not acted in a very good manner with respect to the kids she has still been their carer and it is what the children "know". A change to this will likely be disruptive. A gradual re-introduction into the other parent's life is often preferred once matters where there has been minimal to no access go to court. Playing the patient long game is certainly prudent advice.

Re: the other parent being lonely (and saying so) and keeping the kids out of school - Do you have evidence of this? I believe that this is something the courts will be critical of and deem as a risk factor to the children. Putting your own interests before the children's is not on. With evidence such as this (compromising your children's education to satisfy your own loneliness - sounds like borderline abuse to me) you may want to look for obtaining orders where care is primarily placed in your hands. I'd suggest you seek legal advice with respect to this.

Good luck
We are due to have our intake session next week. We already know she will ignore it and not show up. Last time my partner tried this she didn't show up and ignored all letters and phone calls. He previously got his certificate to go to court. When he spoked to her and said he would proceed she hurled abuse, made all sorts of threats dragged the kids out of the house and told them that daddy was trying to take mummy away from them and they would never see her again. The kids started to cry and said daddy please don't, pf course it was see! See what you are doing to the kids do you really want to be the person who puts them though all this, do you want to be the parent they hate. My partner is not a fighter and hates conflict so he backed down. (this was before we were together so he believed her threats and didn't think the courts or system would help in anyway)

As much as want to apply for a live with order I know going in all guns blazing will not help us. Mind you I have never meet these little humans as her response was they do not need to know me or my children and that my partner needs to focus on "His Family" and her children don't need to be part of it.

Yes we do have evidence of why she kept them home, we have a recording of one of them telling my partner "We didn't go to school this week daddy". when he asked why were you sick he replied "no mummy said we could stay at home because she didn't want to be lonely". "I told mummy I wanted to go but she said no"

Once we get to court, my intention is to submit a notice of risk against the mother due to mental health. I will be requesting that the mother attend an approved phycologist to asses her separation anxiety and ability to provide adequate emotional care to the children.

Since they have not had an overnight stay or spent anytime alone with their father I will be suggesting a staged approach and break each section down by school term. (Bare in mind we are in NSW she is in ACT) Yep my partner has to drive 3 hours every 3 weeks to spend 2 hours with his kids with her present. (his parents and brother live in the ACT)
Term 1: The children shall spend time with the father from 8am to 6pm every second Saturday and Sunday (children get returned at night to her) Focus on building the relationship and bond
During school holiday the Children will spend time with the father (either first or second week) each day from 8am to 7pm with 3 overnight stays included. (facilitated at his parents house)
Term 2: The children shall spend time with the father from 6pm Friday till 6pm Sunday (facilitated at parents or uncles house)
During the school holidays the children shall spend time with the father on a week about basis commencing at 6pm Friday. (Facilitated at the fathers home)
Term 3: The children shall spend time with the father each alternate weekend commencing 6pm Friday till 6pm Sunday (Facilitated at the father home address) Change over shall occur Marulan McDonald's
The children shall spend time with the father on a week about basis facilitated at the fathers home address, change over shall occur at Marulan McDonalds
(Christmas day will also come into this section but that's an easy one year on year off)

I think this way if we show the judge we are willing to take a staged approach we are focusing on what is in the best interest of the children as we don't want them to all of a sudden just be told okay your coming with us for the weekend. They are only little so it would be very overwhelming for them.