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NSW Separation - Must Children Visit Father?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Carolyn1968, 8 April 2015.

  1. Carolyn1968

    Carolyn1968 Member

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    My children are 16 and 13 their father lives 3 hours drive away. Does the kids have to go and visit him? He pays child support maintenance but wants them to miss their sport to see him on a weekend.

    What access do I have to give him to the kids? Their is no formal agreement in place for custody of children and the kids don't want to go. He never comes down to visit them and does not help out financially with anything outside of maintenance. I'm on a low income and I am finding it very difficult to stay on top of things.
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    There seems to be a lot of confusion about what child support actually covers.

    Child support is calculated to cover a share of the essential expenses associated with raising children. It doesn't cover things like food, rent or clothes, as they are expenses imposed when the child is in either parent's care. What it does cover is things like uniforms and costs for extra-curricular activities if both parties have agreed to attendance. So, it is incorrect and inaccurate to suggest that 'he doesn't help out financially', when he in fact does.

    Children who receive encouragement and positive support for enjoying a relationship with the non-residential don't often experience a sense of 'not wanting to' spend time with them, so it is unfortunate that they have been placed in this position.

    Legally, if a court were to hear this matter, the views of the children would probably be given significant weight as they are both over the age of 12, and therefore likely to be able to make their own decision about who they live with and who they spend time with.

    However, I wouldn't advise using this as grounds to suspend the father's "access" to his children. If it were to come before court, it's just as likely that the court may see you as unsupportive of the children's relationship with their father, which has cost many parents residency of their children in recent years.

    I would suggest talking to the father about the kids' feelings and perhaps even attending a child-inclusive mediation session that ensures the thoughts of the children are heard. It's important, however, that you encourage the children to spend time with their father, because not doing so can be highly detrimental to both you and the kids.
     
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  3. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    If there is no formal agreement in place, I understand you don't have to force them to go. Also the children are now getting to an age where they are old enough to decide for themselves what they want to do.
     
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  4. Bellissimo

    Bellissimo Active Member

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    Be positive, encourage them to go, encourage him to visit them too. If they don't want to go, then they don't have to at their age. If he kicks up a fuss and goes via solicitors, it's unlikely he'll win it unless he can prove you are deliberately discouraging them.
    At the end of the day, once things have settled down and time marches on, it's really important that you were seen to be encouraging to your kids about spending time with their father. You don't want them pointing the finger at you when they're adults and saying you wrecked their relationship.
    Think ahead, encourage the relationship and enjoy the time they spend with him. Arrange a weekend here and there with him.... they can miss a sports match once in a while.
     
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