QLD Son at risk - what are our rights?

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ItsGoTime

Member
22 November 2020
3
0
1
Queensland
Hello all.

I'd like some advice, if possible, relating to our legal rights in our situation. We have not yet sought advice from a lawyer as the urgency has just transpired this weekend, however we're attending a CPS office in the morning (Monday).

My partner has a 12 year old son who lives with his mother approx. 800km away. There is no parenting plan or court order in place regarding custody; my partner has always tried to maintain an agreed arrangement with his ex and, bar a few incidents, the arrangement has been working.
Sadly, over the last 18 months to 2 years her behavior has changed, she has become unstable, she isn't able to remain employed, and she and the son have moved numerous times for varying reasons (none of which we have proof of, we just have hear-say from people in the community).
Overnight we've received solid information from a close friend, who is heavily relied on by the ex to look after the son regularly. We've been in contact with her a lot in recent months over concerns of the sons welfare, and for the most part this friend has assured us that even though she can see some things changing, the son is fine. She has now told us that she's making a lengthy submission to CPS today as there are serious issues happening that cannot be ignored, and the son is in a dangerous environment.

Here's what we know :
* Ex is involved with drug use and heavy drinking. Benders have become frequent.
* Ex has another, older, son who is the subject of an AVO (both ex and young son are named on AVO - older son not allowed near either of them). Older son has been staying at the (now previous) residence with the young son.
* Ex has a multitude of deadshits frequenting the home, and son has reported his belongings are going missing.
* Ex is withholding contact when son is with her.
* Ex has just returned from her new partners home after 2 weeks away (her partner lives approx 3 hours away from them), leaving the son with the family friend mentioned above. This makes 4 weeks in total away from the son - week 1 stayed with family friend, week 2 my partner was there and spent a week with him, weeks 3 and 4 stayed with the family friend again.
* Son appears to be spending approx 40% of his time with the family friend, however the ex refuses to discuss the son coming to live with us. She remains bitter and spiteful towards my partner and adamant on punishing him (split was 6+ years ago).
* Son has missed 30+ days of year 7 this year (not including 25 days of homeschool with my partner and I at the height of covid). Two years ago the ex fronted court and was fined for too many unexplained absences from school.
* The friend has received many incoherent texts from the ex whilst son has been in friends' care, making claims about being kidnapped and DV incidents, about coming to pick the son up and then coming up with reasons not to, and more.

There is a lot more going on. It's a small town, and my partner has made calls to the police over the last couple of months. We have asked for a welfare check when we believed the son was home alone for a weekend. We know the police have been at the house multiple times over the last 6 months, for different reasons. One of the most recent police visits was due to her being evicted from their most recent home (coincidentally, owned by her own family). The list goes on, I could be here all night.

Before we involve a lawyer this week I want to know where we stand legally. As there is no court ordered custody agreement, do we have the right to go and collect the son and bring him down to our home? If that is possible, is there an order we can put in place immediately that keeps him with us until a court hearing?
Is there ANYTHING we can do immediately to help the son, without landing us in trouble? He wants to live with us, but he loves his mum and is loathe to upset either of his parents, and it's too heartbreaking to ask him to make the decision to leave her. But he doesn't quite realise the environment he's in is so detrimental.

Thanks in advance for any advice, we appreciate any and all help.
 

Atticus

Well-Known Member
6 February 2019
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Before we involve a lawyer this week I want to know where we stand legally. As there is no court ordered custody agreement, do we have the right to go and collect the son and bring him down to our home? If that is possible, is there an order we can put in place immediately that keeps him with us until a court hearing?
The lawyer will give more specific advice but the current situation is (without orders to the contrary) both parents have assumed equal shared parental responsibility... that is defined in the act as having all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children..... In other words, you have the duty & responsibility to protect & the power & authority to do so...

The lawyer may recommend some kind of ex parte (one parent only) urgent hearing that will also give you authority by court order pending further court action.... I recommend you get this informant family friend involved so the lawyer can communicate with them directly if possible, as well as any other hard evidence of abuse/neglect & breaches of the AVO.
 

Atticus

Well-Known Member
6 February 2019
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Also.... Consider seeing that lawyer before CPS is my advice... There are no current court orders in place so you may not have to involve them... Possibly a good thing to avoid them for now if at all possible
 

ItsGoTime

Member
22 November 2020
3
0
1
Queensland
Thank you Atticus, that's actually much more promising advice than we were expecting...!
We'd love to go and get my partners son ASAP, so we will speak to a family lawyer in the morning!
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
4,526
654
2,894
go and get the kid. The kid is at risk in mum's care.
Get the text messages from the friend regarding kidnapping etc.
Get thee kid to a doctor and ask for a referral for counselling.
Go and get the kid - yup wrote it twice...

Now this is gonna be the hard bit. The kid needs to know that he is not to go with mum. So if mum comes to school the kid has to know to sit down on the ground and say "i'm not going'. Let mum start legal action to get the kid back. But based on yoru post you have good grounds to go and get the kid and no court orders saying you can't.
 

Atticus

Well-Known Member
6 February 2019
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221
2,394
I agree with @sammy01 that this kid needs to be picked up, but I do recommend that you see a lawyer either first or ASAP afterwards to look at getting an urgent ex parte order or similar.

If you just pick the kid up without doing anything else, you are at risk of mum going to a lawyer (possibly legal aid or a women's advocate)with a half truth story that may see her being granted some kind of court authority.. Much better if you get in first with the facts & get some authority yourselves.
 

ItsGoTime

Member
22 November 2020
3
0
1
Queensland
I agree with @sammy01 that this kid needs to be picked up, but I do recommend that you see a lawyer either first or ASAP afterwards to look at getting an urgent ex parte order or similar.

If you just pick the kid up without doing anything else, you are at risk of mum going to a lawyer (possibly legal aid or a women's advocate)with a half truth story that may see her being granted some kind of court authority.. Much better if you get in first with the facts & get some authority yourselves.
Thank you so, so much to you both. We're making calls trying to get an appointment as we speak.
Your replies have given us a lot of confidence!