VIC Vexatious and litigious ex

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Dpj

Well-Known Member
1 July 2020
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Hi All. Im just starting my legal battles and have concerns I am going to pay through my nose as my ex is highly litigious. I also was very disappointed with a recent outcome in court despite paying huge sums to my legal team. I am just wondering if anyone with legal background can comment whether it seems normal.

I have very young children (2x under 4) and had 6 nights per fortnight for the first 9 months of separation. She made false claims for and an FVIIO was taken out. After liaising with the informent and providing alternative evidence in the aim of seeking an undertaking/withdrawal, the cops said they'd charge her criminally with DV. Inaddition, i have numerous witness statements (including from our nanny) of both physical and emotional abuse committed by here to me including in the presence of kids. I have hospital reports, etc too of DV. She has provided no evidence in the FVO or in the recent interim court hearing where her affidavit made claims of abuse. I provided my lawyer an indexed 130page document of evidence of her bad behaviour. Including alienation such as 'he always tells me he hates you' etc, tenants of our investment property wanting a restainer order on her, and the list goes on. She often said to my eldest 'dont we hate daddy' including infront of me. I have evidence of alienation but not video evidence (text). There is also a baby on the way and will come any day now. I was smoking a few joints a week but have quit as it was a free kick as she was screaming 'drug addict' at every possible opportunity.

In the recent interim court appearance which i was the respondent, my legal team wanted me to take 5 nights (in negotiations pre judge) as they thought going up against the judge could give me a worse result. She wanted me to have 4. The evidence against her in undeniable. I am wondering why i would have to have days cut despite what is happening. When she applied for the interim hearing, the FVIIO was in place and no DV charges pending. Her basis for her requests were almost all DV related which basically flipped on her before court date as i had a letter from the cops saying theyd support a withdrawal of the FVIIO and intended to be charge her. Since then she has thrown more basless and falso allegations at police who are now not supporting a withdrawal at this time (the case was ajorned rather than withdrawn due to the pending birth and the red flag period)

So how am i losing days? I am highly concerned for my kids. For instance, tonight, i had to rush off to daycare to grab them as she didnt pick them up (its her night) and they are now staying tonight with me. This is just a week after court and the change of roster. She is so desperate for conclict and i get daily correspondemce from her that a third party would consider wierd, irrational and abusive. Despite her affidavit having multiple contradictions within it (ie, saying i had the kids 6 nights since separation, then in another section saying i have had 6 night only for 2 fortnights), tonight she emailed me and said she went to the cops (i assume on the phone and all heresay so im not too worried) and she has the option, if she so desires (but she is holding off for now) to charge me with purjury, that she claims to have video of me hitting her and for breaches of the FVIIO (me supposedly gaslighting her). She said the cops told her she'd be successful. Ive never touched her, didnt lie in my affidavit, and if i have breached the FVIIO its very minor (ie, emailing her about something other than the kids). 95% of the time in an angel in correspondence and the other 5% is frustration (and in no way abuse. Im not stupid enough to do that).

My question is why with all this am i losing days with the kids? What do people here think? Should i have gone to the judge and taken the risk? Im paying my legal team a fortune and this outcome doesnt seem in the best interest of the kids and i feel they didn't get the best outcome. Tje whole system and the way it works seems so outdated. On court day i was advised 'this is an highly unusual case, amongst other things, as its not a father that works and the mother as full time stay home carer'. WTF? Its not 1960. I think its pretty normal both parents work even if children are young.

My lawyers say im the luckiest guy in the worldvto get 5 nights a fortnight but i certainly don't feel that way.

I have been defendeding myself in the FVIIO case and feel i could have done just a good of a job in this recent hearing.
 

sammy01

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27 September 2015
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So to directly answer your questions. You're not gonna like much of what is below, but realise this: I've spent time typing it. I believe my advice good and I'm not doing this out of malice. Now sit down, calm down and continue reading.

'Should i have gone to the judge and taken the risk?" U'm no fcuking idea. how can I guess what the judge might have done. Worth the risk of the judge siding with the ex and you only getting 4? NOPE.
"why with all this am i losing days with the kids? " You're a man in a sexist system, what? you have not worked that out yet? Guess what. Society is sexist againt men too, so the courts are a reflection of society. Overwhelmingly, women still take on the primary carer role and courts work on that assumption. AND kinda sorta it is right. There is some biology at work here. Something to do with where the kid spends the first 9 months since conception....
"WTF? Its not 1960" It's not the 1960's. You're right... But the judges are from the 1960's. And incase you haven't noticed we're living in a pandemic, not Covid. DV. Google the Duluth model. OR for fun, call Mensline. Go on dare ya. Tell a little white lie, tell them you're still living with the ex and she swears at you, throws stuff at you, abuses you infront of the kids. Put a stop watch on. Bet ya that before you it the 5min mark the 'counsellor' will be asking if you think you could benefit from an anger management course.... Yup all of a sudden you're the agressor and SHE is the victim. Now that is a serious case of WTF

"What do people here think?"
Young kids? They work on this idea of 'primary attachment theory'. Google it. It is always mum.... Dont argue - we are living in the 1950's.... Take the 5 a fortnight.

You've got 5 a fortnight? sweet. Seriously mate, how much $$ do you want to throw at this to get back 1 nights a fortnight? or is about proving the ex a liar? See if it is about proving the ex is a liar you're wasting your $$. Oh and you've already proven it. WHAT? Yep see if the judge believed any of the BS about you being violent and abusive you would not be seeing the kids until the evidence was tested at a final hearing OR you'd be seeing the kids with supervision at a contact centre for about 2 hours a week at your expense. So you've already won that battle...

Not legal advice now. Life experience. 5 a fortnight is sweet. My kids experienced similar BS to your kids. Kids see 50/50 as fair and they worked out it was mum that was preventing 50/50. They never heard me bad mouth mum. Now kids who are totally alienated from one parent have no time with that parent with which to test mum's theory that dad 'hates' them. Very sad for those kids to grow up believing lies because they have nothing with which to test the lies. BUT in my case (and yours) the kids had 5 nights a fortnight with dad, their little minds were questioning mum's theories that dad is the devil. But mum's theory wasn't supported by the evidence. Nope, the opposite, they saw dad helping the kids make mother's day and birthday cards. They saw me and heard me being nice to mum even while she was throwing soiled underwear at me and swearing. True story, I mentioned once that when she dropped off the kids they were not wearing underwear, so she smeared sh%t in a pile of undies and threw them at me. All the while I'm picking them up and saying 'no worries, I'll get them cleaned and return them to help you". Now what did the kids learn from that exchange?

So I've been where you are. It took some time BUT I realised two facts. Fact 1 was realised very early on. My ex is a nutter. Fact 2 took me a while to get my head around. Fact 2 -Just because my ex is a nutter doesn't mean I have to be one too... Right now mate you are a nutter. Let me 'prove' it to you... You provided your solicitor with 130 pages of 'evidence'. NOPE not evidence, your opinion. You think it is evidence, but this isn't a criminal trial. It is your opinion, sure much of it is fact. A nasty text message or 500 But family law isnt about facts, innocence or guilt. It is about best interest of the kids (more on that later) Now I'm no good at math. But I'll give it a go. Lets say 400 words per page. Solicitors charge at $30 per hundred words they read or write. So your 130 pages = about $16 000 in solicitor reading time.ARE YOU MAD? U'm you are... barking mad... But you came here for advice and that is what you're getting.

Stop being a nutter. Stop it. Seriously, she has made you a nutter. So she is dictating the game. Change the game and start winning.

So BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD IS PARAMONT - That is what the family law act states... It doesn't state that the person who can provide the most reams of paper filled with 'evidence' wins. And there is an assumption that kids should be kept away from conflict. 50/50 only ever happens when parents agree. WHY? Well for 50/50 to work for kids the parents need to get along. So your 130 pages of conflict proves something... But not what you want it to prove. It proves there is high conflict here... Parents that cant get along. so judge needs to decide where to put the kids to minimise conflict. That is gonna be mum. So your 130 has hurt your cause.

I'm a bit repetitive, but I reckon you need to work on understanding my theory.... Story time - Mate I was on anti-depresants. Drinking heavily, smoking a pack a day. I lived in fear. The ex had an FVIOO on me. There were days where I was crying as I went to pick up the kids. WHY? I was scared of HER. She wasn't just winning this stupid game, she was stomping on me. Then I came across the 'pretty woman method'. How does it work? Well I get out of the car and get ready. Ex was always late, just because she could, always had an argument. Just because she could. But... I started applying the pretty woman method. So while the ex is beratting me, swearing, telling me the kids have knits because they stayed at my house BLAH BLAH, I would look over the ex's shoulder. Not at her. Bit like the monkeys in Bali. If you make eye contact they get aggressive. So I imagined that there was an insanely beautiful woman about 20 metres behind the ex and just to the left. I was mesmerised by her beauty. Totally distracted from the ex's antics. So she is abusing me telling me all sorts of bs... MY response? while continuing to gaze at the non-existent beautiful woman, I'd make non-sensical responses....
HER: The kids have knits. You need to give me the money I wasted on treating them and you need to buy some knit treatment and fix this and clean your house.
ME: Sure, no worries, thanks for the heads up. I'll look into that.
HER: What sort of answer is that. You're just a smart arse. What are you looking at?
ME: Yep cool, no worries. I've gotta go now.

So to summarise - stop playing her game. The title of your thread is 'vexatious and litigious ex". You're playing her game. Blowing " huge sums to my legal team". When you play HER GAME you lose. She is making up the rules and no doubt changing the rules without telling you. So you're always one or two steps behind. You're never gonna win. So don't play that game. Make up your own game and play by those rules...

Final thought - The name of your game should be called 'INTEGRITY'. You want to raise, good honest kids? Right so stare down the enemy and act with integrity. Fcuk proving her a liar and start proving to your kids that you're an awesome dad. Don't waste a brain cell on HER BS. Work hard at it, eventually, you'll stop waking up at 3am because of the stress and you'll start winning.
Now go back to the top and read it all again because i reckon it is bloody good advice.
 
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Atticus

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6 February 2019
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Hi All. Im just starting my legal battles and have concerns I am going to pay through my nose as my ex is highly litigious
I think that's a fair assumption... Your legal team will just keep responding to her BS at your expense & by the sounds of it you won't be any better off in terms of nights, perhaps years into legal battles...
5 nights is a good outcome... Wouldn't go so far as to say you are the luckiest guy in the world, but under the circumstances, it's good.

As for the rest of it, I agree with Sammy... You are dealing with a person with zero ethics, who makes up their own rules & will likley show scant regard for orders anyway.... Potentially could have years of family court ahead of you to get final orders, then perhaps years more of contravention applications when she decides to ignore them... But here's the real kicker.... In 2020, after having spent years & tens of thousands on lawyers, she could walk into a local court (or just pick up a phone or log in to magistrates court at home), make up any amount of lies she wishes for a FVO application, include the kids names as protected persons, & you will be served the next day with an 'interim' FVO that will set aside your family court orders & remove your kids from your life .... She sounds like the sort that would be up for it too.

You have had three kids with a crazy. If you want to survive & give your kids the best chance of growing up normal, read Sammy's advice, get yourself a good counsellor to help you manage & teach you some coping tools ..... How outrageous that is the advice I have for a dad dealing with a crazy in 2020, but here we are... Save your money on fighting in the family court & spend it on your own mental health

See what comes of the DV charges the cops have against her.... If she is ever an actual danger to your kids, report it to family services. At least it's on record.
 
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GlassHalfFull

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28 August 2018
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My lawyers say im the luckiest guy in the worldvto get 5 nights a fortnight but i certainly don't feel that way.
You might not feel it but compared to many, you are. You started with 6 nights a fortnight and only since your ex has been trying to fight has that even been in question. When I separated from my ex, she called child protection which prevented me having any unsupervised time with the children, then took out a FV order on me. Long story short: 2 years later, 4 family court hearings and $50k+ in legal fees, I'm at one night a fortnight. And that's WITH slow incremental progress at each hearing. I had to put up with paid supervision for 9 months. Then another year of unsupervised time but without any overnights. And my children are similar ages to yours (4 and 2). Only a few months ago did I get any overnight time. I wanted twice a week, I got once a fortnight.

* Oh and just to clarify - I was in the same boat as you in many ways. Prior to separation, I was actually the primary carer. And I was actually the victim of DV from her, if anything. It was pretty low level but she hit me on a number of occasions, but I had no proof of it and she got in with a DV order first. I had done literally nothing that she had accused me of, but accusations are automatically believed (remember "believe all women"? Yeah...) and taken very seriously. So I had to start from scratch and claw back responsibility and time with the children.
 
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Step2Three

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21 December 2018
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+1 to the advice above.
I totally remember the feeling that came over my husband and I the day we realised that in Family Law (and especially Family Violence Law) everything we might have believed about an impartial, rational system making decisions based on evidence was bull****, and can see that's where you are at now. This may be your first interaction with the legal system so it's double shock. And like so many other replies you'll get, the pattern is the same- she hurls verbal abuse, she'll alienate the kids (language just like you've described) but you lose time with your children. So to answer one of your initial questions- Is It Normal? Yeah, pretty much.

If the 5 nights you've agreed to is an interim arrangement (assuming the matter is continuing) then that was pretty solid advice and yes, compared to many, a good result. You can use this time to show the kids are fine with 5 nights, despite being young and have an opportunity to transition care to 6 or 7 nights as they get older (if that's what you're looking for) when making final orders.
Like Sammy has said, if the kids spend quality time with you they can see that what they're being told about you (Daddy hates you) and what they can see/experience for themselves do not add up. 5 nights is a good chunk of time to build a relationship that's worth more to them than whatever lies come out of mum's mouth. Be warned they're still kids, and they want both their parents love- and soon enough they'll probably work out that Mum's love appears to be conditional on 'hating' you. Don't be surprised if they put that show on when she's there to see it. It hurts, but try and be compassionate to the position they are in. Worry if they are acting like that when she's not around.

It does seem like you've already spent alot of $$ in fairly early family court proceedings and there's a long way to go yet. Sending 130+ page dossiers of evidence to your lawyer hasn't helped on that front, you must have paid through the nose to wade through all that info. Everyone's got that document- diaries of conversations, copies of texts/emails, all of that, but we would try and distill those down into the relevant points to include in affadavits etc, which then only need a small amount of lawyers time to review. If you are going to defend the FV matter, a lawyer there may be more helpful. At the moment, as you can see the Family Court are not overly swayed by the untested allegations (hence they have accepted 5 nights). If there is a finding against you in the DV matter life could get trickier.

Looking after your mental health is key, as you will need to be in a strong mental state to cop whatever is going to be thrown at you without retaliation. Hopefully you have good support around you too. If you have a clear mind and someone acting as a sounding board, it should become easier to pick the battles that matter- the ones that improve the outcome for your kids.
 

Rod

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Good practical opinions and war stories above.

FYI, lawyers here cannot comment because you already have lawyers. We are are not allowed to talk with another lawyer's client when we know they have lawyers.
 
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Atticus

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6 February 2019
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FYI, lawyers here cannot comment because you already have lawyers. We are are not allowed to talk with another lawyer's client when we know they have lawyers.
I did not know that ... Makes sense & explains why lawyers here are silent in some threads that I would have thought they could give some valuable insight
 

Dpj

Well-Known Member
1 July 2020
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Hi All. Awesome advice. Im going to accept 5 with a smile and take the advice and stop fighting. Im going tovrequest a cancellation of the family report at $10k too as my trying to prove she is a nutter is obviously a waste of money. The document i did was obviously a rookie error, i didnt know any better. I indexed it really well (60pages was appendix like care diaries, etc) and only included information as rubuttals and evidence for her affidavit and orders sought. I wish i had come on here first as when i saw the affidavit the lawyer wrote i realised i had wasted time.

Im so glad i stumbled across this site.

My plan now is to look to lock in the 5 days and see if i can swimg it to 50:50 by the time the youngest (yet to be born but due anyday) is in school. I think she'll go for that. Then stop trying to prove she is crazy (i read gorman & gorman and got excited but realise its a high bow to draw).

That way its just the finances. Look to settle soon (rather than later) and save myself costs and heartache.

No doubt, this experience made me lose faith in the system. Before that, i was saying 'i trust the law to get it right' but now realise how niave i was.

Thanks a million all of you
 

Rob Legat - SBPL

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FYI, lawyers here cannot comment because you already have lawyers. We are are not allowed to talk with another lawyer's client when we know they have lawyers.
Mostly. There is an exception for second opinions. The rule against contact is for the protection of the 'opposing party', and obtaining a second opinion doesn't breach that. At first glance that maybe appears to be valid here. However, and while I can't speak to everyone else's reasons here, 'we' lawyers are reluctant to jump in when someone states they are represented for any combination of the following:

1. Any information we give is going to necessarily be measured against what the person's lawyer is saying. That lawyer has (at least in principle) the benefit of full instructions, and review of the relevant material. We get a forum post. Clients are not generally - nor are they expected to be - able to provide all pertinent information in their initial statements. It's just not a good set up.

2. The second opinion 'exception' itself. You'll notice the lawyers around here all have disclaimers in their signatures that their statements are not to be construed as legal opinions. That's not just 'being tricky', there's precedent to state that once an opinion is given, considered or not, and paid or not, a duty of care arises. That's lawyer speak for 'we're on the hook if something goes wrong'. Couple that with point one and that's a risk no lawyer should be willing to take. Accordingly, since we're emphatically stating we're not giving an opinion it stands to reason the 'second opinion' exception isn't made out. Lawyers who unnecessarily expose themselves to professional negligence claims don't tend to last too long, or get hired by law firms.

3. Professional courtesy. If someone has retained paid legal counsel, that's who they should be contacting with their questions - not us. I accept that's a slightly different case if there's a communication problem with said lawyer. Lawyer/client relationships are founded on trust, and if the client doesn't trust the lawyer to go to them with their questions then there is no relationship.
 

Dpj

Well-Known Member
1 July 2020
27
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121
Thanks Rob. In regards to your third point, i need honest advice. May be im being pesamestic and paranoid but i honestly feel, from this one experience, the legal system has a culture of 'its other people's money'. Ie, why would i pay $2k (as suggested by both legal teams) to value a residential inner city property. I rung my broker who said NAB, ANZ and Macquarie will do them for free. Great, we add them up, divide by 3 and use that. My case was pushed through and i got court orders on the 6th june for a 22nd june hearing. It was BS snd my lawyer was shocked. It was because of the pending baby. My lawyer is an acquaintence so i have some faith he aint going to screw me over. Plus im well connected and an early divorcee in the scheme of things and he knows if he does well and looks after and when mates in the future divorce and ask 'what do i do', ill say 'go and chat to Xxx'. What he said would happen in court pretty much happened. He said if i could have shown in a hair test i was clean i may have kept the 6 days but i had only just quit. My ex got terrible advice and thus we went to court. two of the three request she lost out totally with the only one she had a slight win on was the extra 1 day a fortnight with the kids. No doubt she'd be super deflated.

The advice @Sammy01 gave me, and the rest, was exactly what i needed to hear. Ill say i owe you all a coffee but i probably owe ypu a years worth a coffee with a ham cheese tomato croissant as a side.