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QLD Visitation by Estranged Father Under Family Law - What to Do?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Rhonda Miller, 15 February 2016.

  1. Rhonda Miller

    Rhonda Miller Member

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    My son who had mental health problems which are now stabilised was divorced from his wife when their daughter was about 8 months old in QLD over 4 years ago. He came to Victoria to live with me (his mother) after suffering a nervous breakdown a few months after they separated.

    He has always been too afraid to contact his ex (I do not know why) in regards to their daughter whom he has not seen for about 2 years when I travelled up there for a visit. He has moved back to QLD, has secured employment, does some volunteer work and is getting his life back on track. I have tried calling his ex and her family and get the message to the bank and no call back, except for today when the phone was answered, muffled then hung up. No answer after that.

    He wants to see his daughter badly. What are his rights under Family Law, if any, and what should he do if she will take no calls from us?

    She works for a legal firm also.
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Technically, parents don't have any rights in regards to their kids. Instead, it's the kids who have rights in regards to their parents. Kids have a right to know, spend time and communicate with both parents on a regular basis, regardless of whether they are together, separated, divorced, de facto or never been in a relationship with each other at all.

    Without any parenting orders or a parenting plan in place, however, the parents can do whatever they wish, including limiting a child's ability to exercise that right.

    To ensure the child's rights are upheld, your son should contact Legal Aid or Relationships Australia with the premise of organising a family dispute resolution conference with his ex. The organisation he organises it through will do the legwork of contacting her on his behalf. A family dispute resolution conference is an opportunity for the parties to negotiate a parenting plan in the presence of a neutral third party without the court's intervention. The resultant parenting plan can be turned into consent orders if the parties agree, which will give the court some powers to act if either party breaches the agreement.

    If she refuses to participate in family dispute resolution, or if an agreement can't be reached, then an s60I certificate will be granted, which will enable him to file for parenting orders through the court, but hopefully, it doesn't reach that point.

    When determining what kind of contact he would like with the child, consider the influence of the child's age in that the child would have little to no living memory of him as her father. As such, it would be fair for the mother to pursue supervised contact for a while until the child feels comfortable alone in his care, at which time it might be possible to negotiate an increase in the time they spend together.
     
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  3. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Call Relationships Australia - they can help start the process to get mediation which is the first step to get some access. They will contact her. It might work, it might not but it is a start.

    Unless he is unemployed or on a very low income, I don't think legal aid will be much help.
     
  4. Rhonda Miller

    Rhonda Miller Member

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    He is unemployed.
     

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