ACT Wanting to be in Baby Boy's Life - Family Law Opinions?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Ethan Schofer, 24 October 2018.

  1. Ethan Schofer

    Ethan Schofer Active Member

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    Hi all!

    I am having a difficult time with my baby boy, all I want is to be there for him and to be a father. Hope this helps a bit.

    I have a 4 month old boy and have only been able to see him once, which was when he was 2 weeks old. I was not there for the birth and have not been put down on his birth certificate. When I went to their house to see him, my ex's parents (who she lives with) sat me down and belittled me until I was in tears, before I got to see my baby boy.

    I did my research and went to the Family Relationship Centre in order to do mediation with my ex. Her parents got involved in the mediation process and it was deemed unsuitable to do mediation, as I am doing all of this without support of anyone, which gave my ex an advantage over me.

    A month later, I get an email from my ex's father (who I'm only in contact with) saying that they would like to discuss visitation rights for me to see my son. In that meeting, they notified me that they are moving to Adelaide at the end of the year, due to my ex's father being posted there by the defense force.

    The grandfather of my son was pretty adamant that he did not want myself and them to end up in court, over this situation. As there will be no winners in the end result, other than the lawyers. They have told me that they don't expect any child support from me, as I could use those funds to visit him once a month, in Adelaide.

    I have seen a duty lawyer at the family court, she told me to get a maternity test and to get my name put on the birth certificate. I have also handed my legal aid application in and am waiting to hear back from them.

    I hope to get back some opinions. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
     
  2. GlassHalfFull

    GlassHalfFull Well-Known Member

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    Look, there will probably be other people with better and more educated specific advice about this, but my first impression from hearing your story is that the grandfather was trying to talk you out of taking it to court over it because he knows that you would have a strong case to fight to keep your boy nearby and stop them moving interstate.

    Unless the court decides that you are not a suitable father to be in your boy's life (you haven't gone into detail about your story so none of us can really speak about this side of the situation), you should have a right to take their intention to move interstate to the court. I don't know for sure how this process would happen, whether they would get into trouble if they moved without awaiting the conclusion of the court case, or whether they could move but would have to move back if you won your case, but either way, you have a right to appeal their move.

    I have read a number of family court decisions where one parent, who the child lived with exclusively, had wanted to move a long way from the other parent and this had been denied by the court because they did not have sufficient justification. I have no idea how a judge would view your and the boy's mother's situation, but if she lives with her parents, that appears to be her choice to do so, not a requirement that she move with them.

    Just because they move, it shouldn't automatically mean that she has to move unless she has particularly good reasons why it's necessary. It could be that she might be forced to move out of her parents home and stay in the same area in order to allow you to see your boy regularly. I don't know for sure that you would win that in court, but it's certainly worth getting legal advice about.

    Also, it seems like the grandfather might have been trying to convince you to accept the move in exchange for them not claiming child support. I would be careful about this because just because you agree to them moving, it doesn't mean they couldn't immediately put a claim in afterwards. But on the other hand, if you are not on the birth certificate and you don't get a paternity test, it would be difficult for them to prove you are the father. But anyway, this probably doesn't matter if you do want to be in your boy's life. If so, it might be that you would be required to pay child support (at a level appropriate to your income of course).

    It sounds like a rough situation that you're in and I hope it works out for you. Don't give up. Don't get bullied into accepting something that you don't want. Your son is your son and if you don't fight to have him in your life now, it might be a lot harder to fight to get him back later in life because it will be harder to demonstrate that you have tried to foster a good relationship with him. Lawyers aren't cheap, that's for sure, but if you are eligible for legal aid, it will help.

    And if their family doesn't want to go down the legal route, it may mean they are more likely to agree to settle it quickly. But stick to your guns and get the best legal advice you can.That's about all the advice I can give you at the moment. Hopefully others can share their experience. I'm in the family court system at the moment but my case is quite different to yours.
     
  3. miguel

    miguel Well-Known Member

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    Is it a problem if the child moves? Is legal aid treating this urgently? What do you want to achieve?
     
  4. GlassHalfFull

    GlassHalfFull Well-Known Member

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    It did sound like he answered those questions in his first sentence.. "all I want is to be there for him and to be a father". That isn't a realistic proposition if they move away interstate and he only sees his boy once a month, as suggested the family. Still, sounds like more information is needed at this point.
     
  5. Migz

    Migz Well-Known Member

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    What is your current living arrangements? Are you renting/owning a house and have a bedroom set aside for your child? Do you work full time? You said mediation was scuttled, do you now have an s60i certificate? If not that's the first thing I would do, make contact with RA and get a copy off them.

    Next, if legal aid is stuffing you around and you have a spare $500 for court and filing fees then give it a crack yourself for the first few hearings...you're in front the judge no longer than 10 minutes...it's all based on paperwork...which there are plenty of folk on here willing to help you out with.

    It sounds like you have this family on the ropes already and if you act quickly with filing your paperwork you may just stop them from moving altogether. And end up with 3 or 4 days a week for 3 or 4 hours at a time seeing the child is so young. If you could manage that then go for it, file the paperwork, seek in the orders that you want a DNA test as well.
     
  6. Ethan Schofer

    Ethan Schofer Active Member

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    Thank you so much for taking the time to help me out with your advice. I have applied for legal aid, but they came back to me saying that i earn too much to be covered by them. I went and saw a duty lawyer today and she told me that she will follow up with legal aid and see if she can help me with that process.

    She also told me that they can't move if I do not give her permission to, which is surprising, since i didn't know i had that sought of power in the decision. I am going to give the child support agency a call and start that process, as i should be there to support him as well.

    Kind regards
     
  7. Ethan Schofer

    Ethan Schofer Active Member

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    Hello

    Thanks for your question.

    It is a problem, in my eyes. I want to be there in his life, and I want to be involved with him. I have seen him less than an hour between the 2 times I have seen him, since he has been born. I have been to legal aid and they have emailed me back saying that I earn too much. So I have sought advice from a duty lawyer in what I need to do.

    Kind regards
     
  8. Ethan Schofer

    Ethan Schofer Active Member

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    Thank you very much for your help!

    I am living in a sharehouse, which is neat and tidy in a nice neighborhood. I have worked full time since i left school. I did mediation which didn't end up working out, so Relationship Australia sent me the 60i certificate, in which I handed into legal aid with all the other paperwork. They ended up coming back to me saying that i earn too much for them to support me. Unless I write to them saying why they should cover me.

    I spoke to a duty lawyer today and she told me to go to the federal circuit court website and print out the 'initiating application' and fill it out and hand it back to her. She told me to put a court order in to seek for equal parental responsibility, to see him once a week or however much I want to see him and to get my name on the birth certificate. Then to do an affidavit form and complete that out. Then also to do a notice of risk. It sounds like a lot, I hope I can do it all in time.

    Kind regards
     
  9. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member
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    End of year is coming up quick. I'd also consider getting an urgent order saying the child cannot move.
     
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  10. Migz

    Migz Well-Known Member

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    Well you have this weekend to fill in all of the paperwork if you knuckle down properly. If you leave it another week then I bet that her family will be gone...you need to file all of this on Monday.

    And don't be stupid and contact CSA...they will contact you when they are good and ready believe me...and the first thing you will say is there is no DNA test and you aren't on the birth certificate...let your ex sort all that crap out.

    You need to focus entirely on completing your court paperwork...
     
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