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QLD Ways to Avoid Cross-examination by Ex at Family Court?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Legally Fizzing, 23 June 2016.

  1. Legally Fizzing

    Legally Fizzing Active Member

    15 March 2016
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    My wife and I are 3 years into a legal fight, $120K down and up for another $40K, now at final orders with 2 days of a barrister. The ex (Father) started self-representing at the last interim due to no funds (like we have any) and despite ICL indicating his cause was completely futile and lost, he will not back down. Because he is a very smart narcissist with an evidence supported history of violence (i.e. week in hospital at worst, innumerate black eyes at best), we cannot risk not having strong legal support given that we seek that the current orders are maintained as final; those orders being no contact at all with the child due to reasons I cannot go into.

    As our lawyer says, we are stuck in the Legal system, not the Justice system, and there is very little about it that is fair and just. Without being able to throw another dollar in the ring, and I am seeking help on if there is a way that a victim of abuse can avoid the nauseating experience of having to stand in the same room as her abuser having lies and taunts delivered to her in the guise of cross-examination at family court?

    This power play could well have a devastating effect on her fragile state of mind. To date she has not played the PTS line and has avoided any formal indication that her personal feelings toward her ex could in anyway taint her child's relationship with the Father, and I can attest with all honesty that she has been amazing in keeping this period of her life away from her now 14-year-old son (was 6 at the time of abuse), but in the environment indicated above, I fear she could experience such a panic attack she could end up passing out or worse.

    She has been the victim of this man for over a decade now and it is tearing us apart that the system does not appear to have a mechanism to protect the welfare of an individual in these circumstances.

    Any help appreciated.
  2. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

    27 September 2015
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    Nope, nothing except trying to change her attitude. Sadly, I never wound up in court but I had one or two opportunities where I got to stand up to my ex in conciliation conferences, etc. It was empowering and helped me heal some of the pain.

    But you can still be prepared - Practice making really short statements. Stuff like - 'I disagree' or 'no, that isn't right.' Let the twit play pretend solicitor, it ain't gonna work.
  3. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    23 July 2014
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    Forgive me, I hate to say this, but it may be strategically better for your wife to simply endure cross-examination than go to lengths that preclude her from being in the same room as your ex.

    Witness credibility is not just reflected in their answers. It's reflected in their body language and conduct. If your wife is scared of her ex to such an extent that it will cause panic attacks and similar, the Judge will not be oblivious to that impact, and it will only serve to strengthen her position when she says in her affidavit that she is scared of him.

    The Judge also will not allow a party to exploit cross-examination as an opportunity to railroad the other party. If his cross-examination is carried out for any reasons other than to adduce evidence, the Judge will disallow it, and remember - his credibility will be as much on show as your wife's will be.

    You could enquire with the Court about delivering evidence remotely, but the bottom line is that she will need to be cross-examined, and so will he. They will need to be in the same room together, but your wife will be safe, and it's necessary that she overcome her fear for the sake of her children.
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  4. MartyK

    MartyK Well-Known Member

    4 June 2016
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    Is there a Safety Plan? You could request video link which may be granted under some circumstances, however, as your wife has already encountered her ex at the Courts for 3 years now, albeit not with him cross-examining her, then I would suggest this may be futile.

    Better protection for DV survivors involved in Family/FC Court proceedings is an ongoing discussion and certainly something the Courts, including CJ Bryant, are trying to improve and work further towards with various stakeholders.
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