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NSW Will Partner's Criminal Record Affect My Time with Children?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by DeeDeeM, 8 August 2016.

  1. DeeDeeM

    DeeDeeM Member

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    I was wondering if anyone could tell me if a criminal history of a new partner might impact on my access to my children (currently 50/50 split custody of children, not yet divorced and no parenting formal orders but has been this way for 12 months).

    My new partner has previous criminal convictions up until a year ago including AVOs (and jail time). I don't want to get into a debate about why one would date such a person but I wanted to know from a legal standpoint if their criminal record would impact on/be able to be brought into account if things turned nasty with my ex and we ended up having to go to court over access to the children in the following situations:

    - if new partner and I aren't living together
    - if new partner and I were to live together
    - if there is no criminal activity/no violence throughout the duration of our relationship

    Thanks
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    As well as orders around where the children live and what time they spend with you and your ex, you would most probably end up with an order that states the children are not to be brought into contact with your partner.

    The existence of violence in the present relationship is immaterial. It's whether there is an unacceptable risk of harm to the children that the Court will address.
     
  3. DeeDeeM

    DeeDeeM Member

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    So are you saying that even if my new partner has turned over a new leaf and is proving himself to be a law abiding member of the community that he will forever be judged on his past. Is there a point at which enough time has passed that this wouldn't be an issue?
     
  4. DeeDeeM

    DeeDeeM Member

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    Additionally I read another thread on here where a patent's own history wouldn't be considered. So why would someone even more removed have more impact?

    There certainly no history of harm to children in this situation.
     
  5. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    My understanding is that the parents' history is taken into account if it establishes an unacceptable risk of harm to the children through violence, neglect or abuse. If a parent shows a consistent pattern of this behaviour, then it can affect the outcome. It affects some more than others - for example, in some cases, a pattern of violence between the parents but never against the kids can sometimes result in orders that restricts direct contact between the parents, rather than between the parents and the children.

    In others, such as where the 'violence' is more low-key and can be taken in the context of the relationship breaking down, then allegations of violence have been given no weight at all, often because they haven't been supported by third party evidence. In others again, a violent past can result in a parent being granted no contact at all with their child, especially if that past has criminal convictions contained within.

    When it comes to other parties who are not parents, I would suggest the Court is less forgiving because it's significantly less important for the children to have a meaningful relationship with that party than it is for them to have a relationship with their parents. As such, the Court is far more open to restricting an unrelated party's contact with a child than it is to restricting a parent's contact with a child. Thus, it's not that they have more impact; it's just that they're not as important, per se.

    Will he be forever judged on his past? This is impossible to know, but it might help to consider this in the nature of an AVO. An AVO is like a 'warning shot' against someone's behaviour. If they keep going with that behaviour, then they're committing a crime. If someone ignores the warning shot and proceeds to act in a violent fashion such that they serve jail time, then I'm sure you can see why the Court wouldn't be open to take a person's word that they pose no risk to children.

    I apologise if this isn't what you want to hear, but I encourage you to be logical. If your ex brought a convicted criminal into your children's lives, for violent crimes for which they had been jailed, I'm sure you would have concerns about the children's safety too.
     

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