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Many Questions regarding seperated family

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Hi All

I have a few questions here and want to gain a feel for what I can / can not do.

Firstly my ex and I split last June as he was cheating then burnt all of my belongings in the front yard. Since then Our 4 year old daughter has resided with me. The father moved to another town four hours away in February 11 and was only seeing our daughter every now and then. He has since decided he wants her every third week for four days- he drives to Townsville to collect her on the Friday and then expects me to drive to Bowen (half way between Townsville and Mackay) on a Monday evening after work. This results in being a 5 hour round trip at my own expense. He always says when he has her that if I dont pick her up on the Monday she will reside with him. There are no current orders out, he refused to attend mediation and has not sent me back the revised parenting plan that I sent him over two months ago.  I know I am to make an effort so that our daughter can see her father but I feel its dangerous for me to drive a five hour round trip after I have worked a 9 hour day, plus why am I meant to be out of pocket when he moved away? I asked if we could do the pick up for Sunday but he has said no. I found out the reason why is because if he has her the three nights it is just on the cusp of having her 52 nights of the year so his child support is reduced.

He also requested that I call him every wednesday and sunday evening which I do, however he never calls me, (only randomly on occasions) to speak with our daughter. Do I have to do this?

Another queston - he continues to threaten me with court etc but nothing has happened thus far. If his solicitor sends me a letter do I need to go to a solicitor or can I jst respond myself? I am quite capable of negotiating and was thinking of whatever they write to me if I dont agree advise in a letter back stating I dont agree and why. Is this OK to do?

If my ex does not give our daughter back, what can I do, keeping in mind there are no orders in place as he just wont respond to my parenting plan or the mediation.

another issue is that he doesnt want to pay child support through the child support agency. I have said that I only want him to pay what the government says he owes but he still doesnt want to do it. They have commenced garnishing his wages and he is furious. He said that he would rather pay me more in a private agreement then go through the CSA. Why would this be? I dont understand why he would get so upset paying the agency. He abused me this morning saying that if I dont do a private agreement he will take me to court etc etc. I told him to do so.
This man is mentally abusing you.    From the sounds of it he is trying to pull the wool over your eyes by making threats.  Do not allow him to do this.

You really need to seek some legal assistance immediately, someone that can help with Family Law in particular. Different states in Australia vary I understand, but maybe start with a Community Legal Centre.  They  may be able to help with some free advice/assistance, if not, send you in the right direction.


You need to get a parenting plan put into place the proper way.  You need to protect your daughter and it sounds as though he is abusing his role of being a father to get at you.  If he wants to talk to her on a Wednesday and Sunday, let him call.  He is walking all over you.

Yes it is dangerous that you can't organise a suitable pick up time, especially taking into consideration that you are working.  He is selfish as well!!

 I have a gut feeling from the threats that he is making towards you eg threatening that your daughter will reside with him if its not done his way that he is definately not a stable person.

He burnt your belongings, (after he made the choice to cheat on you)?? Was that because you refused to take him back?? It is important to tell the Community Legal Centre this and about how he is behaving etc which may avoid a long waiting list.


Continue the CSA process, he is threatening you and trying to make you feel sorry for him.  I am sure if a solicitor became involved they would probably tell him to go and find someone else.  He has a responsibility to provide for his daughter, and no legal action will change that.

My last bit of advice is, do not make any negotiations with him privately.  Keep a diary note of every phone call that he makes.   If he rings and it has anything other than to do with your daughter hang up.  If he begins menacing you or makes any further threats, abuses you on the phone, I would be contacting the police to report it and put it in the diary.  Talk to someone nearby that you can trust in and call upon immediately if need be.

At the end of the day, you need to protect your child and what is in her best interests.

I am very concerned that he is not a very nice person from what you have said and you don't deserve to be treated as he is treating you.

I unfortunately suffered a very abusive marriage, and it starts off being little things, like mental abuse and gets worst and worst.  Your scenario may be different to mine however what you have said reminds me of the beginnings of the abuse that I had once suffered.


It sounds like he is now very bitter and trying to make your life miserable, probably because he realised the grass wasn't greener over the other side.

Stand strong!!

PS.  Please keep me posted on how you go, my heart goes out to you and your daughter for the grief that he is causing you.
Thank you I appriciate your response! I have been receiving abuse all day from him now and his last message is that he is going to go for full custody, oh and bring my world crashing down until I am alone.  Can he actually get full custody? I have been advised that he would never be granted full custody.
What can I do if he doesnt give her back?
Danielle

I too come from an abusive marriage and totally agree with what Just Not On said.

It is VERY IMPORTANT that you document everything.  Everything.  Do not have any conversations with this man, do it all by text and or email and keep everything.  Keep a diary of everything.  When he calls, when he sees your daughter etc.

He is threatening you with all sorts of things because he is trying to gain back the control he lost when you split up.  Sometimes the abuse isn't so bad within the marriage but once you split it ramps up 200%.  That is what happened to me.

As he moved away he should certainly be paying the costs to see your daughter and that is what a court would rule most likely.

Yes you can directly deal with his solicitor as long as you are self represented.  Once you start with a solicitor his solicitor has to contact your solicitor and it has to carry on that way until such time as you dismiss the solicitor and act for yourself again. What you can do, which is what I am doing, is have a solicitor you can go to for advice but still represent yourself.

I am sure he wants to get out CSA so that he can control you and muck you around. DON"T DO IT. It is much harder to get your money if he doesn't pay on time and stuff.

I believe my ex has a personality disorder which explains all of his behaviour.  Your ex sounds similar and many abusive partners, (abusive physically and/or mentally) have mental problems.

I have posted some information about dealing with an ex with personality disorders, but it holds for abusive ex partners whatever the reason they are abusive.

You really need to take care of yourself and your daughter, don't take any notice of his empty threats.  In fact it might be a good idea if you start the application through court for court orders.  It will take a long time anyway.  He will also see that he can't just try and walk all over you.

I wouldn't be sending your daughter to him without some legally binding document saying she will be returned.  He is unlikely to agree to sign anything.

You can also start organising mediation through the community groups such as relationships Australia.  They aren't very good with people like your ex, but you need to do that before you go to court or even put in an applicaiton.  You never know, it may work.

You can get some useful legal information here, but this is probably not the best forum for support for the dealing with the abuse and emotional stuff you have to deal with when you have a high conflict ex.  I can give you some links to some useful sites if you are interested, just contact me by whisper and I can let you know.

Good luck

Although it doesnt make it any easier to deal with, sometimes it helps to know that you are not the only one dealing with these sorts of issues and that you are not alone with this.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
Thank you! as bad as it is, it is good to know that Im not the only one sitting here thinking why cant he just leave me alone??!! He has a new misses that he got 1 week after we split (not the one he cheated on me with) and I still receive messages saying how much he wants me back, then he does a backflip and sends me threats of solicitors and court and that Im lucky to be alive. I have applied for mediation and have received my certificate as he never showed up (due to work committments apprently, he could of organised a phone hook up surely)

I constructed a parenting plan that outlines responsibilities, leave arrangements everything up until our daughter is 18. He said he would return it a month ago and I still dont have it. He has also said that he doesnt think we need a parenting plan because she hasnt started school yet.

I have kept all my txt messages with him since December last year when everything started getting nasty. There is a current DVO out however this doesnt cover our daughter.

I have been told by numerous people that he seems to have bi-pola and your right the abuse has gotten so much worse since we are not together. U would think he would abuse his new misses and just leave me alone.

I would love some useful sites to learn how to deal with all this. I am quite strong however it is all starting to get ontop of me. Im just so tired of it all and believe it shouldnt be this hard and cant understand why he is making it so.

So bottom line I need a solicitor! My problem is that I dont have the funds spare to spend on solicitors fees and earn to much to get legal aid.
Hi Danielle, please do not delay with this, sit down a write a chronological account of events, make sure you include that you felt frightened and why ( where this was the case). Once you have a clear history of what has occurred including efforts to negotiate etc THEN contact a solicitor and ask for some advice, you can usually have the first consult for free ( and if you can ask others and try to get someone who will not go for the throat as it were, but will give you decent advice about your options.

If there are orders preventing him access to you, then you will need other involvement for changeover, a solicitor will give you some ideas, there may be a changeover point where you take child to and he collects.

CSA if you are already in the situation where you are having them collect then leave it like that, ignore his screaming and keep a record.

Sounds like he has some major control issues, however do not go diagnosing (apart from having your opinion) things  like bi polar if diagnosed can be defended with medical intervention ( and I don't think you want him to go that track), better to let his actions bring him undone.

You can ask for legal advice and then try to sort it out yourself but if he is being ugly it would be worth the money to pay for some letter from your solicitor to his to let him know that he cannot bully you.

Please take care of yourself and your child, if you can buy a second phone to use and let him rant on the other to his hearts content, don't answer and you will get lots of evidence to use against him if he persists.

Remember bullies will keep bullying if they are not stopped.

Take care, good luck
Don't panic.   Domestic Violence in a family environment can protect your child from being removed from your care if there is good reason no matter what he thinks.  If there is a DVO in place that is a starting point for you to have a case.

It seems to me that your ex is losing control of himself, and no, he won't change his target. His new partner is probably wearing the brunt of his frustration because he can't do anything to you apart from mentally.  Take a deep breath & take control.  Try not to let him get to you, as much as it does happen.

My advice would be to continue contacting your local police station, even if you feel they get the impression that you are over-reacting.  You aren't!!  (Especially if he is saying you are lucky to be alive.) They are there to do a job and help you in situations as such.  At least then they are aware of "the full picture" and if there is any attempt that your ex approaches you and there are details of what the scenario is they will be there to help you and most importantly your daughter.

Just tell them the truth, whole truth and nothing but and you have this ground to stand on if things get nastier when determining access to your daughter.  Your poor daughter doesn't need to be exposed to his abuse.  My children have suffered over the years and the outcome has involved many appointments and assessments to obtain treatment and assistance with mental health professionals.  Even though your daughter is still young, bad memories can stay forever.

Even though you are in a situation financially to not be in a position to receive Legal Aid, still try.  I am not an expert, but when it comes to a situation like this I am sure that there is some assistance that you can get.

Seriously, if I was to place my self in your shoes, I would do everything you can to prevent your ex from having your daughter until you can get things sorted out.  Although he might be such a "wonderful" father to her, he is not in a good frame of mind.  It may sound nasty to others out there, I do not believe in being spiteful but in your current circumstances, your daughter does not deserve to be the meat in the sandwich.

It is Friday of course and probably too late to be ringing for legal assistance but it would be good to do a bit of research on the net to see where you stand legally with what may, can and the direction you can take with Parenting issues.  The net is a fantastic source of information.  (Just make sure you are on an Australian site!!)

What I found useful when I was suffering DV was a book that the hospital provided me with.  This made me grow stronger, stand up for myself and realise that my ex's behaviour was not acceptable in this Country.  It is an Offence.  This allowed me to say "no longer was I going to allow him to control me and my emotions, I am totally better off without him and I have the ability to stay strong and move on and stay in control!".

Of course we become emotionally attached to our partners and continually we try to forgive them for their unacceptable behaviour, we once loved them, they are the parent of our child/children.  Been there done that. He won't change his spots.
Daniell_01  I absolutely agree with all the comments above. It's the controlling games, the diminuation of your selfworth these are abusive behaviours and you have to protect yourself.  Yes, from sounds of things, he will use every opportunity to get back at you through your daughter, or any means possible.

Also, if you have not already partnered yet, be prepared when you do because from the issues you have described, that's when things will really get ugly.  Again…protect your self and your daughter as much as possible.  I don't know what it is, the green eyed monsters are just the nastiest pieces of so and sos…

You sound a very capable person, and as previous commentary suggests, get legal support.  I have found that bouncing ideas from other members in this forum, you'll be in a position to adequately instruct your legal team in the direction that suits you and your daughter.  Your legal counsel will only be as effective as your instructions.  However, they are expensive, hence…learn and gather ideas from the experiences of others…I will keep an eye on your posts to see how you are going.  Cheers
Hi Danielle is your ex expecting to see your daughter this weekend? If the answer is yes you will need to let him know the weekend will not be occurring, I am assuming you are fearful because of documented threats that the child will not be returned to you. Anyone on this site got suggestions about how this can be achieved without it being used against Danielle. If there are no orders ( by agreement or otherwise) perhaps you could send him a text ( which you have written very carefully) explaining that this weekend is not possible for your daughter and suggesting your daughter will call him at a prearranged time each day, you could let him know that you feel there are some things that need to be sorted out, ask him the contact details for his solicitor and let him know the contact will be with him. If there is an avo then remind him that you need to discuss the legalities of that so that he is not in breach of it by you bringing your daughter. If there is access to skype maybe you could suggest that given the age of your daughter. Make sure you let him know that you will discuss the legalities next week and please make sure you do, this situation is not one you can for the present resolve yourself.Try to show him you are committed to his relationship with his child ( as I am sure you are) however things need to be done properly and that you will not deal with him whilst this behaviour continues, then stop talking, responding or arguing back.

Just let him know what ever you do that you have the best interests of your daughter at heart and these are adult matters.
If you get any abuse from him then you do need to report it to the police, do not answer the phone, and do not respond other than a polite script asking for solicitor contact details.

Generally you would want to look at a less adversarial approach but it sounds from what you are saying that is for later on, hopefully things will settle down.

Do not send your child if youre concerns are genuine ( I am not being rude but there are many instances where mothers allege things to support their case rather than the truth, and many where actions of both are inflammatory to each other) you know the truth so the advice I am giving is based on that the situation you describe is accurate. Messages on your phone saying you are lucky to be alive is very strong evidence and would warrant police involvement.

Do try to speak with a solicitor as soon as you can on Monday, if you are able to go somewhere else for the weekend with your child do it. If he is making threats to you but not child, can yoy take some one with you, can you stay there the weekend at a caravan park or something, are these options likely to diffuse the situation.
You know this man assess the situation and decide to keep yourself and child safe.
Good luck, stay strong
If you want to try an FDR with a better level of support, you can try Roundtable Dispute Management which is run by Legal Aid. You and he would have solicitors sitting with you, and another legal rep acting as the mediator. However, one of the parties must be receiving legal aid, and by the sounds of it you are working and probably ineligible for it.

You can try calling the Family Relationships Advice line, a government organisation to give you direction over the phone on your situation. Their number is 1800 050 321. They are trained to advise you on your best path through the mediation and legal systems.

Hi Daniel
most important thing is for you to think about what you want and write it down.
Keep a separate diary and record everything your ex is doing that you think is out of line.
seek legal advise from legal Aid, go to different solicitors you will find that the more you ask the more you find out .
and ABOVE ALL take care of your self, I can guarantee you that if you don't your ex will manipulate you in any way he wants to because you are still in a codependant state in the cycle of abuse. there is a very good site by a lady called
melanie tonia evans. I found it extremelly helpfull.find your self first and you will be free. GUARANTEED :) L Palmer
Sounds to me your problem is that there are not enough days in a weekend. You are driving five hours and he is driving fifteen. Also, lots of people prefer private child support arrangements.
With no orders in place there is very little that can be done if your ex decides not to return the child.

You first need to arrange an official mediation. If/when he refuses a certificate will be issued and you can commence proceedings. You could also consider applying for an exemption from this certificate if you believe family violence would preclude you from mediation.
When seeking orders you could arrange some which are suitable for the child and if the time and travel etc do not suit at present then provide an alternative that is. Phone contact is usually that the other person is able to contact at certain times, not that you ring them and travel is usually shared, although 4 hours twice every three weeks is a lot and if the days are not suitable for you then you could try to get them changed.

As for CSA this is for you to decide. If he is offering quite a bit more then it may be worth it although you have the problem of uncertainty. It may be better taking less and having it regular. Then on the other hand he may, as you suggest, be asking for more time just because of CSA and making private payments may make it easier to negotiate the times he wants. If the private payments don't work out you can also go back to CSA, although there will be a time delay. You could ask for a written agreement whereby he states that if he doesn't pay he agrees that CSA can immediately garnish. This may not work with CSA but may make him more likely to pay on time. As you can see there are several considerations to weigh up here. 

"When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can not hurt you"

Executive of SRL-Resources
To give you a bit of hope and comfort, you can search for cases with the facts similar to your to see how the family law crts treat such cases, as everything they (try) and do is in the best interests of the child. I know some forum members have had some unhappy experiences, but the child's needs and interests overweigh the parent's needs and wants.

I am a great believer in austlii.edu.au.
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