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Ex being VERY difficult

I have no been separated from my ex for about 1 year and have had nothing but dramas with her concerning our two children the whole time. Lately though, we have been getting along better, talking more comfortably and I felt we were getting closer to having an agreement formalised.

A few weeks ago I emailed her with my proposal for a parenting plan and asked for her to reply, letting me know if she agreed to it or not, so I could have it written up for the both of us to sign. I was very patient in waiting a few weeks for a response, but got nothing so I emailed again yesterday telling her I need a response.

Tonight I called her about a separate issue, but also mentioned to her in conversation that I needed a response to my emails. She told me that she's happy with the plan that I proposed but she won't sign anything. She is just being difficult, and wants me to have to fork out money to take this through court. She even laughs about the fact that it is going to cost me money to take this through court.

Well anyway I asked her why she won't sign anything and she simply said that she has been advised not to sign anything. Apparently her dad advised her this. He is not a lawyer nor does he have any legal background. But, my ex listened to him.

This is VERY frustrating! I have done nothing but be patient and compromising with her, but she still does everything she can to make the situation difficult for everyone involved.

I don't want this to go to court. I can't afford those costs. I'm wondering if there's any way to have our plan recognised, since she does agree to it verbally, but refuses to sign anything. I understand that a parenting plan is not enforceable by law, but I just want it for my own piece of mind. Would a diary recording all of my visits with the kids and conversations with my ex have the same grounds in court (if it were to go to court at a later date) as a signed and dated parenting plan?

If anyone can give me any sort of help I would be very very appreciative! Maybe even a suggestion as to how I could persuade her to sign the simple plan.

I wish there was a free service that determined a simple parenting plan for separated parents, just like CSA determines how much child support we have to pay. It's not fair that we have to fork out so much money because the other parent is simply uncooperative. It just adds so much stress.

Anyway thanks for reading and any help will be VERY MUCH appreciated!

Wishing you well in your plight MelDad.

I cannot suggest anything to make your Ex more co-operative but I strongly advise you to keep a diary of every time you have contact of any kind. :thumbs:

"I don't have tomorrow's grace yet, and I won't need it until tomorrow! We must not be so overly occupied with the future that we lose today. God has hidden the future, so we might trust Him. He is compassionate in doing so. Why waste the present trying to change something you cannot change?

Extract from "Deceived By God" author John S. Feinberg :thumbs:
Thanks Wendy :) I appreciate the advice!
If she is happy with the plan, why push it, go with the flow, do you really need to get her signature if all is going well?
Have you attempted mediation at a family relationship centre (FRC)?  Before you can attempt going to court you must have made an attempt to resolve your issues at a FRC if that is unsuccessful they will then issue you with  certificate 60i which then allows you access to the court.

monaro said
If she is happy with the plan, why push it, go with the flow, do you really need to get her signature if all is going well?
Have you attempted mediation at a family relationship centre (FRC)? Before you can attempt going to court you must have made an attempt to resolve your issues at a FRC if that is unsuccessful they will then issue you with certificate 60i which then allows you access to the court.
I cannot trust her word for it anymore as she has once withheld the kids from me. Luckily it didn't last long, but I went almost a whole month without seeing the kids while she was refusing me any contact. How can I trust that this wont happen again? I want it in writing for that bit of security, even though I know a parenting plan is not enforceable by the law. I guess I just want her acknowledgment in writing that she agrees with the plan because it could possibly help me in the future if the matter ends up in court.

I know the procedure. I have not tried mediation, I am trying to avoid it. My ex has said she will not attend mediation and if she does, she still won't sign anything. So whatever happens, she will push this to the courts. Which I know will work in my favour, but I don't even want it to get to court.

Thanks though :)

Trust issue

When the ex denied you contact was it a one off or is likely to be repeated by her again? As you noted, a parenting plan offers no legal protection from your ex and her actions. Depending on your level of trust will determine your actions.

Post a recorded delivery letter to her; in the letter thank her for agreeing to the plan over the phone (date, time) and ask her to read the plan to see if there is any points she wishes to discuss. Mention that if she does not reply in writing in two weeks, you will consider the plan to be accepted in full. She will probably do the old trick of phoning you. In that case write another letter thanking her for the phone call about her concerns/agreement but can she put them in writing.

I would also start the FRC process rolling, as this can be time consuming and you will need the certificate to go to court.

As for court - it is not as difficult as people think, you will save a fortune. It will also increase your options.

Good luck.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas. 
Thank you very much for the advice! I have a couple of questions.

How do I post a "recorded delivery letter" to her?

What is the FRC process?

How can I save a fortune by going to court? I was under the impression it would cost me a fortune in lawyer and court fees. I don't think I have the confidence to represent myself. Or is it really not that daunting?

Thanks again!

A "recorded deliverly letter" is another meaningfor Registered post, your post office can direct you accordingly.

The FRC (family relationship centre, which there is extensive info on this site) is where you need to go first in an attempt to resolve your problem/s, The FRC will decide wether they can reslove the issue.

If the FRC cannot be of assistance they will then issue you with a certificate 60i that then allows you to access the court.

This process can take many months, that is why monteverdi suggested you start the FRC process ASAP.

Take one step at a time, see how you go with the FRC… keep posting.

Ok thanks. I just didn't realise what FRC stood for =) I understand this has to go to mediation before a court will have anything to do with it.

I'm really not too concerned about resolving our plan, that has been resolved already, we have agreed to a plan that we are both happy with. My only issue is that she refuses to sign anything acknowledging this.

If I do take this to mediation now and she still refuses to sign the plan, can it still be recognised that she agreed to the plan somehow?

I'm not keen on taking this to court, I don't think it needs to. Not at this moment anyway. I'm just scared that she will turn on her word in the future and I will have no grounds to stand on.

At least if I have a signed parenting plan from her, in the event this lands in court in the future I will have something to show that she has agreed to a specific plan previously and is now (if it ever happens) just changing her mind.
Hi Mate.

It seems your options are clear, spend the money to get the legal paperwork done or live with things the way they are and risk her withholding the children when you disagree on a matter, which I guarantee will happen (disagreement not necessarily the withholding).

If you can't get legal aid then definitely keep a detailed diary, as you may need a record of events if your amicable circumstances change and hope that she might sign something in the future.

We have been in a similar situation but have now have to go to court to battle for consent orders to ensure parent/child bonds remain intact when our circumstances changed due to law changes.
It seems correct what is being said that you have 2 simple choices.

1. Start the ball rolling for some orders and certainty or

2. Keep your fingers crossed that things will go smoothly for the next 16 years, whilst you watch the pigs fly past your lounge room window.

Getting started means booking in for mediation, which can lead to written orders. This will take 4 to 6 weeks. If this fails then the next step is a first court or conference date, again 4 to 6 weeks if you do well. Then a family report, 4 to 6 weeks and then interim orders 4 to 6 weeks. During this time your ex may restrict time for you and say that this is the norm and then you will be asking for extra days instead of maintaining the staus quo and this can make things difficult. There is all sorts of mischief they can get up to in this time.

I had a similar thing where we were getting along great for the first few months and I didn't want to rock the boat. Fortunately I started the ball rolling explaining that I was attempting to achieve an amicable agreement. During this time a $olicitor and her family got into her ear and she changed everything. I am glad I started when i did. Even so it has been 4 months to interim order hearing and I believe this isn't too bad.

You know your situation best but just make yourself are aware of what can happen. You dont have to spend a fortune. I first started with a $oliciotr which was expensive but of little value. Then I got on to this site and spent many many hours researching. Perhaps start the FRC and then get into this site. If you start feeling more confident reconsider your options.

"When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can not hurt you"
From personal experience, send her a copy of what she's already agreed to. Get it signed. If no signature, then start mediation. Mediation can take weeks, then you have to wait to get into court. It can be months without seeing your child/ren if the ex decides to get nasty.

When changes happen to relationships, or child support, and you have no orders the other parent can do what they like and there's no legal come back.

If the ex wont sign anything it means she has no intention of sticking to them and will deviate from them at some point. If she has reservations, you can agree to change them later, but you both have to agree.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
You said that your ex would not sign anything because her father told her to.

How is your relationship with your exs father and grandfather of your children?  Can you work on it through him and sell him on the idea that a signed agreement will protect his daughter and his grandchildren?  

Maybe you can arrange to meet with your ex and her father to workout how this could benefit everyone but most of all them?  Perhaps you could sell the positives of this arrangement to your ex and her father  they love your children too.  It might be that your exs father is of the old school and his advice is motivated by fear.
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