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False claims of stalking and AVO

Hi guys

Well, my partner and I just got served a summons each regarding AVO's his ex has applied for. The funny part is, I jokingly predicted this in a recent thread a couple weeks ago! (Mental Health Concerns, General Case and Procedural Questions). Not quite so funny when it becomes reality. :S

I have read up on some old threads relating to this topic, and I'm just wondering if anybody could clarify some finer details for me.
From what I understand, there will be an interim AVO put in place from the date we contest until the date of the hearing? Is this standard practice for all AVOs? My partner has 50/50 shared care. When this interim order goes into place (which will include the ex and by default, their daughter - ie, "any person with whom the applicant has a domestic relationship"), am I right to assume the consent orders will override the interim AVO, meaning my partner will still be able to pick up his daughter on the usual allocated days? Is it the same if she somehow manages to get this ficticious claim of stalking to stick, and the AVO is granted? We know we haven't done anything wrong, but some of the claims are entirely fabricated, and this scares me. How do you argue "disprove" a made up allegation? It's impossible. Ugh.

As for myself - I am not included in the court orders, so does this mean that in the interim, I will have to keep away from my partner while he has access to his daughter? We have been together for a year, and although we have seperate residences, he and his daughter spend a lot of time at my house, and sleep over a couple of nights every week. I'm not sure how this will affect us. 

Thanks.
rabbit, I don't have personal knowledge of the process, so others will have to comment on that.

I just wanted to send hugs and my hopes that this is cleared up quickly.

Keep your chin up  :wub:

"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it."
Bill Cosby
 :thumbs:
Thanks a lot Tulip, I truly appreciate the kindness. I'm trying, but it is really hard. I would be devastated if this AVO was granted. Not that I would mind not being around the woman in question, but I haven't done anything wrong, and would hate to have that hanging over my head. She's already telling teachers and the principal I'm stalking her, and god knows how many parents she's told. It's downright embarassing and just plain WRONG. Our kids are at the same school and we both take our kids to and from school by car (I'm too close for a bus, yet walking is not an option due to a busy highway) so I don't know how I could be expected to keep a distance at all times. Sorry, I'm just venting my frustrations and fears now. :(

I've been given the impression that these kind of civil matters don't have a high burden of proof and work more on probability, so can be easily granted even without a strong basis. As my cousin suggested to me, how do you disprove somebody's fear? You can't. I can only tell the truth and hope her record of false allegations in the past will work against her, I suppose. It's doing my head in.
At the interim hearing you can agree to the order or disagree to the order. For family law it is probably best to disagree. Most judges then issue an interim order which is in force until the hearing. Treat the hearing as important and supply witnesses if possible. You can do your own case or use a lawyer. I found lawyers were around $3000 for the day for final hearing and my hearing was 2 days (2 hours on each day) with lawyer costs for the full day x2. You can disagree at the interim without necessarily using a lawyer. Some parties try to negotiate a settlement, but be wary as AVO and DVO can be used negitively in family law. Defend each point in the application and explain all your actions in a positive manner and display your non aggression. Good luck.
Rabbit have you applied to join SRL-R?

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
Thanks Kalimnadancer. Had heard about some of that stuff, but its good to hear it from somebody who's been there. Out of curiosity, did the AVO stick or get thrown out in your case?

No Liberi Primoris, I hadn't even thought to do that yet in my current whirlwind mental state (silly me!) I will definitely get onto that tomorrow. Thanks for the suggestion. :)
Avo dismissed in my case as each point was addressed and agreed or explained at final hearing. Witnesses gave evidence of character and also gave explanation of defendant actions. Defendant truthfully testified and applicant cross examined to show discrepencies in their stories.
The fact of no previous or ongoing violence, stalking, or harrassment was demonstrated.
You need to prove that any reasonable individual would have no fear from your actions so therefore no AVO is necessary.
Wow... thanks for the detail! That has given me a lot of angles to consider in my own defence... definitely food for thought! Thank you. :)
good luck. It is a good idea to join the SRL section.
First which state are you in.

If you have been served with a summons there will not likely be an interim order. The case you are attending is for full orders. If you wish to contest and it seems you should then be prepared.

Your papers will have explabation of the allegations against the respondent. Detail each one of these and address them as required. Check days, times, who was there any discrepancies, inconsistancies, contradictions.

The burden of proof is balance of probability but can still defended. There is more information on this on this site.

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

Executive of SRL-Resources
Patronus said
First which state are you in.

If you have been served with a summons there will not likely be an interim order. The case you are attending is for full orders. If you wish to contest and it seems you should then be prepared.

Your papers will have explabation of the allegations against the respondent. Detail each one of these and address them as required. Check days, times, who was there any discrepancies, inconsistancies, contradictions.

The burden of proof is balance of probability but can still defended. There is more information on this on this site.
 
Thanks Patronus. I am in NSW. It seems standard (from what other's who've experienced this say) for the judge to put an interim order in place on the day of the mention if the AVO is being contested, which would remain in effect until the hearing date. I read something last night though that suggested both mention and hearing may be done same day? So I'm not sure. Here I was thinking I wouldn't need to have all my evidence together by the initial date, but I'm going to make sure I do anyway now, just in case.


As to the "explanations of the allegations", I have two sheets of paper with a toal of 22 dates listed. There are no specifics listed of exactly what is being claimed, except for next to two dates - both claims are fabricated. Other than that, it is just a very vague description of how I have apparently stalked and intimidated her on several occasions. Twenty dates have no accompanying details.  How does one possibly build a defence when there are no particulars as to what is alleged to have happened at any given time? Am I able to request details of her claims through her legal rep? Yeah, I can see that there is a wealth of information on this site, and I've been spending a great deal of time wading through every relevant bit I can get my hands on. That much I am thankful for.

It's just getting ridiuclous really. I was just returning from the dentist with my daughter about an hour and a half ago, and the applicant turned into the same street as me, from the opposite side of the intersection. She then switched lanes so as to be directly in front of me. I didn't know what to do… If I stay where I am, behind her, she'll claim I'm stalking her. If I pull into the right lane, we're going to be side by side at the traffic lights. I shouldn't have to be stressing about this rubbish. So about 100m down the road, she abruptly swerves to the left and pulls over, and appeared to be making a call as I passed. So here we go again I suppose. I really hope this will be thrown out so don't have to log, track and pre-meditate my every move for the rest of my life. It's just too much.

Hypothetically speaking, if an order was in place and she reported me for the above incident, would the police be obligated to do something? Once an AVO is iplace, how is it decided if claims of a breach are truthful or bogus?  
16 Court may make apprehended domestic violence order
(1) A court may, on application, make an apprehended domestic violence order if it is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that a person who has or has had a domestic relationship with another person has reasonable grounds to fear and in fact fears:
(a) the commission by the other person of a personal violence offence against the person, or
(b) the engagement of the other person in conduct in which the other person:
(i) intimidates the person or a person with whom the person has a domestic relationship, or
(ii) stalks the person,
being conduct that, in the opinion of the court, is sufficient to warrant the making of the order.
(2) Despite subsection (1), it is not necessary for the court to be satisfied that the person for whose protection the order would be made in fact fears that such an offence will be committed, or that such conduct will be engaged in, if:
(a) the person is a child, or
(b) the person is, in the opinion of the court, suffering from an appreciably below average general intelligence function, or
in the opinion of the court:
(i) the person has been subjected at any time to conduct by the defendant amounting to a personal violence offence, and
(ii) there is a reasonable likelihood that the defendant may commit a personal violence offence against the person, and
(iii) the making of the order is necessary in the circumstances to protect the person from further violence.
(3) For the purposes of this section, conduct may amount to intimidation of a person even though:
(a) it does not involve actual or threatened violence to the person, or
(b) it consists only of actual or threatened damage to property belonging to, in the possession of or used by the person.

Note where I put words in bold.

Monti

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. 
Dear dear, Rabbit, I have no experience with AVO's but the road incident you described is a lot like a hassle we had last year with a psycho neighbour who filed a false 'Peace & Good Behaviour' order against us which was 5 pages long and had over 30 fabricated points on which we had to defend ourselves.  The ordeal of going back to court 3 times, and building our defence over a 6 month period had a devastating impact on us. After he failed to appear for the 3rd time it was dismissed. But we were left in a bruised and battered emotional state by the end of it.  These are a few actions and attitudes we took and adopted to help us through it:

We went to our local police station and explained our situation and some background to the case, and mentioned that his claims were vexatious. The cop took our names and his name. This helped them flag him (which we found out later) as he made numerous phone calls to them of unsubstantiated allegations.  Police can generally spot a psycho, and don't appreciate them wasting their time.  It's quite possible your psycho was calling the cops when she pulled over. Mention that incident to them and explain you were taking your normal route home from the dentist. Speak to a sergeant if possible.

Be mindful of preserving your own sanity and integrity, or you will find yourself becoming very paranoid, angry and resentful. This kind of issue can do your head in, especially if, like us, you are totally innocent - you become the victim rather than the perpetrator.  Don't stoop to her level, no tit for tat behaviour. Maintain your status as the bigger, saner person.  Easier said than done, - in our case, one night after a few beers, I was so angry and frustrated about the situation that I thought if our psycho had come to our door I would have slammed him in the head with a stirrup iron!  Next morning when I recollected this, it terrified me. I've never experienced or been violoent in my life, so it goes to show how that kind of stress can induce thoughts that are out of character.  Don't go there. Try to keep your sense of humour and recognize the idiocy of her actions and personality.

Psychos usually bring themselves unstuck by their behaviour. People (teachers, cops, other parents) eventually see through it.  But some mud sticks and before the gig is up people tend to believe where there's smoke there's fire. The very nature of the psycho's disturbed thinking makes them impossible to predict, or successfully shut down. (bit like CSA). I'm not suggesting she is a physical danger to you - just an emotional one.

In court you need to fight hard to ensure the AVO is not granted. Keep it real and honest. Explain to the magistrate that the applicant has nothing to fear from you, and she KNOWS she has nothing to fear from you, she is merely being vexatious and trying to illicit your attention and/or response. Explain that you have been trying to ignore and avoid her at all costs. (Try to figure out a way to make her lose it in court. Subterfuge is called for there, so be careful).  The magistrate should see through her claims and dismiss it.  But for you, it won't be easy to feign composure when every fibre of your being is wracked with fear of the unknown, and offended that you should be in court over the matter at all.  Seek counselling beforehand if you need to.

Towards the end of our ordeal I figured out our psycho had a personality disorder (NPD, see Sam Vaknin's website 'malignant self love') which helped me greatly to understand his thought process and predict what he would do next.  i successfully predicted that there was a 98% chance he would fail to appear for a 3rd time in court.  It's uncertain what ails your psycho but researching mental issues is not a bad idea if you have time.  If you nail it, then you can protect yourself to a certain extent from her in the future.

And remember - you don't have the kind of mentality she is accusing you of. And thank the Lord you never will. Don't get down on yourself if you slip. I, in quiet protest, painted a giant finger gesture on my shed which faced my psyco's property. Got into a bit of bother over that, but at the time I, and everyone else including cops and lawyers thought it hilarious. However, the magistrate may not have. Not recommended behaviour!!

All the best,   Ajae

Last edit: by ajae

Thanks Monti! I will have to look into the balance of probabilities to gain a better understanding of what that entails, but I'm getting the gist of it. Since nothing in subsection 2 applies to me, and I've done nothing to this woman other than be in her presence on occasion at school, I'm imagining the onus will be on her, pretty much.

Ajae… I actually wrote out a lengthy response days ago, but internet explorer ATE it. One of the many reasons I don't use it on my comp.  

When I read your story, I shed some tears, because somewhere amongst all the legal formalities, there is a very emotional aspect to all this that truly overwhelms me at times, and your message just summed up a lot of my fears and concerns as well. I can't imagine how frustrating and upsetting it must be for a person to be falsely accused of something like child abuse or molestation - this is bad enough!

I agree that she will likely be her own undoing… it's just a matter of time I think. The thing that scares me is that she's gotten away with this kind of rubbish for as long as my partner has known her. This poor man had to log every interaction with her for almost 4 years straight, and reading over those logs has given me a whole new perspective on it (I'm going for the 'know thy enemy' mentality). She is a whole lot more crazy, obsessive, jealous, manipulative and unpredictable than I ever thought possible. The amount of times she threatened him with AVO's, limited access, taking off with his child etc would have to be in the hundreds. She's dragged out her previous AVOs with several adjournments, only to withdraw them at the last minute… cost him THOUSANDS in court fees… It's infuriating.

I like your idea on the mental aspect. I'm pretty certain she's bi-polar/schizophrenic, so I'm researching both. I have many other useful insights from your story, so thank you.  :)

Family Reporter and resulting orders.

Hi, I'm not quite sure of the correct place to post this post (and am not very forum literate either I'm afraid). My partner has recently signed Final Court Orders in relation to his Son. The do offer a small increase in actual contact (24hrs) but a dramatic decrease in ph contact. Trouble was he was basically told by his Solicitor - take it. The family report that was completed was so full of obvious lies from the mother it was devastating. Also her affidavit which despite proving conclusively to be pure lies and unfounded accusations was also accepted as truth.  Where can we go to now??? We have Both completed the focus on kids workshop as ordered by the court (and gained valuable insight as a result) But the mother hasn't & more than likely won't, despite specific instructions in the orders to do so. I just feel that as a result of the extremely hostile and biased family report the actual wishes of the child were masked by the mothers lies and coaching of her son. My partner and I are devastated and he has said that if there is one breach of the orders by her we are walking away. What options do we have now? Put in a complaint about the family reporter? Advice PLEASE!
dirkepitt said
My partner has recently signed Final Court Orders in relation to his Son.
FINAL orders are FINAL. These appear to be by consent, the chance of early re opening Consent orders is very small. He would have to prove that either he did not understand the orders and their consequences or was severely misled or provided with inaccurate information.
dirkepitt said
Trouble was he was basically told by his Solicitor - take it.
Why? Because of the Family Report or other issues?
dirkepitt said
The family report that was completed was so full of obvious lies from the mother it was devastating. Also her affidavit which despite proving conclusively to be pure lies and unfounded accusations was also accepted as truth.
You are implying there was some form of hearing - Affidavit - accepted as truth, was there a hearing?
dirkepitt said
My partner and I are devastated and he has said that if there is one breach of the orders by her we are walking away.
Not very child focused.
dirkepitt said
What options do we have now? Put in a complaint about the family reporter?
You can put in a complaint about the report writer but do not hold your breath as to the outcome.
dirkepitt said
Advice PLEASE!
Initially try to work with the Mother, if there are breaches it does present an early opening back into the Court process.





SRL-Resources. the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) www.srl-resources.org  Non gender Professional and peer support for SRLs. Closed site, no public forums, no search engines, no lurkers, guests or the other side and their Lawyer and Friends.
Thanks For the reply - yes there was an initial hearing - then a "mention". At the first hearing the mother hadn't submitted her affidavit, or any of her paperwork.
The solicitor said "take the offer" prior to the next mentioning basically because of the family report. I know walking away isn't very child focused at all but the attitudes of the mother and her behaviour seriously affect my partners son. and sometimes we feel that although it would be extremely painful for my partner and his son, to keep the young boy in a position where the mother perpetuates the pain would be worse. Does that make sense? She will breach the orders - as she has done with the previous orders many times. but each breach is getting more and more subtle - such as ph contact - hiding the boys phone & it having a flat battery. Also changing contact times or consistently being late for drop off's - small things to some but adding up over time. At this stage we have documented everything and are really REALLY trying hard to Focus on the child - but boy is it gut wrenching at times!! I have not been involved in this kind of thing before and it is exhausting!! You would know of a Step Mum's handbook ??? ;-) I have written a complaint - but will sit on it for a bit and re think it before sending it off. Unfortunately the Family reporter was an independent Social Worker and unless they are a member of the AASW there is no governing / disciplinary body within Australia for Social Workers. Again - thank you for taking the time to reply - it helps ALOT.
Hey all. Back online after being without internet for ages, and wanted to leave a little update on this situation, which has finally played itself out. Hopefully it might be helpful to anybody else going through a similar situation.  

She hired a barrister on the day, who it seems advised her not to go through with the case against me. I knew at that point that she wasn't as confident as she made out - if she couldn't even get me with a barrister, she couldn't have had much of a case! She agreed to withdraw the application if I agreed (without admissions) not to stalk her for 2 years. Since I never did any stalking in the first place, that suited me just fine. Hehe.

She would not budge on the AVO against my partner, and I really feel this was only because she knew she wouldn't incur his costs if she lost, so she probably thought she had nothing to lose. Apart from $5000 odd dollars on the barrister, but hey, when you're desperate, I guess you'll do whatever it takes. Her case against him was extremely weak. No violence or threats, she simply claimed that he "yelled and screamed" practically every time they had a conversation over the past 6mths. But her 'evidence' was inconsistent, her dates were wrong, and there was no witnesses to any of it. Most notably though, she showed disrespect by speaking out of turn, embellishing with irrelevant details, flicking through her affidavit to find answers under cross examination and answering a question with a question. After that display I finally understood what my solicitor meant when he advised us: "just give straight answers - don't think you'll win the case from the witness box". Thankfully the magistrate used his common sense and the case was dismissed!

I just wanted to share this outcome because I know how disheartening it can be - particularly for men and/or their new partners- when it seems the entire system is stacked against you, and so many women out there know just how to milk it for all it's worth, and play the victim role perfectly. Don't want to sound sexist, but I have discovered that this is a sad truth. For the most part, men just don't have the same rights and opportunities when it comes to family law.

My partner had all but given up, and became very jaded. Although he's not suicidal and would never leave his daughter behind, both he and I have a developed a real understanding of why male suicide rates are so shockingly high, and what drives so many men to that point. He didn't dare to hope this might turn out ok. I had to constantly remind him that in spite of all the horror stories, there are many instances where judges do see through the BS and the lies and manipulation fail. And as a few kind people on the forums have reminded me, liars always end up tripping themselves up eventually - it's only a matter of time.  

Thanks everyone for the support and advice. An AVO is probably very insignificant compared to what some of you guys have been through, but it sure worried the hell out of us, and I'm so glad it's over. For now anyway.

Don't give up - sometimes common sense prevails! :)  
Congratulations and luck with the future.
congratulations on what you have achieved. I remember the shock and shear sickness of having to go through and prove myself innocent, the disbelief and mental anguish of having been accused of those things and the frustration of the court process.

One thing I would advise to all is my experience with respect to making orders by consent. My opponent in the family court kept getting interim VRO's, failing to prosecute, after 6 months they would be dropped and then the next week she would be in making identical complaints and getting a fresh one to start the process all over. The local magistrate refused to act on this because the consequences of discouraging or preventing an order being made when one was needed was catastrophic. Sort of like the "cry wolf" scenario but the magistrate saying you cant ever stop checking because there may be a wolf there one day.

On the 4th application, the magistrate found there were no grounds for a VRO but obviously as sick as I was with the process asked me to accept a misconduct restraining order by consent to keep her happy and hopefully foster a cooperative approach. I was informed this meant there was no admission by me that there were any grounds for an order. I accepted eventually a "Mutual Misconduct restraining order by consent and without admission" which meant we were both restrained against the other and supposedly there was no legal implication

Unfortunately this was not the case and from this point on, she made constant reference in all her affidavits, communications and conversations to her having a restraining order against me. In the complex matters and large amount of paperwork, my rebuttal was often not seen or I did not have a change to see it. There is a saying that over time, a lie said often enough becomes a truth and it crept into reports and other material that she had a violence restraining order against me. The final straw was that in the reasons for judgement of the final hearing, the Judge made mention that she had the benefit of a VRO against me, something that was clearly incorrect. Since that time, I have been told that Judges don't make mistakes and if a reasons for judgement says there is one, then legally for all subsequent considerations one exists. For example, I applied to visit a relative  child who was a state ward but was told that I couldn't because of the VRO. I could point out one didn't exist but simply because of the Judgment, they had to act as if one did. The only counter I eventually got was a later judgement where the judger stated that no order existed but the fallout still continues.

So I would suggest, before consenting to anything no matter how tempting or seductively the magistrate or judge frames it, get legal advice and consider it strongly.
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