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Joint Parental Responsibility Question

My ex and I have joint parental responsibility.  The children live with me but it is ordered that they spend time with their father for 4 nights every 2nd week and half of the school holidays.  My ex has chosen not to exercise his right to have the children on his time (or anytime) and in the past 15 mths the only contact he has had with the children is 3 unexpected visits at the children's school.  Our eldest son needs to get braces (as recommended by the school dentist) and as I see this as being a major medical thing for this child I felt it was important to discuss it with his father.  It is court ordered that the only way are to communicate is to be via email.  I emailed he back in early December to let him know our son had an appointment and told him when and where etc.  I also told him that it was expected the cost would be approx $5000 and as he does not pay any child support or help whatsoever financially (or any way for that matter) for the children - I asked him if it was possible that he could make a small contribution towards the cost.

My ex has not replied to my email that was sent nearly 2 mths ago and that original appointment with the normal dentist has now past and we have the orthodontic appointment in 2 weeks time.  What I want to know is … can I now go ahead and make the decision regarding the braces considering my ex has not replied to my email and has had ample time to do so.  In the past 15mths I have always emailed him anything I felt he needed to know regarding the children and always invite him to anything but he has never ever replied.    I just don't want to go ahead with the braces and then find myself in trouble with the courts etc.   We have final orders and when I think about it logically he has not stuck to the orders (e.g. spending time with the children) and the fact I have tried to communicate with him and he is refusing to reply (I also tried mediation but again he refused to do that too).    Also is there anyway to apply to the courts for sole parental responsibility in a case like mine where the other party no longer sees the children and just plainly refuses to communicate.  Throughout our case my ex showed that he was controlling and just wanted what he wanted and was not concerned about the children or anyone else.  Very sad I know … especially considering there are lots of dads out there that would give anything to spend more time with their children.

Thanks for your help.
My first step would be to send a follow up email and after a few days a further follow up email. If you receive no response, then the BIC would suggest to go with what the orthodontist has said. If you have made every possible effort to contact the ex and you have had no response you will not be criticized for following the advice of experts. It is court ordered that you only communicate by email, but if he was represented by a legal practitioner, in the circumstances it may also be reasonable to send a letter to his legal practitioner detailing the orthodontic advice and to seek instructions on the matter as a matter of priority.

Sole Parental Responsibility, well that is a differant matter and doesn't come about lightly, however, if the orders you have do not match what is actually happening, it is open to look into their appropriateness. In saying this i suggest you do some research into some decisions surrounding the matter and then post some questions so you can see the pro's and con's of any application.   

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
     Hi mumof4,

               I recently had a change of assessment with C/S one of the issues being my son's braces. I had to get a letter from the orthodontist saying the treatment was "necessary orthodontic treatment".

               I did and under "Reason 2" my rate was increased to cover this (even if my ex did not agree)

               I mention this as often with orthodontic work there is a window of time that the specialist needs to treat in, or the child's jaw sets and to change the jaw structure after this time the jaw could need to be broken to fix it.

              Surely you would not get in any trouble from a court for proceeding with a necessary medical treatment?  (I know most orthodontic treatment does fall into this category) So get a letter stating this from your dentist to cover yourself.
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