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Resolving conflict

Hi. I'm not sure if I have placed this in the right area.

My ex and I separated in May. He has moved onto a new relationship also. My 12 year old son has been referred to mental health as he has issues of Dad leaving Mum that the social worker cannot iron out. We have 3 children together aged 9 months, 3 and 12.

I'm trying to cut it short to the issues so here they are. Things are very unstable in our communication even to the point where we cannot even email. This began when my ex asked to collect the children from 6pm instead of 5pm. I queried him as to why and his response was that he cannot afford the added expense of feeding his children 6 "tea times" out of the fortnight.

He earns 75K a year and receives a substantial discount for his costs incurred for times with the kids from the child support agency. I responded by basically saying well this is your own issue, to sort through and that the children enjoy the meal times with you, so perhaps you could rearrange your budget.

He became very venemous over that response and I sought to have him collect the children from their respective day care services to minimise direct contact time between him and I.

So I made arrangements with the child care services for him to collect and their father refused and responded I WILL be collecting them from your place and you will give them their meals thats why you get child support and money from the government!

I became very distressed over this and my son has also (he has heard Dad). I then sought the use of a contact changover service. I drop off, he collects at different times to AGAIN minimise contact between us and have just received today a letter from that contact service stating he refuses to participate.

He is due to collect the children from me tomorrow night at 6pm (under his demands) and Im very unhappy about his non compliance in co-parenting with me on a safe destressed changover for the kids.

WHAT DO I DO?

We are currently in FRC mediation (well i am he has not responded) and I so want the kids to go but it is currently a very unhealthy environment for the kids and they are picking up on it and that hurts me a lot.

How do you negotiate with somebody when he is emotionally controlling me and restricting options?

Is this going to end up in court? I hope not. I was hoping we could agree on direction for the children but all he seems to focus on is that fact that he doesnt want to feed them!
Hi there. I wish I had some great words of wisdom to share with you, but I don't. Reading your post, I could easily have been reading something that I had written myself - everything from the emailing, to the not responding to FRC, to refusing to use a contact service.

We are a little further on than you - we did end up going to mediation, but while we came out with an agreement to trial a new arrangement, we don't have a parenting plan and his continued refusal to co-operate or even be civil to me has led me to go down the legal path. He should have had the girls (4 and 6) for half the last school holidays, and then we were going to trial a new 5-5-2-2 arrangement (it was previously 3-3-4-4). Well, after me having them for the first week of the school holidays, he had them for 3 nights then decided at 8pm on the Monday that I was to have them again - so he brought them over at 8.45pm!!! The next morning, he decided that he wanted to only have them one weekend a fortnight. Then on the Friday, he decided he wanted to go 50/50 again. Then by the weekend, he had decided that he would have them all of the following week, to make up for the "days that he missed" so I couldn't have them my Thursday/Friday. Then he decided a couple of days later that I COULD have them the Thursday/Friday but he chose the pick-up time for the Saturday. Meanwhile, I had got back to my solicitor and said ENOUGH!!!!!! I want court orders so he only has them every second weekend, so he would stop stuffing them around so much, and I didn't care how much it cost and how long it took (well, I did care - a lot - but I care about giving the girls some stability!). So he vowed to fight me to the end on that, but then at midnight last night he decided that he was going to tell his solicitor that he would agree to my every-second-weekend request, starting as soon as possible. At 2pm today, he decided that would be today, so instead of picking them up on Thursday, I had to go pick them up this afternoon. And so then they were upset with me cos they thought Grandma (his mum) was going to pick them up. I had planned to stay at work til about 8pm to try to catch up on all the work I have missed the last few weeks trying to cope with this madness!!!

SO - advice I am light on, but I do so empathise with your situation!!!

Some advice I will give you though - I know the legal road sounds scary, but it doesn't have to go to court. Do you have a solicitor? If not, find one. The Law Society can give you the names of a few firms in your area that they would recommend (?) for family law matters. Perservere with the FRC mediation. It is frustrating, but in the end, my ex realised that he had to either attend mediation or I would get the certificate to go to court. Refusing mediation does NOT fare well in a court hearing. So he went - not with a whole lot of luck, obviously, but you could have a different outcome. If you end up in the same boat as me, you just need to ask them for that certificate. Then your solicitor can start things rolling. Mine first discussed with me what I wanted. Then, she sent the ex a letter outlining my request. He has 14 days to respond, or she files anyway. If he responds, she will arrange a meeting with her, me, him and his solicitor to try to sort things out. Of course, the billing clock is ticking, but it's still not at court. If you can agree, then consent orders can be filed. This obliges him to do what is in the orders (and you too). If the days are not in dispute, maybe even if it went to court, the costs would not be that high? The points of contention are where and when the changeovers occur, and what exactly he is responsible for while they are in his care (eg teatimes!!!).

Document, document, document. Keep every email, make notes of conversations and events. If you have enough ammo, you can hopefully get his solicitor to see that your requests are reasonable, and in the best interests of the kids, and the solicitor can talk some sense into him. Hopefully.

And I think your ex is a lot like mine - it's not about how much he spends on teatimes, it's about power and control. You want something, he says no. You don't want something, he makes it happen anyway. I don't know if it is really best, but I think I am doing the right thing by now by just going with the flow. He tells me at 2 that I have to pick the kids up and have them for the rest of the week - I do it. If your ex wants to wait til 6pm tomorrow night to pick them up, feed them and have them ready for 6pm. You are absolutely right that having that mealtime with him is good for them, but right now it might be better that there can be a stress-free changeover, and that they see you relaxed before he comes to get them. Keep records of it all, and try (I know it's hard) to be civil when he picks them up. He might not be, but just grin and bear it - the kids will know who is causing the trouble, and while you don't want them to take sides, they will see that they have peace and happiness when they are with you. I keep telling myself that this will not last forever - once I have those court orders then he will have to comply, my life will become more predictable and the girls will be more settled.

Good luck to you, I know it's hard!!!

Just an Observation

HubbyPays said
Hi. I'm not sure if I have placed this in the right area.

My ex and I separated in May. He has moved onto a new relationship also. My 12 year old son has been referred to mental health as he has issues of Dad leaving Mum that the social worker cannot iron out. We have 3 children together aged 9 months, 3 and 12.

I'm trying to cut it short to the issues so here they are. Things are very unstable in our communication even to the point where we cannot even email. This began when my ex asked to collect the children from 6pm instead of 5pm. I queried him as to why and his response was that he cannot afford the added expense of feeding his children 6 "tea times" out of the fortnight.

He earns 75K a year and receives a substantial discount for his costs incurred for times with the kids from the child support agency. I responded by basically saying well this is your own issue, to sort through and that the children enjoy the meal times with you, so perhaps you could rearrange your budget.

He became very venemous over that response and I sought to have him collect the children from their respective day care services to minimise direct contact time between him and I.

So I made arrangements with the child care services for him to collect and their father refused and responded I WILL be collecting them from your place and you will give them their meals thats why you get child support and money from the government!

I became very distressed over this and my son has also (he has heard Dad). I then sought the use of a contact changover service. I drop off, he collects at different times to AGAIN minimise contact between us and have just received today a letter from that contact service stating he refuses to participate.

He is due to collect the children from me tomorrow night at 6pm (under his demands) and Im very unhappy about his non compliance in co-parenting with me on a safe destressed changover for the kids.

WHAT DO I DO?

We are currently in FRC mediation (well i am he has not responded) and I so want the kids to go but it is currently a very unhealthy environment for the kids and they are picking up on it and that hurts me a lot.

How do you negotiate with somebody when he is emotionally controlling me and restricting options?

Is this going to end up in court? I hope not. I was hoping we could agree on direction for the children but all he seems to focus on is that fact that he doesnt want to feed them!
 

If it does go down the court road, most Judges and/or Magistrate will wonder why there is an issue being made in the difference between 5pm and 6pm.

Personally, I would see if I could pass a message through a mutual friend, preferably neutral.

I would start by appologising and then suggesting that while you are aware the children enjoy meal times with him and his family, if there is a problem with 5pm, you would be willing to do 630pm (or whatever works) and feed them first, as a temporary measure.

The reality is I suspect the issue is somewhat more complex than just the cost of feeding 3 children 6 evening meals. And it certainly isn't worth all the angst over an hour and 3 meals.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
Wow thanks so much for the replies. Perhaps if i elobarate further. I am a full time student, I finish up at 4pm at study centre and I have to collect the children from two different locations. By the time I get home its around 5.15 - 5.30pm due to travelling time, and time to obtain relevant information from their carers eg feed times etc. So under his demands I have to prepare vegetables and meat for the children, have it cooked and eaten by 6pm collect plus wind down time for the kids. This is just not a possibility in his demanded time frame. I had my mediation yesterday (2nd one) and an invitation letter has already gone out to the ex and non responded to. The second letter is being sent this week and after non complience a certificate will be issued. I believe in my heart that his money stems down to wanting to travel interstate to see his new gf (she lives in vic he in tas) and his budget has taken a hammering however I dont consider this a issue in our negotiations. Mediator advised me that considering we cannot even agree on times of collect, let alone days etc to seek legal advice which I have. Solicitor has advised that he has emotionally controlled my options by refusal to every alternative proposal and to withdraw the contact until he is ready to negotiate an arrangement that suits everyone. Sad as it is thats where it stands. I have no issue in feeding the children before they go to their fathers house but he had previously been doing so up until this week. It is quite reasonable for him to cook a meal for the children at 6pm as long as the children are not starving on collection which i wouldnt let happen. He knows what days he collects the children, I cant see why he couldnt freeze up a casserole the night before to zap in the microwave on the contact night. he needs to work with me as well and in reality unless i feed the kids takeaway 2 nights a week i cant have them fed and ready for him by 6. Its a stupid arguement to have but its not the only issue he wont negotiate on. Its about co-parenting and its not he is demanding and wont work with me on a soluition.
 :thumbs: Sounds exactly like my situation has been for almost the last 4 and a half years, I have been going through with my ex-wife.
I tried a neutral location at a registered location in western Sydney in late 2005, after only being able to see my very young children for a total of only 20 days in the whole of 2005.
The neutral exchange location sent out 2 letters over a 2 week period with nil response from the ex.
The exchange organisation, then contacted me via mail about 4 - 6 weeks after the  second letter had been sent out and advised me that nothing more could be down.
So I lost in 2005. Come 2006 I managed to see my children for 32 days in 2006, after Court Orders were put in place mid-year, once divorce proceedings concluded.
For those 2 full years I travelled in my car every weekend a round trip of 360 kms in total to have my 2 children at home with me for just on 24hrs every access visit. The mother refused to meet me half way to hand over the children, so I was left with no option, but continue to do all the travelling, plus having to work full-time.
Once again the control freak had won again. Then I found myself an outstanding lawyer, went to Court and in early 2006, the ex was directed to comply by the court registrar to do half the travelling, to make things fairer on me, the father.
Finally I had a win.
Just as READYFORAFIGHT states, record everything, including what time the ex picks up or drops off the children; what conversations you have with him over phone or face to face. I use a small exercise book as a diary to log absolutely everything. I use a large work diary to mark all the weekends and school hols my children are with me. You never know how important this info will be for you in the future, especially if things go really pear shaped like they did for me. Even record any SMS messages he sends to you regards picking up or dropping off the children. I only started sending SMS messages in 2009, to avoid having to talk to ex directly over the phone.
Now after having tried to get her to sit down and mediate in regards to our children, she has agreed 2 years later. It took me 2 interview appointments with FRC over just under a 2 year period to get the answer I wanted. Mediation. As you may be aware the FRC have alot more power / teeth in regards to the family court process than they has in 2007, when I first approached them for mediation. That second letter they send out to the other parent who obviously is the one trying to avoid any form of civilized, constructive mediation, basically compels that parent to the mediation table. But also looks very favourably in favour of the parent who is issued with the certificate by FRC, regardless whether it is a mother or father.

Don't give up on your kids. They are so important and precious and grow up so fast before your eyes. They are our countries future workforce and leaders. They deserve the best in family situations in life, regardless if parents are divorced, just separated or happily married. It has such a huge and reflective bearing on how they grow up and develop into young teenages and then young adults.
Both parents must always work together for the kids sake and not against one another, which can have serious results on the children, if not acknowledged and quickly rectified.
I know my eldest child has been brainwashed and permanently scared to a degree.

Best of luck for your outcome.


Once again don't give up over control freaks whether they are male or female, as was my case.
Eventually the hard work will pay off for the better, level headed, caring and loving parent.
Things will eventually turn round in your favour.
If mediation does not work, I am a member of the LFAA (Lone Father's Association Of Australia) 30% of members are mothers. Barry Williams is the President and he is a very busy, but very helpful contact. He has always rung me back within 48hrs, it doesn't matter wherever he may be in Australia. He will get back to you and could put you onto someone or some organisation who can assist you.
Wow I do sympathise with the lost time with your children you can never reclaim. I am a woman and I have residency of the kids (not court ordered). My children were very close to their Dad and regardless of how I feel/felt over the dissipation of the marriage, the kids are a mess. My son sees a therapist and a social worker due to abandonment issues and the fact he sees his fathers behaviour.

I am dumbfounded that this has been the same man that raised these children! It doesnt matter what I seem to offer him contact wise, he believes I am controlling the situation and wont come to an agreement, so I thought that perhaps if it came from a mediator it may not seem so bad. However he has ignored his letters from the FRC so I dont know what to do. Every day is a struggle (especially with my eldest son) he asks so many questions from me that only Dad has answers to, its heartbreaking.

 He has made an issue of not being able to afford to feed the children which is ridiculous in its own right but I have no issue with accommodating meals for the kids on his contact night, but in saying that he wont negotiate a later collect time for me to be able to meet his demands. He wont mediate (because I initiated it), he wont use the creche as an avenue of collection to minimise our contact (because I initiated the idea) and he refuses to use contact changover service as it was my request. I dont know what he wants, he wont mediate so I have no idea.

I have an appt with my solicitor today to discuss things. Even though I would be entitled to Legal Aid, I understand he needs to live and now he has refused the free first 3 hours usage of the FRC, he will have to pay a solicitor to mediate on his behalf. All seems ridiculous! His behaviour is not going to allow him much bargaining power.

I just wanted the kids to see their Dad. Didnt care when/how often, as long as it was reasonable. But my solicitor during a phone appt says I dont think he wants to have anything to do with the children to be honest otherwise he would of come to the mediation table. So the reality is, Im left with a shattered family who needs therapy. Im their Mum and will do all I can but I wish my ex could see the psychological impact due to his stubborness.

 He hasnt even tried to contact my son direct (he has his own mobile phone)! their father also cold shouldered the social worker when she tried to encourage him into a second meeting around our son. He attended the first one, but then said on her second request he not really interested and that he was sick of talking about it. How devestating. I believe I am trying all i can but looks like I will be forced to have my day in court which I DONT WANT. What else am i left with? Not much. God it hurts to go thru this process, I empathise with all those Dads which are normally in my position



What does the second  frc invitation to mediation letter have in it? Does it say something like either participate or these are the consequences etc ?

Last edit: by monteverdi

Anger control issues

You need a written and agreed parenting plan registered with the court as soon as possible. It must cover collection times, and in your case (who provides meals), holidays, contact, financial arrangements and anything else you can think of. If you are dealing with people who will not speak with you, you have to resort to legally binding agreements. Flexible arrangements will only work if people can communicate and this is not the situation you are dealing with. You are handling the children as best you can in a difficult situation. You are getting them councelling and the rest has to sorted out with the lawyers.

Last edit: by BusyBee2009

BusyBee2009 said
You need a written and agreed parenting plan registered with the court as soon as possible. It must cover collection times, and in your case (who provides meals), holidays, contact, financial arrangements and anything else you can think of. If you are dealing with people who will not speak with you, you have to resort to legally binding agreements. Flexible arrangements will only work if people can communicate and this is not the situation you are dealing with. You are handling the children as best you can in a difficult situation. You are getting them councelling and the rest has to sorted out with the lawyers.
 
Parenting plans cannot be registered in the Courts.

Parenting plans are not legally binding agreements.

Consent orders are legally binding and can be registered in the Courts

Please see this link
http://flwg.com.au/plans/pg/start

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

Thanks

Thank you for pointing out the difference between parenting plans, consent orders and court orders. I'm still learning. It's a pity people get angry and hurt and difficult to deal with over their own children.
thanks guys! I have attended both mediation appointments to prepare to begin negotiations around the children for a registered plan/orders. However he has failed to attend so this isnt possible. I did see my solicitor who said due to his non compliance with everything he obviously doesnt want anything to do with the kids otherwise he would begin mediation. He said the only thing we would be filing with the courts is the fact they are not to be removed out of the state and he said the courts wouldnt like us filing something like that alone. So basically I cant do anything, he wont mediate so we cannot file any plan or orders. He wont seek a solicitor so we cant even mediate between lawyers. I cant go to court and file orders on my own because there isnt anything to put in those orders other than not to be taken from the state and that they reside with me. This is so unfair as what is now going to happen when the honey moon is over with his new relationship he will want to start seeing the kids again, which is fine in theory but my son is under intense therapy with his abandonment issues and now perhaps 5 years down the track when Dad decides to stick his hand up again, the wound of my son opens up all over again. So my lawyer is armed with all his non compliance certificates from various avenues (including psychologist and social work reports) and we sit back and wait t o see if the ex grows up and wants to start mediation. In the meantime I get to tell my son that his father cant be bothered having anything to do with you anymore!
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