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Judicial enquiry needed

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Hi, I am new to all this and you guessed it having a fight with the C$A.

Googled CSA4173.10.08 and cannot find the operations publication.

Does anyone have a copy?

Is there a non C$A or non government guide to dealing with the C$A.

I refused to have any phone contact and said it all must be in writing. They now give me deadlines in writing and sure enough the letters arrive after that deadline, they dont respond to my letters, make assessments anyway, and no I am in a position where I am only able to survive due to things like shopping at Coles online and having it delivered using a family members credit card. I cannot afford essential medications resulting from a heart attack 2 years ago and have now asked SSAT to force them to make a objection decision so I can appeal. Crazy stuff, Minister is not interested, C$A obviously trying to "deter and enforce" by making life hard.

There should be a judicial enquiry into these people!

Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

CBR1100fan,

the PI's (Procedural Instructions) are not published, they are CSA policy and I don't believe that they have to be.

However they have no standing in law as it is the legislation and only the legislation that has to be adhered to.

The CSA Guide is on the whole a very useful document as to what should be done (it has links to most of the legislation). I use the Guide generally as my first point of call (often to quickly establish the relevant section(s) of the legislation). The guide is available on the CSA's website (www.csa.gov.au). The link is on the navigation bar directly below the header. it says "The Guide". You can also navigate to it using the navigation drop down thingy of the left. Move the mouse over "Legal professionals" and then click  on "The Guide".

Part of your issue is with "collecting information". You can look at section 6.2 of the guide. This would then explain the CSA's interpretation of the legislation (note that this may not be fully comprehensive and is at times written in a way that is based upon the collection(at any cost) mentality that exists within the CSA. It's always best to check the legislation, which will "dot the i's and cross the t's".

It would appear that a change of assessment - reason 7 (section 2.6 deals with COA) should be of help.
Its been 4 months now since I separated from my ex. Her solicitor has advised her not to let me see the children until I comply with a list of demands. It was shocking, I had it all organised to see the boys for the first time since the separation (5 days latter) and after building the boys hopes up her solicitor says no with 15 minutes notice. I have refused to discuss anything or mediate until access is restored. Just for the record I left because my children continually witnessed her being violent to me. I know if I give in every time she wants something or there is a dispute she will stop/refuse access to the children. The more I read and learn, dads are the losers in just about every family law situation. I don't have the money to fight, I am sometimes seriously depressed to the point of complete desperation and hopelessness, have continual dreams of just getting to the point of seeing the boys and I wake up and I don't think its good for the boys to be in the middle of continual conflict (which is why I left in the first place) so I think I am at the point of walking away from it all, giving her full custody and grieving the loss and moving on. I am actually thinking it would be best for the boys even though its not what I want but its supposed to be kids interests first. Family law and the way it treats dads and devalues the relationship they have with their kids as secondary is just so unfortunate.
You may want to rethink your strategy of refusing to discuss anything or mediate until access is restored. If there are no current court orders, she is under no obligation to restore access, and therefore she has the upperhand  here, and the kids are her leverage. What is she going to lose if you refuse to mediate? Nothing. You will be made to pay child support eventually, the only question will be how much. She has the kids, so nothing to lose there. Meanwhile, you are going crazy with wanting to see your kids, so she holds all the cards - and she knows it. That's not to say you should give in to unreasonable or unfair demands, but not acting at all is not going to do you any favours. The longer she retains the kids without your involvement, the harder it can be to get them back. It creates a status quo to her advantage, and she may also be filling their heads with rubbish about you and causing a rift (no doubt the kids will already be wondering why you won't make sacrifices to see them - they don't understand the intricacies of these situations).

So… what to do? Dads are certainly not the losers in just about every family law situation, nor are they always devalued or considered secondary. It has come a long way in that regard, even if there is a long way to go. There are many on this site alone who have fought for and gained significant, majority or even full care. At a bare minimum, if you live nearby, are dedicated and there's no violence or safety concerns about you, most dad's can manage to gain at least every other weekend and half school holidays. Many get 50/50. Yes, we see a lot of female bias in our court system (especially with domestic violence etc), but every case is individual, and it's certainly worth a shot. Walking away from your kids will not help them in the longrun. I understand how you feel and why you are considering it, my partner was feeling the same way at one stage, and it's difficult when you lose hope and feel like there's no way forward. But they will never be able to make up for a childhood without a dad, and a mum who would sacrifice their happiness to gain advantage will not look out for their best interests.

You have options available to you, you just need to be prepared to do your homework (which you've already started) so you'll know exactly what you can and cannot achieve, and the ex will not be able to push you around or hold the kids to ransom.

If I were you, I would get the ball rolling on mediation immediately (it can take several months to get in). Even if you don't want to go to court, you've got nothing to lose on mediation, and if you do your research beforehand, you can show the ex that she can't bluff you anymore, and that you understand your legal rights and responsibilities. You can propose a regime of time with the kids, and tell her that if she's not willing to negotiate, you'll have no choice but to proceed to court. If she agrees, get consent orders drawn up so that the agreement is legally binding (mediators can usually explain how this can be done). If you have to go to court and can't afford a solicitor, there are usually community legal centres (or legal aid offices) where you can get one or two free appointments. You can use that as a sounding board, to see if you're on the right track or if your proposal is reasonable and workable.

If she still won't budge, apply to legal aid (if you're on a low income or suffering financial hardship you have a good chance). Seek an interim order. If successful, this will give you some visits with the kids while you wait for a proper hearing, and without risk of harm to the kids, you should be granted some access straight up. The next step is final orders, and again, she would need to prove you a danger to the kids in order to be granted full care. Once court orders are in place, she will be legally obligated to adhere to the orders, or risk fines, court costs, or after repeated contraventions, jail time is possible. She would no longer be able to use the kids as leverage without being held accountable. Then you can avoid contact with her as much as possible and just focus on the kids.

This may seem like a complicated process, but it's not nearly so bad once you gain an understanding of how things work, and the bottom line is, once it's done she cannot control your relationship with the kids anymore. Compared to just walking away and letting them lose their dad, it's not such a bad option. You work hard, put a good 6-12 mths into planning and researching when you can and going through the motions, and the outcome is a lifetime relationship with your kids, as opposed to giving up. If you're willing to work really hard at it, you can even self represent - many here have successfully achieved positive outcomes as self respresented litigants. There is a specific section for this, and you can get a lot of help and support from other members. Either way, the members here are supportive and helpful in general, and you will get plenty of guidance if you choose to pursue it. At least if you give it a go, you can look your kids in the eye and say "I did my best, I fought for you, I didn't walk away when times got tough."

Last of all, it you're feeling depressed and wanting to give up, you may be interested in joining the DIDS website. You can find tonnes of dad who've been through or are going through the same, and the emotional support is great. Good luck!



cbr1100fan said
Its been 4 months now since I separated from my ex. Her solicitor has advised her not to let me see the children until I comply with a list of demands. It was shocking, I had it all organised to see the boys for the first time since the separation (5 days latter) and after building the boys hopes up her solicitor says no with 15 minutes notice. I have refused to discuss anything or mediate until access is restored. Just for the record I left because my children continually witnessed her being violent to me. I know if I give in every time she wants something or there is a dispute she will stop/refuse access to the children. The more I read and learn, dads are the losers in just about every family law situation. I don't have the money to fight, I am sometimes seriously depressed to the point of complete desperation and hopelessness, have continual dreams of just getting to the point of seeing the boys and I wake up and I don't think its good for the boys to be in the middle of continual conflict (which is why I left in the first place) so I think I am at the point of walking away from it all, giving her full custody and grieving the loss and moving on. I am actually thinking it would be best for the boys even though its not what I want but its supposed to be kids interests first. Family law and the way it treats dads and devalues the relationship they have with their kids as secondary is just so unfortunate.
  Don't give up mate. the system is designed to grind you down and ambulance-chasers like your ex-wife's lawyer thrive on the fact that fathers become depressed and pull out of the process. Don't let a scumbag like that get you down, fight the mongrel b*****.

You have a fairly long road still ahead of you. There is scope for a mediated agreement and parenting plan if you think your ex is capable of the maturity needed to come to that, but then there is court if she isn't. If things progress that far then you will need to be in the right frame of mind to do well, especially since she holds your children to ransom. Keep a diary of everything that occurs between you and her, including things said and any agreements along with whether they were lived up to. Don't wait for her to set the agenda, since it sounds as though she's prepared to simply wait you out, knowing she has the kids and you don't. Apart from anything else, you can expect to be sent broke by the CSA if she can manage to get sole care, and as rabbit said, your kids will suffer for your absence.

Stay strong, keep grinding away and you'll get somewhere. I'd also be strongly considering a complaint to the Law Society about the unconscionable conduct of her lawyer. It probably won't go anywhere (lawyers look after their own), but it will put the wind up him/her since the Law Society will write to them to tell them a complaint has been received. I had to do something similar when my lawyer and her lawyer got together to agree to certain things behind my back, leaving me in a position similar to the one you find yourself in. Have a look at http://ethics.qls.com.au/content/thelawyerscompass, which is a useful tool for considering how ethical an action may be. I would suggest that the action of advising withholding contact to force you to comply with a list of demands is not complying with the requirements of either Justice or Service, since there is no benefit to any party in doing so. Such a course cannot lead to a satisfactory outcome and can only lead to resentment and entrenched conflict.

The Qld Solicitors Rules state in the introduction:

"Object of rules
The object of these rules is to ensure that each solicitor:
(i) acts in accordance with the general principles of professional conduct;
(ii) discharges that solicitors obligations in relation to the administration of justice; and
(iii) supplies to clients legal services of the highest standard unaffected by self interest.
Serving the interests of justice and complying with the law

A solicitor should not, in the course of engaging in legal practice, engage in, or assist, conduct
which is:
(i) dishonest or otherwise discreditable to a solicitor;
(ii) prejudicial to the administration of justice; or
(iii) likely to diminish public confidence in the legal profession or in the administration of justice or
otherwise bring the legal profession into disrepute."

Clearly the advice given to your ex is not acceptable under these basic principles.
Just further to Craigo's sound advice - it is really important to keep a diary of all your interactions with her, and this is something you should start immediately, even if you haven't figured out which way to handle things yet. Note down, dates, times, and contents of conversation - whether it was by phone, text, email or in person. Make a dated entry of EVERY interaction, even if it appears uneventful. This kind of journalling can become very important evidence if you end up in court, and even if you don't initiate court action, that's not to say she won't at some stage. This is a small course of action that can be paramount to proving your credibility later on, and meticulous record keeping can make all the difference if it comes down to her word against yours.

Also, I would advise you to be extremely careful and conscious of your interactions with her from here on. She has already engaged a solicitor, so she is obviously serious about getting what she wants - or wants to intimidate you into giving in. Either way, don't take any chances. She is determined enough to control the situation that she's willing to hurt her own kids by restricting their relationship with their dad, so you need to assume she wouldn't hesitate to hurt you if the need arises. And this is where the "female bias" can come into play, because the laws and amendments that have been put in place to protect real victims who genuinely need help, have also made it easier for manipulators to take advantage of the system for their own personal agenda.

If she doesn't get what she wants from you, and realises her imtimidation tactics are not working, she may move to the next level and play the "domestic violence" card. The way this usually works is she fabricates some bogus claims of violence, threats, stalking or sexual abuse - alleged either within the relationship, or in recent interactions since separation. You will be greeted one day by the boys in blue with an interim AVO and a summons, and you'll have to waste thousands of dollars defending something you didn't do. Anybody can walk into a chamber magistrate and claim to fear for their safety due to some real, imagined or exaggerated event, and the law has to err on the side of caution and arrange a hearing. It's shockingly easy to do, and a successful AVO can be used to restrict your access to the kids in the short term, and to discredit your parenting in family court. It is simple to do, there is little to lose for the "victim" if the AVO isn't granted (and potentially much control to gain) and it serves to further demoralise the father through loss of funds, stress, time and effort. Therefore, this is a fairly popular and well used tactic by vindictive women.

With that in mind, you can do what so many of us have to do, and ensure that she doesn't get the opportunity to create a paper trail of false claims against you. First, never, EVER engage in an argument, even a minor one, even if it's for the sake of the kids. This can be turned into "he verbally abused and intimidated me", and it becomes your word against hers. Second, try to keep your interactions to a minimum, and avoid face to face contact wherever possible. Instead use letters, texts or emails which can be recorded for later reference (always keep a copy of the original). Be very conscious of what you say and how you word it,  and work on the pretense that anything communication you make may be used against you later on. Third, if you absolutely have to interact with her in person, ALWAYS take a friend or relative as a witness, to avoid any claims of violence or intimidation. Anyway, there's a lot to take in here, but it may prove useful. Just don't give up - you have options. Take it one step at a time until you know which way to go. Small steps, small precautions, but potentially big results.
Each to their own - As if leaving her with full custody is better for the children. And Family law s not meant to be just for the children and it does not always practise children first.

She is probably lying about her solicitor, ask her for a letter saying same and from her solicitor to yourself as proof. Go to the Family Court and tell them you are not getting your contact with your children, and ask them to get you started on the right path.
Guest said
Each to their own - As if leaving her with full custody is better for the children. And Family law s not meant to be just for the children and it does not always practise children first.

She is probably lying about her solicitor, ask her for a letter saying same and from her solicitor to yourself as proof. Go to the Family Court and tell them you are not getting your contact with your children, and ask them to get you started on the right path.

Re: above quote, I am communicating only with her solicitor and only in writing as with the C$A. His statement is as follows " Until we receive confirmation of your residential details and the first undertakings sought , our client is disinclined to agree to the children spending time with you." This was after she made an arrangement I would be picking the kids up from school every afternoon and retuning them by 7:30pm to avoid child care/after school care costs. Its been that way since the 2nd of March this year. I also refused to mediate until she abided by her previous agreement (made in writing) and gave me a written undertaking she or her solicitor would not use the children as a leverage in any on going negotiations so she has a sect I60 certificates saying I would not attend. I did say quite openly to her solicitor he was an obscurantist and was using coercion to further his clients best interests with no regard to the "best interests" of the children.

Thank you to those who have provided heart felt advice. My major concern is the look in the boys faces when the ex would lay into me (I was the abused party and no I didn't hit back) and the distress the conflict caused. I think this is the thing I most want to avoid and eliminate. Having a 5 year old kick his mother and say leave my daddy alone as she closed the bedroom door so she could hit me again without the boys seeing is very soul destroying. I was brought up you never hit women so had no defence. At least if I bow out the conflict between the parents is removed from the equation and the boys are not pulled in different directions and pressured to be loyal to one or the other which is how my ex's mind works.

To be honest also don't want my life consumed by hating the ex and my purpose in life to "win" against her. I have seen what this does to people and they get so bitter. I don't want to be like that and I don't know right now if I have the emotional energy to fight on even if that makes me sound gutless or week. I don't have the cash for solicitors as until I left I have been the primary carer since a heart attack 2 years ago. What finished the marriage was when she was picking me up from the hospital she said, "you know if you had dies it would have solved all my problems." At that point I completely withdrew from my relationship with her emotionally and stayed there or my boys now 6 and 9. I also don't have the resources to set up a second home at the moment and its a struggle to look after myself let alone the boys as well.

Again thank you for your replies and best wishes. I am leaning towards withdrawing with a view to catching up with the boys latter in life as many fathers do. One friend who is now in his 6o's and has a great relationship with his kids said he rebuilt his connection with the kids after the kids were in their late teens. Maybe this is the best way?

Again my thanks.



CBR, there is so much I want to say, but at the moment, I don't have time. I have an exam this afternoon, and am, to say the least, a tad nervous.

It is people like yourself who have prompted me to do this study.

All I ask is that you mull over the comments by the other posters. Give it a few days, and then get back to us.

It seems as though you have two concurrent battles on your hands. One with C$A and the other with the ex. And maybe we should have these as two seperate posts/issues, so advice can be provided specifically to each topic.
cbr1100fan said
 To be honest also don't want my life consumed by hating the ex and my purpose in life to "win" against her. I have seen what this does to people and they get so bitter.
Unfortunately, you can't just walk away. The system keeps pushing you back together, whether you want it or not. I can understand your frustration, especially since it's only been a short while since the separation and she's already getting her legal ducks in a row. Have you investigated claiming legal aid? A lot of the process in the early stages is pretty proceduaral and a lawyer can handle that.

cbr1100fan said
 I also don't have the resources to set up a second home at the moment and its a struggle to look after myself let alone the boys as well.
Do you have anywhere for the boys to stay when they're with you? Even if it's at a relative's place or some other arrangement that lets you spend time with them. Is that part of the reason the solicitor wants you to provide an address? What were the "first undertakings sought"? The lack of resources is a very common experience for separated fathers and there is little assistance available like there is for mothers. Try contacting DIDS (Dads in Distress) in your area; they may have some advice on how to acccess what local resources are available. Most of all, don't give up on your kids or yourself. This is a temporary phase, not a life sentence. Best of luck with it all.
Hi Craigo, this was my last letter to her solicitor, yes I was not very diplomatic.


Mr McCarthy

Re: Your letter dated 20th April 2011

I have come to the firm conclusion you are a highly practised Obscurantist (someone who practices an ideology that legitimises lies and deception) as borne out by your correspondence during the course of this matter.

You state in paragraph 2 You seem to allege that our client is somehow denying you time with the children then go on to say in paragraph 3 Once this information and undertaking is forthcoming your time with the children will resume. So you state in paragraph 2 your client is not denying me access to my children but then say in paragraph 3 that currently I dont have access to my children and only under certain conditions your client will allow me access to my children. Sorry but you and your client cannot have it both ways. Your client is wilfully denying me access to my children at your advice.

Out of interest I looked up the following definitions, blackmail: to attempt to influence the actions of (a person), especially by unfair pressure or threats and Coercion: to compel someone to act immediately and or against his will. These two words describe your behaviour completely and accurately. Your client at your advice deceptively and deliberately chose not to honour an arrangement that had been made without conditions and with 2 minutes notice denied me access to my two sons. Further you then emailed me stating Until we receive confirmation of your residential details and the first undertaking sought, our client is disinclined to agree to the children spending time with you.  I was given no opportunity to provide the information you requested without your client by your instruction using my children as a cynical bargaining tool. In the words of the Manager of RA Chermside this behaviour is appalling and would have caused the children great distress.

I will not be allowing this to happen again!

You have successfully proven your client cannot be relied upon to honour an agreement made in good faith and that you and your client will stoop to blackmail and coercion to further your own ends and have absolutely no compassion or concern for the best interests of the children.

So to conclude:
a)   Your client will have to honour her previous agreement made in good faith and without conditions. After she does this I will be happy to comply with your request for information subject to your client giving me an undertaking she will not enter the property boundaries of my current residence, that she will not remove the children from the South East of Queensland without reasonable notice and will not remove the children from the Commonwealth of Australia under any circumstances. In return I will be happy to provide the same undertaking.
b)   RA Chermside has admitted to me that not all the requirements for the issue of a section 60I certificate were not met so any certificate your client is issued with is invalid.
c)   I am solely focused on Childrens issues and not property at this stage.

The ball is in your court, you caused the problem and you know how to fix it. You are wasting your clients money and my time. I am not interested in further communication until you address the issues and you and your client can demonstrate your ability to behave honourably and in good faith .
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