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First contact orders with domestic violence

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Moderator Note: Deleted totally inappropriate, unfounded, derogatory and discriminatory comment. If such comments are repeated the post will be deleted in it's entirety. That is unless you provide the proof to support what you imply. It is hoped that you realise that the very help that you have received is from those you so readily jump to besmirch.

Six months ago my daughter, with her infant son, left a situation in which there was significant, controlling domestic violence. She was given a DVO in which both she and their child are named. Her husband immediately moved interstate (about a 2 hour drive away) and began using the law to cause her to comply with his demands regarding their child. She has attempted repeatedly to have him register at a contact centre for contact, and he has refused to do this. In court this week, it transpired he had registered just athe day before, and his lawyer made much of the long waiting list (bear in mind that had he been cooperative his son could have had the benefit of contact for months) and asked the judge to make an interim order. The judge decided to have this child handed over to his father and father's mother for several hours, every sunday afternoon, for the moment. The order states that this handover is to take place in a contact centre. My son in law's lawyer has since insisted that the waiting list for changeovers is also too long (a month) and my daughter has been told that she'll have to arrange handing over herself. If she doesn't do this, it will harm her case in the family court.

My daughter has been diagnosed with PTSD, and is traumatised by all of this. She is mortally afraid that her husband and his mother will take every opportunity during contacts to find fault with her parenting, for example using every bump, bruise and insect bite to get her in trouble with the family court. Therefore, I will be handing the child over. My problem is this. How can I reassure my daughter that this will be alright? She knows that her husband abuses their child. She knows that he and his mother are pretending there was no abuse. She knows that given the pretence there is unlikely to be any real change in his behaviour. She appears to feel that the family court has taken away her right to protect her child and determine what is safe and unsafe for him. She's struggling to move today. As I said, she's traumatised.

Any advice would be very welcome, I'm becoming weary with the impact of the situation myself.

Thanks.
Any and all Family Law proceedings promote a stressful time, there is uncertainty and fears of the what if's, so undoubtedly both you and your daughter will be going through a stressful time. As your daughter is also suffering from PTSD the effects are going to be exacerbated, in this regard she is going to need all of the support that you can give her, don't be afraid to seek professional assistance if needed.

Has your daughter documented all of the occasions in which she has encouraged the ex to register at the contact centre?  It is extremely important to keep a diary and to document everything even if it doesn't initially appear to be relevant.

Kids are kids, and unless we keep them in a bubble they are going to get scratches and bumps while playing and exploring their limits. The courts are aware of this and I believe the ex would be looked upon very unfavorably if he was to raise trivial issues.

Any contact that takes place at a contact center is well supervised so you can assure your daughter that there will be supervisors present who will make sure that the kids best interests are maintained.

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 for these thoughts, they're helpful. I appreciate any positive suggestion whatever, even stuff I'm already thinking and saying, because it confirms I'm on the right track.

My daughter has kept detailed records, fortunately, and continues to do that.

Is there any way we can make sure this father does register at the contact centre? My daughter thinks that he will continue refusing to do this, and behave properly until the next court mention where his lawyer will say that things have gone well and the court should order greater contact and less supervision.
I just want to clarify, is contact taking place at the moment outside of the contact center?

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
Since he left the state, he has had one physical contact, supervised by my ex-husband (the intention was for this to continue.) He has also had phone contact.

Both these contacts were discontinued. My ex-husband found that his son in law would not negotiate regarding contact, simply giving him instructions and orders as to what he was to do, without regard for the child's well being.  The phone calls were discontinued when the child's father was caught referring to the child in insulting, foul terms. The child had begun refusing to talk on the phone and we'd wondered why that was happening.

At the local court a few months back , my son in law was instructed that if he wanted contact he'd have to register at a contact centre and wait. The magistrate seemed angry that he had been avoiding doing this and so refusing the child contact.
Hi ratboy,

You say the Judge made an order stating that handover is to take place at a contact centre, I would stick with the order. The court likes to see parents facilitating contact and a relationship with the other parent that's true but the case was heard and the Judge made a decision!!

It's not going to help the other parent's case that he moved so far away and has had limited contact because of this and if you have proof of your daughter repeatedly attempting to encourage him to register at the contact centre( to facilitate a relationship between the child and it's father) and him not doing so, I don't know how the other side could argue you have been trying to alienate the child from it's father…you have proof to the contrary and you are only following the judges orders.

If he feels it is too long before he sees the child because of the delay with the contact centre isn't it up to him to try and have the order changed for those reasons???

A few cases I have read indicate to me the court is in fact aware of long lists for contact centre places.

I hate to sound sceptical but lawyers in general are hard to trust let alone one working for the other side so don't believe everything THAT solicitor tells you.

What a horrible situation for your daughter to be in. I understand as I have had the same, waiting to hear the next revelations of incidents that danger your children physically and emotionally when they return from time spent with the other party is  horrible but your daughter needs to stay strong as her breaking down emotionally is not going to be good for her case or her child or herself.


What I try to do it is just concentrate on one thing at a time and don't stress too much about what is out of your control (like the next incident of abuse) Your daughter is going through the court process and doing all she can do to protect her child and sadly that may be all that can happen for the moment.Goodluck
Hi Beautiful day, thanks. My daughter's lawyer has told her that if she doesn't arrange someone to do the handover, it will look bad for her in court.  I'm puzzled as to why people on this website are asking for courts to refuse parents the right to move and hour or two away, when some parents just go and then insist their child must do most the travel.

When this finally goes to a hearing perhaps some of these issues can be addressed. thanks for your encouragement!
beautifulDAY said
Hi ratboy,

You say the Judge made an order stating that handover is to take place at a contact centre, I would stick with the order. The court likes to see parents facilitating contact and a relationship with the other parent that's true but the case was heard and the Judge made a decision!!

It's not going to help the other parent's case that he moved so far away and has had limited contact because of this and if you have proof of your daughter repeatedly attempting to encourage him to register at the contact centre( to facilitate a relationship between the child and it's father) and him not doing so, I don't know how the other side could argue you have been trying to alienate the child from it's father…you have proof to the contrary and you are only following the judges orders.

If he feels it is too long before he sees the child because of the delay with the contact centre isn't it up to him to try and have the order changed for those reasons???

A few cases I have read indicate to me the court is in fact aware of long lists for contact centre places.
If it were me now that I know better…these would be (well are) my thoughts too!!

Like beautifulDAY says if there are interim Orders in place which state that contact is to be via a contact centre then this has already been determined by the judicial officer (FM/Judge) at least for the time being meaning until the next hearing date.   As such unless there is more to the Orders…such as something that says that contact needs to begin immediately…then your daughter is not breaching any Orders if she follows the interim ones and unless they state otherwise, she does not need to hand the child over to the other party externally to that Court Ordered contact centre. 

If as you say that the other party has not registered with the contact centre and their lawyers are sending letters requesting immediate contact externally to the centre, then I would personally be doing one of 2 things or both.  (Please note I am not offering legal advice and I am not part of the legal profession myself I am just saying what I would do).

Firstly, I would call the contact centre myself and make a point of registering for the other party (or if need be in my name) myself and get a letter from the centre to verify that I had personally registered.  Secondly, I would ask my lawyer to inform the other party in writing that I had registered at that contact centre (on so and so date) and have been placed on the wait list and that unless the other party can make a booking at that centre prior to the time, that the other party will be advised when a place becomes available through my own registration. 

Contrary to the advice you say your daughter is receiving from her own lawyer "My daughter's lawyer has told her that if she doesn't arrange someone to do the handover, it will look bad for her in court." I would not be worrying too much about that as again if this is part of the current Orders then your daughter is not doing anything wrong by following them.      

LP is right Court proceedings are a very stressful time so keep up the good work ratboy (and your ex husband…your daughters father?) in the support you are obviously already giving her…she will definitely need it!!!  Also as LP says keep records of everything and also to try to ease her nerves "Any contact that takes place at a contact center is well supervised so you can assure your daughter that there will be supervisors present who will make sure that the kids best interests are maintained."

I do have one question though for you ratboy.  You say that your daughter has a DVO which names both her and the child on it.  You said that she was allowing the child to speak to the father on the telephone but this stopped because "The phone calls were discontinued when the child's father was caught referring to the child in insulting, foul terms".  Was this before or after the Family Court hearing.  If there is a DVO listing the child does it cover verbal abuse and did your daughter report this to the police at the time?  If not why? Meaning not to offend you (or your daughter) ratboy but if she didn't (unless there is a good reason) what was the real point of taking out a DVO if it is not being used for its designed purpose…i.e. protection??  I do know though that sometimes even if breaches are reported the police don't do anything without proof so maybe this was the case?   

Anyway I'm sure this is all a whirlwind at the moment so I wish you all the best of luck with it all!!

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
Ratboy said
I'm puzzled as to why people on this website are asking for courts to refuse parents the right to move and hour or two away, when some parents just go and then insist their child must do most the travel.

You do appear to be confused. The issue is not about a parent's right to move, the issue is the humane right of the child to know and to be cared for by the child's parents and most especially the fact that many parents so willingly deny the child or children this right, very often to use the child or children to enact, their vengeance, their hatred and often their wish to exploit the child or children for monetary gain. As such what is being asked of the courts is to stop the abuse of children being denied their humane rights and to stop children being used as the vessel for vengeance, for hatred and for monetary gain, or simply an irresponsible and selfish whim that lacks the thought about the outcome for the child as still a member of a family.

The humane right for a parent to move freely also has to be taken into consideration and thus basically any restriction cannot be upon the parent moving (although I do believe that there is a caveat that does allow an authoritative override of such conventions), as such and has been said many times on this website, a parent can be irresponsible and move but in such cases the child should remain with the family. Many consider this decision as restrictive, however the restriction placed upon such a parent, is a restriction made of their own choosing.

You have omitted to define the "people" you talk of so it's hard to discuss specifics so only a general view can be portrayed. As such I believe you need to supply the quotes and the references to the topics that posts are contained in, so that people on this site are not puzzled as to why you say what you say and don't form the opinion that you are a hypocrite by expecting your puzzle to be discussed, by bringing in a puzzle.

You can reference another post by going to that post and copy the URL(address) from the address bar in your browser. Within the post making the reference you then click on the Add link button, paste the copied URL into the text field when requested to do so (It says Enter the URL) click on OK, then enter text (when asked to Enter the Link Name) that describes the link (perhaps the topic name), and click on OK. The link will then have been inserted.

I would suggest, especially considering what a moderator has said in the first post, that you decease in your attempts to exploit the child in the situation you describe by not using the generalised non specific attacks upon people of this website. People on this website could, rightly so, get the impression that your situation is likely unreal and that your true intent is to build argument against this website. Thus if the situation you describe is real, you are doing the child and yourself an injustice by making comments that are simply digs at the website.

So what is your real Agenda?

Is it in fact a real situation and if so how are you going to convince the people on this site that it is real and that it's not going to change to suit the direction the topic takes?

Why are you even posting on a site where you give the impression that the site is so wrong?
Hi beautiful day, crazy world! IN this case, so far, there has been no hearing, only a first mention in the family court. The verbal abuse was reported to the local police, who advised (again) that we keep records of everything (we do) for the next DV hearing.

My daughter is afraid to not take the advice of her lawyer in this contact matter. It's an awful thing to watch her going through, and I do wish the father in this case had availed himself of the appropriate means of having contact from the beginning. He's depriving their child.
Maybe the father does not want to be forced to use a contact centre and would be agreeable to another way to see the child. Contact centres are not nice places for the child or the parent and they can be very negative places.
Hi Ratboy

I cant really offer any words of wisdom yet but I just wanted to lend my support to you and your daughter and her little boy. I know its really hard and Im going through a similar situation - I myself am going to get some counseling before I start the mediation process to get my head straight. Hopefully your daughter can do the same.

Stay strong!

ratboy said
….Handover ….My daughter has been diagnosed with PTSD, and is traumatised by all of this. She is mortally afraid that her husband and his mother will take every opportunity during contacts to find fault with her parenting, for example using every bump, bruise and insect bite to get her in trouble with the family court.

Therefore, I will be handing the child over. My problem is this.

How can I reassure my daughter that this will be alright? She knows that her husband abuses their child. She knows that he and his mother are pretending there was no abuse. She knows that given the pretence there is unlikely to be any real change in his behaviour. She appears to feel that the family court has taken away her right to protect her child and determine what is safe and unsafe for him. She's struggling to move today. As I said, she's traumatised.

Any advice would be very welcome, I'm becoming weary with the impact of the situation myself.
My understanding of this contact is that it is being done at a "Contact Centre". These centres have very good supervision at all times. The Mother arrives at the centre and often does not participate at all and will go off and do something else in the area or sit in the car and read a book or similar. The mother should put her mind at ease and not be at all concerned about any violence occuring at these centers. The contact periods are important for the father to continue some sort of relationship, however limited and awful for the contact parent the environment is. He also needs to show that he is able to make these contacts regular and he needs to make an effort to make these contacts work. I suppose it is better than nothing although not much. How did things get to this one would could ask? There is no sign of any compromise , understanding or compassion here for this child who will most likely grow up without one parent for a variety of reasons outlined.

I also take this opportunity to respond to the Guest post in this topic in relation to the advice given on the site. The Guest poster might think about the fact that much of what is on the site is a wealth of experience from many members who have been in many different or complex situations and post that experience here. We also have Moderators, and various group executive members who are daily helping people through the court systems.  We also have some professional people and Students-At-Law on the site.

The site does not offer legal advice but presents different views and options that a member may or may not take up.  The decision to take up any commentary made is entirely that of the reader member. There is no one forcing anyone to take advice or do something they dont want to. If Guest wants to advise any better place to go we are happy to take a look.


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Contact Centres

kalimnadancer said
Maybe the father does not want to be forced to use a contact centre and would be agreeable to another way to see the child. Contact centres are not nice places for the child or the parent and they can be very negative places.
 
Contact Centres were originally established for 2 purposes.

The first is to provide a neutral and safe environment for parents to exchange care of their children where it is considered inappropriate that the parents come into direct contact with each other.

The other is to provide a neutral and safe environment for a child to have supervised contact with their parent. The staff at these centres are usually very experienced people of with professional qualifications in psychology or similar disciplines. They also have clear guidelines about what is acceptable interaction between a child and parent. The supervision tends to be unobtrusive but nevetherless vigilant and is reportable to court if the need arises. The guidelines are also quite clear about the need to prevent contact where the child is put at risk.

The staff also tend to be aware and make allowance that most people would be uncomfortable parenting whilst under supervision. Any report would take this into account.

In essence supervised contact is better than no contact at all and a positive report from the contact centre is likely to lead to unsupervised contact unless the court finds there child is at risk for another reason.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
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