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Frightened and confused about contact arrangements

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Last week he decided that he would bring him back much later.

Hi to you all.

I am new to this site and am still finding my way around.

My daughter is a single mum with a 2yrs old toddler.

At the moment she has a verbal agreement with her ex-partner to pick up their son every Sat and Sun for 3 hours each day.

Last week he decided that he would bring him back much later.

Thishas now made us feel that just maybe he will not bring him back at all. Can he do this?

Should shedeny him access until she has a court order stating that she is the prime carer of their son?

Frightened and confused.

hayley2921 :(
In all honesty is 3 hours enough?

If there is acrimony between parties, why do the children have to suffer? :(

It is wrong and disrespectful of her ex partner not to adhear to their agreement, it is also wrong to deny 'time with' the child!

Think about the child and what is in its interest, that is, both parent's actively involved in its life!


Thank you for your reply.

It now as been suggested he has his son for 6 hours on Sat and Sun, but he is pleasing himself as to how long he takes him … could be 2 hours or 6 hours

My daughter never knows.

hayley2921 :(
I would advise that your daughter attend mediation to attempt to solve this issue.

If her ex partner were to take the child and not return him, then, he will be seen as not acting in the childs best interests - won't go down well in court!

I see this is your second post. This site has an abundance if info; go through it thoroughly.

I also suggest if your daughter is in need she is more than welcome to join.

The other thing that needs to be considered Hayley is that there may be a little exaggeration coming from your daughter, this may not be a lie but rather simply a normal need to embellish the situation to gain more credos for the pain she feels.

As you are her parent you have a strong desire to protect her from this pain and you may strongly react to her position with bias, again only natural.

it's important for the child that there is consistency but it takes both parents to achieve this and if some weekends she agrees he can have his son a little longer and he uses this opportunity to spend more time though it turns out more than she expected then who is at fault. Just an example.

As the rank outsider you are only privy to certain information that your daughter chooses to express to you it would be wise to follow Monaro's suggestion and have her look towards gaining a personal perspective of the site and join if she is in need of assistance.

Your daughters concerns may be fleeting but leave an impression on you that lasts longer, making you feel this is possible is not the same as her believing it is possible.

All best D4E
Thanks so much for your advice.

I have passed on details of this site to my daughter.

Many thanks once again for your help.


I was wondering if the father is rebelling if he is unhappy with the current visitation arrangements by returning them later than the agreed date?

I know from personal experience if one person feels they don't have a fair go passive or agressive actions can be taken.

I think some mediation may be required to find a solution that works for all parties, mum, dad and child. It might give mum more free time if a weekend visit is allowed.

Good luck anyway!
hayley2921 said
….Last week he decided that he would bring him back much later.

This has now made us feel that just maybe he will not bring him back at all. Can he do this?
What is the problem with a bit of flexibility. Yes he can take the child and she can take the child and the court can take the child and neither parent would have a child. How would you have felt if your husband had taken your daughter. The damage done, the entrenched conflict that would result is incalculable. I would suggest that in this phase they need to amicably work out arrangements that suit and would suggest a phone call or similar when running behind schedule or planning additional time. 3 hours a day over Sat and Sunday is extremely limiting for this toddler who needs two parents and regular frequent contact periods even short frequent times are better than no time. Both parents need a wake up call and work out arrangements that at this stage absolutely do not need to involve courts. The FRC's (Family Relationship Centers) and the FRC hot line can assist in mediation if required but two sensible parents should be able to work out a deal in respect to FREQUENT and REGULAR contact. There are plenty of parenting plans here on the site. The Shared Parenting Council is shortly to release 4 set parenting plans that have been created with assistance from professionals in the business. In the meantime as stated there is a complete section and forum on parenting plans.
hayley2921 said
Should she deny him access until she has a court order stating that she is the prime carer of their son?
This is quite frankly a comment that you should not been even thinking about. Firstly the law is clear that both parents are to have involvement in a substantial way. The notion of "prime career" went out the door years ago and in todays modern world where both parents are often working there is a lives with and a spends time with parent. I have attached a few extracts for some thought. At this stage the very last thing on any one's mind should be court and legal proceedings. At the moment  it is about setting up an amiable contact arrangement that will work and is in the child's best interests.. not the parents interests.

Equal Shared Parental Responsibility
Except in cases of family violence or child abuse, when a court is making a parenting order, it is required to presume that it is in the children's best interests for their parents to have equal shared parental responsibility.
This is not saying that the child should spend equal time with each parent. Rather, equal shared parental responsibility means that both parents have an equal role in making decisions about major long-term issues
that affect their children, such as schooling and health care.


Section 60B

60B Objects of Part and principles underlying it

8 (1) The objects of this Part are to ensure that the best interests of 9 children are met by:
10 (a) ensuring that children have the benefit of both of their parents having a meaningful involvement in their lives, to the maximum extent consistent with the best interests of the child;

Parenting Plans
A parenting plan is a written plan made by both parents that outlines the arrangements for your children after separation. A parenting plan can take any form but to be a parenting plan under the Family Law Act 1975 it must be in writing, signed and dated by both parents. It must be made free from any threat, duress or coercion. Your plan should be practical and as concrete as possible and can deal with any aspect of the care, welfare and development of your child.
Parenting plans generally detail:
-   who the child will live with
-   what time the child will spend with each parent
-   what time the child will spend with other people such as grandparents
-   how the parents will share responsibility and consult about decisions like schools
-   arrangements for special days
-   child support
-   process for resolving disagreements about the plan

Parenting plans are not legally binding and cannot be enforced however if you end up going to Court to obtain orders the court will take some notice of the parenting plan.


The following are some of the signs that you and your ex partner may be managing to have an amicable separation:

-   You both agree the needs of your children are the most important aspect of your separation
-   You both agree that your children need the love, support and involvement of both parents
-   You are able to sit down together and make a parenting plan for the day to day arrangements for your children
-   You dont argue in front of the children
-   You both agree you can share in special days for your children such as school activities, birthdays, Christmas or other religious festivals and school holidays
-   You both agree child support should be paid in full and on time
-   You expect to be able agree on what is a fair settlement of your assets without going through the courts

Mediation either at an FRC OR at any reputable mediation center would be very useful.. Depending on what town / city you are in we could recommend some names. Hope this is useful for you. The site here has a lot of good parenting information and there are hundreds of thousands of posts and articles here. Try reading through some of the Shared Parenting Forums. Enter the forums via the forum button NOT through the front page links if you want to see all the forums. The "web Guide" section also has a lot of information. :)

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
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