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Company transfer is forcing a relocation

I have been transfered interstate by my company, forcing a relocation. My step-daughter is 4 and her biological father has indicated that he is unwilling to to even look at a parenting plan for her.

We find ourselves in a blended family situation. My son (15) lives with us. My wife's son (15) lives with his father. My wife's daughter (4) lives with us 65%. Our daughter (17mths) obviously lives with us. I have been transfered interstate due to the current global economic conditions. What now?

In short: My wife originally divorced her ex due to a history of family violence. He has subsequently undergone some theraphy and has become a "man of God". Because he has shown that he can control his anger (he still looses it) she has over the past three years allowed him more more access to the children as she did not want to deny them their father. Their son decided from May 2011 to live with his father as it suited him in terms of location - school and sport - and because his father has become a senior member of their church. We do not attend church regularly enough for his liking and as such we are deemed to be "bad".

My relationship with my step-daughter is very good. To the extend where I reccon it is better than with her own father. She, out of her own, started calling me dad and never misses an opportunity to say "I love you, dad". As her step-father I have gone out of my way to promote a healthy relationship with her biological father but he hates me for having such a good relationship with her. I guess it is understandable and any father will feel that way. He continously tells her that I am not her "real dad" and he stresses the fact that her surname is different to her sister's. The same goes for my wife. She has always encouraged a meaningfull relationship between her daughter and her father and has been very accomodating whenever he asked to swop days around etc. and he does that fairly regularly to suit him.

He cannot demonstrate that he has the same ability to promote a meaningful relationship between the children and their mom. To the contrary. He goes out of his way to jeopardize it and we have had a number of incidents to proof just that.

Now, my question (2 parts): In light of the above, (1) what are our chances to get a relocation order as I believe it will end up in court and (2) can we apply for an interim order to move as my company would like me to move as soon as possible and we have to enroll both my son and my step-daugter into school, cancel lease agreements etc. and my wife (she is a teacher) has a potential position?
Have you considered letting the Child reside with her maternal Father?
It won't go to court then.
lesser of two evil's?

Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

We have looked at a number of options including letting her reside with her father. Under the current circumstances we do not deem it in her best interest due to his history and his inability to deal with the childrens emotional problems on a daily basis. When the boys have emotional issues, mom is still normally the one that they turn to for support and advice even though they prefer to reside with their dad.

After consultation with a family relations councilor as well as a solicitor he was reported to child safety for sexual misconduct involving his daughter. She displayed some disturbing behaviours which at first we downplayed but it got worse and showed escallation when she returned from him after a weekend. After reporting it my wife told him that she reported him and supposedly there was an investigation. Amazingly most of her disturbing behaviours dissapeared soon after. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. We cannot and will not take that chance. Deem it considered but not an option.
Deem it considered but not an option.
Um really? It will not be as simple as that. If/when it goes to court I think you will find the choices will come down to the Magistrate deciding for her to live with her father(and brother) or to move away with you and her step family. Also your feelings about her father will probably be as evident in a court hearing as they are in these posts, which will not help. Reporting him for sexual misconduct, which I assume has not been taken any further, will also not help your cause.

How do you know what her relationship is like with her father? Do you think it would be stressful and confusing for her to feel she has to call 2 people dad?

"When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can not hurt you"

Executive of SRL-Resources
Fair comment Patronus. My comment about it not being an option is about willingly letting her reside with her father. It will be for a magistrate to decide. Please refer to my first post. I asked a question with two parts to it. I did not ask for advice, we have a very good solicitor for that, I merely wanted to know if someone has been through something similar and what the eventual outcome was.

I also don't think my feelings towards her father is evident in my posts. I merely stated facts.
To answer your questions: 1. I don't think your prospects of success are that great. The father currently has 35% care. The proposed relocation will substantially affect his time with his daughter. There is also a relationship with the older brother to take into account. 2. I believe the courts usually want to maintain the status quo at interim hearings, so would usually not allow a relocation at that point, as once the child has been uprooted and moved it would be much harder to make an order changing things back again. So I think for an interim hearing, the more likely outcome would be that you would be ordered to stay, or that the child stay, pending a final hearing.

I kow you don't want advice, but the fact that you have made allegations that have presumably not been proven after an investigation also does not strongly enhance your partner's presentation as a person who is willing and able to help foster the father/daughter relationship. Also, if there is truly a belief of sexual misconduct, why is the child with the father 35% of the time? I don't really follow the logic of him not being able to be the "lives with parent" in case of sexual misconduct, but it's ok for him to spend 35% of the time with the child. I wonder if a magistrate would consider that too.

As an end note, if all you want is to know what happened in other cases, and not advice or suggestions, I suggest you use Austlii to search the judgments database rather than posting here.
Thanks Lucy5. Our solicitor on Friday did advice against an interim order for the very reason you posted.

Our application will include the older brother as it has become apparent that he is now considering a move to us because his father has recently entered into a relationship that he is not keen on…..but that is another story.

Wrt the allegations on sexual misconduct, without elaborating on what actually transpired, our concerns were legitimate. In my post I referred to the fact that we initially downplayed it and considered her behaviour as normal. Because she started displaying really disturbing behaviours and because her father made some very inappropriate comments in an e-mail, we approached a councilor with the FRC. On her advice, and listen to this, if we did not report it to Child Safety, she would. We actually had to confirm with her that we did. She told us that if we did not report it, our daughter could be placed in foster care pending an investigation which could last a year or more. It came as a shock to the system at the time and I decided to contact my solicitor for advice. She also adviced us to report it even if Child Safety did not deem it necessary to investigate.

Wrt to spending time…. My wife has put in place an arrangment whereby she (daughter) is not allowed to stay over at her father's house without her brother being present. We know of two occassions in the last year of that not happening and that we found out long after the fact. Not that we believe it to be adequate.
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