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legal right to contact children while in the care of the other parent

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Hi all,

I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction of links to some legislation that shows that I have the right to phone my children while they are in the care of their father.  We currently have no written parenting agreement or court orders.  We have an arrangement that shares care equally on a 2/3 day turn around.  Over the holidays this pattern is sometimes altered to allow one of us to take the children away.  I have always had problems negotiating changes to the set arrangements but now the father is telling me I cannot ring the children while they are in his care unless it is an emergency.  The parenting relationship has deteriorated recently since he lost CSA payments from me after a change of application assessment.  I also just remarried and I think a combination of these two factors is resulting in these difficulties.  I will be suggesting mediation for a written parenting agreement and perhaps consent orders in the near future (this week), but for now I am hoping to find a link to some legislation that shows that I have the right to ring them when they are in his care.  My eldest child is starting to not want to go to her dads and I think it is very important just now that I am able to contact her while she is there.  

Thanks in advance
You need Orders to detail this kind of contact.

Unfortunately, without Orders or a parenting plan, as far as I am aware there is nothing that requires your ex to allow contact with you when the children are in his care.

Best of luck with it.


Thanks for your response Malady,

I can see I'm going to have to get mediation sorted as soon as possible to attempt to put an end to some of these games.  I am very concerned about what impact they are having on the children.  

Can anyone point me in the direction of some research that shows what the best arrangements are for children in high school?  I would like to change from the 2/3 day turn around to week about for high school as I think it offers more stability in terms of access to resources for home work etc. but I know he will fight me on that too.  

Make sure you put your request for phone contact in writing.

Mediation is a process that you have to go through before filing and it might just help you.

The needs of each child as to time with the parent will vary - your children could contact (phone) you anytime they like (if allowed).

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. 
You also need to be keeping a diary of everything that is happening.
I had a contravention letter from my ex's solicitor stating that I had contravened pick up and was refusing phone contact. I wasn't doing either of those things, but I had no records to prove otherwise.

From that point on I kept a diary with times and durations of telephone contact, and time of drop off / pick up. I also made sure I had witnesses for pick up and drop offs. If your ex is going to start playing games, best to be prepared for anything he may throw at you. If you don't end up needing it, then no harm done.

Flexibility is key for highschoolers, I have found. Very, very challenging with a rigid and combative ex.


Thanks monteverdi and Malady,

I will start making sure I record everything.  I always keep a pic of texts so that I have them when they are needed so I can show he has refused contact.  I am willing to give mediation a try and see if we can come to an agreement but I suspect without enforceable orders he will keep playing the games.  I guess that's where my record keeping comes in if we go to court I can show how difficult he has been.

Phone Contact

Before starting court proceedings make sure you follow all the pre-action procedures that are stated on the Federal Circuit Court's web site. As others have mentioned, attempting mediation at a FRC, if this fails sending a letter to your ex clearly stating what the unresolved issues are and that you will be proceeding with legal proceedings if he doesn't respond in a specified time. Unless you or your ex are planning to represent yourselves legal proceedings can be very expensive. Hopefully you can work it out without going to court.  The week about sounds like a good option unless your ex works shift work and 2 / 3 day turn around suits him better.

My ex played games with me over 10 years ago regarding phone contact and keeping me informed of address changes (which were frequent). I had to commence legal proceedings and get specified phone contact and change of address clauses placed in the Orders.
Hi working mum, I see a little bit of time has passed since your original post. Have you gone ahead with the mediation process? Unfortunately if using the services of the government funded FRCs it can take a bit of time to go through the process. I know that one of the FRCs that was in a friend's neighbourhood has ceased to operate. Depending on how urgently you wish to proceed, you can also consider attending private dispute resolution.

You might also consider attending a POP (parenting orders program) or something similar. These are regularly ordered for parents to attend whilst in the court process, so it would show that you are being proactive.

Let us know how things are going.
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