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Stress and court

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How do I deal with this?

I have filed for court and our first hearing date is in 5 1/2 weeks. I am yet to receive the responding affidavit from my ex or her proposed interim orders.

My partner and I are incredibly stressed out - this has been an immenseley trying 2 years of trying to fix things for my son who is under the care of a paediatric psychologist and having significant problems both at home and at school. I'm very lucky that his psych is wonderful and has written a report and recommendation for change of living arrangements to be more weighted toward primary care in my home.

I have seen a counsellor for the past 18 months to deal with this immense stress, and my partner and I have just started seeing a counsellor together as well at a family centre, as we have a newborn baby.

Are there any tips that people have regarding keeping a positive attitude and maintaining resilience in the face of the looming court date? My ex has lied terribly in the past in her affidavit and I'm dreading what she will write in the responding one. Even though I know it will be full of lies, the character assasination still hurts my feelings and the lying makes me very angry and frustrated. My faith in the system was dreadfully rocked last year, when the family report writer said that he knew that she'd displayed inappropriate behaviours and lied about her drug use, but that it wasn't significant enough to limit time with the child and then recommended 50% week-about. This has really harmed my child and he has since been diagnosed with major depression, anxiety disorder and separation anxiety. My ex has refused mediation which is why we're going to court.

Any advice please about dealing with the stress and lies? How do I stay positive? Even though I have the psych reports and recommendations I still feel fearful that the same will happen again.
Long walks, deep breaths, keep talking to your counsellor, try hand writing all the problems down, write it as a book from the start. Don't drink alcohol. All the things that I did helped a little to sleep at night.  
In times like this when you don't have complete control of a situation it's best to set your expectations as low as you can stand & in that way any disappointment you feel is minimal - anything above your expectations is a bonus.

"…grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference…."

"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant."

Circe said
Any advice please about dealing with the stress and lies? How do I stay positive? Even though I have the psych reports and recommendations I still feel fearful that the same will happen again.
You might wish to contact DIDSS (Dads in Distress Support Services) They have a 1300 number and also run regular meetings in parts of the Country - one may be near you? Least ways you will be able to talk to other Fathers who have faced or are facing the same situation as yourself.
I think Dads In Distress might not want a lesbian birth mother in their midst LOL! That said, I do get lots of lovely support from fathers I have in my life who have satanic exes like mine  :$

Wilfred - serenity prayer is an excellent one. I think you're right about keeping expectations low - at this point any sort of change can only benefit my son, as he is completely falling apart. And I think our case is strong, so I would be shocked if it changed to be that my ex had more care than I did. But maybe I should be prepared for that just in case.
And taylor - I am being very good about sobriety. And trying to do those little things like take the kids out for a walk etc.

This is all good confirmation that I'm doing the best I can I guess. Given the circumstances.

My ex hasn't filed a responding affidavit yet and we are less than 5 weeks from court and she was served 3 weeks ago. My partner just told me that my ex doesn't have to lodge responding papers until 7 days before the court date. Is that true? Because then I have less than a week to respond to her response.
In my experience, even though respondents are 'supposed' to respond within a certain date or even ordered at a mention to submit certain papework by a certain date, if they don't there is no penalty whatsoever.  I am routinely served documents at the last possible minute.  Last time the lawyers lodged documents so late that the Judge asked where they were and explained that as they had lodged it only a day before the court date it hadn't made its way into the file yet.  Nothing happened.  So what I am saying is that you cannot necessarily expect to get paperwork when it is 'supposed' to be lodged so be prepared for that.

What you can expect is a lot more lies and rubbish which is more than likely going to be very upsetting.  Read it, scream and rant and rave to people who can support you - and then try to go to court calm and collected.  You are probably in for a very long ride and nothing filed now will actually get read unless you get all the way to a final hearing.  My case has 2 boxes of paperwork and is stil going!

If you have an unreasonable ex who is making life difficult and has no evidence to back up any claims - over the long haul it will hopefully become clear. Otherwise there are a number of steps along the way that allow you to come to an agreement and never end up with a hearing.

I have the serenity prayer as my moniker here and it is a good one.  Trouble is it is not always easy to remain serene in the face of a psycho ex but it is the only way to get through this.  Let her dig her own grave if she is being difficult.

I have been in court for nearly 3 years and over that time my ex has slowly shown his true colours and is making it harder and harder for himself to have any credibility left.

Good luck with it all.  And get as much emotional and practical support as you can to help you get through this.  Do you have a lawyer because if they aren't helping you or making you feel better they aren't doing a very good job! (I have done all this as a self represented litigant).

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
I've got a solicitor I'm very happy with - She's never given me false hope before and has told me to sit and wait and gather evidence so as not to waste time, money and my sons life. She now says we have enough evidence gathered to give us a real case and is very optimistic about getting our interim orders at first hearing and also getting what we need from the (inevitable) family report. She is highly thought of in this field and I can see why.

It's just so hard to keep feeling optimistic and it's like beeing on a see-saw of hope and despair. I absolutely expect lies and rubbish and at least there's good evidence that my ex is a dreadful liar. She has been caught out lying several times to my sons psychologist, who has told me it felt very odd to have someone lie right to her face whilst she was holding the written evidence to the contrary of what was being said! The first family report also said they believed she was lying on a couple of topics, including drug use and poor behaviours in front of the child.

My ex has also had a solicitor up till this point, and even though my solicitor says he's "OK", he clearly doesn't really push for the best for my ex. He routinely doesn't respond to correspondence - I assume because that's my exes instruction. But the correspondence between solicitors makes my ex and her lawyer look a bit shonky. He routinely refuses to answer questions and "character assasinates" me in the letters. In contrast, my lawyers letters appear very official and matter-of-fact.

Basically my side of the case is that, since week-about started, my child has had a marked psychological, behavioural and educational decline. He has seen the paed psych for 10 months now and her report reccomends a change to 10:4, to offer him stability and certainty. She now supports a change to 11:3 given my ex has refused mediation or negotiation of any kind, and now my son is exhibiting violent and sexualised behaviours including cruelty to animals. He used to be such an empathic and happy boy - since all of this he has nose dived into depression and anxiety. At the age of 6, I'm so fearful that I will never see my "true" son again.
The school has reported a massive deterioration in behaviour and it's all documented. The paed psych report spells out many things my son has described and said, including inappropriate media viewing and my ex screaming and swearing about me on the phone and verbally abusing me and swearing at me. He reports that I do not do it in return (which is true). All I want is for this to resolve and my son to get better before this is too entrenched to be fixed. It's breaking my heart  :'(
Circe said
I think Dads In Distress might not want a lesbian birth mother in their midst LOL!
then try this (and please stop using silly abbreviations)
Hi Circe,

I'm sorry to see you going through such a lengthy adversarial court process.

I thought I would however offer you a different perspective to think about based on my experience.

It seems as if you are clearly against your current shared care arrangement.

I have met many people who like you have linked many negative outcomes to there reduced time of care. However often when these issues are worked through the negative behaviour etc has nothing to do with the changed care arrangements. Even in one particular situation I was recently involved with the negative behaviour turned out to be the result of the child feeling extremely guilty about enjoying spending more time with their father because the mother was so devastated about the move to shared care that the child was experiencing immense negativity and guilt behaviour from the mother about the changed arrangements.

If you are very opposed to shared care and truly believe that a primary care arrangement is best for your child have you considered offering the other parent the 11 nights and you having the 3 nights. This may solve you concerns completely as the other parent may jump at the extra care opportunity and you will feel happy that your child is back in the primary care arrangement you prefer.

Im not trying to be obtuse with my comments just want to offer a different perspective for you to consider.
Hi Twentypercent,

I had reconciled myself to the week about arrangement and had actually seen a huge benefit to myself in the ending of the conflict between the ex and I. The parallel parenting was working really well for me and since the drama of handover a had stopped and there were firm boundaries in place I thought "well - time to move on". I was actually devastated when the school contacted me about his behaviours and told me the school counsellor felt it was beyond her scope and he needed a psych. I sooooo didn't want to leave the little bit of peace I'd found in the whole thing.

I should point out also that the family report writer (whilst I didn't like their recommendation) did not find any fault with my parenting or attitude and in fact praised me for my empathy and insight. My child's psych has said the same. I have asked the psych whether it would be beneficial to the child if my ex were to have primary care as I would offer that if it would make things better for the child. She has emphatically said NO - that he should keep a relationship and time with my ex, but that it should be limited to a time period that my ex can do really well and they can both enjoy. The psych has seen my ex just as much as me, by the way. And I've been 100% honest with the psych along the way. She is highly respected in her field.
The psych and my son have a very good therapeutic relationship and I'm confident that her recommendation reflects what is in his best interests. My exes behaviours have spoken for themselves over time.
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