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Ex didnt return son after weekend visit

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On Feb 19th my ex didnt return my son after a routine fortnightly weekend visit. I have never restricted access and he has him every second weekend and half of school holidays. I have been the primary carer of our son who is 6 since we separated in 2008. I got married to my husband early 2011 and was due to have my second baby 20/2/2012.

He then proceeded to enrol my son into another school on the other side of Sydney without my consent. I was directed to the family law courts in parramatta and have filed an application for a parenting order. Our court date in scheduled for the 27/3/12. The parenting order is basically saying that our son lives with me and gets to spend every second weekend and half of school holidays with his father.

My ex has recently joined the army and has been granted marriage quarters in order to have access to our son. He is in a relationship but she doesnt live with him. I have no idea what his address is.

My ex has restricted my comunication with my son and when i do get to speak to him on the phone, it is on loud speaker and my son gets very distressed, upset and angry and the phone conversations only last for 1 minute. Last sunday i drove for over an hour to meet my ex in a park in order to see my son for a whole 20 mins. It was also the first time he was able to meet his baby brother. My poor little guy was not himself at all. He looked very stressed out and im sure my ex has been brainwashing him. I just dont see how my ex feels that uprooting him out of his school and putting him in a new one is in my sons best interest. I also know that my son is attending after school care, something that he didnt need to when living with me.

I have been advised by solicitor not to snatch my son back via the school that he attends. Im very emotional and i cry everyday as my son im sure is confused and not sure what is happening. Im very lucky to have a supportive husband who has played an active role in my sons life for the last 3.5 years.

Im so scared that my son will not be returned to me by the courts.

I have another meeting with a family lawyer tomorrow, hopefully we will get some more advice.

thanks
nic220878 said
On Feb 19th my ex didnt return my son after a routine fortnightly weekend visit. I have never restricted access and he has him every second weekend and half of school holidays. I have been the primary carer of our son who is 6 since we separated in 2008. I got married to my husband early 2011 and was due to have my second baby 20/2/2012.

He then proceeded to enrol my son into another school on the other side of Sydney without my consent. I was directed to the family law courts in parramatta and have filed an application for a parenting order. Our court date in scheduled for the 27/3/12. The parenting order is basically saying that our son lives with me and gets to spend every second weekend and half of school holidays with his father.

My ex has recently joined the army and has been granted marriage quarters in order to have access to our son. He is in a relationship but she doesnt live with him. I have no idea what his address is.

My ex has restricted my comunication with my son and when i do get to speak to him on the phone, it is on loud speaker and my son gets very distressed, upset and angry and the phone conversations only last for 1 minute. Last sunday i drove for over an hour to meet my ex in a park in order to see my son for a whole 20 mins. It was also the first time he was able to meet his baby brother. My poor little guy was not himself at all. He looked very stressed out and im sure my ex has been brainwashing him. I just dont see how my ex feels that uprooting him out of his school and putting him in a new one is in my sons best interest. I also know that my son is attending after school care, something that he didnt need to when living with me.

I have been advised by solicitor not to snatch my son back via the school that he attends. Im very emotional and i cry everyday as my son im sure is confused and not sure what is happening. Im very lucky to have a supportive husband who has played an active role in my sons life for the last 3.5 years.

Im so scared that my son will not be returned to me by the courts.

I have another meeting with a family lawyer tomorrow, hopefully we will get some more advice.

thanks
 
It sounds as though the arrangement of every second weekend,etc,was not satisfactory for his Dad. How was this arrived at? Looking at it from Dad's POV, your new husband has a great deal more to do with your son than his father does. How do you think you'd feel if the situation was reversed? Does Dad regard your second husband as a good step-father?

At 6,your son has no strong attachment to his school or schoolmates. Children change schools and friends all the time with no impact on their wellbeing. In my own case I was transplanted from a loving home environment to an all-boy's boarding school at 11 and while I can't say I ever learnt to enjoy the change I dealt with it, as people do.

You are post-natal, and you are likely to be suffering some form of post-natal depression, which would explain the emotionality regardless of the situation with your son. This would be distressing for your son and it would certainly impair your judgement of his own state of mind. Could it be that the father is also concerned about your state of mind and took the action he did out of such concern?

 Why should you have such a significant portion of the care? What can you offer that Dad can't?

It sounds like a sad situation for you all. Please understand that in asking these questions I'm not seeking to apportion blame, just to put forward some food for thought. I'm sure the court will consider the best interests of your son when making a decision regarding care arrangements, but it won't necessarily regard your post-natal emotionality in a positive light.
What an awful situation!!!

It's hard with nothing legally in place, your ex hasn't done anything wrong by law I guess. I'm only learning about all this too though so I can't ay much on all the legal issues. I don't have a baby - NO PN Depression and I'd be upset and furious if my ex did this, any normal mother would be. Your son shouldn't be uprooted like that, he doesn't understand what's going on. Had his father ever asked for more visits etc??

I hope this all gets worked out quickly and your son gets returned to you
Nic,
I feel for you as it is an awful thing to suddenly lose contact with your child/ren. I am disappointed that you have been greeted with generalisations and assumptions.
All I can say is when dealing with anyone in the Court system try to remain calm, and usually you need to leave pride at the door.
I understand from my former profession, how any change can create difficulty for a child, most especially unexpected and sudden change. However children are remarkable in their ability to adapt to circumstances if those around them reflect a positive and supportive tone.
I also understand that this is very difficult where you might not support the change, but that is an argument for your ex and the court, not your child.

I guess your difficulties are further complicated by the amount of attention you will need to give to your new child. Be sure to enjoy the baby and not let what is going on with the baby's sibling get in the way of quality time with your baby.

As for your lawyers, make sure you are happy with them early on. I have seen too many people get close to crunch time only to find that their lawyers were not supportive when it mattered. It is easier and cheaper to change early on than later.
Taking your account at face value, i.e. he did not give warning that he wanted more time, now would be an excellent time to consider what arrangements can be made to look at half time. It is a good age and could avert the horrible experience of the courts, sparing you all a great deal of money and heartache. Please don't let any sense of injustice, ownership, need for revenge etc, take over your thoughts when considering this. We all have it go through our minds at some point.
My experience also tells me, do not expect fairness. You may be advantaged by the Magistrate, lawyers and court reporters (most likley) or disadvantaged (this sometimes happens to Mums too).
I have seen people lose their soul over the protracted nature of Family Court. Whilst it went against me, I maintained throughout that I want to always be able to look at myself in the mirror without shame. That way I was able to stay out of the gutter.
What a horrible situation! It sounds to me like your ex has decided to punish you at one of your most vulnerable times for moving on and creating another family.
If he wanted to spend more time with his son, then the usual thing to do is to discuss the matter and negotiate something from there and if that doesnt work, then mediation is required or at a last ditch, court. Your ex has behaved appallingly with blatant disregard to you or his own son by uprooting him from his family,home, school and  friends. He is treating his son like a possession and using him to get at you. This will be noted by the magistrate.


Even though you havent had orders in the past, I would guess the magistrate will go by the status quo and make orders to ensure your son is sent back to his home, his family and his school. I would be very wary about allowing this man to have unsupervised access until he can prove that he is stable enough to start considering how his irrational, selfish and vindictive actions affect his son and his sons other family members. These are not the actions of a stable individual and I would seek to include supervised access included in the orders.


I hope you get some peace of mind with the solicitor today, you must be devastated as anyone would be having their son taken from their own home like that.
Being on the other side of a similar situation - ie father denied overnights by mother with nothing formal in place, I can understand his actions.

Did he express a desire for more time that was denied by you?

I'm going to assume he wasn't happy with the arrangements, otherwise why would he do this?

I know if I was "permitted" every 2nd weekend and 1/2 school holidays, I would not think that is enough for my Son to spend time with me.

Maybe a calm discussion, initiated by you to him, seeking answers would be a good starting point.
You may need to agree to more time for your son with his father.

Remember a child has a right to both parents, what it seems is that your son is only getting approx 20% of his time with his father.

Is that fair?
Whatbus, you might note that the posters says 
I have never restricted access and he has him every second weekend and half of school holidays. I have been the primary carer of our son who is 6 since we separated in 2008.
. If the father wanted more access then all he had to do was negotiate more time, not kidnap him and remove him from his home, family and friends and place him in an unfamiliar and frightening situation. Rational people do not behave in this way and that is why I beleieve the poster should seek protection orders and supervised access.

You will note that the poster said her ex has recently joined the army and is living on the army base, this is not the actions of a man that wants more custody of his son. An army base is not an acceptable alternative to a loving family environment that the child already has.
Samba,

saying "never restricted access" is a LOT different to agreeing to a structured shared parenting plan.

I'm not saying the OP is the same as my ex, but my ex continually claims "I can see him anytime I want", but when I ask, the request is refused and she hides behind "it's not in his best interests".

Just saying there are two sides.
Nic

I am very sorry for your situation and understand your anguish.  I too am sorry that some people on this site are not able to see beyond their own situation and make assumptions and judgements based on extremely limited information.

Whether or not the time that this father has spent with his son was agreed or disputed it is still not a reason or an excuse for him to 'snatch' the child and move schools and residential location and home.  Is this not about the child's rights?  It is a child's rights to see both parents but it also a right for stability and security and to know where he lives and when he will be seeing and spending time with both parents.  Not only did the father just take the child he is now denying the mother adequate communication - this too is not right for the child.

The right and proper way to change an arrangement that isn't suiting one or both parents is to talk and negotiate and then mediation and then court.  This father sounds like he may have done none of those.

Nic - if you cannot reason or talk to the father then the legal route is the only way to go.  Hopefully your lawyer will advise you of your rights and the ability to start a recovery order to get your son back.  The fact that the father snatched your son and is not returning him and is limiting your contact with him will only go against him in court.  Your lawyer I am sure will give you all the information and probable outcome.  In reality all you can do is wait for the legal stuff to start happening and hopefully get a recovery order.  you need to look after yourself and try and stay calm (not easy I am sure).  Your son is only 6 and although this might be causing him great distress now, once he is back with you and normality and security has been restored I am sure he will get over it.  He probably won't even remember it happened.  Maybe when you talk to him to help calm him you can say how good it is that he gets to spend some time with Daddy by himself, but that he will be coming back to you soon when the people 'in charge' (or whatever you want to describe the law as) make some decisions.  Just reassure him.  He knows you love him and miss him.

The other advice I can give is to diarise everything that happens in the minutest details.  you will need this as evidence when you get to court.  start writing out all that has happened, hwo the original agreement was made and so on.  If your ex is now being very nasty it might pay to limit all communication to texts and emails so that you have a record of everything.  I learnt this the hard way when agreements made verbally were broken.  Now I only communicate by email or text so that I have proof of everything that has happened.

Good luck and I am sure your lawyer will help you get through this.  Speak to friends and family and if necessary get some counselling to help you get through this.  It will eventually sort itself out.

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.
From what the poster has said the man hasnt ever tried to negotiate more access. Him joining the army and moving to an army base shows that he hasnt been making an attempt or have an expectation to further include the child in his life. Kidnapping his child, removing him from his home, his family and his school are the actions of an irrational person - the timing of it (ie his ex having a new baby) would indicate he is doing it to be vindictive and cause his ex much anguish - as any parent would be. The child needs to be protected from someone who has so little regard for his own son, until such a time as he can be trusted again. 
whatbus said
Just saying there are two sides.
  Whatbus

Of course there are always two sides, to every single post on this site.  You can only go on what you are told by one side.  One could say the same to you - maybe your ex wife has another story to tell and maybe she has some very good reason for saying it is not in your child's best interest to see you.  Maybe you are abusing your son?  I am not saying you do, but unless you are in court and hearing both sides of a story, the only way we can help people on this site is to answer their questions and make an assumption that what they are telling us is the truth.  If it is a lie then our advice is meaningless isn't it and the lies will hopefully come out in court.

I don't ever see any people on here criticising and judging a parent who tells us how the ex is keeping the children away from them and start asking them what they might have done to make their ex feel that way!  Who knows, maybe the ex has a very very good reason for withholding the child and the poster would never admit it or worst still doesn't even realise they are doing it!

Meantime let's take what Nic says at face value and help her - which is what she came here for. Not judgement and assumptions that make it sound like it is all her fault because she doesn't 'let' the father have the child more.

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.
Id just like to say thankyou to everyone for their advice and responses.

In the past the father has never asked for more time to spend with his son. He has often cut short weekend visits and school holiday visits in order to work or as he has other plans. If he wanted more time all he had to do was ask. My son has a great relationship with his father and i have always encouraged it. It was me who made him ring his dad every week as my ex would never call his son.

At the end of jan this year my ex moved to Sydney. Previously he lived 2.5 hours away since we separated and i drove half way to meet him. If he wanted to have our son for a family celebration then i would always gladly say yes unless the notice was too short and we already had plans.

Yes my husband (son's stepfather) has spent more quality time with my son. He coached his soccer team last year, spent quality time playing and reading, and often walked him to school. On many occasions i would let my son's father know of a school presentation or function, soccer games on the chance that he would attend as it would have made my son's day.

Yes i am emotional at this time. I know i am not suffering from post natal depression and i know that i have to remain calm and collected especially once we attend court. I have asked my son's father if we could work this out and not drag it through the courts but he told me "no…" He said that he wants full custody. If the courts decide that our son is to live with my ex, what is too happen if he gets deployed into another state or overseas? What about if our son is sick, who will take care of him?

thanks again
He said that he wants full custody. If the courts decide that our son is to live with my ex, what is too happen if he gets deployed into another state or overseas? What about if our son is sick, who will take care of him?

The courts will look at which parent can provide the most stable way of life. It sounds like with his career, you would be able to better provide  home and school stability ect. Hope it all works out.  
What did the solicitor say? If it were me I would be demanding an earlier hearing and calling everyone I can think of to try and get him back. Have you spoken to the police? Perhaps a recovery order could be granted based on status quo and the fact that he is also a flight risk. This is a seriously horrible situation for you and I'm sure your son is pretty upset too. I would not be sitting back and taking this, it is not ok that your ex can kidnap your son!

You need to write everything up in a detailed record of events, find and save any emails and text messages that show whats been going on, contact the school and tell them what has happened and get their paperwork. Any communication with your ex should only be via email, so you can keep this as evidence - keep cool and dont say anything nasty to him.

I really hope something can be done soon.
I've been thinking about this all day… maybe because this is what worries me about my situation.
I just can't believe a father would possible think that snatching his child is what's BEST for the child. I'm seriously speechless….
Nic

I understand your worries about the father getting full custody.  Even though logical rational reasoning and probably the advice of your lawyer will be that he really doesn't have a hope of that.  At worst it will be 50/50 but I doubt that would happen either.  Your ex has shot himself in the foot by snatching your son and it really won't look good.  BUT even though your head tells you you will get your son back soon and your ex won't get full custody, I know from my own experience that the worry and stress just plays on your mind all the time.  Even if you are told by a lot of people that he won't get full custody you will still probably worry about it.  The only advice I have for that is to get some counselling to help you deal with your own stress and concerns.  As long as you have a good lawyer and you document everything, if your ex is irrational and does more stupid things, he will eventually be seen through by the court.

The main thing is to help yourself get through this for the sake of your son.  He needs you to remain calm and do your best in court and do what your lawyer advises (as long as you are confident you have a good lawyer).  You will worry about many things before this is all over, and court is a slow slow process.  Really your best bet is a recovery order and then once you have your son back, just go through the process.  Get yourself whatever help you need to get through this.  It sound like you have a supportive and caring husband so that is another thing in your favour.

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.
Samba said
What did the solicitor say? If it were me I would be demanding an earlier hearing
 You cannot just go and demand an earlier hearing. The original poster has enough problems without you making stupid ill considered suggestions.
Oh dear, I've been censored again!:wub:
Samba said
Oh dear, I've been censored again!:wub:
 
Oh dear, you've been speaking through your bum again…
Samba said
Oh dear, I've been censored again!:wub:
 Samba a remark worthy of an eight year old, removing graffiti is not censorship.

 Senior Site Moderator and Administrator
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