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Ex will not let my sons visit me in China

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My ex wife is preventing me from contacting my 2 boys. It's a difficult thing to do from China at the best of times but I have not been able to contact them other than text messages to her phone which I doubt she passes on as I have no response at all.

Each time I've traveled to Australia she sets up barricades and obstacles which prevent me from spending any real time with them.

My eldest is now 16 and youngest is 14. We had a 50/50 arrangement from the beginning but that has not been useful as she won't let them get a passport. I'm not trying to take them away, I only want them to get to know me in my environment, not the situation where I have to live in cheap hotels or rely on friends to put me up then have to dance around all the obstacles.
16 and 14? Call their mobile phones. If they aren't picking up, they don't want to speak to you. I'm sorry but no 16 year old kid is going to be controlled by their Mother if they WANT to speak to their Father. They don't have private email? FaceBook Profiles? Cmon.

Mum is reluctant to send the children to spend time with you in China with no Court Orders in place? No duh! In 2 years the oldest can get a passport and do what he/she wants anyway. I'm assuming you moved to China? Are you offering to pay 100% of their travel costs, and put up a minimum $5,000.00 security re their return? If the kids are busting to come and see you and need passports to do so - seek a Court Order "that the Mother do all things and sign all documents as may be required for the children to be issued with Australian Passports" etc.

I get the feeling that Mum has very little to do with your communication and contact issues, especially given the children's ages.

Hope the above helps

- Zer0ne -
ZeroOne83 said
16 and 14? Call their mobile phones. If they aren't picking up, they don't want to speak to you.

That has got to be one of the most disturbing posts I have seen. ZeroOne83 how about you phone my mobile to try ascertain whether or not I would entertain speaking to you? Oh dear I believe you would have a slight problem, like not knowing what number to call, do you disagree? If so please phone. Oh and also send me an email directly to one of my private email addresses. I'll then let DadInChina know how easy it is to ascertain people's private email addresses.

ZeroOne83 said
I get the feeling that Mum has very little to do with your communication and contact issues, especially given the children's ages.
And what evidence are you basing that upon? Why have you rejected the possibility that it is more likely that the mother is the person denying the children their humane right to know and be cared for by their parents, especially considering that the available evidence indicates that DadinChina has made attempts to pass messages to the children through the mother and that the mother is the person probably not passing the messages on. Surely the mother, if she were considerate of the children's humane rights, would tell the father if the children had no wish to have contact. The mother being obstructive is also indicated as the mother will not allow the children to get passports why do you dismiss this evidence but then later use it it what comes across as derision of DadInChina? Would you offer the same advice if the children weren't busting but simply wanted to have contacted with their father? If you would then why make it out that the children should need to be busting?

Perhaps DadinChina is a little like myself and not a user of Facebook. DadinChina perhaps try searching for the children via Facebook and if you can ascertain their private email addresses try contacing them via email. Are there any other friends or relatives through which you can make contact? You could also look into having court orders made for some form of contact, perhaps Skype (I can't understand why ZeroOne83 didn't make such a suggestion, perhaps ZeroOne83 would care to explain why this was not considered). However, not all children in Australia have Facebook accounts, which I'm surprised that ZeroOne83 does not consider. As at March 31st, there were 7,922,140 Australian Facebook accounts, that's about 1/3rd of Australians (assuming that people do not have multiple accounts). Considering something I saw in the news (yesterday I think) that the 35-45 year age group are the most prolific users, then to say that about 1/3rd of children have Facebook accounts, would likely be a generous assumption. However, obviously under 13's don't, as I believe you should be 13 or older to sign up to Facebook so lets adjust the figure to half of children over 13 or even three quarters. There's still a good chance that these children don't have Facebook accounts. ZeroOne83, why did you not consider these facts in your response?

ZeroOne83 I believe you should respect  DadInChina and all users of FLWG and explain how you have read this "feeling" into DadInChina's post. The post does not indicate this at all. I believe it has more to do with your mind distorting the available information and that the driver is perhaps alcohol removing inhibitions, considering your prolific posting last night, and that your gender bias has, again considering your prolific, responses last night, come to the fore. As such I feel that I have a duty to say that any that abhor gender bias against males should be very wary of all posts made by ZeroOne83.

DadInChina, I am very sorry that your plight, which actually looks very much as if the other parent is trying to alienate the children from yourself, has been met with the response that ZeroOne83 made and I suggest that you consider other responses as to what to do in your situation. Hopefully a response will come from the SRL's.

Last edit: by MikeT

DadinChina, I am not sure what to say except that MikeT has made some very good suggestions.

Certainly by all means, attempt contact by Facebook, MySpace or Formspring (which appears to be very teenager friendly so be warned about the "adult" content).

How long is it since you have seen your sons? Or spoken with them? And what was the contact like when you initially went to China (yes, I am making that assumption seeing as you said you previously had 50/50 care). Were arrangements specifically made prior to your move? And do they seem to have fallen by the wayside?
OK:

Dad has travelled to Aus. but she (Mum) "sets up barricades" to him spending any "real" time with the children. So I assume he has spent SOME time with the kids on each visit (just not what he considers quality time because Mum may be doing her best to minimise it). So yep, in absense of those details I had to assume certain facts. i.e. he has probably had the opportunity to swap vital contact details with the children at some stage since his relocaton. If this assumption is incorrect, so are my other deductions and advice is rendered inaccurate/useless. Agreed.

DadinChina? is this the case?

Assuming he has spoken to/seen the kids at least once, theoretically, wouldn't you obtain the kids personal contact details from them then? i.e. mobile no. addresses etc? If, however, he hasn't ever seen or spoken to the children since he left for China and he can't contact them via telephone etc because of Mums attitude then OK MikeT you have a point. But is that the case DadinChina? You have not spoken to your kids once in person or on the telephone since you left for China?

Of course the kids may not have FaceBook accounts. They may not have mobiles or email. These were suggestions as to methods of private contact where Mum's liklihood of being able to interfere are minimised. DadinChina - do you know, are you aware, if the kids have mobiles and/or Facebook Profiles?

MikeT is upset that I did not suggest Skype. I can only apologise for neglecting to mention Skype as this is a great, free form of contact. I'm unlikely to sleep tonight from the associated embarrassment and guilt. I do note, however, that my suggestions of email/facebook contact were poo-pooed because 'how could Dad possibly know their contact details?!' - ….but Dad will know the kids Skype addresses?

Gender bias. I am a male family lawyer and an active member of DadsForeverWA. The funny thing is I'm generally accused of being biased towards Dads/the male POI in litigation over here. I might be primary carer biased. Or anti-relocation? But gender doesn't play a role.

Fair enough - my 'feeling' is based on the following. The kids are old enough to have contact with Dad pursuant to their own wishes - with or without the assistance of Mum. If Dad has spoken to or seen the kids even once since he left they would have been given his contact number and they can call him as and when they want - they havent. As I said above, if Dad HASNT spoken to/seen the kids since he left and hence the kids dont know how to contact Dad, then yep, my 'feeling' is based on incorrect assumed facts and I'm clearly wrong.

DadinChina - do the kids know how to get in contact with you? Have you spoken to them or seen them since you left? Within the last 6 months? Answers to these questions would assist.

Didn't mean to upset anyone though, so I apologise to DadinChina if he felt affronted by my 'take' on a situation with limited facts provided.

I'm also sorry that MikeT chose to introduce gender into the equation when the real  circumstances are more akin to primary carer vs. relocated parent and not mother vs. father or woman vs man.

Hope the above helps!

- Zer0ne -



ZeroOne83 said
So yep, in absense of those details I had to assume certain facts. i.e. he has probably had the opportunity to swap vital contact details with the children at some stage since his relocaton.
What was forcing you to make these assumptions? I don;t believe anything other than your mindset. It is perfectly feasible that the other parent has put pressure on the children to not divulge such information. I recall my phoning my son when the other parent had starting denying contact (not that I was actually aware at that time) and asked my son where he was, only to be told by my son that he was at home, which I actually knew to not be the fact. He was actually in transit from NSW to Queensland to go to Movie World etc. Something that I would have had no issue with at all, especially considering what he had gone through up until then. I believe, from my experience in this field, that this is not at all an uncommon occurrence (the unnecessary alienating lies rather than trips to Movie World etc). So why couldn't you, with your experience assume that such a common situation was a possibility? I guess that's where the suspicions about your motives initially entered into the matter.  

Can you assume a fact? I guess that's a question for philosophers, although I suspect that you actually can't. Perhaps you meant to say that you made some assumptions based upon the facts. I could also see that one could make an assumption that is then proven as fact.

ZeroOne83 said
Of course the kids may not have FaceBook accounts. They may not have mobiles or email. These were suggestions as to methods of private contact where Mum's likelihood of being able to interfere are minimised. DadinChina - do you know, are you aware, if the kids have mobiles and/or Facebook Profiles?
To use your phraseology BS. You quite distinctly said to call them on their mobiles and assumed that not answering was an indication of them not wanting to know DadInChina. Trying to distort:

ZeroOne83 said
16 and 14? Call their mobile phones. If they aren't picking up, they don't want to speak to you. I'm sorry but no 16 year old kid is going to be controlled by their Mother if they WANT to speak to their Father. They don't have private email? FaceBook Profiles? Cmon.

into something that it is not will only result in your ridiculing yourself, if you haven't done that anyway.

ZeronOne83 said
MikeT is upset that I did not suggest Skype.
Wrong assumption again. I added this along with and other suggestions and actually thought that considering the approach you have shown throughout your posts, that of being an experienced authority in the Family Law and Child Support arena, that you would have made some sort of alternative suggestions or looked at alternative avenues such as potential contact via friends and other relations. It is this lack of covering alternatives that made me wonder if you have much experience in the fields that you appear to suggest and thus that it may be alcohol induced removal of inhibitions and a bias against males that led you to not offer suggestions of alternative avenues. However, I see how an anti relocation mindset could consider this as a potential relocation issue and thus perhaps the reason behind a reluctance to offer such avenues.

Personally I believe although better than no contact at all that Skype or other means of electronic communication offer pretty poor quality contact and are not really satisfactory on their own. Basically nothing beats the quality of actual time (obviously subject to some rare exceptions).

Just to confirm. No I wasn't upset at all.

ZeroOne83 said
The kids are old enough to have contact with Dad pursuant to their own wishes - with or without the assistance of Mum.
I believe you are not considering all the factors. They are not old enough to get passports (unless the 16 year old is married) and they may well be in fear of the recriminations of going against the mother's wishes. Can you not understand that these may be factors. If the mother is restricting messages letters etc, they the children may not be aware of how they can contact the father. There is even the possibility that untruths have been told. What if the mother has told the children that the father is dead or that the father doesn't want to see them? An absurd and abhorrent thing for a parent to do, but I believe not unheard of at all. So I believe that you are sticking to your guns and being restrictive in the advice you offer. I personally believe that the children have a humane right to know and be cared for by their parents and that you as a lawyer and as you have said are bound to the court (or whatever the correct terminology is) that you likely have some responsibility to the crown and to thus abide by the convention of human rights to which Australia is a signatory. Perhaps I'm wrong. However, out of curiosity, I'd love you to confirm that you as a lawyer are freely allowed to provide advice contrary to the convention of human rights.  

Australian Passport Office said
An Australian citizen under 18 years of age who has never married is regarded as a child. A passport application for a child must be lodged by a parent or other person with a parental responsibility for the child.  The person lodging the application must also provide proof of their identity.

Note that passport applications, unless exceptions are granted, also require the signature of both parents.

Last edit: by MikeT

MikeT said
So why couldn't you, with your experience assume that such a common situation was a possibility? I guess that's where the suspicions about your motives initially entered into the matter.
I am beginning to think that Zero does not have that much under his belt and because some of his posts are occasionally quite assumptive may not have been practicing for long or else lives in a perfect world where everything is black and white and there are no shades of grey.  His small world of a single tiny Court in Western Australia with their own rules may not accurately translate to what is happening in the real multi shaded World of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. With two Courts having different rules and procedures (and anybody that has been transferred between Courts will know what I am speaking of) - nothing is black and white!
Further explanation/response your personal attacks is going to be of no assistance to anyone so I will leave it.
Zer0ne83 said
16 and 14? Call their mobile phones. If they aren't picking up, they don't want to speak to you. I'm sorry but no 16 year old kid is going to be controlled by their Mother if they WANT to speak to their Father. They don't have private email? FaceBook Profiles? Cmon.
Facebook is banned in China and so is Google - so that wont work
I am in a similar situation to the dad in China.

I have lived overseas for 6 years (moved after my divorce) and have an ex wife who has done everything in her power to eliminate any contact I have with my children.

I bought them laptops, paid for their household internet, bought cell phones, you name it, just to have contact between my visits back to Aus (2x a year).

In the beginning it was poor…now it is non existent.  Laptops were "broken and being fixed", always an excuse to why communication was hindered.  When I would call the ex's home phone to speak with the kids, they had to have the phone on "hands free" so their mother could listen in on the conversation.  It made it very difficult to have a decent phone conversation from overseas when it was hard to hear the children between all the background noises.

I used to get the kids for about a week when I would come back for 3 weeks at a time.  Then, the ex started to withhold the children all together, not giving me any access during my visits to Aus.  I got an attorney, paid her thousands and got an emergency visitation and was able to spend 4 hours with my kids that year. Four hours!

After thousands more spent and mediation, the lot, I now get 4 days from 9am to 5pm 2x a year.  The most recent visit had been over a year, as I could not afford to fly back sooner.  The visit went well, however, each time I do come back I have to spend a day or two of that reconditioning the children.  They are scared and withdrawn and are being told what to say and not what to say.  By the fourth day they are crawling all over me and love their dad!  

My problem at the moment….it has been 8 weeks and I have not spoken to my children.  I also have a court order that I can ring them once per week at a designated time - by court order she is to make the children available.  Since I left Aus to go back overseas, I have rang each week for the last two months and have not gotten any answer.  My wife rang 4 hours after the scheduled time this past week, and one of my children picked up.  There was a delay on the phone and then my wife was finally hung up on.  Tried to call back and it rang out again.  I know that my ex wife is not letting the children speak with me.

I don't know what to do?  I send them messages on facebook but they do not answer.  I fear they are being monitored by their mum and are not allowed to speak with me.  The ex has manipulated and poisoned them again and again (I have proof) and it has put such a burden on my children who do want contact with their dad.

I spoke with them my last trip about buying a house in Aus (even showed them one I was looking at) so that I will be able to spend more time (several months) in Aus rather than a few weeks, hopefully to get at least a fortnightly visit schedule back again.  I believe my ex may have gotten wind of this and is panicking at the thought of me moving back, even on a part time basis.  She has wanted me out of her new perfect life.  She has lived with a guy since we separated, had a few kids and now they are recently married.  I know she wished that I would fall off the face of the earth so she would never have to deal with our kids having a father.  She could be wrapped in her little world of what she wants for her (not the kids).  She is extremely selfish and immature and has been with regards to the children since divorce (even before I moved overseas and was still living in Aus).

I am lost as to what to do.  Spend thousands more dollars on a solicitor to get what?  A court order that she violates?  Plus, the last mediation, the poor children were encouraged (thats a nice word) to lie and say bad things about me.  After visiting with them on the new bs court order of 4 days …they apologized to me and told me they were told what to say, etc. and they really didn't feel that way and they do want to see me more, etc.  My ex made them say they would be afraid to spend the night during my visits.  Nonetheless, she is messing with our children hardcore and I currently have NO contact.

Any one who has gone through similar, I would love to hear your story or advice!
Guest are you asking for suggestions for legal options or other options or just recounting a very sad story that is unfortunately far too common?

Are there any groups/associations of people that deal with these 'overseas' parent visitation cases?
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