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Parental Responsibility and Days off School

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Being accused of not taking child health and education into consideration

My child has been ill for the last 3 days with a raging headache, tight chest and cold. Coughing during the night. I have advised him that he could stay at home since it is the last week of school without any exams/homework etc and recover. I am giving him cold and flu tablets .(He is in year 9). Today I received a threatening letter from the father, stating the following :" What you are doing to *** is not just preventing *** from attending school but you are also not considering what is best for *** health. Both issues relating to the lack of care regarding his education and health are completely unacceptable .On the second day, you should have taken him to a medical practitioner to be inspected and put on the correct medication to get him fit to attend school ASAP. It is not your call to treat his medical condition" etc etc.


I would just like to know, what is the family law point of view in scenario's like this? Did I do anything wrong?
I too have received emails along the same lines.  I am sure others will answer here and I have little legal experience. But I know how it would be dealt with in my case.  We have orders that say that we are responsible for the 'day to day care' of the children while they are living with us.  Therefore me ex can make as many accusations as he likes and do what he likes but while the children are living with me what I choose to do for their health and the non prescription medications I choose to give them are my decision to make.  Just like when he has them it is his decision.  If I were to take a child to the GP I have to legally let him know within a few hours.  If he doesn't like what I do while they are in my care, there is really only one thing he can do, which is take me to court for either contravention of an order or try to get new orders. 

If there were a case of child abuse it could be reported to DOCS but they, as far as I am aware, do nothing as they are so overworked they certainly wouldn't follow up on a call about a child with flu/a cold not being taken to the doctor and missing a few days of school at the end of term!

If my ex wrote that to me I would just ignore it.  I have done so in the past and nothing has happened.  I of course have always done the right thing by the children and if I think it necessary to take them to the doctor I do.  (While we were married I was always responsible for taking the children to the doctor and all medical appointments and making the decision when it was necessary to go to the doctor!)  

If he has a history of these sort of emails then I would say just ignore it.  If he is normally a reasonable person and this is the first time he has written to you like this then maybe you could write back a conciliatory email and explain your actions or discuss it reasonably.  However if he felt he had to write it and by the tone of the letter I would hazard a guess your coparenting relationship is not civil! 

It can be sometimes be wise to explain the facts if he has got them wrong just to cover your back if you think he might take this further.

I would say as regards to family law you did nothing wrong.  I am interested to see what others say.

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.
If a child is ill for 3 days then maybe a doctor should be consulted.
Parental responsibility is by default with the parent for whom the child is to spend time with or lives with. If that time is the time that you are allocated in orders then assume , unless their are orders to the contrary that you have parental responsibility.

A large number of orders orders will have, or say something along the lines that both parties have equal shared parental responsibility for the children. However , it is not necessary for such an order to give effect to "Shared Parental Responsibility". Refer to S61DA in the Act for more details but broadly speaking the core values are set out to mean that parental responsibility is essentially a responsibility to make all such decisions as are necessary (When the child is with you) to ensure that a child's needs are met, and SHARED Parental Responsibility for long term issues (65DAE) includes decisions about matters BUT NOT LIMITED to :

Living arrangements
Medical treatment/issues (I added issues the Act does not)
Education
Religious upbringing
Health issues
The child's name

The current Act refers to shared parental responsibility where you are obliged to discuss and work together to resolve the sorts of issues detailed above.

Where no order to the contrary exists parents may exercise that responsibility independently or jointly. (When with you, exercise your parental responsibility)

We also see orders along the lines that the Mother and the Father shall each have sole responsibility for the management of the day-to-day issues surrounding the care, welfare and development of the child when the child is in their respective care.

So there are variations and exceptions.

The general principle applied is that on the big long term issues there needs to be cooperation, discussion and one hopes some joint agreement. On the specific day to day operation and decision making then the individual with whom the child is spending time with should make the decisions.

We also see orders around advising the other parent in medical situations. In this case the child has been sick for three days.

Having a complete week off is another matter and a week off is a significant issue. (I assume that this is not a  "regular" event)

I would suggest you have not done anything wrong, although some communication early on about the health of the child was appropriate and perhaps getting some advice from the father and seeking his inputs may have been sensible. As time goes on you are moving to a darker gray place the longer it goes on. I would have to say I suspect that you have not communicated what is going on and perhaps the father has "discovered" the child is not at school and wondered what is going on.

My approach would have been to call the father on day one and informed that the child is not at school today etc. and day two asked the father to participate in discussing the issues with the child. By day two or three the child should definitely have been to a medical practitioner. He may have flue or something else but unless you are a medical practitioner you cannot say. Children do pick up coughs and colds but I would be looking at taking my child to a clinic on day 2. Certainly by day 3 if things had not vastly improved.

It seems to me larissap has made some good comments and that by the tone dad is not impressed. Hardly a cooperative tone.

I think mitigating the email by communicating some information or a phone call if civil would be helpful. I don't believe what you have done is "Unacceptable" because you have to make decisions about these sorts of things. You clearly are treating the child as best you can but perhaps it is now well and truly time to get to a medical centre. School may require a medical cert for a week off. The last week of school is a fairly quiet week and if the child is off Thursday and not better by Friday it seems pointless sending back for a short day. Again discuss with the father to get some degree of consensus , if you can. If the discussion is not going well just say you won't continue the discussion if there is no constructive assistance. Is the father able to talk to the child and see what the problems are for himself? I hope some of the material is constructive and good luck.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Parental Responsibility and Days off School

Hi guys

Thank you for all the replies. I suppose I was not clear enough..I did contact the father on day one. The father spoke to our son on Tuesday and again on Wednesday and he was fully aware that the child has not been back to school. Yesterday morning I made an appointment with the doctor for that evening. (Day three). I only got an appointment for 8pm and was home after 10pm). As the father and I have no phone communication whatsoever( he refuses to answer his phone calls when I phone and want all communication via email), I thought to email him when I came in this morning. In this regards, Krystal's response was very helpful. However, there was already an email waiting for me this morning, of which I quote excerpts so that you can see what I am dealing with. I do think that he is just out to harass and insult me but take to heart all your comments that I should try and not let it get to me and keep my side "clean"

If he is sick enough to not go to school then he should be at the doctors. I heard him playing in your house on Tuesday night. A headache and snot nose came in very handy. That is completely wrong, school is school and it is neither his call nor yours without the school consent not to attend school.

Your view of the seemingly diminutive impact of not honouring appointments (like going to school every day) and toting up with shabby reasons is a strong attempt at creating weak attributes within *****.

Your feel-good, politically correct teachings create people with no concept of reality and this concept sets ***** up for failure in the real world!!!

I have responded with the dr diagnosis and treatment (similar to the lines Krystal sent).Thank you once again for the responses and I am sure I will need a lot more advice in the future as the father seems intent to make life as difficult as possible.

These types of issues come up for us too regularly. In our case the lives with parent regularly contacts us wanting to "discuss" issues of concern to them, generally relating to events or activities occuring when the child is in our care. We usually engage to respond at least once, but if the answer is not what the other parent wants to hear (which it never is), they will inevitably continue to agitate with further emails and letters. If we then comment that it is ultimately a matter for us to decide as we those matters relate to our care of the child (for whom we have joint responsibility for long term matters and sole responsibility for matters occuring when the child is with us), we then get a "your failing to communicate" response back. This seems to be used as a weapon to insist on further conflict and engagement on the issues. So I guess my question is the same as yours sickandtired, when is enough communication enough? How many times do you have to engage on an issue that is not a long term one involving the child, the child is otherwise safe and happy, but there are clearly two different sets of opposing ideas?
I posted this in another topic.  I try and do what this article recommends in regard to communication from my ex. 

I now tend to ignore most emails/sms that are sent to me unless there is factual information that requires a response.  My ex did try to include in another contravention application that I do not communicate with him.  He withdrew it, but I was ready with some statistics regarding how many emails and SMS had been exchanged between us over a period of time (heaps and heaps).

Ignoring is really quite powerful as it stops the continuous back and forwards dead in its track.  When I used to reply and explained myself or the situation or facts it just kept going on and on and would get totally out of hand.  Now I ignore it it makes me feel like I have some control over the emailing and he rarely writes to me again.  It feels good.

When I do get nasty accusing emails I have just learnt to laugh.  It has taken me over 3 years and a couple of mini breakdowns to get to this point.  I had to learn not to fear him and regard his threats as just hot air.  He has actually taken me to court for a contravention now (which I don't believe is a contravention at all and was advised so by 2 lawyers) and seen how much it costs him (I am self represented) and has been 'told off' several times, and we now have a date in December 2012 (yes 2012) to look at it again, I think he realises his threat to take me to court is now meaningless! 

In answer to your question Lucy I would say one reply is enough then ignore.  But you need to make sure you do not contravene your orders and just do what is necessary to cover yourself.  And try and develop a thick skin. 

Hope this helps.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201012/responding-hostile-emails-high-conflict-personalities-0

Responding to Hostile Emails from High Conflict Personalities

Remember BIFF When Responding to Hostile E-mails

Hostile e-mail exchanges have become huge in divorce. Blamers love sending them and use them to attack you, your family and friends, and professionals. It's extremely tempting to respond the same way. Hostile e-mail has also become huge in family court, as a document used to show someone's bad behavior.

While you are encouraged to save copies of hostile e-mail sent to you, it is very important that you not send hostile e-mails to anyone. They will be used against you. Instead, assertively use a BIFF response, as described next, and encourage people in your support system to do the same. It will save you a lot of wasted time and energy to be brief, informative, friendly, and firm.

Do You Need to Respond?

Much of hostile mail does not need a response. Letters from exes, angry neighbors, irritating coworkers, or attorneys do not usually have legal significance. The letter itself has no power, unless you give it power.

Often, it is emotional venting aimed at relieving the writer's anxiety. If you respond with similar emotions and hostility, you will simply escalate things without satisfaction, and just get a new piece of hostile mail back. In most cases, you are better off not responding. Some letters and e-mails develop power when copies are filed in a court or complaint process-or simply get sent to other people. In these cases, it may be important to respond to inaccurate statements with accurate statements of fact. If so, use a BIFF response.

Brief

Keep your response brief. This will reduce the chances of a prolonged and angry back-and-forth. The more you write, the more material the other person has to criticize. Keeping it brief signals that you don't wish to engage in a dialogue. Just make your response and end your e-mail.

Don't take your partner's statements personally and don't respond with a personal attack. Avoid focusing on comments about the other person's character, such as saying he is rude, insensitive, or stupid. It just escalates the conflict and keeps it going. Make sure to avoid the three "A's": admonishments, advice and apologies. You don't have to defend yourself to someone you disagree with. If your friends still like you, you don't have to prove anything to people who don't.

Informative

The main reason to respond to hostile mail is to correct inaccurate statements others might see. "Just the facts" is a good thing to keep in mind. Focus on the accurate statements you want to make, not on the inaccurate statements the other person made: "Just to clear things up, I was out of town on February 12, so I would not have been the person who was making loud noises that day."

Avoid negative comments, sarcasm, and threats. Avoid personal remarks about the other person's intelligence, ethics, or moral behavior. If the other person has a high-conflict personality, you will have no success at reducing the conflict by making personal attacks. While most people can ignore personal attacks or might think harder about what you are saying, high-conflict people feel they have no choice but to respond in anger-and keep the conflict going. Personal attacks rarely lead to insight or positive change.

Friendly

While you may be tempted to write in anger, you are more likely to achieve your goals by writing in a friendly manner. Consciously thinking about a friendly response will increase your chances of getting a friendly or neutral response in return. If your goal is to end the conflict, then being friendly has the greatest likelihood of success. Don't give the other person a reason to get defensive and keep responding.

This does not mean that you have to be overly friendly. Just make your message sound a little relaxed and nonantagonistic. If appropriate, say you recognize your partner's concerns. Brief comments that show your empathy and respect will generally calm the other person down, even if only for a short time.

Firm

In a nonthreatening way, clearly tell the other person your information or position on an issue; for example, "That's all I'm going to say on this issue." Be careful not to make comments that invite more discussion, unless you are negotiating an issue or want to keep a dialogue going back and forth. Avoid comments that leave an opening, such as, "I hope you will agree with me that…" This invites the other person to tell you, "I don't agree."

Sound confident and don't ask for more information, if you want to end the back-and-forth. A confident-sounding person is less likely to be challenged with further e-mails. If you get more e-mails, you can ignore them, if you have already sufficiently addressed the inaccurate information. If you need to respond again, keep it even briefer, and do not emotionally engage. In fact, it often helps to just repeat the key information using the same words.

Example of BIFF Response

Joe's hostile e-mail: "Jane, I can't believe you are so stupid as to think I'm going to let you take the children to your boss's birthday party during my parenting time. Have you no memory of the last six conflicts we've had about my parenting time? Or are you having an affair with him? I always knew you would do anything to get ahead! In fact, I remember coming to your office party and witnessing you making a total fool of yourself, including flirting with everyone from the CEO down to the mail-room clerk! Are you high on something? Haven't you gotten your finances together enough to support yourself yet, without flinging yourself at every Tom, XXX, and Harry?"…

Jane's response: "Thank you for responding to my request to take the children to my office party. Just to clarify, the party will be from 3:00 to 5:00 on Friday at the office, and there will be approximately thirty people there, including several other parents and their school-age children. There will be no alcohol because it is a family-oriented firm, and there will be family-oriented activities. I think it will be a good experience for the kids to see me at my workplace. Since you do not agree, then, of course, I will respect that and withdraw my request, because I recognize that it is your parenting time."

Comment: Jane kept it brief and did not engage in defending herself. Since this was just between the two of them, she didn't need to respond. If he sent this e-mail to friends, coworkers, or family members (which high-conflict people often do), she would need to respond to the larger group with more information, such as the following.

Jane's group response: "Dear friends and family, as you know, Joe and I had a difficult divorce. He has sent you a private e-mail showing correspondence between us about a parenting schedule matter. I hope you will see this as a private matter and understand that you do not need to respond or get involved in any way. Almost everything he has said is in anger and not at all accurate. If you have any questions for me personally, please feel free to contact me and I will clarify anything I can. I appreciate your friendship and support."

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.
Lucy5 said
… If we then comment that it is ultimately a matter for us to decide as we those matters relate to our care of the child (for whom we have joint responsibility for long term matters and sole responsibility for matters occurring when the child is with us), we then get a "your failing to communicate" response back. This seems to be used as a weapon to insist on further conflict and engagement on the issues.
The point is that you have engaged in a constructive way and done the best you can do when the child is with you. What else can anyone expect.?

It is an issue that when parents are separated one parent often cannot "get it"; they cannot get the fact that they can no longer participate in the day to day family matters that they could previously. The Family Law Act was amended in 2006 to ensure that there was discussion and hopeful agreement on the big issues but allow the day to day issues to be dealt with by the respective parent who has the care of the child(ren). I don't see any legal issues to be concerned with here.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 

days off school

Thank you all very much, it is very helpful to know I am not the only one in this very painful situation. It seems that I am trying to defend my actions all the time and that he is intent on letting me know at every opportunity how he is going to control my life (only now from a distance, via email) . Just a question though, is there any way (legally) that can force him to stop this kind of unwarranted personal attacks on me?
Sick and tired.  I have looked into it and asked about taking out a DVO because of the harrasment through emails and sms.  It would be very very difficult to make stick.  The other thing is that you do need to be able to communicate about the children and if you don't talk then the only way is through emails.  (I don't talk to my ex because he lies all the time and the only way for me to manage it is to have everything documented via email.  It is paying off as we are back in court and I have evidence of everything that has occured!) So to answer your question, it is very difficult legally to stop the harrasment if it is not physical.  Therefore you need to find ways of dealing with it.

I have set up a separate email account and a mobile phone that only he uses.  This way I am in control of when I read and respond to his emails/texts.  He expects me to have the phone on 'all the time' and respond immediately!  All his texts were very intrusive in my life and in fact I had developed anxiety and each time a text/email came I would get heart palpatations in case it was from him and what fear about he was going to say now!  But limiting him to a phone and email that I can read when I choose and when I am in the right frame of mind has helped me keep the anxiety under control.

I am happy to give you more advice and tips if you want to send me your email privately.  It is very hard dealing with this type of control and abuse but I have had 3 1/2 years of it and have learnt some ways to deal with it.

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.
Lucy5 said
If we then comment that it is ultimately a matter for us to decide as we those matters relate to our care of the child (for whom we have joint responsibility for long term matters and sole responsibility for matters occurring when the child is with us), we then get a "your failing to communicate" response back. This seems to be used as a weapon to insist on further conflict and engagement on the issues.

Lucy, I basically agree with what the Secretary said, but I would also caution that there are situations where a parent will seek to engage in continual conflict with an agenda, and this is where it can become dangerous. There have been cases where conflict is created intentionally by one parent, and then used to get the orders reviewed on the basis that the ongoing conflict between parents is not in the best interest of the child, and therefore care should be reduced for the non-resident parent to avoid contact. This seems ridiculous, I know, but you'd be surprised at what sort of absolutely absurd cases can be won with the right legal angle to manipulate. I'm sure that commonsense often prevails, but even in instances where it is clear that the applicant is the instigator, you still see outcomes in their favour sometimes. I will link to an article below that I refer to often as an example of the extreme end of this spectrum.

My point is (and this applies to sickandtired too), I have learned that a person can instigate arguments and create conflict in order to build a case against you. My partner's ex created a series of disagreements with him over a 6mth period and then applied for an AVO, listing all the previous disagreements (by text, phone call, and in person) to claim that he was continually verbally abusing and intimidating her when he didn't agree with her. I would always suggest avoiding conflict WHEREVER POSSIBLE. If it is not necessary to have a discussion, simply don't engage in it. Refuse to participate in arguments, and at the very least you make your own house a happier environment for yourselves and the kid/s.

If the harassment is by email, you have a choice not to participate beyond the point of respectable adult conversation. Once you make that choice, stick to it and don't buy into the drama. You'll find yourself feeling liberated by the lack of engagement. If the ex asks you a reasonable question that is not personal and relates only to an issue relevant to the child or his/her care, by all means make a brief and direct response to that specific question. But if you feel prone to being drawn into the conflict, prepare a blanket statement in advance - something that you can say anytime you feel it has crossed from co-parenting into a personal zone. If you are prepared ahead of time, you'll be less likely to get caught up in emoitional issues.

For example, if I received the email quoted above, I may answer with something to the effect of:

"I made a doctor's appointment for (child's name) at the earliest available opportunity, and have made the decision to keep him home until such time as the doctor can see him. Whilst he is in my care, the decisions I make on how to enact my parental duties on a day to day basis, are in fact my call. I will inform you of any changes to his health at the first opportunity. If you have any further queries or concerns, please direct them to my solicitor."

The section in bold would be my bl;anket response anytime he crosses the line. The only part of that email I would respond to is to confirm that you have sought medical advice and to confirm that you are making decisions in accordance with your parental duties. Everything else is personal, irrelevant hyperbole, and quite frankly, not your problem! Don't buy into, don't let it get to you. If he wants to carry on you can't stop him, but you don't have to be a part of it. Just keep it short, polite, and to the point, and basically let him know that if he thinks you're breaking the law, he can take it up with your solicitor or the courts. Which he won't, because he has no basis. You will feel a weight lift off your shoulders when you realise it's just that simple - just don't discuss anything you don't NEED to. He will be tying himself up in knots trying to get a response out of you, and you will be smiling to youself and finding better things to do with your time. Good luck. ;)
I totally agree with everything Rabbit has said.  I particularly like this comment:

Rabbit said
You will feel a weight lift off your shoulders when you realise it's just that simple - just don't discuss anything you don't NEED to. He will be tying himself up in knots trying to get a response out of you, and you will be smiling to youself and finding better things to do with your time. Good luck. ;)
It is certainly very liberating to be in control of your responses and stay completely unemotional.  I used to respond with my side of the story, explained myself, and basically tied myself in knots trying to deescalate the conflict and be reasonable.  Sometimes I reponded in anger too.  I couldn't help it.  Since I have learnt a new way to deal with it I do feel so much better and know that he is just stewing over the fact that he has not been able to engage me.

Some other things I do are to wait AT LEAST 24 hours to respond unless it is urgent.  If I think my response may not be objective I send a copy to a couple of friends who edit my reply and make suggestions as to better ways to say it. 

It is very very powerful to just ignore though.  Once you start ignoring it feels great.  Or like Rabbit said, write a short unemotional factual response and then say at the end that you regard the matter as finalised and will not engage in any further discussion on the matter.  That seems to have stopped my ex dead in his tracks and I don't get anything back.  So much better than email after email.  And particularly when you are very sure of yourself legally it feels good.  I am often 'misquoted' our consent orders to me to try and get me to do something.  So all I do is copy and past the relevant section of the orders back to him and that stops him.  (Apparently I am supposed to have my mobile phone on 'at all times' so he can contact me because the orders say 'the parents may communicate by phone or email or text or letter!')

Sometimes I have sent a link to something on the internet that explains better than I can what I am trying to say.  For example my ex continually tries to use the children to pass the phone to me so I will talk to him or use them to pass on messages. I have asked over and over that he not do that as it is difficult for the children.  I have told him any messages passed on via the children will not be acted upon.  Finally I sent him a link to an article that says exactly that - don't use children to pass messages between parents who are separated and explains why.  Felt good to do that.  whether it will make a difference, probably not, because if I say black he says white.  If I ask him not to do something  he often just does it more - but hey at least I tried.

Good luck.

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.

Harrassing emails from other parent

So, can I personally send a letter to his solicitor, asking them to ask their client to refrain from these kind of emails? I know that it probably won't carry much weight, but maybe he will think twice about sending me this constant barge of abusive opionated irrelevant emails when he has received something from his solicitor. Not sure if his solicitor will act/react to him on a request from myself though?And it feels that every time I need professional advice, it drains me even more financially. The problem is that he has me so under surveillance that I am for the most part so scared that I am doing something wrong that will give him the angle that he is looking for to make me look like a bad parent
I would not suggest sending an email to his solicitor for the following reasons (and I have been in contact with my exes solicitor because I am self represented currently and in the past I sent a harmless email about some paperwork and got roundly told off by both the solicitor and my ex!).

1. Unless you are self represented legally I don't think a solicitor can write to an individual.
2. You don't know what his solicitor is like and it might blow up in your face and be used against you in the future.  My ex seems to have picked a solicitor who has a problem too (he is actually an aquaintance from the past and I know his ex wife and what the issues where and I would guess my ex found the solicitor because they shared a bed with the same woman! - but all speculation!)
3. there are apparently 2 types of solicitors, ones who buy into the conflict and just let their client get away with whatever they want and others that try and advise their client of what is realistic. I can't find it on the web right now but if your exes solicitor is the first sort writing to him will achieve nothing.
4. your ex will no doubt send you a roasting if you write to his solicitor.
5. it probably wont make any difference
6. in fact it might make it worst!  My ex if is politely asked by me to do something he wont and if he is asked not to he will do it more (all out of spite). 

I really don't think it is worth it, will probably change nothing and maybe make it worst.  You really need to learn to deal with it in a more manageable way.  I just had to learn the hard way that my ex is never going to change.  Ocassionally I think it is a bit better but it is normally if he needs something from me, and then it gets bad again.

My 2c worth having been through this already! If I didn't already do so the following link has lots of useful information.

http://www.highconflictinstitute.com%20

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.
What seems to be getting lost is the fact that a child was ill, missed school and after 3 days had not seen a doctor and I am assuming the other party had not been informed. They found out by some other means.
I would worry more about these facts and less about correspondence as lack of information to the other party about health and education to my mind is an issue that should not be underestimated.
kalimna, sickandtired answered that earlier. She did take him to the doctor.   But I do not agree with you that that fact got lost.  What the discussion has changed to is how to deal with the sort of nasty abusive intrusive communication that some exes send regarding anything, be it health, education whatever.  That has now become the point.

I am sorry, but if you have not experienced this sort of abuse yourself then you have no idea what it is like.  If sickandtired is anything like me, she would have started off communicating with her ex in a reasonable manner but only got abuse back.  A reasonable person would not have written those emails.  How would a reasonable person word it?  Maybe something like … ''I am a bit concerned about xxxx having been off school for a few days.  I was wondering how he is and if he has been to a doctor yet.  If you aren't able to take him to the doctor yourself I am happy to come over and pick him up and take him.  I will of course let you know the outcome.' This sort of communication would no doubt have received a reasonable response/explanation.  But when someone starts out accusing and belittling, making personal insults and threats what sort of response do they get.  Nothing nice back that is for sure.  And I for one wouldn't dream of commenting on what my ex does as far as taking the kids to the doctor.  I don't interfere however much I would like too!

There would normally be a history of this sort of abuse and this is probably not the first nor will it be the last email that sickandtired will receive like this.  Mine just don't stop.  But when I got an email implying I was an incompetent mother because my child gets nits and the other one has recently got exczma and then a demand that I tell him every single medical problem the children have,nothing is too small, every cold, cough, blah blah blah'it really does not make me want to let him know anything I don't have to that is not covered by orders (and he lives on the other side of the country too!)

When I started off telling him about a problem I got back that he didn't agree with the doctor's diagnosis.  So I offered for him to call the doctor or get the x-rays and take him to a doctor himself.  Did he do any of that?  No.  Never has.  Never has called a doctor to ask anything.  Just accuses me of not getting a 'proper'diagnosis.  This is not really about wanting to know about the child.  This is about control, this is about using it as an excuse to abuse and be nasty.  It is not about the child at all.  I know.  I have been there. And unfortunately unless you have experienced this yourself it is not easy to understand.

I am fearful of telling my ex about any medical stuff because of the abuse I know I will get back.

This may not be the forum to discuss this sort of problem and there are places and support groups where it can be discussed.  However it appears that people are getting something out of the discussion.  And when it then becomes threats to go to court and there are legal matters involved, this is the right place to discuss it.


And the original question was not ''do you think I should have taken my child to the doctor'it was 'what is the family law point of view' which has been answered.

I am sure we would all like to have reasonable civil exes with whom we could reasonably discuss our children's health and education and other matters.  But unfortunately some of us can't.

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.
So what happens when you find out  your child has been in intensive care for 3 days  only because your children were talking about something else and related it to the time (insert child name here) was in hospital and nearly died. so you politely ask about this and are told that was fiction.

Then 3 months later children mention how they were out of school for a week with athsma attacks and never saw a doctor and ex says they are exaggerating  it was only 3 days.

What about when this only starts occurring 5 years after seperation and has never happened before.

I'm not excusing rude horrific communication what I am pointing out is that its not only fathers who are wrong as the discussion  seems to be heading that way.

many lives with parents abuse non lives with parents in emails and cross examine kids on there return from time spent with non lives with parents and then withold children based on  assumptions they have concluded from this.

in regards to emails, what about when Father sends email re christmas holidays and gets response from ex that  the only reason you have chosen dates are because you found out her and new partner made plans  already for those times  and discusses about how they already have plans for  every holiday for the rest of the year and when you get to the bottom of the email you realise the ex has cut and paste the response from the previous email but forgotten to delete the evidence she received your email and sent it to her  new partner who answered and sent to her to copy paste and send to the father.

So when you reply by thanking response but notifying of current orders and advising  the information does not comply with current orders, you get letter from exes legal aid solicitor that as you are causing conflict they will be seeking  no contact orders and when you get to court judge errs on the side of caution and makes no contact orders based on your supposed continual conflict IE you refer to and remind of court orders.

stuff happens you hang up if they become abusive, you dont respond to abusive  emails and texts etc

If the child has a sniffle whilst in your care you take them to the doctor and get a written report and notify ex  and supply copy of report.

Keep your nose clean and ex wont have anything to be abusive about and when they are it will be for no reason and you will have had proof and have provided them with same.

You can fool some of the people some of the time but you cant fool all of the people all of  the time unless they work for CSA and youre a Payee:)
Leroy said
Keep your nose clean and ex wont have anything to be abusive about and when they are it will be for no reason and you will have had proof and have provided them with same.
Leroy, if only it were that simple.  I have tried many many many things and each get the same response.  Abuse.  I have told him everything, told him the barest facts, been nice, been angry, explained, not explained, written short emails, written long emails, got my friends to communicate with him, been tongue in cheek, written to his solicitor, talked to him, not talked to him, gone to mediation (four times and only one time ended in a result that was written up and that was about 'communication' which he hasn't stuck to but isn't a legal matter!).  I have offered for him to talk to Doctors, take my son's for a second opinion, blah blah blah blah blah.  It does not matter one jot what I say or do the end result is always the same.  Abuse.

Leroy said
If the child has a sniffle whilst in your care you take them to the doctor and get a written report and notify ex  and supply copy of report.
I do not have the time with working full time and having a house to run and homework to supervise and sporting activities and the usual dentist, optometrist, after school activities to take my children to the doctor with a 'sniffle' and ask for a report.  And why should I.  I am a responsible mother who takes my children to the doctor when necessary and then, as per consent orders, tell my ex - only to be asked question after question.  Last time I took my son to the doctor for a 'spot' on his thigh I was asked to send him a photo!!!  And I did,  and I reported all that happened and the result.  I have followed orders to the letter.  Still get abuse back sometimes.  Other times he doesn't even ask any questions but I send it anyway.  Even send him links to or paste information about what my son has.  I have kept my nose clean.  Makes no bloody difference.

I'm not excusing rude horrific communication what I am pointing out is that its not only fathers who are wrong as the discussion  seems to be heading that way.
Not sure where you get this from Leroy.  Never said anything about men.  There are plenty of women out there doing the same thing.  Probably more.  Just talking about how to deal with it so that you don't have a nervous breakdown!  Neither did I say anything about lives with or spends time with.  Makes no odds does it.  If one is doing the right thing and the other is still abusive, nothing to be done about it.  I understand that if it is the lives with parent then the spends time with parent probably does not know what is going on because a parent like this would deliberately not tell their ex.  That must make it harder.  And I understand that because I am the lives with parent I have far more knowledge about what is going on with the children.  But this isn't the point either.  It is the comeback legally and if you are contravening orders or not.

What you described is awful and believe me I fully understand.  I have and am still there.  Its not nice.  but 'keeping your nose clean' changes nothing.  My nose is clean. 

And yes I have heaps and heaps and heaps of proof for use in court.  But I am not sure it is ever going to get heard and what if it does?  They really can't stop the abusive emails because what happens if they continue - off you all go to court again.  I can't keep doing this and it is terrible for the children.

The only answer lies in how you deal with the abuse.  How you cope emotionally.  how you respond and how you try and protect your children from it.  None of them easy things to do but there are ways.  It takes time and a great deal of mistakes.  But you can get there. 

If your ex does not tell you the things you should know about then I suppose the only recourse is a contravention application.  I am in the middle of one of those(brought by my ex) and the judge sounded like he really didn't want to hear about it.  We have a date in December 2012!!!!!!!!

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.
sickandtired said
So, can I personally send a letter to his solicitor, asking them to ask their client to refrain from these kind of emails?
Is the situation so bad that you simply cannot bear any of the communication any longer? There have already been some posts here that would surely give you some comfort in dealing with intrusive phone calls and emails on YOUR terms. Add a filter on your email so all email goes immediately into a  sub folder marked "father" or "fred" etc. When you open your email inbox there will never be any mail there from "fred". Go once a day to your sub folder at a time the SUITS YOU. Not ten times a day but once a day. On your mobile set up a different ring tone so you know who it is. Let that call go to voice mail. Deal with it later on when you feel you are free enough to do so. Control the responses. Don't just fire off a reply to every email. Take some control here.

Are the children well? YES go to sleep or go and watch a good movie. You do not need to allow yourself to be constantly looking at the email and mobile messages. Its up to you to take some control here. I would not respond to email with "If you have any further queries or concerns, please direct them to my solicitor." Look, that just inflames issues. I think firstly control your mail by adding filtering rules. Take the mobile calls via voice mail and respond to anything - every so often, as you have time and one last thing. DON'T reply immediately. Think about what you are writing and sleep on it. Then take another look over it.

Stay constructive, stay focussed on the children and where you can, on a reasonable basis involve the father because he too is interested in the children's welfare…., but it doesn't have to be every single time you get an email and a phone call. You have things to do, children to look after, a house to run, homework and school issues. You are one busy person and you will get to the email and phone calls when you have a slot and when you are ready. If you start to deal with responses in a positive way. We say a good example of a response minus the legal bit.

If it all becomes a nightmare there are other options. Lets work those up if all else fails. You are doing nothing wrong except worrying that you are doing something wrong.










Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Secretary Spca said
 I would not respond to email with "If you have any further queries or concerns, please direct them to my solicitor." Look, that just inflames issues.

Ok, well I can see how that could have the potential to be inflammatory. No reasonable person asking reasonable and relevant questions would feel it necessary to be given such a suggestion. But when you're dealing with a person who is neither reasonable nor rational, and who desperately attempts to find issue with every inane action you undertake as parent, it can be a calm, assertive expression of your position. The way I see it, it's a more subtle way of saying "if you believe I am in contravention of court orders, address it through the proper legal avenues. If not, I'm not interested in your criticism and meddling, so leave me the f*** alone."

Each to their own, and of course different situations require individual approaches. But I do believe that are times when it's appropriate to be firm on the fact that you won't participate further in a discussion, particularly when you're dealing with a bully or manipulator.

To my mind the mention of the solicitor is a reminder that a legal issue requires a legal approach, and anything else is not their business. Having said that, I wouldn't use such a statement in response to every unfavourable communication, but only where it's implied my actions are in breach of court orders. My partner used to get continual critical and demanding messages, and since he started ignoring everything but the essentials and adding a clear, simple statement at the end of his responses, the messages and letters have all but ceased. I presume she's learned that once he says that, she won't get anymore out of him. And of course he always adds "Thank you for your time. Kind Regards, …" at the bottom, so the tone is always firm yet polite.

My point was just to have a clearly defined cut-off point when it comes to constant picking, and a pre-prepared statement can be helpful in that you avoid giving an emotional response if you're not in a good headspace (because you don't have to think about what to say). I think Larrissa suggested a simple and well worded  response that would work  - something to the effect of "That's all I'm going to say on this issue." Something like that would probably leave less room for interpretation.   
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