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Me and my ex broke up in 2007. We had a verbal agreement with the care arrangements involving our daughter. This went quite well until December of 2009. One thing I have always said to him was I would always let him see his daughter.
The problems started when we moved 40mins away, I had wrote up a parenting agreement which consisted of every second weekend and half school holidays. This was rejected by him as he can't take holidays from work and he also wanted an extra Saturday night out of my weekend. I compromised with him and let him have one Sunday a month plus every second weekend, 2 weeks at Christmas and 1 week at Easter. Since that time I have been getting abusive and harassing text messages and have finally started mediation as his threats of taking me to court were getting to much.
His texts have been about getting more time with her, another Sunday, every weekend and now it sounds like he wants full custody of her as apparently I'm a bad mother. I do not know where this has come from. I also feel when all this mediation stared he has been trying to get as much information from my daughter as he can
With the mediation I'm going to offer every second weekend fri-mon and half the school holidays. I'm wondering if this is enough time?
I'm trying to give him as much I can, but he has to take into consideration that she needs to see me and my partner and relatives and I also need to do the same for him.
Also is his reason that he can't take holidays a valid reason?
I don't think it's more important for your daughter to see your partner more than her father. Also it's a bit unfair to have majority care and expect the father and other significant persons to have a good relationship with minimal care.

It appears that he is finding it too hard to have a good relationship with his daughter due to your relocation although 40mins away is not far but has resulted in minimal care.

The reason that he cannot take holidays is valid as he would like to spend time with his daughter when she is on holidays, not put her into day care etc… whilst he works.

What do you do when you are at work and school holidays come up?

Three nights per fortnight and half of school holidays is quite reasonable but why not 4, 5 or 6 nights per fortnight? Maybe he would like to be part of her education or has step-daddy got that covered?

Fairgo said
It appears that he is finding it too hard to have a good relationship with his daughter due to your relocation although 40mins away is not far but has resulted in minimal care.

A relocation by the mother of 40 mins drive time not that significant - might create extra time pressures for the father - but is nothing major.

@ missanon What you're offering doesn't sound controversial. Has the father made any comments about child support?

missanon said
….  I compromised with him and let him have one Sunday a month plus every second weekend, 2 weeks at Christmas and 1 week at Easter. Since that time I have been getting abusive and harassing text messages and have finally started mediation as his threats of taking me to court were getting to much.
Do you really think that amount of time, where you have a father who is wanting to parent, is reasonable?

How do the weekends go ? Are they from Friday after school to Monday return to school? It sounds like they are not and only Sat night.What happens in school holidays?
missanon said
…and now it sounds like he wants full custody of her as apparently I'm a bad mother.
There is no such thing as full custody so he can't have that. It seems some mediation may be of value as you are prepared to give a little.

There is no specific time share arrangement in law. The law says in 60CC(3)(c ) and subsections 60CC(4) and (4A) things like the willingness and ability of each of the childs parents to facilitate, and encourage, a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent; AND Without limiting paragraphs (3)(c ) and (i), the court must consider the extent to which each of the childs parents has fulfilled, or failed to fulfil, his or her responsibilities as a parent and, in particular, the extent to which each of the childs parents:
(a) has taken, or failed to take, the opportunity:

(i) to participate in making decisions about major long-term issues in relation to the child; and
(ii) to spend time with the child; and
(iii) to communicate with the child; and

(b) has facilitated, or failed to facilitate, the other parent:
(i) participating in making decisions about major long-term issues in relation to the child; and
(ii) spending time with the child; and
(iii) communicating with the child; and
(c ) has fulfilled, or failed to fulfil, the parents obligation to maintain the child.

So those are just some of the specific words that the courts must look at. In your case I think mediation is going to give you a very good outcome.

In relation to holidays he must have an employer who is quite inflexible. It is very hard for him because on the one hand he wants to parent yet on the other his employer will not give him time off. He may need to speak to his union people who may able to arrange /broker some flexible arrangement in one or two of the holiday periods. Most employers these days are accommodating when it comes to school holidays so he should look at flexible working arrangements during those holidays that he has. It might be he can work make up hours or work weekends when he doesn't have the child.

40 minutes travel to school is bordering on difficult to manage a shared care arrangement I would have thought but not impossible. Its difficult when someone leaves the homework behind or has left their shoes at home or the other home. Can he attend and pick up drop off at sports events/weekend sports activities which might give you a bit of time off also. Does he attend all the school sports events at school and other carnivals. There are a range of things he could attend outside of work hours. Will be interesting to see what the mediator has to say.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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I agree with SPCA.

The Father saying he 'can't do school holidays' for employment reasons is somewhat lame.

Does he want to be a parent or not? Or only when I suits him?

I'm assuming the father has 4 weeks annual leave every year? Why not create orders such that your child can spend time with him whilst he is on leave?

Also, what about a mid-week overnight every alternate Wednesday? This would allow the father to get involved in your child's schooling activities. This type of order is fairly standard - or is that inconvenient?

Thank you to everyone who responded.
I'll explain a little more. My daughter is 6 and just starting prep this year.
We lived about 10mins away from the father, the time he wanted to spend with her was 2 hours on mondays, thursdays and fridays nights and every second sunday. The fridays didn't work out as he wanted to go out and party instead. I also received numerous calls and texts about him not being able to see his daughter for various reasons.
He has never shown an interest in her kinder, swimming etc. Also she was being diagnosed for Austism and he never once was involved in going to Pediatrician appointments, speech therapy appointments etc.
So by going by the old agreement to the new he has a lot more care now then when we lived 10mins away.
It is only been since he has a new girlfriend that he wants more time.
He only wants the weekends, he will not agree to having her during the week etc. So does that mean that I should miss out on my weekends with my daughter? I don't see how that is fair.
And I have tried to give him more time and the current agreement is what he wanted to have. The weekends are from 5.30pm on Friday to 5.30pm on Sunday.
With school holidays he only has her 2 weeks at Christmas and 1 week at Easter as these are the holidays his work shuts for and he says he cant take any for the other term holidays.
I'll also point out that we met half way so its only a 20min drive for us both.
He does pay child support every fortnight.

I'm currently undertaking studies at the moment so school holidays aren't a problem for me at the moment.  And has I've mentioned he has never once shown an interest in her schooling etc.
He has only shown an interest since he has had a new girlfriend?

Why not embrace this as youre child would benefit exponentially.

The alternative argument to this would be  you have never had an issue until he has started a new relationship.

I'm sure this is not an issue for you however sometimes good to take a step back and think how the other parent  could be thinking.

He may be thinking you are replacing him with your new partner as does sometimes happen.

Increased time with his child may even lead to him being much more interest in your child's other activities and issues.

If it does not you will still have a clear head as you have done as much as you can.

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:)
One of the easiest things in life is to judge other on what is a typical scenario.

Missanon, you have mentioned that you child's fathers work shuts down for three weeks a year and this is a dedicated time for this company to enforce annual leave, there are companies out there that do this and the workers have little choice, so adapt to this as accepted. If there are other times where he has time it may be worth negotiating with him about this.

I'm assuming that your separation has been within the last year or so perhaps you could clarify this.
i am also assuming your relocation has only been recent also.

Although I agree that extra time during the week spent with her father would be of great benefit to your daughter it may not be achievable or viable, sometimes people have work that require them to work long hours and be physically depleting, if this is the case it may not always be possible for overnight stays mid week to occur with out the support of his employer.

It may not be the best thing to judge a father who is unable to attend medical appointments or schooling events as less of a father without them being able to defend their position, by the sounds his work is not supportive of him having time off.

What is the fathers opinion of the possibility the child has autism, is he in agreance or confused ???

Should you miss out on your weekend with your daughter, I think it needs to be viewed as your daughters weekend with each of her parents and no she shouldn't miss out with time with either parent but compromises need to be forged into solution and if the time can not be acquired from the Sunday then perhaps long weekends, a day or two here and there spent with dad may be a viable solution.

I would suggest that the last year has been a complex one with a lot of change so the fact her dad has had nothing to do with her schooling but held down a full time job to me is not an issue, as things settle and full time schooling is adhered to this may change especially if encouragement is given that he is an accepted part of her schooling.

None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes, sometime we need to accept this in our selfs and others and aim toward a better future with communication and understanding, it is hard work but can be done.
To D4E- I don't mean to sound rude but if you had read the first post I made, it states that we broke up in 2007, 4 years ago. I also understand that his work shuts down at christmas and easter, what I was trying to say is everyone is entitled to 4 weeks annual leave, so there is still a week of holidays he could spend with our daughter but he won't negotiate. And he doesn't accept her having autism, I have tried numerous times to talk to him about but he doesn't listen. Communication is a big issue, as most of the time he won't listen, gets abusive and hangs up.

I got a phonecall today and we start mediation in Feb, so hopefully we can agree on something.
My apologoies I did miss the fact and your not in any way being rude.

I understand there are companies out there who negotiate paid leave for holidays transposed into monetary reward, but if he this time and chooses to not see his daughter for this week there is little that can be done, in my opinion it is his loss if he chooses this and no doubt a loss to your daughter who would value this time with him.

The reason I ask about his acceptance is that if he does not want to accept her condition he will not be a participant in the diagnosis, unfortunately this will continue down this path until he accepts the situation, hopefully this will be the case as time goes on but again nothing you can do to force his acceptance.

It is not easy communicating with another person who refuses to listen and wants things there own way but the key is to keep trying. Offering alternatives that are beneficial to him may be a way of reducing conflict, the suggestion of extra time during long weekends may show him of your wiliness to negotiate especially if the long weekend is when your daughter is spending time with you.

No one should be inflicted with abuse but unfortunately it seems to be par for the course, for quite some years my daughters mother was abusive when she felt she could not get her way, I tried hard to stay nice and let her know it was not acceptable, in the end if she became abusive I ask her to calm down or I would hang up, there were a few hang ups until she realised I would no longer accept this abuse, then she started to work toward sorting things out without the abuse. Truth is at times from that point she still became abusive at times but because I didn't react it was not long lasting.

Mediation is a valuable tool if both parties are willing to mediate for the benefits to their children and I hope this will happen in your situation.

In most conflicting situations the same pattern is kept by both parties which extends conflict, finding ways to change tactics and reduce conflict is not the easiest thing and dependant very much on the individual situation but once things relax as they always do dealing with the other parent becomes much easier, this does not mean just because one person changes it all gets better but rather in time changes do happen.

If her father feels every second weekend and the 3 weeks of his annual leave is the best he can do then it is his choice, it does not mean he is a bad parent nor does it mean he does not love his daughter, it is a very upsetting thing when your children are moved away even if it is just 40min and does take time to adjust, there would be more possibilities to spend time with him if you were still in the same town.

Personally when my daughter was relocated, for a short time I did have the attitude that because her mother moved her then she should make more of a sacrifice for me during the times I wanted my daughter, after all she was responsible for moving her away why shouldn't she bear the consequences.

And to tell the truth in aspect of this she was reasonable which put me at ease and things settled.

Keeping with every second weekend and half the school holidays as a base and suggesting more time on public holidays and such as a base would be good, offering nights during the week for extra time is also good, this may not be suitable for him and he may choose less time but it is a great starting point, just because you agree to time spent with does not mean he has to take advantage of the time available it just gives a consistency for both of you.

I don't think you have too much to stress about missanon I think things will calm down soon as far as spending time at dads goes, some of the other things come down to further acceptance by dad and they may take a bit longer.

Best of luck D4E
missanon - It appears he is trying to do what you have suggested that you are doing by getting a new partner and trying to encourage a relationship between daughter and new partner. I guess since he works very hard to pay the bills including child support he might see this as a way of spending more time with his daughter. However SPCA is correct - he wont get anywhere with a sole care application and if he is not prepared to be involved in her education then the best deal he could get is every 2nd weekend and half of school holidays. Just ignore his taunts. If he can't even spend time with her during the week I would question if he spends enough time with his new partner? In reality he may need to consider changing jobs so he can spend more time with his daughter. Perhaps he could take leave without pay to spend a week with her in July hols and a week in October hols. Or as Leroy suggests maybe he has not discovered the real joys of fatherhood and does not know what he is missing. As D4E says give it time and it will work itself out but you do have the upper hand in the case.
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