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Hi Everyone,

I've been grappling with something for a while now and I was wanting to get some general consensus of what people think and the issues at hand. Feel free to be brutally honest…

My ex and I have Consent Orders that state that the child lives with me, I have Sole PR, he see the child supervised (by my representative Ive never been to any of the visits as I'm terrified of seeing him) from time to time as the parties may agree between them blah blah blah. The previous history that led to those Orders is that my ex was Physically Violent towards myself and my child compounded by a Drug and Alcohol addiction. All well documented by the Police. He's had 5 appearances in the Magistrates Court in less than 2 years for Drunken Violence and Drink Driving, only 1 of which was related to me.

After we split, my Lawyer instructed him not to contact me (as he was harassing me, being abusive etc). After Mediation, he seemed to have calmed down so I gave him permission to contact me again via phone in regards to the child and arranging visits. Not something I felt comfortable with but I did it so that the Consent Orders would be signed. Shortly after the Consent Orders were approved, he started harassing me to the point where he was calling several times during the day, leaving a lot of SMS messages, emails etc. The breaking point was where he was ringing me in the wee hours of the morning (whilst I assume he was off his face). I had my phone number changed and let him know that he would only be able to communicate via email.

He then proceeded to contact my Family Members (through good ol' Facebook) to ask them if they had my new number. Mind you, these are some  relatives that were overseas and of which, had not spoken to in years!

I've never sought an AVO before because I was terrified about seeing him in Court and was told that it may be a stumbling block in arranging Mediation. When he first bashed me when I was pregnant, I was too scared to get an AVO then because of the 'repercussions'. Feeling very vulnerable, I returned after my stint in hospital. Happy to admit that I was a wuss who blindly thought that his behaviour would improve after the baby was born.  

Now, my lawyer wanted me to get an AVO because invariably, it would escalate because he has no 'off' switch and has a bit of a history of taking things too far. I last saw my Lawyer after he emailed Family Members to seek his advice.  Then there was no contact from him at all for a long time so I decided to let sleeping dogs lie.

I arranged to have a visit not so long a go (via email) and he did not respond. He then emails me back threatening to come over to my house, despite the fact that I have explicitly told him not to. In fact I told him that I would call the Police should he turn up. Visits have always occurred on neutral territory and never in my (or anyone else's) home.

Now, with all of that, I'm actually thinking that I will bite the bullet and go for an AVO because I genuinely feel that he's at a greater extent, seeking to threaten and intimidate and to a lesser extent, being a pest who's just trying to get a rise out of me. His actions are escalating and over the top and I don't really want to expose the child to that conflict. It's not really all that safe for anyone.  

My child doesn't really care much for him to the point of non-acknowledgement of his presence during visits (or so I have been told by the Supervisors) and to be honest, my part in all of this is that I don't really put myself out too much to arrange the visits as we are happier not being in that toxic cycle.

My main goal is for him to pull his head in and behave. I've tried on numerous occasions and voice my dislike of his actions in communicating with me, however his sense of entitlement seems to be winning. My lawyer has also warned him that his actions are inappropriate. This is absolute last resort as I'm terrified of seeing him in Court (however I understand that the Court can arrange a Video-link to reduce my anxiety here).

If I got the AVO, how would this impact on the Consent Orders?
I would say given that you are fearful and he has harassed and been violent towards you go for the AVO NOW.
It wont affect the orders in place- all you have to do is ask that 'email contact be allowed for purposes of arranging visitation of the child ONLY'
otherwise I would not be contacting him to arrange visits- let him initiate it and contact you.
Thanks Jayden,

I never intiate visitation between him and the child, its always him that needs to make contact with me otherwise I let him do his thing and we go on about our lives. As I said, I think a clip from a Magistrate may send a strong message to him. Hopefully, it will have the desired effect of him backing off and re-thinking his tact.



This just in: Make that 6 visits to the Magistrates Court in 2 years. I just had a look on the Court list and there he was. Some sort of criminal charge by the Coppers. Obviously, I have no idea what the charge is.


So whereas the timing of this AVO may not be ideal for him, he's certainly racking up the Frequent Flyer Miles at the Magistrates Court which kinda supports what I'm on about in a round about way.
Timing may not be ideal for him, but hey if your fearful of him, then it only proves your point doesn't it?
Thanks Ethie,

I think it's a matter of a) getting down to the Court House and b) actually going through with it. I'm kinda nervous about it but at the same time, I'm over it.

Then there's this new charge for something that he's done. It makes me think that he's not really in the position to provide a 'meaningful relationship' with the child. That is certainly going to be a fun conversation later on in life

"Mum, do I have a Dad?"

"Yes sweetheart, he's in a big house with lots of other men behind some bars."

Good times!
Who would be the PINOP under the AVO?

4MYDAUGHTER
It would be me.

I could add the child but I'm weary of the impact on the Orders and wouldn't want to be left open to a 're-hearing' due to Material Change in Circumstance due to him not being able to see the child (even though I know that FL Orders trump AVOs). I mean, ideally I would like the child included but yeah, worried about the effect on the existing Orders - as I said, I need to agree to all visits at the first pass so its not like there is regular visits. For someone in my situation, they're awesome Orders so why would I want them changed? Hence, my secondary concern re: Impact on the orders. Primary is obviously him showing up in front of me. I've really only just stopped looking over my shoulder every 5 seconds so needless to say, it shakes me to my core when I think that he can just do that.

In any event, if successful, he wont be allowed near my home or places I frequent which would protect the child somewhat - except of course if he chooses to go outside those boundaries (unlikely).

That said, he's not one that has a real respect for boundaries (even ones set by the law). I'm not expecting it to be a magic force-field but moreso for him to understand that he's taken it too far and that his behaviour is unacceptable. A reality-check if you will because he hasn't responded to my warnings.
If you make and application via the police, they may take control and seek orders you don't really want. If the child is listed as a PINOP, the Magistrate may 'have fears for the child', and the threshold is to overcome lower. The Police may seek to suspend Family Courts orders under 68R.

I'm certain none of this would happen but you never know. Things can go sideways in the local court.

4MYDAUGHTER
Given that you claim to be "terrified", "shaken to the core", experiencing "anxiety" at the thought of SEEING him, and he has apparently been "Physically Violent towards (yourself) and (your) child", I'm a little concerned you would EVER want to expose your child to such a person? Don't believe an AVO will stop him if he is a serial aggressor. If he lacks control and has a tendency to take things too far, he is not going to stop and consider the repercussions of his actions once he gets into a rage. 
Yeah. I kinda agree with Rabbit. I don't think you should be worrying about him making a new parenting application should you gain an AVO.

On the basis of the information you've posted, it seems that your priority is self-protection (and that of your child) above all other considerations.

Were the above mentioned family violence matters 'traversed' in your parenting application considered previously by a Family Law Court?

4MYDAUGHTER
Thanks 4MD I intend on filing the AVO directly with the Court and not via the Police. Not that I'm afraid of the path that it may take but just that it seems more of a reasonable approach. I did call the Police and had a chat with an Officer about it and this is what he thought.

The story goes that we did Mediation (via shuttle) and settled and came up with a Parenting Plan (although this ended up being unsigned, didn't get a certificate until a few months later well after I received the Orders back from court). In the Application for Consent Orders lodged with the Minutes, the Conflict is canvassed. The Consent Orders were arranged through my Lawyer and sealed in the Local Magistrates Court. These in themselves if you were to read them indicate that there's been a history of Violence and Drug and Alcohol issues as there is a requirement that he not show up trashed. Although he liked to trumpet his 'rights', in the end it was either agree or 'see you in court'. Given his dislike of being around anything that resembles Authority, he had no real interest in going to Court. He couldn't afford a lawyer, would likely be ineligible for Legal Aid and would not even know where to start being an SRL.

Thanks Rabbit You're absolutely right and its part of why I hadn't sought an AVO before. If anything, I thought that it would fuel his rage because he's now being TOLD that he can't do something and that if he does, he risks going to jail. This doesn't bode well with his need to control. The rage is a by-product of not being in control and as I said, if he's trashed, all sense of right and wrong goes out the door. Unfortunately, his getting trashed (and his rage) is beyond my control and I can only do what I can do. I still have a responsibility to the Child to protect with every resource available to me.

It is just that I have literally tried everything and feel like there is no other viable option. I don't think I would have received Orders for 'No Contact'. These (as I understand it) are for very extreme cases and although it was terrifying to me, I don't think it would have gotten over the line should it have gone to Court. The Orders that I have now are the next best thing. Sure, I arrange the very rare visit but this isn't without having safety assured.  He hasn't seen the child all that much and not for that long (the latter part of duration is of his own choice) and as Supervision is part of the Orders that he agreed to. The child is looked after by 2 people at each of the visits. He has never EVER been alone with the Child (not even when we were together) - I was simply not taking any chances because I had no trust in him whatsoever. 

I can't not do the visits because otherwise, I'd be branded an 'unfriendly' parent so it's a bit of a rock in a hard place. I facilitate less then minimal contact because I basically have to.
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