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Hello all, this is my first post on this site. Im not sure what to expect from posting this, I just want to know if how i am feeling is totally normal, or if there is something that I should do about it. Due to what has happened lately I have become anxious, frantic, irrational, jealous even.
 
 I have a three year old daughter, I absolutely love her to bits. Her mother and I unfortunately split while she was pregnant after only a few months together.Right up until now we still get on ok, mostly for our daughter, but she also needs assistance with her two boys, 9 and 11, as they are totally dysfunctional. Early on during the pregnany I swore black and blue that I didnt want to have the child as it wasnt what I wanted at all. I was in shock and denial. Over time, and her perseverance from my x, I came around to the idea, our daughter was born and slowly i accepted her to the point we are at now, where she is my whole life, I love her so much!. I get to see her as much as I want, I have her about 3 nights a fortnight also. My x is very flexible with my involvement in my daughters life.
 
 My x hasnt had a boyfriend since our daughter was born. I guess this situation suited me as it meant that she had a need for me to some degree. She was very proactive in me being in my daughters life, which I didnt even realise at the time, but am greatful about now.The Thing is, I found out a couple of weeks ago that she now has a boyfriend, has had for a couple of months. From that point on my mental state has gone totally haywire!. As I said at the start, I am irrational, frantic, and anxious. I have so many negative thoughts going through my head, what if he replaces me, what if she likes him more than me, what if the mother doesnt let me see my daughter, what if what if. So, in the state that I am in, I decided to ring my x and tell her that I want a shared custody arrangement( Irrational, I realise this). Well, me saying this got her back up, understandable, I got frustrated, angry.
 
 I guess my point is, why am I feeling this way?. What is the best way for me to deal with this situation. My x says that nothing is going to change, that she wont entertain the idea of shared custody but is willing to enter into something a little more formal. As much as she says this I still find it hard to deal with it all.
 
 Im just after some info or help as to how, in future, I should deal with this situation, any help would be appreciated

Grant
I cannot offer an opinion on WHY you feel this way, but my suggestion would be to TALK to your daughters mother.

Tell her you are worried about being pushed to one side, acknowledge that she has done nothing to cause these feelings - and THANK her for making sure you developed such a strong relationship with your little girl. Sounds like you have been very lucky there mate :)

And realise that much of what you are feeling is not unusual, and any change can take time to adjust to.

Shared care at 3 is not the norm, most often it begins around school age, but with a gradual build up to that level.

"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it."
Bill Cosby
 :thumbs:
I agree with Tulip. But also maybe seek some relationship counselling(by yourself not with the ex)- break ups are difficult and even worse when you have a chidl and see the ex move on- so maybe some counselling will help you to deal with your feelings
as a mum going through this as well i can completley sympathise with you but i have to say as a daughter i know how i felt about my dad and if your relationship with her is as good as it seems you will never be replaced. Yes there may be another man in her life but there is only ver one real dad. trust in yourself and the bond you guys have. make the most of it when she's there. talk to your ex. Explain your fears and ask her to understand how you feel but dont make it seem like you dont want her to be happy. That would only ailentate her. Make sure you let her know you're just trying to work out in your head what your feeling and that you needed to voice it to her so she is aware of it to so if something is said it wont be as bad as it seems. Keep your cool. Trust in the the bond you guys have and keep it going the way it is dont ever make her dislike the new guy, he could never replace her dad, but could be another ally in her corner when life gets hard. look at it as a positive as hard as it may seem. Best of luck. i hope it all works out for you. and congrats on coming round your daughter will always breathe life into you. children have a way of doing that when you feel down. take care xx
 Thanks for all of the replies. I guess I knew most of what you have said here, but the irrational thoughts just keep kicking in, hard to control. I think some counselling of some kind is in order. Whether that will be of any benefit, who knows.

I did have a long talk to my x yesterday, I explained to her my fears, well, as much about my fears as I could understand. I told her that I feared being a bystander in my childs life. She did seem to understand and says that nothing will change from how it is now, I guess I have to believe her, I don really have any other options. She told me a few home truths  about things she thinks I need to improve on with my daughter. She says that I need to be more proactive in the more 'mundane' aspects of my daughters life, eg, looking after her on short notice, taking her to dancing, swimming, doctor, even spending time with her brothers, those sort of things, things that are going to take the pressure off her a little bit. I guess at the moment I tend to do the 'fun' things with my daughter a little bit too much without doing the hard yards. I accepted that this was something that I need to rectify. Its a big learning curve for me, but something I am willing to do.

I have another issue that I was wondering if anyone knows anything about. I am more than willing to do what is required to make sure I do the right thing by my daughter, her mother, and everyone else involved in her life. The problem is, I dont want to be a yes man purely for the sake of keeping her mother happy, I dont want to be scared that I will make wrong decisions for my daughter which my x will perceive in a negative way. Eg, my daughter got slightly sunburnt today, very silly mistake on my part, not like me to be so careless. Where as before I would have put it down as a mistake and moved on, now I am worried that the x is going to go off at me for being so careless therefore thinking less of me as a father. I hope you understand what I mean.

As much as the chat we had yesterday was great and I got alot out of it, one thing about what she said irks me. She seems to continually judge my motives for wanting to be with my daughter. She seems to think that I can be a little selfish at times, one minute I want to have my daughter and the next minute I cant have her. I realise Im not always consistent, but I too am trying to get my life on track, balance it out. Sometimes she seems to think that the only reason that i want to have my daughter is for my own interests, to make myself feel good. Of course, I feel great when I am with my daughter, should I feel guilty for that?. When she is happy I am happy. Should I feel the need to tell her that Im just doing this because it is good for my daughter or should her and my happiness go hand in hand?.

Tulip, where can I get more info on 'shared care' , how old the child should be, effects on the child, that sort of thing, any help appreciated.

Jayden, I never had an emotional attachment to the x, I left her, it wasnt hard for me, but it was extremely hard for her, she took it hard and made my life hell for 3 years, not wanting to let go at all. Our daughter kept us close in some ways, but at no stage did I have any feelings for her as a partner. Not sure what it is but yes, maybe seeing her move on is hard to deal with, not sure. Even though i didnt really have an attachment to her, I always loved being around her when she was being the mother to my child. As much as we cant be a family unit, I do value mother father and child being together physically, for myself and for my daughter.

Devoted mum, you say trust in the bond you guys have. I guess that is the key, so hard to have faith in that at the moment with the way I feel.

I guess a big part of the problem for me is that I tend to think of all of the negative stories I hear from fathers, fathers not getting to see their kids, or fathers getting a rough deal. They are the scenarios which stick in my head. It is heart breaking when I hear them, totally heart breaking. Be positive, I know.



Thanks for reading my ramble
Grant
Grant, you may not always feel like you can just "be positive", but what you're doing by voicing your doubts and fears and analysing the way you feel is a productive way of working through it. Obviously expressing emotions and/or percieved "weaknesses" is not a strong point for many men, hence the ridiculously high suicide rates. You may not find all the answers you seek, but as long as you're questioning yourself honestly, you can only improve and get stronger.

As far as the issue of your ex feeling that you're only spending time with your daughter to make yourself feel good, she may not be entirely correct and of course you are entitled to feel fantastic whenever you spend time with your child, but this idea must have stemmed from somewhere… I'm wondering if there may be an issue with consistency, or lack thereof. You say she is very flexible and you can have your daughter anytime, which you do about 3 nights a fortnight. In the scheme of things, that is not very often, particularly if she is available to you anytime, and even moreso if you are looking at the idea of implementing shared care at some point. You can't just jump from 3 nights a fortnight into 50/50 for example. Your ex has also put it to you that she would entertain the idea of something "a little more formal", so the ball is really in your court. I would suggest that you address this issue with her and seek to make a more consistent visitation plan, perhaps even a parenting plan, which can be done through mediation at your local FRC (family relationship centre). If she feels you are only taking the little one when it suits you, she may have a point. Is there routine and regularity? Do you work your life around your visits with your daughter, rather than working your visits with her around your life? Do you take her at set days/times, irrespective of what's going on for you? This is everyday stuff for a parent, so if it is not commonplace for you, then she may have a point about you only participating in the "fun" things. If you want to improve your relationship with your child AND the situation with her mother, and you want to be the best parent you can, take the criticism on board and work on it.

I'd suggest telling the ex you have listened to her concerns and understand where she is coming from. Then I'd suggest implementing a plan that would include some weekend time and some weekdays too (evenings if you work days). It wouldn't have to be overnights every time - it could include picking her up for swimming once a fortnight, cooking dinner, giving her a bath and dropping her back at mum's. It should be a plan that continues week in, week out, becoming a fixed part of your routine. The benefit of this is that you get to spend time with her purely in the capacity of parent, not just for fun times. You get to prove that you are capable of getting her up and dressed and off to preschool/ daycare/ swimming, etc. She gets to see that Dad can also cook dinner, and make lunches and take her to the doctor if she is sick. You placate the ex by being more involved in the mundane, and freeing up some time for her (you might even consider having the siblings over too for an evening meal once a week/fortnight). And most importantly of all, you maintain a consistent and continual relationship with your daughter, and demonstrate your ability to care for her in all parental roles and make parenting a permanent part of your lifestyle, thereby increasing your chances of a shared care arrangement in the future. At the very least, you are cementing your role early in her life, so that should anything go wrong in the future leading your relationship with your ex to break down, you have already established yourself as a permanent parental figure in your daughter's life. Status quo can become very important in the court room, so you need to establish it at the earliest possible time. The other positive is that this could help to alleviate your fears over losing her to the other man. The more regularly she sees you, the stronger your bond will be. If you are consistent and reliable and always have time for her every week, she will feel less inclined to seek that paternal bond with the other man. Kids thrive on routine and the safety and comfort of knowing what to expect. If you're always there to be her dad, she won't be looking for somebody to fill those shoes.

As to the horror stories -and yes, there are plenty of them - I know it's hard not to get caught up in the ludicrousy of it all sometimes, and particularly the way the system in general is geared against fathers in so many ways. But the fact is, there are many, many positive stories too. My partner has his daughter 50/50, and although the ex tries to make life hell on a daily basis, that is something she'll never take away from him, as he's been consistently proving his ability to do it right for the last 6 years. Besides, you don't even have to worry about horror stories at this stage - your ex is amicable, communicative and willing to work with you, so you aren't at risk of losing your child. That's WAY more than most of the other guys on this site can expect.

Good luck :)
Hi rabbit, thanks for the reply. You certainly have a way with words, very well written and to the point. I think everything that you said makes complete sense, and although the way that I am feeling only started recently, I have started to put many things into place, in my head and in a practical way, to ensure that my daughter receives everything that she deserves. As I stated, things are very amicable between my daughters mother and I , she is positive about the whole situation, as am I, so there is no real reason to think that things wont work out.

One thing I would like to get information on, or advice about, is what is the best way to gradually increase my involvement, looking down the track towards joint custody. As you stated, Im hardly going to go from 1 or 2 days a week to 50/50, and as she has only just turned 3, it isnt going to happen in the near future. Its not a topic that I really want to bring up with my x, there is no real point at this stage, that would only be a negative thing.
  Hi fiwi, Alot of what others have advised is good and having set routine or days for a young child is important.
  Being reliable and around often - more than three days would be better. A little bit flexible, yes, but you are trying to establish your own life as well - just make sure your daughter is well and truly in it, no exceptions.
  As for babysitting your ex's other children, well, I am not sure of this. I would feel you are being used a bit here. Instead, I would make sure your daughter has the opportunity to know your family too fiwi.
  It is not so much about taking the pressure off your ex - but more about your daughters needs, and that is to know and be with both her parents.
  I would insist that your daughter call you dad and not be required to call anyone else this - you are her one and only father after all.
  The one very important thing to keep in mind about future shared custody is - if the relationship between the parents is amicable, there is a stronger possibility of it being approved (50/50).
Hello all. Well, there has been alot of water under the bridge over the last 3 months in regards to the relationship with my x, and not for the good.

Over this time period I have bent over backwards to make sure that one, my relationship with my daughter keeps getting stronger and stronger, doing the right thing by her, and two, the communication between my x and I remains strong, for the sake of our daughter.

 Well, as far as the relationship between my daughter and I is concerned, I couldnt be happier. I work a 3 week rotational roster, and over that period I have her for a gauranteed 8 nights, with an extra night if neccessary now and then. I also take her to or see her at swimming wednesdays. The two if us are going to malaysia for a week from next week. We are bonding really well, she seems to be very comfortable being with me. My x and I put a plan on paper for our daughter, which I am extremely consistant in following, with flexibility for both of us if required.

As far as the situation with my x goes, well, that has gone down hill, quite quickly really. From us being amicable 3 months ago, and I must admit that most of that was due to me trying to communicate more than she did, it is now at the point that we dont communicate at all unless totally neccessary. As I said, I have been bending over backwards to make things work, communicating, sticking to our plan rigidly, except where it was neccessary for either of us to change for whatever reason. The thing is, she is constantly not sticking to the plan, not thinking about our situation, or not caring about the plan. What frustrates me the most about this is that she finds it impossible to give me any notice, or even ask me when she decides to change what we decided on. Eg, txting me an hour before she is meant to drop my daughter off that she wants to spend 3 more hours with her, txting me at 930 friday night to say that Im not going to pick my daughter up in the morning to have her for the weekend, because she feels she wants  more time with her. Those are just a couple of examples, but they are quite regular. Just last week she went bali, came back on tuesday, she didnt say what time she was coming back. She knew that her mother and I were both working tuesday but left without confirming any arrangements for our daughter that day, we were left to try and sort something out. In the end i had to almost beg for the day off from work unpaid. I was more than happy to have my daughter, loved it, but just the way she goes about things. I dont want to sound like Im moaning about minor things, but they all add up.

I am a person that gets stressed easily, I can be quite anxious, and when she does alot of these things I certainly tell her that she is doing the wrong thing. I find it impossible to keep my mouth shut and put up with it. When the x was in Bali it was great, no hassles, relaxing, had my daughter almost everyday without worrying about getting a txt from her mother to say she wanted to change something. It really was bliss.

So, Im not really sure what to do. Is this all about sticking to the plan we have done?. I know it would be a big help if she could stick to it. If she would stick to it the our communication would be minimal, which would suit me just fine. In saying that, that may not be a positive thing in the long run although at this stage I just want to have my daughter at the times agreed and focus on her without having to get stressed and wound up with the x picking and choosing when she does things. It really does suck the energy out of me when I have to deal with this sort of stuff, mentaly and physically.

Im not really sure where to go from here. The x is unwilling to communicate about anything, Im sure that she thinks that her behaviour is acceptable.  It is frustrating.
Ok, I have thrown my situation out there. I dont really expect anything from you guys, I not even really sure what I am asking. Sorry If my post is a bit random or poorly constructed, I find it hard putting my feelings and frustrations onto the keyboard

Grant
When there are no court orders in place there is little you can do to insist that a parenting plan is followed.

I went through the same thing and I know it's frustrating to try and keep consistency when the other parent wants to chop and change to their own selfish needs and doesn't consider how this effects the child.

I went down the path of negotiating to the point of reducing my spends time with the child to try and better obtain consistency, I have to say that at the time this was happening there was considerable distance between myself and my daughter so when plans did get changed there was little that could be done, travel 300k's to be told tough wasn't an option.

Eventually things did settle to the point we agreed upon another parenting plan.

This changed again when she moved into my home town and for a few years 50/50 care suited the mother and consistency for my daughter was brilliant, this was eventually agreed with orders by consent until she moved back to where she came from and I now have the standard every second weekend and half holidays which has not worked well in certain aspects of my daughters life but she has adapted well.

The whole point is that this whole process is fluid and you never know how things will turn out but you do adapt eventually and things do get easier.

If you wish to try and achieve consistency for your child you may need to go down the path of mediation to format orders by consent, you could try gently explaining to your child's mother the need and benefits for consistency for all parties but if communication has broken down then mediation may be in order.

If mediation doesn't work the it's off to court where you simply roll the dice, depending on your case and the judge you may end up with orders the same as your parenting plan or less.

The main decision to make is if and when you will stand your ground, some choose simply to accept what the mothers demands are and work with that others choose mediation and if need court.

All best D4E
Hi, I am on a path similar to yours.

If a parenting plan isn't working, you can apply to have a consent order made. Then there is more legal weight to it and it can be enforced. If she keeps breaking the order, that's a contravention and she can get herself in trouble for doing it without a reasonable excuse. No longer will she have the right to change plans at her peril.

Make sure you put EVERY contact with you & your child, and your ex in a diary. If it ever goes to court, you will need this as evidence. Thinking back to dates where you think something happened gets very unreliable. They want hard evidence of you doing the right thing.  It takes 10 minutes of every day or two, but it's necessary.

Otherwise good luck with hanging onto a difficult situation without any order in place. It might only get worse in time.
Thanks for the replies.
I dont want this to be a 'days of our lives' thread about me and my situation, but I feel comfortable sharing my situation on here.
I had another situation today with my x. I am meant to have my daughter from this morning, saturday, till wednesday, according to our 'plan'. When she was 2 hours late dropping of our daughter, I txted her asking where she was. I got a reply say that seeing as I am taking our daughter on holiday next week, she wants to have her up until then and I wont be seeing or having her till then. I have to txt her to find out this info after she is 2 hours late dropping her off?. thats the way she works. If she had asked me a few days ago it would have created a better situation than what happened this morning. she doesnt think about the consequences for anyone else. all i got was 'sorry i didnt contact u about it'. thats absolute nonsense!. It really made my blood boil the way she thinks she can treat people that way. I really not sure what to do, but as people have said, i think mediation is the next step, and some counselling for me.

I have a question that I would like answered if possible. When I talk to some people about my situation, I often get the 'its all about your daughter, as long as she is the focus" speech. This is very true, she is number one, I dont doubt that at all. But should it be all about the child at the expense of the parents, meaning myself?. Do I have the right to enjoy my daughter?. It seems that some people think that its 100 % about the child at the expense of a parent. For example I talked to my x's mother today, she said as long as ava is ok then nothing else matters. So I sit on my hands and let the x run all over me just because it keeps the peace?. I have the right to enjoy my daughter, as long as she doesnt suffer, and I will fight for that. Sorry, I havent really explained myself well.

I think you need to take action. Start with Family Dispute Resolution (mediation. I know how you feel about your blood boiling, so take action to do the right thing about it. You ARE being walked over and complaining about it is NOT standing up for your daughter's rights.

If you can't come to an agreement by negotiation in FDR, get a section 60I certificate and show your x you are going to expect respect and you MEAN it. I'm going through that at the moment myself, thinking it's the best move I ever made. My son deserves it.

And you don't have rights in family law, but your x has responsibilities and that's what she is playing you with. While there's no order here, she's got no obligation to be respectful towards you in a legal sense. Morally shes wrong but don't sit back and take it. Good luck and buy the book "the Family Law handbook 2nd edition" by Maree Livermore. Best $80 I spent.
Anybody can justify their actions with excuses suggesting that in their opinion this is what is best for the child.

It all becomes very grey due to the fact a child does flourish through consist good habitual environments but can also adapt to less.

Some of the things we do will be at our expense for the sake of the child but should never be self centred at the expense of the other parent, it isn't an ideal world and it's normal to go through many negative situational responses before things settle into a routine, sometimes it's just an adjustment period other times it's because parents get selfish.

Taking console from your X mother in law isn't really the best advise to follow, no matter how good or neutral she is her instinct is to protect her child's interests as well as her own, she says daughter is wrong it gets back to daughter she looses ten fold.

If you rock the cart with no orders in place you stand to loose so at times there is a need to stand back and pick your moments until everything is in place and you have orders to back you up.

As DS80 says, if you want change and consistency then you need to start the process and hope by the end of mediation you have consent orders in place.

All best D4E
ds80, D4E, thatnks for all your input. ds80, I will definitely buy that book, there is so much that I need to know in regard to the whole issue. In saying that, there are a couple of questions I want to ask now. Reading the handbook would probably answer the questions, but I dont have it yet, and they are questions I want answers to.

When someone says mediation, I take it that that means a mediator sits in on a meeting between my x and I while we nut out an agreement which best suits our daughters needs, as well as our own.
I have a number of questions.

What say she doesnt want to go to mediation, want to be difficult? Can she be made to go?

I am guessing that during mediation we would sort out a parenting plan. A plan obviously isnt legally binding, so what is the difference between a parenting plan and the plan  that we worked out between ourselves a few months ago?. When it suits she doesnt tak any notice of our plan, whats to say that she wont do the same with a praenting plan done in mediation?. Morally she has shown that she doesnt really care about how I fit into the picture, why should she care any more with a plan?.

If a plan is put in place, and doesnt work out satifactory, can either party decide to take the next step at any time?, I assume that means consent orders.

Sorry If I seem like Im a bull at a gate, I tend to think ahead too much, but the way things are, and have been for a while, I think its time for me to be proactive about things. Thanks. Grant
Hey fiwi, I think it's good and healthy to be proactive about your situation. I have so far spent about 6 hours reading the family law handbook over the last weekend and have learnt absolutely heaps from it. About half of it is about assets, and the other half is about parenting. I ignore the assets part because it doesn't apply to me. Definitely get it!! It will teach you how to negotiate with your ex with confidence, and how the law applies to your case. It covers all the bases comprehensively and in easy to understand language.

From what I understand, I'll answer your questions but by all means someone who thoroughly knows the system should contribute too.

The word "Mediation" is not recognised by the court - it's called Family Dispute Resolution (FDR). An FDR facilitator is your "mediator". Mediation is compulsary to attempt before applying to the court, unless there is a special circumstance such as abuse being involved or other extraordinary cases. The facilitator will listen to both your sides of the story in two seperate sessions, then decide if it's appropriate to do joint mediation with both parties together. The mediator guides the discussion to make sure it's child focused. They will guide your negotiations and hope for an outcome. They might give you suggestions on how to negotiate with her in your initial appointment. If there's an agreement, they will draw up a parenting plan and both parties need to sign it. If there is no agreement, both parties are entitled to a section 60I certificate which you must obtain before applying to the court (unless there's violence, etc).

If your ex decides not to go to mediation, just like my ex did twice, you will get a certificate stating that one party failed to respond to FDR. It's a voluntary process and its based on good will. It's not mandatory for your ex to attend.

Parenting plans -
Yes a parenting plan isn't legally binding as you have experienced, however it can be used in court and a judge will consider it when making orders. On the other hand, a parenting plan can be made into a consent order if both parties agree and sign it. This would be a good outcome if both of you were satisfied with it, and avoid a court case. If she contravenes it, you can then enforce it by placing a contravention order on her but you usually need to attend FDR for that too. In that case, it is likely the judge would order her to attend a post seperation parenting course. In more extreme cases she can be punished with things like community services, and more..

I think you should see a lawyer about it. They usually do initial appointments for free, and you will grasp a good understanding of where you stand in that alone. Then if you do decide to take legal action, continue with their services to send her letters, or negotiate with her representation, and if nothing can be sorted out, representing you in court. It will be costly, so you will need a few thousand dollars behind you, unless you want to self represent but it will take you months of self disciplined study. Otherwise you could obtain legal aid if you fit their means criteria.

If your previous parenting plan has been disregarded by your ex, then a new one probably also will have the same problems (unless she begins to work on respect for you and your daughter). She can see you are an easy target to be walked all over. That will be until you show her you mean business. That's not to say you are going to be unreasonable with her, but seperate your feelings from business. The first thing my FDR facilitator told me about was being business-like in my dealings with my ex, rather than emotional. This was great realistic advice.

Don't forget to call the Family Relationships Advice line on 1800 050 321 and you can discuss your personal situation with a parenting advisor. They will elaborate with advice about the system to you.




Hey Fiwi

ds80 has explained quite thouroughly the next step in the process and how it is likely to unfold. I will just rehash a few of those points to summarise a little:

1. First step, contact a Family Relationship Centre (aka Family Dispute Resolution Centre) in your Area, and explain you wish to mediate with your ex. You will attend an initial information session that will teach you a lot about what to expect, and they will really walk you through the whole process. Do this first, as it involves several steps and can take 6-10 weeks to get to the first meeting.

2. In the meanwhile, contact your local Legal Aid centre and ask about getting some advice. Everybody is entitled to a free session in person or by phone. You can explain that you're considering having a parenting plan made into court orders, and they will fill you in on the basics - then you'll be more informed and prepared to put forward your requests at mediation.

3. You're right - mediating on another parenting plan will be useless. You are looking for a legally binding agreement. As mentioned, if you both agree to formalise the current terms, you can go through a process to make the parenting plan into a consent order (the mediators can explain your options on how to achieve this). If she doesn't agree to this in mediation or doesn't attend at all, you'll be issued a 601 certificate allowing you to take the matter to court. You can make an application to be represented by legal aid (check out their website), but if they don't approve, you will need a solicitor.

4. If the parenting plan is made into a court order, she has more incentive to stick to it. If she doesn't, you can make an application to the court for a contravention of orders, and she risks various punishments. If she doesn't turn up at the agreed time, you can contact police and report that your ex has failed to deliver your child to you for visitation. They can the contact her and request an explanation, and if there is no good reason, you can even request a recovery order. It gives you many more options, and hopefully this will scare her into complying.

As for the issue of being child focused, yes, the main focus is the child. However, happy parents make happy children, and conversely, stressed and anxious parents have a negative impact on their children. If anybody asks you to remain focused on the child whilst you are expressing concerns over the mother's lack of regard for plans, I would suggest to them that children thrive the most when they have routine and consistency, and when there is no cause for conflict between their parents. And none of this can be achieved if the mother continues to manipulate the situation with no regard for your daughter's rights to maintain her routine and build her relationship with you.

Don't doubt yourself for a second here- you ARE being walked all over, and it will continue for as long as you allow it to. My partner had similar issues and it lasted for years and years until he finally stood up for himself and said "enough is enough". Now there are consent orders in place that essentially guarantee his time with his child is consistent and free from interferance. The ex has no choice anymore, unless she wants to risk her own time with her child. In cases where a parent continually contravenes orders, they risk having their time with the child reduced, and in extreme cases, even face imprisonment. And all these consequences are clearly laid out on the respective copies of the court orders, so they will be there in plain sight to remind her should she consider ignoring the agreement.

This is not getting any better, and both you and your daughter deserve more respect. You need to act now, and decide that you won't put up with her control any longer. Your daughter has a right to meaningful relationship with both of you. Her mother is interfering with this.
Hello all. It been a while since I have been on this site. As usual I have little to offer others on here but I have many questions and dilemmas that I would like to let out.
 Things have been on a downward slope with my x over the last few months, not in a huge way, just small issues creeping into our arrangement and the way we deal with our daughter. These small things all add up, to the point where finally, I have initiated going to FDR to sort things out. I do feel better about initiating this, hopefully it sorts some things out. It seems that my x is digging here heels in slightly as she has had 2 letters sent to her and hasn't replied yet, so I have taken the next step to get the courts to make her go to mediation( I think that's how it works). I have txt her about it also but she doesn't want to talk about it.

 My issue at the moment, as usual, is her lack of communication skills and the fact that she doesn't consult me about anything regarding our daughter. I'm not sure if she is being more difficult due to the fact that I have started the mediation process, or she is just doing the usual. A couple of examples are..

 1  She TOLD me, didn't ask at all, that she was taking our daughter to Bali for 2 weeks in Feb. She gave me plenty of notice, but the issue for me is that I'm meant to have our daughter for 3 nights in the middle of that 2 weeks and she didn't mention that issue at all. Is that reasonable?

 2 I get told 1 week ago that our daughter is now doing martial arts 3 times a week. I wasn't asked at all or consulted as to whether I do anything or plan stuff with our daughter on those days. I made plans to go camping for 4 nights next weekend before I knew anything about the martial arts but the mother still expects me to change my plans. I don't think she is fair.

 3 I get told today that our daughter starts pre school next Friday and that she has to attend. Apparently its OK for her mother to take her to Bali for 2 weeks the week after and miss 2 weeks of pre school but I have to take her on the Friday. I question whether that is reasonable or not and she seems to think it is. So , on short notice, she expects me to cancel our camping trip, with other people committed also, and take xxx to pre school and martial arts on the Friday. Personally i think she can miss one day of preschool at the start of the year due to this comm breakdown to go camping, swimming, kayaking, fishing etc.

 4 I also get told yesterday that our daughter is now doing dancing Mon, Thur, Sat. Previously she has only done it Thur morning. Once again, no consultation with me.

 These are just some of the frustrations I go through.They are mainly issues of xxx's mother doing things for xxx without any consideration as to how it affects other people in xxx's life. of course I'm all for doing the right thing for xxx, goes without saying, but to some degree it has to fit in with what I want to do with xxx, and how it affects me.

 I'm guessing the s&$# may hit the fan next week when I tell her that I will be taking xxx camping instead of preschool. I get the feeling that she is going to try and sell me short on my time with xxx, will have to see. I guess I'm just going to have to grin and bare whatever happens up until the mediation process takes place.

 OK, all finished. Thanks for reading

 xxx's father.



Moderator Note

I have changed the name of the child to xxx, you should not use real names especially the names of children for various reasons including not contravening section 121 of the Family Law Act. Please try to remember this for the future. It would be much better if you registered and used your registered user name for posts as it is hard to distinguish between guests.

Last edit: by MikeT

Hi, I was so happy to read how well things were progressing at the beginning of your relationship with your child, but saddened to read how much it has changed.  I just want to add that the advice given above has been wonderful and I would like to add a couple of points just as food for thought.

I would like you to sit back and consider how much of what the mother of the child is doing is actually "against you". For example, maybe the dance classes changed because the child went up a grade - that sort of thought process. I am not saying at all that she is handling this well and you are handling it badly. I would however like you to consider going into the future journey with no anger as this will only inflame an already difficult situation. Please dont start a blame game as this does not help at all and as you have decribed above, the other party will only dig their heals in. One last thing, the mother is the primary carer and has done a wonderful think for you and your child by encouraging a relationship, please remember that if she had not done that then you would not have this little person in your life at all. Good luck to you

"When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure"
Gecko said
Hi, I was so happy to read how well things were progressing at the beginning of your relationship with your child, but saddened to read how much it has changed.  I just want to add that the advice given above has been wonderful and I would like to add a couple of points just as food for thought.

I would like you to sit back and consider how much of what the mother of the child is doing is actually "against you". For example, maybe the dance classes changed because the child went up a grade - that sort of thought process. I am not saying at all that she is handling this well and you are handling it badly. I would however like you to consider going into the future journey with no anger as this will only inflame an already difficult situation. Please dont start a blame game as this does not help at all and as you have decribed above, the other party will only dig their heals in. One last thing, the mother is the primary carer and has done a wonderful think for you and your child by encouraging a relationship, please remember that if she had not done that then you would not have this little person in your life at all. Good luck to you
 
Firstly, this is not about whther the mother has reasons for what she is doing, it's about her failing to communicate those reasons and failing to communicate such changes in a reasonable timeframe. I've had the same problem, but I'm not going to derail fiwi's thread by talking about them. The point is simply that a working relationship requires communication in order to be productive. It's not about blame, it's about simple basics of working with people.

Second, I can't see why fiwi should be at all grateful for the mother "encouraging a relationship". The relationship already exists: what the mother is doing is to make it more difficult by her lack of respect for fiwi's reasonable expectation of  good communication and a fair consideration of how her demands affect him. I got told by my social worker ex that expecting such communication is "controlling". I say that deliberately failing to deliver such a reasonable expectation is itself "controlling" and could well meet the expanded definition of "violence" within the reformed FLA.

Primary carers are not gatekeepers. I must say you sound as though you think they are.

On a more positive note, I coudn't agree more with your comment about moving forward wihout anger, but I can also say that facing such obstructions as fiwi describes can make such a thing very difficult.
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