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Shared Parenting - You and Your Child - Keeping Contact Alive

Separation often means you have to parent one-to-one for the first time, sometimes at a distance. This can be a challenge!

Shared Parenting - You and Your Child - Keeping Contact Alive

I realise I don't know my kids as well as I thought!

Separation often means you have to parent one-to-one for the first time. This can be a challenge!

At the same time it is a new chance to get to know your child as a person and show them they are important to you.

Ways you can get to know them better

- Do you know their day-to-day routine? What do they do after school? Do they have sport, music or dance lessons? Are they learning another language? What time do they eat dinner and when do they play, do homework and go to bed?

- To start the ball rolling, have some questions up your sleeve. What are their favourite songs, games, TV shows and sports? Who are their friends? What do they want to be when they grow up? What places in Australia or the world would they like to visit and why?

- Note in your diary or a notebook, birthdays, special days or cultural/religious days that are important to you and your children. Use this information to help you plan activities, buy birthday presents, organise events with extended family or follow up important things like exams.

- Kids have their own ways of doing things. Let them know you love them for who they are.

Talking on the phone is just not the same…

- Phone calls can't replace being with your children but they are a great way of staying in touch. Whatever happens, you are making contact and kids realise that you care.

- Try ringing at regular times so your children can expect and look forward to your calls.

- Find a time when they will be relaxed and not expected to be doing homework, eating dinner, rushing out to sports practice etc.

- Regular short chats may be better with young children. Call sometimes just to say goodnight, share a joke or tell them about something funny that happened to you- even if it's just for a couple of minutes.

- Teenagers may not say very much but they do like regular contact. Long silences can be normal. Don't give up. It doesn't mean you are not important to them.

Some practical ideas…

Get pre-paid phone cards so your child can ring you. Find out about other phone services like telecards and charging calls to your account. Get started - pick up the phone.

I don't know what to say….

Think about what you are going to say before you pick up the phone. The more you talk with your children, the more things will flow and you will discover how special they are.

- Arrange to help with school work over the phone. Listen to them do their times tables, homework essays or even music practice over the phone.

- What have they been doing since the last time you talked? Show that you are interested in what they do when they are not with you. Keeping notes in a diary or calendar can help.

- Talk to them about the ordinary things that happened to you when you were a kid, or things you liked. This will help your kids to share their experiences with you.

- You don't need to have instant solutions to their problems. Just listen to what they say and show interest.

- Help children talk about the bad as well as the good things. Ask them about how they are feeling as well as what they are doing.

- Tell them you love them before you hang up.

This is your chance to get to know your kids better. Don't blow it by asking questions about their other parent.

How else can I stay in touch?

You can have a great relationship with your kids even though you don't live together all the time. Here are other things you can try.

Letters/Cards

Kids love to receive letters. Even if you live close-by, they will be happy to get a card, a note or something that shows you have been thinking of them. Put down in writing what you find hard to say.

Mobile Phone - SMS

Short Message Service (SMS) text messages are fast and cheap.

Audio and video tapes

Young children love to hear their parents' voices. Record yourself reading their favourite book or singing songs you both like.

Fax

Fax machines are a great way to send short notes.

Email

If you can, get your children on-line. Kids can use email to tell you what they are doing or thinking at the moment. You will probably find out things they don't talk about over the phone or in a letter.

Internet

There are many free web services you can use. These include kids and parenting sites with free games that you can play on-line together. Use search engines to help with school projects, homework or your child's hobbies.

Get your kids to teach you how to use the internet!

How else can I be involved in my children's lives?

Staying involved means doing things you may never have done before. School and sports clubs like to have parents involved. This way you'll really get to know your kids.

School

- Ask your child's school to send you copies of newsletters, school reports and notices. Is some of the material translated into your preferred language? It lets your kids know that you are interested in their education and that they are special to you.

- Help with school projects or homework by finding information and sending it to them.

- Attend events when you can.

- Offer to help with general school events, committees, social events, even chocolate drives, selling raffle tickets, working bees.

- Try to make time to help in the classroom. Primary schools and kindys are glad to have parents read or sing to children.

- Keep the school up to date with your phone number and address. Are you available to be an emergency contact?

Other activities

- What sort of sports or activities do your kids do outside of school? Discuss with their other parent how you can help.

- Arrange to go along to practices, performances, events and gatherings.

- Offer to help with fundraising, team management or transport.

Ground rules

Respect the other parent's arrangements

Offer to help in any way you can. Your children will love seeing you involved. Work on building a relationship of trust. This can take time.

When your children come to stay

I get so up-tight before I see them!

It's understandable. You want things to go smoothly and you want your kids to relax and enjoy themselves. It helps to plan ahead. Know who is collecting or dropping off the children and where this will take place. Call the other parent a few days before to be clear on the arrangements and make sure there are no surprises. Start in good form -turn up, be on time, be reliable.

Contact the children before the visit

- Remind them when you will see them next.

- Let them help plan your time together.

- Remind them of any special things they may need to bring.

If you do the day-to-day parenting, let your children know it is okay for them to visit the other parent. Try to make it something they look forward to.

Ground rules

Don't use your kids to pass messages to their other parent.

Visit www.kidsafe.com.au and learn how to toddlerproof your home, or contact your local parent line for ideas - their phone numbers are in the White Pages of your telephone directory.

How can I make my place feel like our home?

It helps to think of your child as having two homes, one with Mum and one with Dad.

- If you move house consider living close by - within cycling distance of school if possible.

- Give them a room of their own and let them help with decorating.

- If they can't have a room, give them a space of their own that they don't have to share with others. A cupboard, desk, bookcase or storage box is okay.

- Display family photos and things that have special meaning for you all.

- Find toys, books and games they like. Try your local toy library or garage sales. Let your kids help.

- Include some outside games: bats, balls, frisbees, bikes. Go to the local park where there's room for the kids to kick a ball or play on the swings.

- Avoid hassles about the basics and keep things at your place like toothbrushes, pyjamas, socks, underwear, t-shirts, shorts and their medicines.

- A basic first aid kit could include children's paracetamol, bandaids, antiseptic wipes, etc.

Make sure you've got food they will eat in the fridge!

I don't know what to do with them…

You don't need to go on exciting outings or have expensive toys for them to play with. It is the time you spend together that is important.

- Give them time to settle in. They may go through feeling emotional 'jet-lag' each time they move between homes.

- Involve them in the routine of the house. Sit down with them and make a list of meals they would like. Make a shopping list and do the shopping together. Get them to help with the cooking.

- Do ordinary things together like go for a walk, or try something more challenging like indoor rock climbing. Check the paper for school holiday activities.

- Try to spend some one-to-one time with each child. Read to them, watch TV or videos together and talk about what you have seen.

- A hug, a kiss or a play-fight are all ways to say that you love them.

- Do things with family and friends. Visit grandparents and cousins. Have the kids bring their friends over.

The best gift you can give your children is your time.

Ground rule

Don't criticise your children's other parent in front of them. It will only hurt you and your children in the long run.

I thought they'd got over these tantrums

Change affects children in many ways. When they first arrive at your place they may go through a whole range of motions like being teary, picky, short-fused, etc. It can be a difficult time for them. Studies show that young children often don't want to leave their other parent. They may feel torn between the two of you. They may be too young to express themselves or it can be just too hard for them to talk about things. Any distress is likely to come out in their behaviour.

My teenager is really playing up…

Change in routine is unsettling, even for teenagers. They are becoming independent of their parents and looking for their own time and space. The more you pressure them the more they may react. Find out what is happening in the rest of their lives. It may help to talk this over with their other parent. Let them bring a friend along. Understanding your child will help you make better parenting decisions. Some kids may become more angry and difficult. Others may be quiet and moody.

Understanding behaviour

Understanding your child's behaviour can be difficult. There are lots of books available to give you ideas and information on what to expect from kids at different ages.

What you can do

- Be honest. Tell your children that you know separation is hard for everyone and that they are not to blame.

- Let young children bring a special toy or blanket to have with them at both homes.

- Give older children time and space and encourage them to continue with their own routines of sport or other activities.

- Try to understand that your children are not just being difficult.

- Help them to talk about how they are feeling, even to cry if they feel like it.

- Give them hugs and show affection.

Children and Separation: a guide for parents, and Questions and Answers about Separation for Children are available from your local Family Court Registry

Parent lines…

Can give you information and hints on what your kids are going through. You can find their phone number in the White Pages of the telephone directory.

SOME CHALLENGES

I try so hard to get my kids to like me…

Sometimes separated parents go overboard by trying to be extra nice. Children still need firm boundaries. Kids learn to cope well with different rules in both homes.

Decide on the ground rules for your home, including bedtimes, jobs to be done and discipline. It may help to talk this through with their other parent.

Establish a routine.

Praise good behaviour and set consequences for undesirable behaviour.

They didn't want to see me last time…

It can hurt when your child doesn't feel able to spend time with you. They may feel torn between both parents. They may even be frightened of the anger if you have been fighting a lot with their other parent. Take things slowly.

Respect your child's wishes. Tell them you will still be there when they feel able to see you. Stay involved by keeping up contact by phone, letter or email.

Accept short visits. Younger kids may not want to sleep over but may be happy to spend the day with you.

Realise that older children sometimes want to stay at a friend's house instead.

Understand that your kids may not feel comfortable with your new partner or friend. Some things take time.

Contact your local parent line or stepfamily association for more information on understanding what it's like for children in stepfamilies.

My ex suddenly wants to change our arrangement!

Is it a reasonable request and does it benefit the children? If so, try to be flexible - you may want to do the same thing yourself some day.

Handover times are so stressful!

- Make changeovers as natural and as friendly as possible.

- Be reliable about sending back children's personal things like clothes and toys.

- If you can't avoid arguing, arrange pick-up at a neutral place or talk to your local community services about 'contact services' that provide a safe place for changeover to happen.

- Sort out any issues with their other parent away from the children.

- Don't walk into their other parent's house without permission.

Studies show that children adapt to separation. It's ongoing conflict between parents that hurts kids.

Ground rule

Be considerate. Call if you are running late.

I wish I could remember…

Many parents like to keep records of their child's contact visits. This is a useful way to remember plans for the next visit, any promises you made to your kids or other things you want to remember. Keep a special diary or calendar and include:

- Things you did together and future plans.

- Meals your kids liked (or didn't like).

- Good things that happened.

- New things you learned about your child.

- Any upsets or illnesses during the visit, or behaviour you didn't understand.

- Your child's height and weight, or new learning skills.

- Things you bought them for birthdays or cultural/religious events like Christmas or New Year.

- Agreements with their other parent to change your contact arrangements. It's easy to forget what was agreed.

Keeping a diary or scrapbook with notes and photos can be fun for you and your child. It can also be useful for recording information you want to pass on to their other parent.

YOU AND THEIR OTHER PARENT: Building the business relationship of parenting

The kids and I are fine… but I dread talking to my ex!

Studies show that after separation you may have a lot of different feelings towards your ex-partner, or be left with guilt or anger. These feelings can last several years, particularly if you found the break-up hard to accept. Meanwhile you are trying to be a good parent. Fighting with the other parent makes it hard for both of you. The effect on children may be anxiety and distress or problems at school.

What can I do to change the way we relate?

- Get support for yourself. Being able to sort through your own feelings will put you in a better position to discuss your children with their other parent.

- It may help to view the relationship with their other parent as simply like that of workmates - for the sake of the children. A positive business relationship will lead to more and better quality time between you and your children - even if you never resolve all your arguments!

Your actions speak louder than words. Treat their other parent how you'd like to be treated yourself.

How do I talk to my ex about the kids?

Finding new ways to talk to the other parent can be difficult. It can be harder to respect each other's point of view than when you were together. But it is worth it. Children feel reassured when they know their mum and dad can calmly discuss the best way to look after them. Your kids need your support in getting on with their own lives knowing they're not caught in the middle.

If you can't spend a few minutes chatting at the end of contact or at a school function, you can practice being respectful, saying hello, and avoiding conflict!

Kids appreciate it when mum and dad try getting on okay. If you can, talk in a relaxed, neutral place like a local coffee shop. This way you are both more likely to be polite to each other. If you live a long way apart, make a time to talk on the phone when the kids aren't around.

Remember you are both doing this for your children!

Ground rule

Be considerate. Ring the other parent at a convenient time.

PARENTING TOGETHER WHILE APART

We're meeting soon. How can I make sure it goes OK?

Arrange the time and place without involving the children. Have a game plan to help you stay on track. Prepare some notes you can look at.

Before

- Try to agree in advance what the meeting is about.

- Arrange to talk away from the children. Make phone calls when they are out at sport or visiting friends.

At the meeting

- Stick to what you have agreed.

- Agree on the easy things first.

- If you lose track, look at your notes. Otherwise you could say something you'll regret.

- Don't get stuck arguing about the past.

- Stay calm - you're both good at pushing each other's buttons.

- End the meeting by finding something positive to say about the kids.

In case of conflict

- Stop and think - is this helping or making things worse?

- Decide -do we need outside help so we can talk about the children?

- Consider counselling or mediation - talk to someone whose job it is to help parents sort out issues.

- Do not discuss issues if either parent is affected by drugs or alcohol.

Ground rule

Never ask children to take sides or choose one parent over the other.

What else can I do?

Remember you are parents for life- maybe even grandparents! If talking to the other parent is difficult, sometimes a trusted go-between can be helpful. Be sensitive who you use. Don't be surprised if things work out very differently to how you expect. Let your words and actions show that you are committed to parenting for the long-haul. Try different approaches in the way you relate until you find what works. Be open to changes as the children grow older.

Things you can both do

- Accept that the relationship has ended.

- Listen. We all need to feel heard.

- Give it time.

- Plan not to be angry forever.

- Accept the other parent's new choices.

- Support the other parent the way you would like to be supported.

Consider

- What sort of parent do I want to be?

- What kind of thoughts do I want my children to have of me?

Resentment may lead to arguments about money. Try not to let money issues get in the way. If it seems unfair, remember it probably feels unfair to their other parent too!

Parenting decision-making checklist

This is a list of decisions you may need to make with the other parent. Considering these will make life easier for you and your children. Be flexible and keep your child's interests in mind. Agree on the easy things first and return to the hard ones later. Good luck!

- Where will the children live?

 Weekdays
 Weekends
 Nights/days
 Public holidays
 During school terms
 During school holidays
 Over Christmas and other special days
 If you are sick
 If your child is sick

Use diaries to record decisions and be specific about dates and periods of time.

- How will you arrange:

 Pick ups and drop offs
 Birthdays or other cultural/religious events
 Attendance at special events like school sports day. Can you both go?
 Contact with grandparents and other extended family
 Contact and overnight stays with the children's friends
 Calls/emails from one parent while the child is with their other parent
 Transport arrangements: between homes/to school/dance/sport etc.
 Child support

- Where will they attend?

 School
 Church/mosque/temple/synagogue or other spiritual/religious place
 Other activities

- Who will pay for the kids'…?

 Transport between your homes
 Local taxis/buses/trains
 Clothing
 Health care/health insurance/dentist and orthodontist/glasses/contact lenses/counselling, etc.
 Child care
 School fees/tuition/books
 Extracurricular activities/excursions/socials/pocket money
 Long distance transport. Air fares/trains/buses
 Other expenses

- How will you share information?

 School communications/reports/photos
 Medical records including details of any medication
 Information on visits to doctor/dentist/counsellors etc.
 Information on important events: sporting/religious/special activities/news of extended family etc.

- Try to agree:

 To share phone numbers in case you need to contact children.
 To inform the other parent about any changes to important phone numbers.
 How to make changes to any of these arrangements.
 To work towards a consistent approach to discipline.

Can you agree not to:

- Put the other parent down to the children.

- Make big changes like moving house, changing schools without prior discussion.

- Plan activities during their other parent's time.

- Make decisions that have important cultural or religious implications.

- Argue in front of the kids.

You and their other parent

Review your arrangements occasionally. Don't set them in concrete. Agree on a period of notice if you want to change contact arrangements.

Ground rules

- Write down your decisions. Be courteous.

- Different ways of paying child support can be arranged. Contact the Child Support Agency to find out more about payment options.

PARENTING FROM A DISTANCE

Divorce, separation and work mean that many parents don't get to see and hug their kids as much as they would like to. If you have to live far apart, reassure your kids they will still have contact with you.

Budgeting for time together may be a reason to change your child support assessment. If you can't move closer to your children, there are still lots of ways to stay involved.

Show your ex-partner you appreciate his/her help in keeping up contact with your kids - no matter how little this may seem at times.

How can I stay in touch?

Here are some practical ideas. Decide on trying some each week. Knowing how and when you will next be in contact gives you all something to look forward to. If you do most of the parenting you can help by:

- Encouraging their other parent's involvement by helping the child mail drawings or letters.

- Arranging for the children to be at home when they are expecting a phone call from their other parent.

- Preparing them for when they are with their other parent.

Phone calls

- Plan what you want to say before you ring.

- Arrange for your children to be able to ring you.

- Organise a phonecard or reverse charge number so your child can contact you when they want to.

- Some mobile phone plans can limit the amount of time available. You can get phones to receive calls only, or program them just to call your number.

Activities you can share over the phone

- Bedtime stories.

- Keeping up with sports results.

- Watching the same TV show, movie, or reading the same book to discuss later.

- Planning your next visit together.

Think low budget

- Email and letters are cheaper than phone calls.

- Small personal presents cost less and are more meaningful than expensive trendy items.

- Find a phone plan to suit you. Some mobile deals allow free time at night.

- Text messages are cheap and good fun.

Think about why you are calling - is it to talk to the kids or do you need an excuse to talk to the ex? If so, make a separate time. Listen to your children when they do call

Letters

A letter allows you to express things you can't say over the phone. It also shows that you put in time and effort into staying in touch with your kids.

For small children include

- Family photos

- A pressed flower or a leaf from your garden

- The comic or joke section from your newspaper

- Stamps/foreign money/stickers

- Drawings

- Quiz questions, Top Ten lists (what I like about you, my new home etc.)

- Something from your workplace

- Messages and news from other members of your family e.g. grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, close friends. Get them to collect things to send the children too.

- Photo stamps

Play games by letter

- Noughts and crosses

- Hangman

- Quizzes

- Chess/Chequers

Use unusual or funny things on which to write your letters

- Coloured paper

- Wrappers or pictures from magazines

- Serviettes

- Travel or work stationery, postcards etc

- Use coloured or different pens

Faxes or emails…

Are good ways to share homework over a long distance.

Be reliable - stick with what you start. Do things that are interesting to you too. Letters don't need to be long. Write a few lines each day and post it at the end of the week.

Email and Internet

If you have access to a computer, emails are cheaper than phone calls and more direct than letters. There are many free chat services, or you can go on a virtual tour together through websites like NASA and Questacon. Try a visit to sites like ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) or Disneyland with your kids. Send them a joke. Email and internet may be available at the local library, school or community centre, or ask a friend if you can use their machine.

Audio and videotapes (great for younger children)

- Borrow a storybook from the library and record a tape of a bedtime story. Your child can get the same book from their library and listen to the tape you've sent.

- Tape good luck messages for important events such as sports days and exams. Your child will treasure them.

- Tape a special episode of their favourite TV program. Send it with a letter about how much you enjoyed watching it 'with' them.

- Make a video or photo story of your day at work or home.

- Get someone to video your child playing sport and send it to you.

- Send blank video tapes for them to make copies of school concerts and other special occasions.

- Ask them if they can borrow a video camera and make a home movie for you.

Warn your children of the dangers of chatting with strangers.

Getting your kids to reply:

Sometimes you may feel that you do all the work. Children don't always reply but they will value your contact and the efforts you have made. Be patient and don't expect too much. After all, you are doing it for them. Treat anything you get back as a bonus.

Try sending your children:

- Their own special stationery to use.

- Self-addressed and stamped envelopes.

- Pre-paid Australia Post envelopes for them to send small items.

- Craft items, such as pens and paper for them to draw something for you.

- Blank tapes with post packs and stamps ready for mailing back.

- A disposable camera. Get them to send it back to you for processing their photos.

Let them know you would love to get one of their drawings, a photo of them or a copy of their latest schoolwork.

Other ideas

Keep a pet (fish aren't too demanding), or even a plant, that you can choose and care for 'together'. Send photo or email updates. Run your own footy tipping competition. Offer to buy fundraising items sold through the school, sponsor 40 Hour Famine etc. Sell raffle tickets for your child's sports team or school. Keep up extended family connections by writing a family history together:

- Make a list of relatives to contact and plan what sort of information to gather.

- Look on the Internet for information about family trees.

- Share information with your children about your cultural heritage.

- Keep a scrapbook/album of all the letters, photos, artwork etc. that they send you. Sit down and look through it when you are together.

Presents

It's easy to go overboard - you don't need to be a 'Disneyland parent'. Parents who don't live with their children sometimes feel guilty and think they have to buy big presents for their kids. This puts pressure on their other parent. You can't buy your kids' love. Here's a list of some small everyday presents that will remind your kids of you:

- Books (especially in a series)

- Magazine subscriptions

- Colourful socks, hats and small items of clothing

- Things to eat or drink from - mugs, spoons, lunch boxes

- Their own calendar with special dates marked in - grandmother's birthday etc., Christmas advent calendar

- Badges/pins/combs/brushes/toothbrushes/hair clips and ribbons

- Start a collection of something your child is interested in e.g. comics, shells, rocks, sports cards, bookmarks, matchbox cars, doll's house furniture, fridge magnets, erasers, stamps. Send some regularly and keep some for visits

- Photographs of you doing special things e.g. writing their name in the sand at the beach, or holding a painting they have sent you.

- A photograph from your childhood with a story. Frame it if it is special

- An album or scrap book for them to keep the photos and notes you send

- A special teddy bear or toy to hug when they miss you

Keep a record so that you don't send the same thing twice!

Something special does not have to cost much. Collect small things to show you are thinking of them:

- Pictures, articles, information for school projects or things that interest them: hobbies/sports/careers

- If you travel, collect everyday items for your children e.g. small toys, foreign money, sweets, hats, postcards etc

- Freebies from shows or other events

- Special offers/competitions from the back of cereal packets, chocolate bars, soft drinks, magazines etc. in your child's name

- Red Nose Day/Daffodil Day badges etc.

It will help if things will fit in the letterbox and don't have to be collected from the post office.

Think before you send. Be sensitive about how the other parent or kids might feel.

Planning time together

Make your arrangements well ahead of time. You and your kids will enjoy making plans together. It also keeps things clear with their other parent. What will you need to do to budget for your time together?

Consider safety of travel arrangements when your children travel to see you:

- Can someone travel with them?

- Who will meet them?

- Talk to the travel service about how to help your child prepare for the trip.

When the kids arrive

Let them settle in. Give them time to get to know the area. Be prepared for changes to your routine. Be prepared for physical changes in your child, as well as new behaviour, likes and dislikes. Have a collection of newspaper cuttings, poems, thoughts and small things in a box or book that you can look through together. Record the dates you collected each thing so your child will know that you often think about them.

If you can, sometimes see your children where they live, rather than have them always visit you.

Get a copy of Financial Security: the Guide to Managing Your Money available from the Child Support Agency's website.

Be prepared!

Do you know what to do in an emergency? Can you step in and take action if your children are in trouble, or support their other parent in an emergency? What are the things you need to do? This information plan will help you list the important contacts you may need. Tear it out and keep it within reach. Make sure you keep it up to date. You can also use this plan to:

- help if their other parent is held up through work/transport/car problems

- solve unexpected problems - broken glasses, forgotten sports shoes, homework mislaid etc

- find out information about your child in case of a medical emergency

Involve their other parent

Swap some of the important numbers with their other parent or carers of your children. Show them your list first and ask for their input. They may like a copy for their own use.

Involve your kids in preparing the plan

Explain to your children why you have put together this information. Involving them will help you find out more about their activities and day-to-day life. They will also realise how much you care about them.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN

Be prepared!

- If you can, give your numbers to the school or child care centre as an emergency contact.

- Give your child a card with your phone numbers on it for diary or wallet

- Make sure they have emergency phone money or a phonecard

- Organise something like a 'Homelink' phone service

- If they are old enough, think about a mobile phone with restricted dial-out access

- Include your child on your Medicare card

Important Phone Numbers

- Other parent/guardian

Home - Work - Mobile

- Relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins)

Home - Work - Mobile - Other

- Pre-school/child care Sport (coaches/team managers/gyms)

- School (teachers, counsellors, afterhours care)

- Classes/clubs/other activities (dance, music etc.)

- Friends (including friends they walk home with)

- Healthcare (doctor, dentist, optician, specialists etc.)

- Bus/train/ferry etc. Other

Important Information

- Police Hospital

- Fire Local doctor

- Ambulance Chemist

- Poison information centre Other

- Vaccinations

- Last tetanus booster

- Operations/general anaesthetic

- Medicare number Health fund

- Illnesses

- Allergies/reactions

- Antibiotics

Family Law Courts
Website: www.familylawcourts.gov.au

Family Assistance Office
Phone: 13 6150
Website: www.http://familyassist.gov.au

Payments information for people on family assistance
Centrelink
Phone: 13 6150
Website: www.centrelink.gov.au

Child Support Agency (CSA)
Phone: 13 1272
Website: www.csa.gov.au
Includes calculators, budgeting guides, and contact information for community services in your local area

Kids Help Line
Phone: 1800 551800
Website: www.kidshelp.com.au
A national 24 hour telephone counselling service for children and young people

LifeLine Australia
Phone: 13 1114
Website: www.lifeline.org.au
24 hour telephone counselling service.

OTHER USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS

Anaphylaxis Australia 1300 728 000 www.allergyfacts.org.au

Asthma Foundation 1800 645 130 www.asthma.org.au

Child Abuse Prevention Service 1800 688 009 www.childabuseprevention.com.au

Commonwealth Carer Resource Centre 13 14 40

Deaf Children Australia 1800 645 916

Family Drug Support 1300 368 186 www.fds.org.au

Family Services Australia 1300 365 859 www.fsa.org.au

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation 1300 363 126 www.jdrf.org.au

Parentline Counselling Service 1399 30 1300

Poisons Information Centre 131 126

SIDS and Kids 1300 308 307 www.sidsandkids.org.au
Dad4Life said
Audio and video tapes

Young children love to hear their parents' voices. Record yourself reading their favourite book or singing songs you both like.
Something I did, in this way, was to record bedtime stories that I read, and post them up on a website.

To make things easy I wrote a little php program that would automatically generate a link so all I had to do was record, quickly apply filtering and compression, and  then copy the file into the appropriate directory.
Mike, you are such a geek.

My 6 year old loves the old school walkman. You can still buy them from the $2 shops and from ebay and audio tape is still around - for the less techy among us :)

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Mike.

Are you publishing your evidence upon the web.

Sharing your readings and written stories in audio so that a child can access them and download them has merit.

This might be deceptively clever.

Be mindful that there are internet connected computers in each court room.

Evidence is the substance that arguments are soundly built upon.

Who knows a story about a man who loves his children and is committed to them might have resonance.

Should it have an ending about the nice judge who felt that it was only fair for both parents to be equally part of children's lives?

What is done for you, let it be done, what you must do, be sure you do it, as the wise person does today that what the fool will do in three days - Buddha
verdad.

I doubt that I'd be going to court or anything. I missed out on my chances.

My main reason for being here is that I wish to add weight to changes being implemented and to offer help when I can.
With doing all the good things as well as keeping a good healthy understanding of what may be affecting your children in their other home I'd suggest sometimes you have to be prepared for a one sided relationship until they want to share.

Explained in reference, my daughters mother had a habit of controlling phone calls and using leverage to force issues before I could talk to my daughter. Like many do in the end I said enough and refused to talk about these issues in my once a week contact period phone call, after the usual hang up at my insistence I was not going to communicate she got the idea. The side effect is that my daughter was then subject to "family pressure" when I was on the phone.

Although she was not told to get off the phone it was not a comfortable for her. After a while it became a forcible effort on her mothers part to make her talk, this encouraged even more silence. Rather than battle with words and try and make her talk when she felt pressured I ask her if she wanted to talk to dad? if she said yes we had a great conversation if she said no I responded with "That's OK just say love you and bye." Her response was, "can I?".

Her other home which at this time she resided 100% was never stable as to the approach that was taken towards myself and this added to the confusion for her. It took me a dozen times telling her mother "don't try and force her to talk" before she got the message. It also didn't take long for my daughter to start having conversations and started to play games over the phone the pressured although still their subsided enough to build a relationship stronger even though we didn't see each other for some months. She was only 3 1/2 at that point.

P.S. She also loved the story C.D.'s that were made for her and even now sometimes asks to listen to them.

The cold silence may not be a lack of wanting to talk.
I agree with D4E, children don't want to talk if the other side is pressuring them or throwing in comments during the call. I find the best thing to do now is calling in the morning b4 school when I know my ex has gone to work THEN I get decent conversations, when he is home it is like she is too scared to say anything.

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
My experience with my children over the years is that they have become protective of their relationship WITH EACH PARENT. They only share the minimal amount of information about what is happening at each house - e.g. moving address, new phone numbers,school reports - rather than share anything which gives away TOO MUCH what is happening in the other household.

They also have accepted that both parents don't like each other or really want to have any conversations. The bonus is that they SEE EACH PARENT AS A DIFFERENT PERSON and take the good and bad bits for their experience in developing how they want to be when they grow up.

It took at least 8 years to get to this point.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
I'm pretty lucky as far as that goes Jon, my daughter was only 3 when her mother, step-children and I split.

It has been hard work but she often uses me as a sounding board when things are upsetting at her mums, I always give her the option of myself approaching her mother and discussing things, most times she realises it just how the other household is warts and all she still has benefits from there and loves all in the house and sometimes it needs intervention. I encourage her to speak directly to her mother and if there is a problem too great whilst there she knows she can ring me to talk.

Because of this her mother is held more accountable as I am and my daughter does get the benefit from both homes.
It balances out even though both homes are polar opposites.
Information is also shared between houses on the rare occasions it needs to be.

I totally agree that they see positive and negative behaviour from both households and when combined with social behavioral lessons at school they determine which suits them the best.

But it's important to show that you are amicable with the other person and have the child's interests at heart, developing a business relationship with my child's mother was one of the first things I put into practice and it took her 4 years to realize this is what was left of our relationship and that I was not acting out of revenge or spite but simply out of love for my daughter and to provide her the best enviroment in both homes.

The best thing is my daughter can not remember the hard times because she was so young and now it is simply accepted by her, she does however get a little sad when she has friends who don't see their father " that's not very nice is it dad " " Well not all children are as lucky as you baby and see mum and dad for a whole week "
I can't answer your question aimed at verdad although I can inject why I think it's important.

It would go a long way to show that you have established or tried to establish a relationship with the children on several levels, it would help establish that you have taken interest in their extracurricular activities and supported them via their interests, it also establishes that you have a routine, consistency and developing bonds.

I would suggest that it may depend on the individual who hears the information as to it's value as well as the over all situation, so to another judge your information would be reactive in a positive way and thats why it's worth bothering with it can help establish a positive opinion.
It's a bit difficult to know what to do in every situation and what judge or magistrate will do with each different set of information unless you are fortunate to be able to attend session with them residing or support someone who has them presiding, perhaps this is one of the greatest gifts that until now has only been shared with those close to the machine. Some here have more knowledge due to support and dedication that can lessen that gap but it still relies on those who are going through the process to work as you did.

I would ask for confirmation from  learned colleagues but would suggest cross examination may not be necessary in all cases, if this is off mark please respond and educate myself and others after all that is what we are here for to learn and teach.

Personally I found it very hard to say too many bad things about the X due to the unknown quantity and fear.

On paper I'm a different person and needed to pull back my sarcastic nature, this filled a good friend of mine with glee as he told me " you can't say that ".

I learnt to communicate in point form and direct rather than whinny and woosy, mind it is a very emotional time.

I only wish this site was established back then but I am very happy with my lot.

I still look at family law as rolling the dice but thanks to support I reduced the odds and now people on the site can do even better.
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