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Help - My ex keeps brain washing my child on contact visit and refuses to send him back

do Law courts really help???

I have a family law court order, that states my son live with me, and even at the age of 14 years, I still have to abide by it, but his father never does.  My main concern is that everytime I send him on a plane for contact holidays, he comes home absolutely brain washed and hates me, as he has people in his ears, saying bad things about me.  He gets told from his father on contact visits that HE DOESN'T HAVE TO GO BACK TO MUM, & he can stay here and have money, rather than him pay me the maintenance.

  After the first week then my son refuses to talk to me, and all of a sudden hates me, then I have no contact and get all the threats and worries that they will not return him, as they have this time.  I have told my son he must return home, and the things he has been told he should not be involved with.

 He said that his father told him he doesn't have to come home, and that he can stay there…  what a situation.  I do the right thing and send my son up there to him as ordered, then I get left with the worry and torment and abuse from my son, that he wont return to me.

Isn't it funny how real every day life is different to holidays.  Can partners do this to children?; how do I stop him from turning my son against me at every contact visit, and this time I dont even know if he will be on the plane again, as he states he can stay and will be, as all of a sudden he hates me, and we have always had the best relationship and were the only ones left to look after each other, when my husband just drove out of us, and out of the town we lived.  If he doesn't return what can I do?  How do I stop my son from listening to them and hating his mother from lies and bribary?

I cannot and will not re send him, If I get him back this time.  I cannot and will not go thru this again - Some one out there please give me some guidance…. Help!  Thanks

Last edit: by monteverdi

Thank you.  Unfortunatley his father is a ladies man and always has been my son has hated him for the abondement and I get the same thing that he struggles at school due to not having a dad.  Your help is appreciated.  Thanks.  I know my son so well and if his father really wanted him why did it take him two years to realise this and wait till he had a girlfriend to help him out?  It is hard and thanks again
           perhaps if you got the evidence you could do something about this through Family Law, however perhaps trying to do something would make things with the relationship even worse, in that your son could express even more hatred. Perhaps such moves could backfire and result in your son living with the father, that route would very much be a gamble.

Another area, although perhaps not practical, could be to consider the root of the problem, which may well be the limited time with the father. Perhaps the son goes, starts to bond and then sees that newly formed bond being broken. How would your son see you saying "because I love you and see how hurt you are that I will do what is needed so you can spend a greater amount of time with your Dad?"

Unfortunately many of us have to take many of the things that the other parent says on the chin for the sake of the child or children. Perhaps that is another area you could look at for dealing with or reducing the affect of the problem.

It would be good if Sage saw your issues and commented.

Scorpio said
I cannot and will not re send him If I get him back this time.  I cannot and will not go thru this again
This is not the best action you can take. Your frustration is apparent. By your contravening the orders the effect might go against you should you use the court to resolve the matter. An action available you is to address the subject of the fathers' not acting in the best interest of the child by making him discontent and causing a variation (circumvention) of the orders. That can also be an evidence collation process. Correspondence can be valuable evidence.

The actions of the father are best noted in a diary, especially the quotes your child makes in respect of thefather. But even here it is unwise to be prompting him for such material. You may have a case in Family Law, yet as with all cases preparation and an identification of the legal issues and the associated facts are important.

There is substantial material on this portal that would be of value to you. Joining the site and ensuring that the other side is not aware of your possible legal moves is a good strategy. When your information is not public it would be more appropriate to post your information. You will find help here, being frank and consistent has merit. You will need to ascertain who amongst the posters advice is of value to you and disregard the rest.

The court process is a less preferrable option to a negotiated outcome. Should negotiations not be successful help is available to you here, your helping others would be appreciated in return.

May peace be with you

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
Scorpio11 said "I have a family law court order, that states my son live with me, and even at the age of 14 years, I still have to abide by it, but his father never does.  My main concern is that every time I send him on a plane for contact holidays, he comes home absolutely brain washed and hates me, as he has people in his ears, saying bad things about me.  He gets told from his father on contact visits that HE DOESN'T HAVE TO GO BACK TO MUM, & he can stay here and have money, rather than him pay me the maintenance."

This "I still have to abide by it, but his father never does" is not true. The Orders are for both to abide by and if 1 parent does not abide by them, the proper process is to seek a Court Recovery Order that can be obtained on the day of applying for the Order. This will cause police to go and pick up the child, place him on a plane back to you and cause the father to appear in Court.

This could alienate your son against you for causing the father to be dealt with by the Court for not seeking new Orders that reflect the child's wishes.

I would say the old adage of "let it go, if it comes back it was if not it was not meant to be." By that I mean, if you can prove a contravention of a Court Order by air tickets and the like then you have the grounds for a Contravention application at which you could seek to cause the reversal of the roles of the parents. "Let it go."

The alternative and probably more liked on this site is you tell your son if he wants he can live with the father for a trial period, without changing to Orders. The father would need to enrol him in a new school with a new uniform and make sure he went to school every day. Cloth, feed, and cares for him in the proper way to test the fathers bona fides. This would defuse the fathers claims unless they were genuine, give your son an ability to see the true nature of the father and dismiss your bad parent claims by the other parent. It will be hard but if you don't seek the contravention, it should cause your son to look at what is happening and he should see more clearly. "An opportunity to come back on his own free will".  

The hard part for you is if you are scared the son would want to stay in the fathers care.

The last time I saw this happen the father and son caved, and the son went back to the mother.  
Teenagers go figure.

I tend to agree that if you put your foot down he will vote with his feet and this could be more dangerous than letting him spend time with his dad.

We all know the responsibility of whats involved in taking care of a child and while it has many positives it does require a life change as well as plenty of patience. If your son wants to experience his fathers domain for a longer period it may well see him running back with his tail between his legs.

The other thing that needs to be considered is if there are things that can be changed in your enviroment to make it a better enviroment for him. By this I do not mean fold to his every wish but he is a teenager and they do move faster than we did.

Perhaps it's time to stop using terms such as " I can not " and " I will not " and instead converse to find where the problems are and even maybe allow this to happen to see how he likes it.

Another four years and he will be looking to find his own life and you don't want him stepping out looking for his father because you destroyed this relationship.

have you thought about suggesting to your son a possible compromise and suggest that he stay there for the full school holidays then come home for the term then spend the whole of the next school holidays with his dad come back for the last term then after Christmas spend the rest of the holidays with his dad. Suggest to him he needs to stay at school where he is and improve his grades and you will consider him moving into his dads next year if he can retain his grades there.

This is of course a 50/50 chance that he will grow in his dads enviroment but he will have schedule that he can see positives in as well as future goal to aim for, this will also call his fathers bluff and put him a position where they can both see if this will work.

You also may wish to check about the suggestion that orders must be followed and if under contravention the court could rule your son stay with his father if this is the child's wish.  

As Verdad suggests there is also a wealth of material available if you chose to join the site.

All best and remember if you stress with out knowledge or with rumor you will never stop.


I am going to say a few things that will not please you.

If this goes to Court a 14 year old child can very much express their wishes 'and' if this goes to Court your child will perhaps be 15 years old by the time it is in the system. Courts are reluctant to impose 'must live with' orders on children of this age simply because the child can break the parents orders by running to the other parent.

Since children of 14 can receive a Centrelink subsidy to effectively run away from home and live on the streets a Court will accept the lesser of the two evils even if they think a parent may have coerced the child.

A straight recovery order may not be granted because of the childs age and if the Court hears that the child has been reluctant to return.
(Note there was a recent case on these forums about costs being awarded against a legal team for not providing proper information during an Ex Parte recovery application)

There have been some good options suggested about trial periods and no doubt you wil receive other excellenct advice suggesting other options.

Court is not a good option in this situation.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Thanks Agog your advice is wise and up to date while mine is untrained general opinion only.
14 year olds are as variable as the weather in their moods but as demanding as a spoilt 2 year old  in their wants and their life depends on them receiving their wants.
It is a time when you need to pick your battles with greater care and limit the flexibility you show or give on the limits set.
My experience has been that a boy will tend toward the mother while the girl will go with the father (the father usually gives into the girl easier than the mother and he would a son).

Agog your words of "Court is not a good option in this situation" is also your I suggest "let go " and see what happens.

keeping sane

Hi Scorpio 11, try to stay calm in all of this.  Your ex is simply using your son as a victory against you.  Your son is confused and angry and of course needs someone to blame for all of this.  He cant help feeling like this, he is still growing up.  Dont involve him in the battle between you.  If you go to the courts, their aim is for a reconcilliation not a decision as to who has control.  You can sort this out yourself.  Just love your son and show him patience.  Try and sit down with him, perhaps in a neutral place and ask him how he actually feels!  He must find it difficult to go back and forwards and keep loyal to both of you.  What a dilemma he is in.
If he truly wants to live with his dad, it would be better for you to let him go or enable him to stay longer.  I am sure you will find it is not what either of them really want. Just tell him you love him and want him to be happy.  That if he choses his dad you will understand and know it is not because he doesnt like you, it is because he misses his dad.  Living with you, means he cant have his dad, so that is natural.  If dad had residency, you would find the opposite thing happen!  Your ex may be trying to turn him against you, but that can only happen if you allow it to in your own mind.  Dont put your son under additional pressure.  Try to listen to him and believe that whatever he decides he will be sensible enough to see through any falsity or lies and eventually make up his own mind.

My niece had a similar problem, like thousands of other kids in a separation.  They know they can get spoiled by their fathers and play them for all they can get.  The mums get upset, but they always come back!  What is happening is normal, it is not very nice, but it is all a common part of a separation or breakup.  But this doesnt mean you have to let him walk all over you.  You explain to him what your rules are while he is living with you and what is acceptable behaviour or not and be consistent, that way you all know where you stand and you have a structure to function by,
Best wishes.
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