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Parenting orders and the road ahead - negotiating consent orders

Hi, all.

I'm quite new to this forum but have thus far found the questions and experiences posted here immensely helpful.

My partner is the applicant and a self-represented litigant in a case for parenting orders. The process is far more daunting than either of us could have predicted at the very beginning.

Care arrangements for the child throughout their separation was one overnight each week with dad, alternate weekends, and occasional holiday time.

For the entirety of their separation, the mother was adamant about reconciling and would become physically aggressive when refused. This led to countless incidents in which the mother assaulted, trespassed, stalked, damaged property and stole from dad, and one (two, if you count me) incident where the mother contacted and harassed an intimate partner of his. The child was frequently a witness to these incidents.

Still, care arrangements remained, though they were sometimes interrupted by the mother, coinciding with dad's rejection of prospects to reconcile.

Anyway, these arrangements were brought to a halt when I entered the picture. Mum fabricated a story about the father committing an act of domestic violence against her and severed contact between him and the child. She later privately sought a domestic violence order against him, adjourned the mention three times and then filed a notice of discontinuance the day before her affidavit was due.

Some time spent with arrangements were reinstated when dad said he would approach her parents about her behaviour, but only alternate weekends. Shortly after, they attended FDR - dad sought the original care arrangements, mum refused to negotiate anything other than alternate weekends. Solicitor said sign a parenting plan to deter her from withholding again and you can bring an application for orders, which he has now done.

First hearing was in June and was basically adjourned because both parents were voluntarily enrolling in the Parenting Orders Program - kind of a 'do the course, try and reach an agreement, and then we'll talk' from the judge. The parenting plan was made into interim orders.

Since filing, dad (and I) realised that he did so in haste and he will soon be filing an amended application for both interim and final orders, and an amended affidavit. Basically, the original affidavit addressed issues with the mother being uncooperative, rather than the best interests of the child, and the amended affidavit instead focuses on the child's best interests.

Except for one very brief paragraph for the purpose of disclosure, he has left out the details of past behaviours because he is seeking shared parental responsibility (as is the mother).

He is struggling with one element though - attempts to resolve the issue outside of court.

Throughout separation, dad has tried dozens of times to reach an outcome that puts down on paper what care arrangements will be for the child. Mum would avoid at all costs. She would become calm and cooperative if dad said he was seeking mediation, so mediation temporarily became unnecessary, and the one time mediation was organised, she didn't attend, leading to his receipt of a s60i certificate that never arrived in the mail and he didn't know about until after it had expired.

Since filing the initiating application, dad has contacted her solicitor twice to negotiate an outcome outside of court by way of consent orders. Mum contacted him and aggressively demanded that he not contact her solicitor anymore and basically said 'You started court, so now you've got it' (despite her threatening court innumerable times previously). Now, he is planning to again invite her to Family Dispute Resolution ahead of the next court date, again to try and reach an outcome outside of court.

Is it a good idea to include in the affidavit a paragraph about attempts to negotiate an outcome outside of court to no avail? Or will that basically demonstrate that shared care isn't possible because the conflict remains high, even though it's mum - the primary carer - who doesn't seem open to the concept of reaching an outcome outside of court?

Any other direction or opinions about this case would be welcome, too.

Cheers.
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