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Self Representation - Submitting The Correct Documents (Help please)

Hi,
I'm new here.

I'm self-representing in the Federal Circuit Court in April. I've had a lawyer up until now, and spent over $10k for well, nothing. The interim hearing was a train wreck. So I am now self-representing.

I have a copy of the interim orders and need legal advice on what each point means. I want to make completely sure I file the correct documents at the right time. And in the right format. Does anyone have recommendations of a lawyer in Brisbane that I could clarify these points with?

For example: I've previously filed the initiating application, and 3 affidavits. The Interim Order says that before the final hearing I need to file and serve "One affidavit setting out all evidence to be relied upon at trial including evidence in previous affidavit material and any further evidence-in-chief."

So now I'm wondering, do I need to put together a brand new affidavit including everything from the previous two, plus any new information? Or do I just attach the previous two somehow to a 3rd affidavit? And how does it need to be served on the other party? Do I need to do a formal service to my former husband's lawyer with a person getting things signed??

These sorts of questions I need help with. Any recommendations would be really appreciated.
Thanks
The other 3 affidavits are already on Court file. There is no reason to re-attach these to your trial affidavit.

Depending on the issues still in dispute and current circumstances, you might find that some of the information from your other affidavits, is no longer relevant to your case, to your arguments or to the issues still in dispute e.g. an issue raised in your materials about who will collect the child from somewhere, if this has since been resolved, would be no longer relevant.  In which case, rather than relying on the entire affidavit, you would instead only be relying on certain paragraphs and/or attachments from the other affidavits.
        
You can consolidate all affidavits into one, refer to and restate certain paragraphs from your other affidavits and extend upon these with further evidence.  Alternately, if you intend to rely on all evidence from the 3 other affidavits, and particularly if they are lengthy, you may like to state this in your final affidavit.

You can serve the affidavit on the other parties lawyer electronically.  

Will you be self-representing at trial?

Any opinions expressed herein are strictly for informational purposes and are never to be taken as legal advice.
Yes I will be self representing.

I have been reading through my previous affidavits and there are parts that are now irrelevant. So I think it will be better to combine into a fresh one. I feel I can streamline it more also.

I have one other question that is really important that you might be able to help with I hope.

My  case is about what private secondary school our 2 children will attend. We enrolled them as babies and it was always our intention to send them there. They're currently at another private school.  My initiating application had our boy attending A, and our girl attending B and we pay 50% each. At the interim hearing the Judge wouldn't do anything and held status quo pending the final hearing.

Their father has been all over the place on his schooling stance. But for the most part has always stood firm in ONLY agreeing to our boy attending A and girl attending C. He won't even consider B for our girl.

He is now saying he'll only agree to A and C, if I pay half, and enter into a BCSA saying I accept $0 forever. I had a baby a year ago, so his payment went up and he had always resented paying child support of just $30 per week. Even though he earns $300,00/year.

B and C are both great schools. I'd rather agree to C for my girl than to have her continue where she is.

So my question is, even though I won't accept the $0 child support, should I change my Final Orders to be boy goes to A and girl goes to C, and leave it up to the CSA to determine school fees? Or will it be detrimental to my case if I change one of the schools? Like I said, they're both great schools.

I even made an offer in writing to his lawyer for the children to attend A and C, and that I'd pay half shortly after the interim hearing.  They ignored the letter completely.



 
Mumvity said
Yes I will be self representing.

I have been reading through my previous affidavits and there are parts that are now irrelevant. So I think it will be better to combine into a fresh one. I feel I can streamline it more also.

Just one thing to be aware of, that you may not be, is that even if you consolidate, anything filed with the Court can still be raised by the other sides lawyer.  Meaning, you can still be questioned about it during cross-examination.   

With regards to the school issue. This can be a very contentious area for separated parents, at the best of times, given that after separation the financial positions of one or both of the parents can change dramatically (sometimes attitudes also), and at times, what was once an option, may now not be.


Mumvity said
 My  case is about what private secondary school our 2 children will attend. We enrolled them as babies and it was always our intention to send them there. My initiating application had our boy attending A, and our girl attending B and we pay 50% each. At the interim hearing the Judge wouldn't do anything and held status quo pending the final hearing.

Do you have any evidence of this agreement? As I understand it, the children are already enrolled in and attending a private secondary school, so this is just a matter of whether or not they should be transferred to the previously agreed schools?  

Is their father seeking for them to remain at their present school?


Mumvity said
 So my question is, even though I won't accept the $0 child support, should I change my Final Orders to be boy goes to A and girl goes to C, and leave it up to the CSA to determine school fees? Or will it be detrimental to my case if I change one of the schools?

Is there a large disparity between the fees at their current school and the ones you want them to attend?

In your affidavit, you can include the discussions about schools A, B and C with the father, his acceptance of school A and C, your correspondence with his lawyer, and then his attempt to manipulate the outcome of any agreement to school A and C using child support. This will provide context to the reason you are now seeking schools A and C as opposed to A and B   

Hopefully you have some written evidence to back this up.    

What school does your daughter want to attend? This could also be used to support an argument for either school.

Any opinions expressed herein are strictly for informational purposes and are never to be taken as legal advice.
Thank you for your reply and time SWAMBO.

SWAMBO said
 Do you have any evidence of this agreement? As I understand it, the children are already enrolled in and attending a private secondary school, so this is just a matter of whether or not they should be transferred to the previously agreed schools?  
I have email proof that we both paid half of their confirmation of enrollment fees, and continue to hold enrollment fees for both schools. (these were between $1500 and $2500 each) What happened last year starting around Jan, is that we had a long back and forth about schools A, B and C. Then in July we had mediation. At the end of 4 hours of arguing, we signed an agreement that said they can stay at Z school, until we reach a further agreement and that the boys enrollment at A be deferred, the girl's at B be held, and the girl's at C that the confirmation to continue to hold enrollment be signed. Her father had already paid the confirmation fee and was just waiting on my signature.

SWAMBO said
Is their father seeking for them to remain at their present school?
So, in his response to my application, his orders said, the children should attend A and C, and that I should pay:
- 100% of the school fees and all other associated costs.
- And I pay his lawyers costs. (That was Dec)
Now he has just sent a BCSA through his lawyer saying:
- the children attend Z,
- I pay 50% of school fees and activities, and he pay the same.
- I pay any other costs for the children like tutors.
- And that he pays no Child Support.


SWAMBO said
Is there a large disparity between the fees at their current school and the ones you want them to attend?
Z is approximately $9000 - $10,000 per year
A, B and C are between $22,000 and $25,000 per year. (the boys schools being more expensive)
Also, A & C are brother/sister schools and located next to each other. Their father was citing a distance issue to at one of the early stages. B is about 15 minutes away from A & C. And all are comparable from his house. Though he was saying the round trip was too long to go to B and then A…

SWAMBO said
In your affidavit, you can include the discussions about schools A, B and C with the father, his acceptance of school A and C, your correspondence with his lawyer, and then his attempt to manipulate the outcome of any agreement to school A and C using child support. This will provide context to the reason you are now seeking schools A and C as opposed to A and B   
That what I did in the original, however I was asking for A and B. He has held their education up for ransom. So my original affidavit has why I think B is better suited etc. Though like I said, both school's are really good schools. So would I say the reason I'm changing my final order to A and C, is because I would hope their father would be more amenable??

SWAMBO said
Hopefully you have some written evidence to back this up.  
 Yes. Plenty of email messages. When he suddenly brought Child Support into it half way through the year. I have emails saying things like "i will only agree to these schools under these terms…" So he has "financial certainty for the future".

SWAMBO said
What school does your daughter want to attend? This could also be used to support an argument for either school.
 My daughter wants to attend C, as it was the school I attended. However, when I had my lawyer make the offer in Dec, after the interim hearing, that the children attend A and C, and I pay half I discussed it with her first. She was initially upset to attend B, but is OK with it now as I explained it would be better than staying where she is, and that it also is a very good school. Even though he and his lawyer ignored that offer completely.

One other thing to note. My son is performing poorly at the school he is currently at. Especially this year. I have had every teacher that he has contact me separately over the last 4 weeks, saying he's not focused, not on time, missing materials, falling behind in assignments. He's not enjoying it either. I think there's resentment there from all that has happened perhaps. He plays his cards close to his chest, but I know he has been affected by the last 12 months. And that is a major concern of mine.
 

Last edit: by Mumvity

Mumvity said
 I have email proof that we both paid half of their confirmation of enrollment fees, and continue to hold enrollment fees for both schools. (these were between $1500 and $2500 each).
As this happened prior to separation, but more importantly, prior to the children attaining secondary school age, then it is of little relevance.

Like I said, financial circumstances of separated parents can change dramatically post separation. For some parents, it could place them into severe financial hardship if they continued to be held to an agreement made years earlier. This could even be so for intact families i.e. changing financial positions at a later stage, necessitating reevaluations and adjustments based on current affordability.


Mumvity said
 At the end of 4 hours of arguing, we signed an agreement that said they can stay at Z school, until we reach a further agreement and that the boys enrollment at A be deferred, the girl's at B be held, and the girl's at C that the confirmation to continue to hold enrollment be signed. Her father had already paid the confirmation fee and was just waiting on my signature.
Mumvity said
 So, in his response to my application, his orders said, the children should attend A and C
The above is more relevant to now.  A mediation agreement was reach for the children to stay at school Z, but with places to be held for both children at the other schools, albeit deferred for your son.

Their father is seeking orders for schools A and C, which indicates, at least according to his Court materials, that he agrees to the children attending those schools, albeit being conditional upon you paying all of the school fees et al.  With a later proposal that you both pay 50% of fees, provided he does not have to pay you any child support.

You mention later, that your daughter originally wanted to attend school C, and, that while you prefer B, both are good schools and you are happy to send her to C.  You have informed their father you will agree to A and C.

It appears then, at this point, that the biggest issue is who, or how, the fees will be paid?  .

Can I ask what the present care percentage for the children is?


Mumvity said
Z is approximately $9000 - $10,000 per year
A, B and C are between $22,000 and $25,000 per year. (the boys schools being more expensive)
Also, A & C are brother/sister schools and located next to each other. Their father was citing a distance issue to at one of the early stages. B is about 15 minutes away from A & C. And all are comparable from his house. Though he was saying the round trip was too long to go to B and then A
As I said, you appear to have already agreed to schools A and C, subject to fee agreements.


Mumvity said
 That what I did in the original, however I was asking for A and B. He has held their education up for ransom.
I agree that he might have caused some unnecessary delays, and created issues, especially for your son, given your son is in year 7 and changing schools could be disruptive to him, but I would not necessarily say on the further information you have provided, that he has "held their education to ransom".

From what you have said, my understanding is that their father has continued to consent to schools A and C.  His disagreement lies in the financial aspects i.e. fee payment

I'm not sure what either of your financial positions are, but just to observe…

You state later in your post, that the father has mentioned that he wants "future financial certainty".  I personally view this as sensible. You should be seeking/wanting the same.  The fees you have stated are not "spare change" and the obligation to pay them will last for several years. The last thing you want to happen is for the children to need to move school again!

If the issue of school fees, or disagreement to who pays what, lies in you not being able to afford 50% without receiving child support, (or for him in having to pay child support), then to me, this already places doubt on both of your future capacity to pay the fees.  How much thought have you given to this?


Mumvity said
 So my original affidavit has why I think B is better suited etc. Though like I said, both school's are really good schools. So would I say the reason I'm changing my final order to A and C, is because I would hope their father would be more amenable??
You can simply say that you now agree to A and C for reasons I provided in my last post. You can add that your daughter would like to go to C also.


Mumvity said
 One other thing to note. My son is performing poorly at the school he is currently at. Especially this year. I have had every teacher that he has contact me separately over the last 4 weeks, saying he's not focused, not on time, missing materials, falling behind in assignments. He's not enjoying it either. I think there's resentment there from all that has happened perhaps. He plays his cards close to his chest, but I know he has been affected by the last 12 months. And that is a major concern of mine.
This could support an argument for changing schools, however, it does not automatically support an argument for changing to another private school or higher costing school.

Have you thought about a tutor?  Does he have friends at his current school? Have you discussed this with your son?

I would say that arguments between parents can certainly affect the children, especially when they are being exposed to them.  Which could invariably be true here given you have continued to tell him that he might be changing schools.

I would also say that this could have effected his ability to have settled into his current school. Why should he bother making friends, joining clubs, trying out for sports et al, if your just going to move him anyway??  The Judge was very sensible leaving things as they are, until further hearing, in this regard.

Last edit: by SWAMBO


Any opinions expressed herein are strictly for informational purposes and are never to be taken as legal advice.
Hi SWAMBO,

Thanks for your reply.

The last two installments for confirmation of enrollment were made in 2014 and September last year. We divorced 7 years ago.

He earns $300,000 per year, and bonuses.
I'm a homemaker atm, but will be returning to work this year. I earn $140,000 per year.
We both own houses and shares.
I have always paid for half of everything to do with my children. There father spends a lot of time ensuring that everything is worked out down to the dollar.

He sent me a Binding Child Support agreement last week that says the children stay at the school they are currently at. No A, B or C. I pay half of school fees and activities.  And I alone pay any other things like tutors.

And if I don't sign it, then he said it's time to get papers together as the first round needs to be submitted this Thursday for court - obviously in more legal terms.(He's an ex-lawyer from another country too. Not practicing here.)  And that he's adding the binding child support agreement to his costs application.

He was in agreement to our son attending A all last year (and before), until around August when he decided to put child support into the equation. Even sending me an excel graph showing how I was "benefiting" out of all this. From August, all his messages included some statement that roughly said, "this isn't me agreeing to our son attending A, it is just keeping the door open until we iron out the issues I have."

The children attended tutors for 3 years until the end of last year - twice a week. In my opinion tutoring shouldn't be a permanent fixture if a school is doing their job properly. That was $1200/term extra for tutors. Having to employ tutors for 3 years is another reason I do not want my children to stay at this school. I've expressed my unhappiness with the school to their father for over 3 years now.

I have  given the fees much thought. I understand they're expensive. We pay fees now. The children's current activities are as much as their current school fees.

I understand the concept of financial security. However, no one can look into the future and know what it holds. We can deal with facts and how things are now. For me, it would be the knowledge that I would have a responsibility to pay half of my children's school fees into the future. Knowing I have mortgage payments, car payments and have to run a house. All expenses I can foresee and plan for as best I can. So I'm not sure what else he needs. His employer cannot promise he will be employed until he retires. So how can he get this elusive financial certainty?

Yes, I have discussed the potential school change with my son. I couldn't make a decision like that without him being involved and hearing his thoughts. In the end I told him his preference was incredibly important to me. I spoke with him many times last year about the new school, how he felt, any concerns he had, how he would feel leaving his friends, nervousness about a new school. We discussed ways to make sure he would keep in touch and would see his current friends. I'm very child focused and respect my son's feelings. He's almost 12. He wants very much to attend A. I took him on a school tour last year to remove the "what is it like" questions. His Dad even took him to the Open Day in August. He had nightmares last year. He asked me to "to please fix it."  Recently when there was a storm here he said "If the storm was big enough and destroyed Z, then I'd have to go to A."  These sorts of comments concern me of course.

And so, here we are.




 

Last edit: by Mumvity

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