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Best interest of child - is this being served?

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Would you consider it to be in the best interest of the child to send them back to live in a town that has been devestated in the recent floods? And where if there is more flooding, they will be evacuated.

To live in a motel, because their usual accomodation was inundated with water, and there is an unknown time frame as to when the family can return to live in the house, let alone have repairs carried out.

Take into account that the child is currently in a non flood affected area, with no danger of being flooded or evacuated.

Court orders state that child live with one parent in the flood affected town (town is named) and that the child, due to distance, only see the other parent during school holidays.
It's not about where or how they live but whom they live with.

Firstly, have you not got a TV and have seen that 75% of the state is affected by flood (I'm assuming that the child is in QLD).  Most towns in flood affected areas are devastated and may or may not be subjected to more flooding.  You can't live everyday thinking that the town might be flooded and it is in the best interest of the child to be in a "non flood affected town".  Obviously orders were made, "in the best interests of the child" to be in that town in the beginning.

Where else do you expect them to live?, at least they have a motel and somewhere warm  and  dry to stay, others are in evacuation centres and community housing shelters, all very well run and organised by government bodies might I add. Does this make where the child stays inadequate, i don't think so. The child will be with his/her family unit; this is obviously what the court has ordered, for one reason or another. I think the law states "it's not where they live, but with whom".  And you yourself say that the child normally lives with the parent in the flood affected town, are you not breaching orders? 

Your post reeks of an alternative agenda. Why would you think that being away from family in a time like this is "in the best interests of the child". Does the child understand what is happening? How old is the child? Is the child at school? I think it would be detrimental to the child to be separated in a time like this.

@ Boots

I think you need to comply with court orders.

But what are the other parents thoughts on the matter?

Are you proposing that the 'spends time with' be delayed for a week or a few days until the flood risk subsides?

What town are we referring to?

4MYDAUGHTER
Guest said
Firstly, have you not got a TV and have seen that 75% of the state is affected by flood (I'm assuming that the child is in QLD).  Most towns in flood affected areas are devastated and may or may not be subjected to more flooding.  You can't live everyday thinking that the town might be flooded and it is in the best interest of the child to be in a "non flood affected town".  Obviously orders were made, "in the best interests of the child" to be in that town in the beginning.


Where else do you expect them to live?, at least they have a motel and somewhere warm  and  dry to stay, others are in evacuation centres and community housing shelters, all very well run and organised by government bodies might I add. Does this make where the child stays inadequate, i don't think so. The child will be with his/her family unit; this is obviously what the court has ordered, for one reason or another. I think the law states "it's not where they live, but with whom".  And you yourself say that the child normally lives with the parent in the flood affected town, are you not breaching orders? 


Your post reeks of an alternative agenda. Why would you think that being away from family in a time like this is "in the best interests of the child". Does the child understand what is happening? How old is the child? Is the child at school? I think it would be detrimental to the child to be separated in a time like this.



 

Interesting quote guest. It would seem that you are assuming that the spends time with parent is not family. Interesting concept. Actually you sound like you ARE the other parent.

And as for orders being made, well it was all by consent after a very long and expensive drawn out battle. And so far the other parent has breached the orders a dozen times. Somehow the other party managed to get this into the court system without a current 60I certificate, and consistently refuses mediation.

The other party relocated halfway across the state, and has with held contact at least twice, and removed the child to locations unknown when the child should have been in school. Missed 4 weeks of school on that occassion.

And now the other party is refusing to provide an address, which IS required as per the orders. Question was asked as to where chid will live, and just like guest has suggested, the reply was with his/her family.

So, if the question I had put forward was, Orders state that child live with parent A, and spend time with parent B, and parent A is flooded and would prefer child to stay with parent B longer. What would you say? And if parent b refused? What then. What would you say? Would you say that parent B was NOT considering the best interests of the child and making them live in other accomodation for an unknown period of time?
@ Boots

So the situation is that the child is currently with the father (non-resident parent) as per holiday orders and the child is due to return to the resident parent mother?

Obviously with the flooding there are issues at the mother end.

Wouldn't the best approach be - given flooding, airport accessibility issues etc. - to say to the mother - "would it be of assistance to you - in your current circumstances - for the child to stay with us for a bit longer? Would that help you out? Give you time to sought out your living arrangements, etc."




4MYDAUGHTER
@ 4md
That is the approach that was taken.

Other parent just says that child will be living with "his family" meaning her and her partner. And still refuses to provide address, even though that too is part of the orders.
It may be hard for them to provide an address.

Well - at the end of the day, the father needs to comply with the orders.

4MYDAUGHTER
4mydaughter said
It may be hard for them to provide an address.

Well - at the end of the day, the father needs to comply with the orders.
 

And what about at the end of the day, the mother also needs to comply with the orders, which is to provide an address. The mother has not said anything about not being able to provide an address, all she has stated is that she is in emergency accommodation which is apparently not a motel and not an evacuation centre.

She, as she has previously chosen to do, just refuses to answer the question and is not providing a reason as to why she has not provided address details as per the court orders. Chosing to not reply to questions/queries even those that relate directly to education and health has been a recurring theme for the past 4 years.
The really sensible thing would be to look at what sort of situation the child would be going back to. If the location the child is going back to is underwater , there is no infrastructure or facilities and no food or water; then there are some special extenuating circumstances that any contravention proceeding or enforcement would stand up to. I would have thought any reasonable parent would have made an offer to look after the child for longer and if that was not accepted make the decision at that point based on the best assesment of the circumstances where the child is going back to. Regardless, if the orders say provide an address then do so. That is hardly a negotiable issue and surely not a big one to comply with.

A week or so will not make any difference as it is still school holidays. Although the orders must be complied with there is also some room in these extraordinary circumstances, that has befallen Queensland and other areas, to have some flexibility… I would have thought !!! We are in extraordinary times at the moment. If they take you to court because the child has not been returned I think there is ample argument for a reasonable defence (Providing that there is a genuine issue / situation at the child's place of residence). This would not be a long term issue anyway , would it and you are talking a week or so perhaps?

Two sensible parents should be able to make some offer of arrangement to help teh other one out and let them get things cleaned up. If sense is not available then make the tough decisions that look after the child first and foremost, and ride out the storm that may follow. I might call one of the Federal Magistrates or Family Court on Monday and ask some questions around the sorts of things that may be considered as being reasonable actions to take.

Perhaps the SRL group could add some more relevant commentary.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
See that's the thing secretary, unlike guest's post we were not being opportunistic, but were having regard to the child's best interest.

And yes, if we were talking about two sensible people, then the whole matter could be sorted out quickly. I really don't see what the drama is about providing the address. Unless….. The orders actually specific the location of residence, rather than child live with mother.

I have checked out the local council's website for the area, which is very informative, and advises that the current food situation is no fresh meat, eggs, fruit and veges, and limited bread and milk. We still have all that available to us here. The school, according to the mother was not flooded. But her house, and shopping centre across the road were to a depth of 2 metres, as were a lot of residences in her area. Some people in this town are only just recovering from flood damage that occured over two years ago. The shopping centre will not be opening for at least 4 - 6 weeks, according to the council website. It is a rural area, far removed from south east qld.
@ Boots.

Yes  - returning the child to an area that is flood affected is far from ideal and concerning. However, at the end of the day, failing an agreement between the parents, its probably the other parents call. If they say they want the child back, then I suggest that's ultimately their call.

The issue about them providing an address, or not, is a relatively minor matter and an entirely separate issue.

Is the child flying back? Will an adult travel with the child?

My issue in this situation would be allowing the child fly back unaccompanied by an adult to a destination where there may be airport closures/delays, road closures, etc.

4MYDAUGHTER
Yes, but what about the health and safety of the child? Limited infrastructure, limited food.

And how is it ultimately down to the call of only one parent, 4md? In this case the mother. She has chosen not to respond to any email communication, so how does that make it right that it should be up to her only to decide?

Given that the mother is not willing to provide an address, is causing us to consider that the mother has another agenda. The mother is a known flight risk. She has been residing in abc town for the past two years, 900km from us. Therefore the child only spends school holidays with the father. In Sep 09, she withdrew the child from school a week early and travelled (and stayed) at various locations unknown to the father, eventually ending up in xyz town which 450 kms from abc town, but it is also the town where her partner's parents live. Child was eventually flown from xyz town to us, to spend 7 nights with father, rather than the preplanned 15.

Then in April 10, she failed to send the child down at all for the Easter break. This meant that the child did not see the father between Jan and June. Both of this with holdings of contact were on the advice of her solicitor. The father has never failed to return the child, even when he had concerns.

Then in June 10, the mother withdrew the child from school 3.5 weeks prior to holidays (2.5weeks prior to court) and resided in xyz town. Father was not advised by mother or her solicitor of child's whereabouts. He was also not advised that the chidlhad been withdrawn from school. Court ordered mother to provide address, but as the father was able to have access, mother did not provide address.

Recently during a phone call between child and mother (no we were not "eavesdropping" as the child brought phone to dinner table rather than take phone to bedroom). Child asked mother where she was, and obviously reiterated what mother said, "hotel". Then child asked where mother's partner (stepfather) was working, and as children do, repeated what was said. Especially as the place has a musical name, a bit like muckadilla is a musical name. The location is 140km from xyz town (where stepfather's parents live) and 300km from abc town where child normally lives.

We suspect that the mother may be using the "floods" as a way to relocate (again) and this would seem to be a reasonable excuse. But then she is adament that the child be returned to abc town. Once child is back in her care, we think she would move. And all without going to court. This would definitely be against orders as well. xyz town is an additional 150km away, in a slightly different direction. Any move other than to a location near the father would also go against what the family report writer said.

The mother moved to her current location with the child, even though the father said no, and after only one mediation session. No plan drawn up, and she renegged on ALL her promises re information sharing, access etc. Sadly father did not have time, money or knowledge to stop her, and now we have to live with that fact.

The mother, in the past, has demanded to know where the child is when in our care, but fails to provide recipricol information. Just like she demanded after the orders, to know who his treating GP is when with us, but failed to provide the same information.

I really do not see what is so hard about providing the address that he would be returning to. Unless that address is not in the town where she is supposed to be. And even then, why not just be open and honest about it all. The father provides information, why can't the mother?
If the mother breaches orders - make an Application for Contravention.

I can understand your frustration at the mothers ongoing behaviour - and your anxieties - I've been there - but at the end of the day what can you do about it? Nothing. You can only take responsibility for what you do. You have limited control over the mother - if any at all.

Two wrongs don't make a right. If the child's due to be back with the mother pursuant of orders - then its 'the mothers call' if she says the child should be returned.

I'd suggest its not helpful worrying about whether or not the mother has an agenda. Who knows? All that worrying does you head in and leads to unhappiness. Worrying about things that are out of your control is pointless and can create difficulties in your life, affects your health, etc.


4MYDAUGHTER
Commonsense finally prevailed.

Even though the mother had threatened the father with "breaching" the orders, the father just reiterated to the mother that the "orders state" etc. No mention of a breach.

The child will be returned. The mother has not prepared the child at this stage as to what the child will be returning to, what has been lost etc. This is not our role, that will be up to her, and she will be the one who has to deal with the situation.

And yes, 4md, I am very aware that you can appreciate the situation, and have an idea of the frustration/futility/purileness of the situation. It is such a shame when two people who share such a permanent bond, cannot communicate in a sensible manner which in turn would benefit the child.
Sounds a bit wishy washy, the whole lot.  I wouldn't be returning my kid to a poor situation such as a lack of home in a damaged town,or a mud swamped home, but enrolling them in the nearest local school and keeping them for a few months longer. But that is no excuse for fathers to be nasty.
Guest said
Sounds a bit wishy washy, the whole lot. I wouldn't be returning my kid to a poor situation such as a lack of home in a damaged town,or a mud swamped home,but enrolling them inthe nearestlocal school and keeping them for a few months longer.

Well - that's a valid option that has some merit.

I guess the difficulty in this situation is not knowing exactly what the mother's situation is.

If I were in this situation, I might be tempted to travel with the child and deliver the child directly to the mother - do a 'recon' - sus the situation out.


4MYDAUGHTER
There are so many possible issues being discussed at the same time with many references to past indiscretions by the mother.

This is not always helpful in making a decision on the current situation, I would suggest that all this be put aside at this time and concentration be given to the current situation.

The main concern in my opinion is does the current situation justify a breach of orders and will it be viewed positively if does make it to court.

Concerns about what conditions the child is being returned to are valid the past indiscretions of the mother are not.

Providing an address before you return the child is a minor issue although frustrating holds no merit at this point.

Do not use the provision of an address as leverage.

Although transporting the child with you to reckon the situation may seem meritorious I have to question what will happen when you do get there if the mother seeks help from the authorities, If I was a police officer I'd be tempted to allow the child to return to the mother through compassion.

Think hard about what conditions the child is returning to and if you feel it's dangerous you need to prepare a defense for this, an opportunity may arise to utilise other prior fact but do what you do for all the significant right reasons that show this is not opportunistic or malicious.

She will be forgiven for not providing an address in this situation and can easily explain it away as she did not know where she was or the residence was temporary and expected to move soon, even relocating to her partners family home is forgivable and in the best interests of the child if it is safer. In your defence the lack of information provided by her has raised concerns for the child's safety with your expectation they will remain in the area.

As far as it not being your role to explain to the child what has happened, well it sort of is, the child is with you and if you intend sending them back it's a parental responsibility to reassure the child and reduce the shock. But everyones different in the way they view their responsibility that is up to you.

This is not an easy decision to make either way so I wish you the best of luck in what you choose I do not envy you. I have no doubt what I would do but I would have the support of the mother which would make all the difference , in saying that if it was necessary for her to relocate for a time she would have my support. And yes my daughter does live an extended distance from me relocated early last year.
Hey D4E - Good to see you again on here - don't stay up too late!!
D4E said
There are so many possible issues being discussed at the same time with many references to past indiscretions by the mother.

This is not always helpful in making a decision on the current situation, I would suggest that all this be put aside at this time and concentration be given to the current situation.

The main concern in my opinion is does the current situation justify a breach of orders and will it be viewed positively if does make it to court.

Concerns about what conditions the child is being returned to are valid the past indiscretions of the mother are not.

Providing an address before you return the child is a minor issue although frustrating holds no merit at this point.

Do not use the provision of an address as leverage.

Although transporting the child with you to reckon the situation may seem meritorious I have to question what will happen when you do get there if the mother seeks help from the authorities, If I was a police officer I'd be tempted to allow the child to return to the mother through compassion.

Think hard about what conditions the child is returning to and if you feel it's dangerous you need to prepare a defense for this, an opportunity may arise to utilise other prior fact but do what you do for all the significant right reasons that show this is not opportunistic or malicious.

She will be forgiven for not providing an address in this situation and can easily explain it away as she did not know where she was or the residence was temporary and expected to move soon, even relocating to her partners family home is forgivable and in the best interests of the child if it is safer. In your defence the lack of information provided by her has raised concerns for the child's safety with your expectation they will remain in the area.

As far as it not being your role to explain to the child what has happened, well it sort of is, the child is with you and if you intend sending them back it's a parental responsibility to reassure the child and reduce the shock. But everyones different in the way they view their responsibility that is up to you.

This is not an easy decision to make either way so I wish you the best of luck in what you choose I do not envy you. I have no doubt what I would do but I would have the support of the mother which would make all the difference , in saying that if it was necessary for her to relocate for a time she would have my support. And yes my daughter does live an extended distance from me relocated early last year.
 
D4E,

I am the original Guest, and have been off-line for sometime due to lack of internet. I have just caught up with all of this and would like to say that your response is exactly what I would of said myself. Thank you, you are obviously a very sensible level headed person.

Can I also say, that NO I am NOT the parent. I have had some issues with parenting myself and was just looking through this forum and it struck a cord with me.

I will respond when I have some more time, actually might even join and get amongst it.

Thank you again.
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