Monster we have moved through most of the process you have described thus far. Our case is awaiting listing for a final hearing but as the mother continually fails to follow the Interim Orders I have been forced to apply to the Courts and our matter is listed as a 'hearing'.
I always try and argue in the best interests of the children and always supply evidence to support what I say. The mother never does this so in this instance I have called her bluff and now she is trying to use doctors etc. to support her allegations.
Thank you everyone for your thoughts on this matter.
Without saying too much…isn't the onus on the mother to supply 'evidence' to support her allegations of abuse? At the end of the day, I have never abused my children and yet I find myself having to defend my innocence just because the mother has made up an abuse story. What are the likely outcomes in a situation like this?
Oneadadc - there have been a number of Affidavits filed in the Court from family members all of whom were present at the time of the alleged abuse.
I am hoping to take this discussion to a private area very soon as there have been more developments in the last day or so.
Lifeinsight, 4mydaughter and others, thanks for your insight and thoughts on this matter. After 'stretching my field of perception' I made an urgent application to the Court to have the Orders altered and filed an Affidavit in support. The matter will be heard within the next couple of weeks.
Needless to say, despite the Mother maintaining her accusations of abuse she has still not filed a form 4 or filed any police reports in the matter. I did write to her solictors refusing permission for the children to attend a psychologist for a psychological assessment/report and I got a reply back stating that I didn't have the children's best interests in mind otherwise I would have given permission. Since being served my Application the Mother has now put forward that given she had the children assessed by a Pediatrician recently and the Pediatrician supports what the Mother is saying (ie. in regards to the children's behaviour as a result of spending time with me) that she will be sending the children to the psychologist regardless of my not giving permission, so the children can have 'counselling'. Is there any way I can prevent her from doing this given she will seek to rely on what the psychologist says in her response to my Application?
To answer your questions 4mydaughter:
With regards the request to for your daughter to see a 'shrink' - write back and say - 'NO'. Its inadmissible in Court anyway. My understanding is that these reports have to be court ordered. Assuming that her solicitor would knows this, why would she ask? I find this strange. Perhaps they want you to say 'no'. I can only assume that they would ask because by giving permission then I am admitting that I did hurt the children and I am agreeing that they need help as a result of this.
Would the response 'no' suggest you are trying to hide something? Maybe in their opinion but I know I am not hiding anything and have tendered Affidavit material from the other adults present to support my position.
Did they actually state that the Report was for court? They stated that the report was for the psychologist who wrote our Family Report last year.
Are there orders in place that say she must gained your approval? The Orders say nothing about gaining approval for medical/psychological testing.
This is really starting to smell like 'Hostile Aggressive Parenting'. Did these problems start after your new partner attended for contact with you? Absolutely! Prior to this she was trying to get me to return to the marriage.
I think you need to build off a contravention platform. You need to make a decision and act swiftly and accurately. I have tried to do this by providing evidence that 'proves' her contraventions.
Like you 4mydaugher I tried to base my Affidavit around the discussion papers you forwarded me. I felt that I put forward a strong Affidavit but it is always difficult when I can never anticipate what the Mother will put forward as she always puts forward things that I never expected!
LifeInsight - if you could email through the forms that would be great.
4mydaughter - the mother is definately employing the 'parental alienation' tactic. She uses the children as messengers, she uses them as spys to find out what my new partner and I are doing and tells them things like, 'daddy wants to steal you away'. Not much to make them feel secure in such a turbulent situation!
In regards to the Recovery Order, and this was mentioned previously, once a Recovery Order is issued does it stay in effect for 12 months? That is, if I apply for a Recovery Order now and when I next travel to see the children and she does not present them will I be able to contact the Police immediately or will I have to wait until the Court opens on Monday and refile the Application? If this is the case then in effect the access time has passed and I have to fly back home for work, effectively 'missing out' on my visit.
To date, the Mother has not filed a Form 4. Indeed her solicitors wrote to me today requesting my permission for the children to attend upon a psychologist to discuss their behavioural issues as a result of my alleged abuse. They want this psychologist to write a report.
4mydaughter, thanks for the email. Will certainly have a read.
Absolutely the lawyer is covering the mother's backside and I have no doubt they will argue that the children were at risk if she was to hand them over. As for a form 4 LifeInsight, I was unaware of this form but will certainly investigate more. The mother is alleging abuse by me against the children. As far as I am aware she had made no police report in regards to the allegations but she did kindly inform me on the phone a few days ago that my eldest informed their doctor about her allegations and that the doctor has reported it to Human Services. So far I have heard nothing from Human Services so if this is true or not, I am unsure. My biggest fear is that her brainwashing is having a serious impact on the children.
Re: phone contact. Since the contravention she has put the children on the phone a few times, speaker phone that is. She constantly talks to the children in the background and encourages them to say goodbye quickly. My eldest has said very little but my youngest is happy to say a few words about what he is doing. One might argue that if she felt the children were at a serious risk that she would not be putting them on the phone at all. I am unable to 'prove' her conduct on the phone as it just me calling and her answering but I will have in my phone records the time that I rang and the duration of the call. The mother never sends text messages anymore so have no proof there.
The mother has provided no other excuse other than the one offered by her lawyer. When I rang on the morning of the contravention she simply reiterated what her lawyers had written. She has provided no other evidence for her allegations. What's more interesting is that she alleges that I misbehaved with the children during the previous access visit earlier this year, despite the fact that my new partner, and my parents were present for the entire access visit. She is alleging that despite the presence of four adults that this abuse still occurred. Is it then worth providing a written affidavit from both my partner and my parents outlining what happened at the access visit ie. no abuse?
Re: recovery order. I have no doubt the mother will continue to prevent access and this is why I want to have a recovery order put in place. I had the same understanding, 4mydaughter, that the recovery order is in place for 12 months, and that each time she prevents access the police will be able to help me. Before I apply for a recovery order however I wanted to have the interim orders changed as they are clearly not working as the mother is not complying. Also given the expense involved with travelling to see the children I wanted to request a week at a time (during school holidays) as a pose to just weekends more regularly. Am I able to do this through a Contravention Application or do I need to make an Application in a Case asking the Interim Orders to be changed on the grounds of the mother's non compliance? Can a recovery order also be dealt with on the day, or is that a separate Application/Hearing in itself? The mother continually acts as if the Orders do not apply to her and that is why I wanted to pursue contravention as a pose to just a recovery order.
I have read your entire thread on Contravention of Orders because I thought that was what I would have to apply for.
It will be relatively simple to prove a contravention because the mother admitted in a letter to not supplying the children for the access visit. What is more tricky is the clause about 'reasonable excuse'. The mother stated in her letter that she felt that if she supplied the children she would be putting their physical, psychological and emotional health at risk (very similar to the wording used in the Family Law Act) and was not prepared to put them in such a situation. I assume if I make a Contravention Application is it then up the mother to prove her excuse was reasonable?
By making a Contravention Application am I able to request the Court to review the current Orders, given they are clearly not working and also request a Recovery Order so that the next time I fly to see my children, the police will actually be able to help me. What happens to our case then, given it is awaiting listing (for a Final Orders hearing) to be heard late this year?
3. The Orders were made in the Family Court last November;
4. The Orders basically stipulate that I can make twice weekly telephone calls to the children and have them for a weekend (without sleep overs) every 6th to 7th week. This was the access times I asked for at the Hearing given I live a considerable distance from the children and need to fly to Victoria to see them.
5. The last time I went to pick the children up for an access visit, the mother was not at her residence and I was unable to locate them. I spoke with the Police and they were unable to help me unless I had a Recovery Order, which I currently do not have. The mother had left a letter at her residence addressed to the ICL making some false accusations about how I had misbehaved with the children at a previous visit. She was advised by the ICL (prior to the access visit) to make an Application to the Court but failed to do so and indeed has not since. Since this weekend she has only put the children on the phone a couple of times but mostly does not answer the phone or tells me the children are asleep. She also had her solicitors write me a letter saying she will not provide the children for any further visits on the grounds outlined in the original letter to the ICL. As far as I am aware, she has made no Applications to the Courts.
Thanks for the prompt response. I have sent off an email a few days ago about joining the SRL-R group (I assume this is how it is done after reading the SRL-R resources pages) but as yet have not heard anything.
The biggest problem for me, as I am sure faced by many SRLs, is not knowing the Court procedures intimately and which forms exactly I should use to initiate an Application. So far, I have only ever been a Respondent, replying to the Applications initiated by the mother (it does not really help either that she is a trained solicitor herself and is using family law specialists also). Given her behaviour since the Interim Orders were made and the fact that she is now refusing to supply the children ever again for a visit, it is necessary for me to initiate an Application in the Courts. What type of Application I need to make however is what I am unsure of.
I have been having a really good read around this website but have been unable to find a specific answer to assist in my current family law matter.
To date, I have been self-represented and have used the advice of Legal Aid and the Family Courts to assist me in my case. However, the mother of my children keeps battling me in the Court and now I am at a loss to which action to take next.
In a nutshell…
The mother applied for urgent interim orders and final orders late last year. The mother failed to serve the documents properly and attended the case assessment conference without my knowledge. After being sent the new orders by the Court, I was instructed to attend the Interim hearing in less than a week. At the hearing, I requested that the matter be adjourned given the little time I had to prepare and the Judge adjourned the case for a number of weeks. Before reattending Court, we had a family report written (albeit extremely biased toward the mother) and submitted. At the hearing, I negotiated with the mother's representation, through the ICL's representation, and together we settled on final interim orders via agreement, with a hearing for final orders to be relisted until later this year.
In the meantime however…
Prior to the first access visit, the mother tried to show that I had been dishonest in disclosing my residential address to her (given I live overseas and indeed did supply the correct address) and that this was a reasonable excuse not to present the children for their access visit, aruging that I was a flight risk. I supplied evidence to her showing my address and the visits went ahead as the Orders outlined. However, at the end of each day for the length of the visit, the mother handed me detailed letters outlining the terrible things I was doing to the children during their visits. After collecting five of these letters, I responded, explaining that what she was alleging was simply not true.
Prior to the second access visit, a couple of months later, the mother tried to prevent the access visit, by claiming that I had failed to comply with the Orders by not showing her directly proof of my attendance at a post-separation parenting course, although the Orders stated that this information went directly to the ICL and not her. The visit went ahead at planned.
Most recently, after travelling a long distance to see the children, the mother was not at her residence when I went to collect the children, instead leaving a letter for me from her solicitors alledging that I had behaved sexually inappropriately with the children during the prior visit and this was a reasonable excuse to prevent access. This was particularly upsetting for me, as I love my children and have never acted in the way she accuses. Obviously, I did not see the children that weekend and she is now saying that she will not provide them again for another visit.
I also have weekly telephone calls with the children, and on at least half of these, she has not put the children on the phone, citing various reasons, eg. they are asleep, they do not want to talk etc.
Now I am at the point that I am not sure what to do next. It is clear that the Orders aren't working and she is failing to comply with them regularly, but how do I go about getting the matter heard in the Court and what type of approach do I need to take? Is applying for a Contravention Order appropriate? Is it worth applying for a Recovery Order as well? How do I get the Orders changed given the matter is waiting to be heard late this year, clearly far too long to wait. The mother threatened that she would do this to me when I finally called for the separation, I just had no idea about the lengths that she would go to.