As well as the 7 COA's you can add 5 Applications for Children's Order's in the FMC with associated court appearances and Family Reports etc; 2 Applications for Intervention Orders and associated court appearances; 2 cases in the Family Relationship Centre's that did not reach court and finally one Parenting Plan. All this happened from 2001 up until recent times.
How did I cope and continue to cope? There were periods of extreme stress, however I always thought to my maintain my presence in our child's life, for his benefit and mine, was worth fighting for. In most of the children's matters I was self represented and in a lot of the cases it was a matter of who would crack first, me mentally or the ex financially!
My ex and myself had 7 COA cases between 2002 and 2008. 6 initiated by the ex and one by me which I later withdrew. On one of the ex's COA application's she did not provide any expenditure information. I contacted the COA team about this and was told there was no legal requirement for the ex to provide this information and the decision will be based on information provided by each of the parties.
On the last COA application made by the ex I did not provide any information except for my written response to Reason 8. When I got to the interview with the CSA appointed contract lawyer she already had sourced my last tax return from the ATO and the ATO form that you fill in when you start a new job. I had financial information with me at the interview however the lawyer said if I presented that information to her she would need to send it to the other party. The lawyer accepted the information that I verbally told her at the interview and the outcome was quite reasonable. I was quite taken back by the fairness of the lawyer, most unusual for COA cases when compared to some of the terrible decisions I have had previously. For the average person information provided on your tax return is generally a good indication of what your financial resources are. Your tax return shows bank interest and other income from resources you may have. If the SCO thinks that you are hiding financial resources in your application by what is revealed on your tax return they will delve further. If you haven't any skeletons in your closet you don't need to worry about not revealing everything.
A lot depends on the SCO that is appointed to handle your application. When I had my cases heard back in the 2000's you could actually attend a face to face interview with the SCO or contract lawyer. I actually provided information at some of these interviews that was not on my Response such as Centrelink and medical information. All the case officers accepted this information over the table. As I found out recently in my State they don't conduct face to face interviews anymore and all cases are conducted over the telephone. This makes it impossible to provide information that you don't want the other party to see.
As far as withdrawing a COA application I was told by a COA team member that you can withdraw a case anytime right up to the interview and even during the interview. The case that I withdraw was about a week before the interview.
Have you got proof that your ex is undertaking some of his work cash in hand ? This is hard to prove. Unless you can prove that is lifestyle is far in excess of his stated income it is probably not worth pursuing this avenue. He can state that it is his partners financial resources that allow him to live his lifestyle.
Some points require clarification. You stated that you currently have Interim Orders which maintain the status quo and that a final hearing will be in two years. What is the purpose for you wanting to appeal? Is it because the judge promised Final Orders and you only got Interim Orders? Did the judge Order a Family Report before the Final Hearing? My ex relocated some years ago without my approval which made the existing Orders inoperable. I took her straight to court without mediation and obtained an Interim Order whereby care of our child was granted to me and the judge Ordered a Family Report before the Final Hearing where the merits of her case could be tested. I was self represented. It is quite normal to have Interim Orders in relocation cases before a Final Hearing.
I understand your frustrations with the system, it is draining both emotionally and financially, and the longer it goes on for the greater the toll it takes on you. Does your husbands ex have legal aid? If she does I suggest you contact Legal Aids Investigations Section and give them the details of her past failure to relocate and the bond she was placed on. It worked for me, I managed to get the ex's Legal Aid cancelled on a recent case, that forced her into negotiations with me and agreeing to Orders by Consent.
If the judge has Ordered a Family Report and the Final Hearing is two years way I suggest you attend the sessions for the Family Report and go fully prepared. If the report is favourable to you, your husband's ex will most probably want to settle for Orders by Consent or not relocate at all and withdraw her application, unless she has lots of money and wants to waste it.
Hang in there for the benefit of kids and hope that your husbands ex will get sick and tired of all this turmoil as well.
Ambushed with court proceedings while on holiday. : Ambushed
What were the reasons the father gave for withholding the child? Experienced Solicitors generally know what Hearings you need to attend and which ones you don't. What was the reason he gave for the agent being late? Ill health? car broke down? As it was the Solicitors agent that was late and not your Solicitor it doesn't quite reflect as badly on him as it does on the agent. The father must have had something in his favour for the Judge to award Interim care to him.
It depends on what court you are attending, how busy the courts are and how urgent your case is to know how long it will take for your Solicitor to obtain a review / re-hearing. He would need to present a convincing case to have the Interim Orders overturned.
You mentioned that your partner and her child were proposing to relocate to your residence. Would this interfere with the child's access to their father i.e. reduce his access time? Could this be a reason why he is being unco-operative?
legal right to contact children while in the care of the other parent: Phone Contact
Before starting court proceedings make sure you follow all the pre-action procedures that are stated on the Federal Circuit Court's web site. As others have mentioned, attempting mediation at a FRC, if this fails sending a letter to your ex clearly stating what the unresolved issues are and that you will be proceeding with legal proceedings if he doesn't respond in a specified time. Unless you or your ex are planning to represent yourselves legal proceedings can be very expensive. Hopefully you can work it out without going to court. The week about sounds like a good option unless your ex works shift work and 2 / 3 day turn around suits him better.
My ex played games with me over 10 years ago regarding phone contact and keeping me informed of address changes (which were frequent). I had to commence legal proceedings and get specified phone contact and change of address clauses placed in the Orders.
Change In Care FTB and Child Support: Change In Care
Thanks Mike. Just the advice I was looking for and also for the pointers to the relevant CS Guide clauses. I didn't particularly want to attend court and pay the $600 application fee just to confirm something that was already in place. I lodged his enrolment papers at his new school on the last day of the 2014 school year (he still has to attend an interview before he is accepted). There is a good e-mail trail and there will be no problem in getting Stat Dec's from people who know about it. As the ex has been the primary care giver in the past she is having problems letting go, particularly as she is moving some distance away.
My son who is in his mid-teens is coming to live with me very shortly. His mothers has previously been the primary care giver. She has asked me to put together a Parenting Plan, I have put together most of our previous court orders. However she his haggling over the amount time my son will now spend with her and there is a chance agreement won't be reached before my son moves in with me (agreement is close). My question is how do I stop my current Child Support payments (which is based on an existing court order) if she won't agree on the time ? I believe you are required to inform the Family Assistance Office and the CSA of how many nights our son will be spending with each parent and that it needs to be verified by both parents. I don't want to be paying child support to my ex when my son is living with me.
Will I need to go to court ? if so what sort of application do I submit. The local FCR cannot see us for months.
Another option is if a decision is made to formulate Orders at the mediation session and lodge them with the court, you can request a clause be added to exclude other troublesome people from changeover. I was experiencing similar problems at changeover and the magistrate ordered that a particular troublesome person was not to be present. There is no need for anybody else to be present at changeover.
It may have been better to write your ex a letter about the inapproprate comments that your child picked up from his mothers and send by registered mail before taking things further. If you do need to take things further the letter can be produced in court and shows that you endeavoured to work things out first with her.
Good luck and hope things work out for you. It took my ex many years before she finally realised the importance of a father in a boys life.
What is contained in the NOTATIONS section of a court order: Court Order Notations
In a nutshell, no, they are not enforceable. I have had two Court Orders with notations. Back in 2007 my ex would not sign the proposed Orders unless I (self represented) agreed to a notation that neither of us would issue further applications until our child was of sufficient mature years. I was reluctant to agree to this notation. Luckily my former Solicitor was in the court foyer and kindly advised me that the notation was not enforceable. I initiated court action in 2009 and there was no comeback on me.
My latest Court Order from early 2013 has a notation relating to Train Timetables between a capital city and a provincial city when the existing service ceases to operate in a couple of years time due to the opening of a new railway line. The existing Court Order stipulates that each parent shall be responsible for our child to catch a deignated train. I initially had the notation in the main body of the Orders (self represented again and wrote the Orders) but the Judge moved it to a notation after we left the court.
Your situation sounds complicated, however I suggest that your partner try self representing after obtaining a 60i certificate. You don't need to be an accomplished speaker to get your message across at the initial court hearing. I have seen some solicitors in court who weren't good speakers but they still managed to get there message across. I have self represented the last six years and I have never been required to say much at the initial hearing. In fact at one of the initial hearings I didn't have to say a word in the morning session, the magistrate read the Affidavits and gave my ex a serve and granted me residence of our child as an Interim Order. I had to say a little bit in the afternoon session when details of the Interim Order were being worked out.
All your partner basically needs to say at the initial hearing is that my ex is withholding our daughter for know good reason and I would like to see her as per my application. You could also say that we had a parenting plan but the ex has refused to follow it. The magistrate might ask some questions about age, when was the last time you saw her, etc. Yor ex or her Solicitor will say there bit and the magistrate will most probably ask for a Welfare Report. Most cases are settled before a final hearing. Your partner with your help will need to be able to negotiate with his ex or her Solicitor at the next hearing date after the Welfare Report is released. Unless your partners ex has bucket loads of money she will probably settle before proceeding to a final hearing.
Your partner can get help from Community Legal Organisations with putting the Initiating Application together. Your partner needs to show his ex he won't let her get away with acting unreasonable. If he does the pattern will be set for the future to his detriment. Good luck!