Finally… but can I win?
I am a week away from what will hopefully be the conclusion of a 5 year process for shared care of my children. Due to the time it has taken to get this far two of my four children are now over 16 and have lost the extra time they could have spent with me if the Family Court had been more attentive to me case. I am representing myself and have made numerous complaints about the time it has taken from two bouts of counselling to two bouts of mediation to two psychologists reports to the delay of the final hearing due to the unavailability of the lawyer for child and the psychologist. Apparently according to various people the delays are unavoidable and due in part to my refusals to certain requests i.e. psychologist reports. I have tried every avenue to try and amicably come to an agreement but have been knocked back at every stage. I currently have the two children under 16, 5 days a fortnight and I was willing prior to a full hearing to accept one extra day but in her wisdom my ex decided she wants what she has and is not willing to accept anything less. So my original application at the full hearing will be for 50/50 shared care. I have had a protection order against me strongly dismissed for wasting the courts time and there are no reasons as to why I should be denied 50/50 except that my ex maintains that this is what my children want. However they are telling me something completely different and have told the psychologist and their lawyer the same thing. Why then do a have this knot in my stomach like I know the result will not go my way. From what I have read on this site and others the Family Court remains heavily in favour of the mother and I am afraid the same will apply to me despite the fact that I offer my children so much more than their mother can. I do not wish to have more time than 50/50 nor discourage the children’s relationship with their mother but I am fully aware that I will somehow be portrayed in a bad light by my ex’s lawyer who by the way is being paid for by legal aid. I am trying to put everything together to make my case as strong as I can. I do feel a little underprepared in relation to precedents for shared care and non-removal (ex has discussed with the children about moving) as well as not knowing how to make submissions at the end of the hearing. Any advice, contributions, references to material I can use would be very helpful at this stage. Also does anyone know what my chances of having my current wife approved as a Lay Assistant. Up until now I have felt reasonably confident of success but as I get closer nervousness prevails. What are my chances of actually getting a judgement at the hearing or will my case drag on for longer and put in jeopardy the extra time I could be spending with my youngest children? I am disgusted about how long it has taken to get this far and just want it to end.
Hi there – I know exactly what you are going through.
It angers me to hear that you have no choice but to go to court in order to
get shared care of your children. I too tried on several occasions to reach an an amicable care agreement with my ex but after a short time i was forced to apply for shared care of my daughter through the family court. My ex argued that my daughter would be better off being with her most of the time, just because. This is code for “i am still angry at my ex for moving on with his life so will punish him by not letting him see his daughter more than a couple of days a fortnight”. I was very concerned that the courts would be in favour of my ex, however the feedback i received from people i know at the courts and from lawyers and counselors was that the courts are very much in favour of ‘shared care’ unless there is a really good reason for denying it. We were fortunate to have an excellent mediator/counselor – David Robinson who actually explained this to my ex and somehow managed to talk her out of going right through to court for the benefit of our daughter who was only 5 at the time. The only reason we did not end up at court was because the mediator convinced her that there was no valid reason for denying me shared care and the courts will recognize that and it seems it is the same for you in your circumstances especially if your children are asking to see you more as my daughter did. Also Considering that your ex will let you have 5 days a fortnight but not 6 – it seems likely to me that one reason she does not want you to have shared care is because she knows her child support payments will decrease as soon as you start having 6 days a fortnight (this is the IRD criteria for ‘shared care’) This was one of the main reasons my ex did not want me to have shared care. I think it is really important that you have a lay assistant who knows the Care of Children Act legislation and your case intimately, especially if your ex is bringing a lawyer. But to be honest i suggest that if there is any way you can afford it you should really get a lawyer (just to be on the safe side). It is a good idea to google the ‘Care of Children Act 2004’ – read section 4 and 5 – they are key for your case and this is the legislation the courts will apply when considering your case. Go to the family courts website and review some of the recent decisions on care of children. You may not find a case exactly like yours (i didn’t find one like mine) but it may be helpful to become familiar with the hearing/courts processes. Best of Luck.
What area of the Coutry is the case? Is there a Union of Fathers group nearby to get a McKenzie Friend to work with you.
I am on the North Shore in Auckland. According to the UOF website there is no group nearby. I may have left it a bit late anyway seeing as the hearing is next wednesday the 7th May.
Dear Forgotten Father, you may contact Jim Bagnall on answerphone 815 0307 or myself on 638 7275, to discuss further. We are both quite local to you.
While you still have money, you will never be forgotten by legal workers!
You mention that the mother has discussed moving, presumably long distance. If you don’t already have Non-Removal Orders, then I suggest that you submit a without notice application for these tomorrow=Friday morning. This shouldn’t be necessary! as people are not allowed to move, when proceedings are imminent. However, these rules lie rarely enforced, so that in practice it appears necessary and wise to get a specific order to cover this issue.
The disparity between women getting a familycaught hearing and men, is pathetic. The familycaught obviously isn’t sincere, in asking people to respect it for its actions.
Hearings are meant to be available, within a period of time proportionate to the life of the child, but again these legal obligations are treated with contempt by the familycaught,
It sounds as though you are taking familycaught a little too seriously. It is too unpredicable to be taken seriously as a caught, so lighten up a little, except watch your wallet around these “people”.
Having said these things, men and women don’t have any right to complain, if they give up at the finishing post.
Whilst some legal workers are good, unless you check them out very very very carefully, you are probably better off to do it yourself.
Think through and budget your spending on legal workers, to fit in with your overall budget. Don’t be extorted by fear – this doesn’t serve your family. Think carefully of the long term consequences of your actions and inactions.
The best defense is making the best from other people’s experience. It is easier to prepare, if you start the hard work early. Don’t delay.
With a teeny bit of help, I am sure that your wife can be an effective Lay Assistant/McKenzie Friend, this is your right – unless she has a proven record of blowing up familycaughts, or worse, telling the truth about them.
Best regards, Murray Bacon.
Contact Jim Bagnall or Andy Wooten. They can probably help.
Hi Forgotten Father,
I can also recommend Murray as a very experienced person to help you in preparation and presentation of your case the the Court.
Forgottenfather brings out a very practical point.
Set up the legislation so that below 40% care is ignored for calculating spousal/child support, with a hidden catch so that even 50/50% care is not fairly taken into account for calculating spousal/child support and benefit entitlement.
Then setup the everyday familycaught to defend ‘powerless’ women and you have an environment that will defeat all but the most patient negotiators and generate lots of valueless but “expensive” legal “work”.
This is a guarantee to get a fight out of couples where one or other party takes only a short term selfish approach.
If the sucked in ones don’t have the cash – setup “legal aid” at taxpayer cost to pay up front and recover if they ever get some money…… besides they can’t complain about the quality, as legal aid have already paid the bill!!!!
In our verbal history the watersiders are used as the symbol for ruthless featherbedding, making others pay for very little real work delivered.
I would say that the legal workers driving the passing of the DV Act and spousal support/child support act – cleverly disguised as the “Child Support Act” are far ahead of the watersiders.
See just one an example of greedy featherbedding at:
Search or Find in this page for the legal workers names adams, jefferson or cameron. Its a long way down in comment 66.
This show was at the cost of the Hague Convention return of the abducted children being jeopardised, so that only one of the two children was returned to NZ, to say nothing of the legal fees charged to NZ and Swedish Governments.
Cut off good faith negotiation – by making it illegal under DV Act.
No you can’t negotiate directly with your ex-wife – she is “scared” of you!
No you can’t do it through a friend or by letter.
It is only by direct negotiations, maybe with some supervision (if it is really required) that people can get the best out of any situation.
Leave it to the professionals?
If you see a man or woman abusing familycaught process for short term power gain, at the long term cost of destroying the parenting relationship, don’t stand back and let the “professional leaches” do the work!
It is never a way of winning popularity, to tell a relative to pull their head in and negotiate honestly with the other parent of their children. However, if you want to protect these children’s long term future, you must build lines of honest communication around the warring couple. Efficient lines of communication protect against perjury and winding up of disputes. Lets get real, liars and thieves both value poor lines of communication around them, why?
In secrecy these parents will be “nicely” bled to financial death, with no concern for honest negotiation to serve the parents or children.
I am sure that in time, the names of the leaders amongst these legal workers, will be publicly reviled and despised as the watersiders and mafia are now.
I am not blaming these leaches, as you and I voted in the legal workers in Parliament that passed these items of usurious legislation.
They are just using “commercial freedom” to stitch you up and rip you off.
We can only blame ourselves.
Anyway, check them out carefully before you vote for them. If you don’t ask knowledgeable questions about their past voting patterns in Parliament, then they can confidently assume that you are too apathetic to work out how to protect your interests and they are free to carry on.
If you are too lazy to put in the time, to check up on these politicians voting history, then you are standing aside and letting them carry on and to it to your grandchildren as well.
Come on grandparents, how many of your grandchildren do you talk about?
If you are brave enough to count, the average is under 70%.
My parents can only see about 30% of their grandchildren. While they talk to friends about the 30%, they hide from themselves the reality of the world we are in and don’t get up and do anything to stop these divisive and destructive processes in our community.
Lets face and discuss our problems, admit how many of our children and grandchildren that we cannot see and do something powerful about it at the upcoming polls.
The first step is to understand the problem, then to commit to act on it.
The solution lies all around us. Most broken families are not ripped off by familycaught. The greediest breakup parents are the ones most preyed on by legal workers. People who look far ahead are not so ripped off, if they suffer at all.
Most people already know the answer and stay well away from the legal workers.
Being ripped off by legal workers doesn’t serve any family.
Wise parents put in the time, to negotiate.
They realise that abusing a simplistic, erratic, defective and low quality familycaught process gives only short term illusory value.
In the long term both parents and children lose.
So – discuss, learn, watch those parents who have got through OK and learn from them.
You will see that this is sharing, not cowering behind secrecy!
And for the rest of the country – fine weather!
FF – I suggest you should also start attending Men’s Centre North Shore meetings on Monday nights.
Very timely for me to read your story.I sincerely hope you are near the end and have a good outcome. My husband and I pulled the pin yesterday on continuing to have more access to his children. We started asking for shared care and then just wanted a formal parenting order for holidays and weekends etc. This started Nov 2007 and is a short time frame in relation to yours, but long enough for us. We have been to court once and that was to defend against a protection order that was not granted. That was her response to shared care. The court and lawyer for the children are baised toward the mother. My husband spends all his time defending himself and there is only so much you can take of being cross examined for every detail of your life. Im extremely disappointed in the justice system, it obviously pays lip service to having fathers involved in their childrens lives and having equal rights. What a joke. So his children will lose their father and he them.It feels like a death and he will never recover I know. All the best
I hope you take on board Murray’s words of wisdom.
Please remember that the children are helpless here and not to blame.Your husband should keep letting them know he is there for them and keep making contact.
Do not fight in the family caught.The legal workers and caught workers are leeches.They prey on people’s misery and confusion.
I fought for 10 years and achieved nothing and lost a lot.I breach my ridiculous 11 year old Protection Order occassionally to talk to my daughter and we get on fine.She will vote with her feet when she is 16 as her elder brother has done.
So will your husband’s children
Forgotten Father, some sage & sound advice at that, given by those above. I believe Jim Bagnell maybe a good start point, as I attended a support group meeting once where he offered assistance to those within the group. In my personal experience I moved alot of paper work within the court system without the help of lawyers. In my case the ex initially considered moving our 3 children out of NZ. Without notifying her I approached the courts and queried my options. Keeping your emotions in check is key to having them provide you with vital information you need and even providing you with assistance in filing papers. This advice goes out to those who will file their own papers with the courts and interact with the staff there. I managed to obtain a level of cooperation between one of the staff members there by keeping my emotions in check after having to refile the same application 3 times due to a court staff member misplacing the original. You can also obtain a copy of the “Care of Children Act 2004” for around $5 – $10 (price may have gone up to $15) at the University of Auckland Bookshop, which I suggest is a good idea for all fathers going to court. The paper work is laborious, as you will be required to file an affidavit, an information sheet and a ‘With’ or ‘Without Notice’ application. I suggest in your case you file it without notice as someone else suggested earlier. If your argument in your affidavit is succinctly written with reference to clauses in the Care of Children ACT 2004 e.g. section 77 of the ACT and in my case I also leveraged off an existing Parenting Order that would be negated if the children were removed from NZ. The Court order was approved by the judge “Order Preventing the Removal of Child from NZ” was served on the ex and you imagine the confidence and gratitude I felt. I later found that there was an additional component that needed to be added to this which is called a CAPS order. This allows authorities to enforce the order – if the children are found at the airport their names will be highlighted in the system and you or your ex will not be allowed to board the plane with them. Without the CAPS in place their names will not be singled out in the system and the authorities will not act.
After this the ex considered removing the children from AKL — their current place of residence. Again it was the same process through the courts; papers preventing the removal of children from the greater AKL area, again I emphasise patience in communicating your need across to what seems like unconcerned ears, this is essential as it will only complicate matters if staff become uncooperative. Believe me, I did file a formal complaint via phone only to receive the response that the staff member would not receive disciplinary action but would be reminded to be more aware in their handling of cases. I didn’t waste further energy on it but focussed on what was important to me and that was getting all these applications approved. I successfully completed another application that required 2 hours of thought in sitting in private and writing the thing out and submitting it, which came back approved “Order preventing the removal of children from the greater AKL area”. The ex has tried to have it rescinded twice both times required her to file it WITH NOTICE which means they must send me a copy and I must have the opportunity to respond. OFCOURSE the answer is NO. Even with her lawyer consulting her it required my signature for a removal of the order in place. She presented me with the papers and I tore them up. The Parenting order I have in place was filed with alot of negotiating between the ex and myself but again I used it as leverage for the later two orders preventing the removal of children.
I also am filing my papers this week for shared care, which I’m sure is a similar situation to you. So have confidence in yourself and persist in fighting for your children as this will appear in your favour through the eyes of the court.
My advice to Chris is a heartfelt acknowledgment that such responses will strain any persistence. Honesty is important and open communication between the ones you love is hopefully still maintained, but I hope you will rest awhile and think on it then talk to those in similar situations before you decide to lay it aside completely.
Of course they want you to be persistent, you are creating demand for their services and paying the snake lawyers loads of cash for the injustice of it all, it is all a charade, nothing to do with justice