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Format of memorandum

Filed under: General — BF1972 @ 5:48 pm Thu 24th April 2014

Hi all

I currently have a matter before the family court, no LFC assigned (requested 1 month ago) and no Parenting Order in place. One of the children (14) has refused during a recent access to return to the care of the mother.
I have advised the FC and they request a memorandum or application for variation be made in support of the child remaining in my care. As we live in different cities there are issues looming around schooling and so forth.
Are there generic templates for a memorandum that are available that anyone knows of? I could apply for a new parenting order I know, but the cost to file and serve and to file in the original court is prohibitive.
The ex’s lawyer has requested an urgent judicial conference due to the child remaining in my care and no orders in place. Or just wait for the conference?
Any suggestions greatly appreciated!


  1. At 14 the court would basically allow the child to have his way unless there are special circumstances. Try to talk with the other parent. Frankly you should not need a lawyer etc.

    Comment by andrew — Fri 25th April 2014 @ 3:00 am

  2. BF, where are you based? I would strongly advise you get help with this matter from someone with experience. You do not need a lawyer but without help her lawyer will seek to use that against you and exploit your ignorance. If it involves a change of school the Court may order the status quo until this is heard. I have on my desk at the moment a similar case (child was 8 and relocated 30kms). The parent was forced to transport the child each day back and forth to school for 2 terms till the matter was heard and the court approved the illegal relocation on the grounds of in the child’s best interest.
    flick me an e-mail and I will suggest someone to help you with your paperwork [email protected]

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Fri 25th April 2014 @ 8:38 am

  3. I am not going to assume the child is he or she – but the question for me is rather why the child is making the decision.

    Children can easily see better options and willingly abandon one parent out of pure self interest – that’s a recipe for a scrap.

    They can also see a bad situation and want to get out of it – that’s difficult to deal with.

    Some children are mature enough to see a better circumstance – like a stable home environment as a better opportunity for education.

    The other issue coming to surface is not the child’s decision, it is the other parent dealing with the abandonment.

    Have you looked at it from the point of view of what the child is prepared to do to maintain their relationship with the other parent, if their is a change of circumstances.

    My thoughts are to answer the courts request with a simple memorandum stating that a Judicial Conference is a good way forward, then prepare for that as best you can. You may like to advance some ideas to the other side to consider before hand, so it’s not all surprises on the day.

    Someone else might be able to confirm this; if memory serves me correctly you can get orders or variations by consent from a Judicial conference.

    That would be a cost effective tidy outcome if it could work that way but I think you would need to put considerable effort into communicating with the other side before hand.

    My thoughts anyway – good luck.

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 25th April 2014 @ 9:00 am

  4. My suggestion is to do nothing except agree to the Judicial conference. It’s not you who needs to apply for anything. Turn up at the conference and say only that your 14yo (Teen) refused to return to the mother. That you are simply a parent who will not close the door to Teen if requiring shelter and you will not use violent force to get Teen to the mother. If the Court makes any mention of sending thugs in to force Teen then you might suggest they be warned to expect injuries, and that even if they succeed they may possibly need to consider how to imprison Teen at the mother’s house to prevent escape. Say nothing else if you can avoid it, answer any other questions with as little content as possible. If asked what you have done to try to convince Teen to go back just say that you encouraged it but Teen remained steadfast. Avoid any personal criticism about the mother’s behaviour, personality etc. Instead, make only positive references to the mother (three – don’t overdo it) in among your answers; e.g. “Teen seemed to like her cooking and I miss that too” or “I think she tries her best but Teen can be challenging”. If asked to discuss Teen’s reasons be very careful, if possible say that you don’t really understand the reasons and it would be better to ask him/her. If still forced to answer questions about what Teen has said to you, say “Not much” and/or use language such as “(S)he may/seems to think/feel/see the other parent as…”. ENSURE YOU DON’T CONVEY ANYTHING OF YOUR OWN VIEWS about Teen’s reasons or about the other parent. Any such indiscretion is likely to lead the Court to assume you are responsible for Teen’s position. Leave the Court to take full responsibility for dealing with Teen. Do not speak up on behalf of Teen’s position or appear to be supporting it. Instead, perhaps express your recognition that teenagers need to feel included in decision-making affecting them, that you’re aware their developing maturity, intuition and self-knowledge need to be shown respect, that you love Teen and don’t want to use force.

    In the unlikely event that the Court requires you to go back to try to convince Teen or to undertake any other activity to try to bring about a reconciliation between Teen and the other parent, readily agree to this as a good plan as long as you are not expected to use force. Then carry out the required tasks in routine manner without buying into them too much and return later to inform the Court that your efforts were to no avail. Meanwhile, go ahead with organizing schools etc. Don’t take it all too seriously and don’t take responsibility for anything that you don’t need to.

    Comment by Man X Norton — Fri 25th April 2014 @ 12:44 pm

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