11 Comments Family & de facto law, financial agreements, consent orders
My thought / opinion is based on my understanding of NSW law. AVO / DVO are state based issues....
So if i go to the cops and make a statement about someone - They have the option to make a court application. If the cops take it on board they reckon there are good grounds for the AVO... GOOD. problem solved.
But if they don't think there are decent grounds they will send you away and possibly tell you that you can make an application if you want and they will send you to the local court house. Basically they are passing the buck. But you can read between the lines that it probably doesn't have merit.
So who is making the application for the DVO you or the cops? Based on that info my advice / thoughts might change.
My thoughts are that DVO's etc can be more trouble than they are worth. WHY? Well what if the magistrate knocks back the application? What then? the ex has worked out that she can get away with the craziness.
If it is granted you've only made her mad.
What I've learnt - (my situation is similar, verbal abuse, crazy behaviour....) I've just learnt not to respond. You have to learn to dis-empower the crazy person...
We have done the application ourselves, but we have never asked the police to make the application for us. Police were involved on three occasions in my memory, and we told them we didn't want an order at that time because my partner was trying to negotiate consent orders for parenting.
However, this has been going on for four years for my partner, and two years for me, and the craziness hasn't stopped. I'm terrified of her and I get stress and anxiety even going to the local shops on my own in case I run into her and she attacks me or something. We're about to have kids of our own, I'm scared she's going to attack me if she sees me while pregnant, and I'm scared she's going to strike one of our kids. It's not a one-off occasion, there's an incident every time she has any in-person interaction at all with my partner or myself.
Shouldn't we have a right to feel safe in our own home? Shouldn't we have a right to live peacefully, without being threatened and assaulted and stalked because someone isn't happy that their former relationship broke down?
It's easy enough to say 'they're more trouble than they're worth' but when you're scared you're going to come home one day and find your dog's head decapitated from his body, wouldn't you say there's grounds for intervention of some description?
Look I am very sympathetic and of course you should be safe BUT you need to be very clever to make sure it doesn't make things worse. So for example - will it help if your application gets thrown out? Nope it will let her know that she can get away with the nonsense.
Is there a chance that she could seek a cost order against you? Nope I dont think so...
But lets work out how to make this work well. OR at least make it work a little bit better.
Write back to her solicitor, post a draft of it here for advice. But write back to solicitor requesting that the ex cease with the crazy behaviour. In the letter outline your causes for concern (recent examples of crazy behaviour.) AND explain how the behaviour has caused you to feel intimidated. And in the letter state that you'll be seeking further advice if the harassment continues. AND write in the letter that you feel that the ex is simply using the solicitor as a mechanism to perpetuate the harassment. BUT also say that you're prepared to withdraw the AVO as ling as she agrees to stop being crazy.
Look it probably wont work BUT it will do three things. It will empower you because you're fighting back. And your response letter will require the solicitor to read it etc that will cost HER money.... And most importantly, when the next episode of crazy happens you can take the letter to the cops and ask for their assistance and you'll be able to show that there is a long history of her being crazy and a long history of you trying to resolve it on your own
BUT - the best thing about my suggestion is that if/ when you do go to the cops and ask for their help they will be more inclined to make an application for an AVO on your behalf. That means it will be the cops against her NOT you against her... So no need to worry about her solicitor pressuring you to withdraw the thing.
We've already gone through a mass of attempts to solve the thing amicably - joint counseling between my partner and her, medical treatment for mental illness, parenting orders course, mediation about four times, parenting orders with no denigration clauses, stacks of contact with her lawyer about the incidents...
This DVO application is quite literally a last resort, and she seems to respond to it because she's been civil since we applied for it (bar the threats from the lawyer). When the previous application was in process, there was a temporary order in place and she behaved then, too. The only thing that seems to motivate her to stop being violent towards us is a DVO.
ok - so firstly forget amicable. Look this aint legal advice. Just practical advice. Just so you know I have 3 kids 9,7,5 and for more than a year they have been living almost exclusively with me.... I am male...
My ex is a nutter, all sorts of accusations. all sorts of stupidity. FORGET AMICABLE. Start thinking strategy. You have to learn how to manage/ strategize around stupidity.
So let me give you an example of one of my successes. Instead of listening to the weekly rants when I was picking up / dropping off kids I started looking over her shoulder, like I was perving on a really attractive woman (sorry - but best simile I can come up with) She would be telling me I was all sorts of nonsense and the kids had knits and it was all my fault. But I was ignoring her... I took her power away....
None of this is legal advice - maybe you need to find a forum that can give you advice on managing being in a relationship with a bloke who has a crazy ex....
The reason I say this is because I'm really worried for you. You have said the DVO is a last resort. I feel for you.... BUT if it is a last resort and it gets knocked back. Well what then????
Hence my suggestions to look for other ways to deal with crazy....
And look the other thing is AVO's are really just bits of paper. No piece of paper can make a crazy person sane. So given you are sane you have to start working on ways to stop the nutter making you insane and I don't think the law can help..... Wow - I reckon that last bit was pretty profound...
I'm not a solicitor, OK?
If she behaved during the interim order and behaved since the letter, it would appear that an order would be a longer term way of getting her to behave.
Ignore the lawyer threats. Lawyers who represent crazy people threaten legal costs all the time.
Emca01 is right to a degree. The order is simply paper, so if the crazy ex-wife has poor self control it will be only a matter of time.
But at that point you will have crossed the first milestone (the dvo) and be able to move on to the next milestone (getting the QPS to actually enforce the order).
You said "property damage, assault, stalking and threats of violence to your animals". Do you realise you've already been at the receiving end of a series of criminal attacks?
So if you get the order, and she breaks it, do you reckon the police will act? Like they did for the assault, stalking, etc.
I recommend you do something (4 years!). Perhaps you should call the police for every incident where she plays up (tell them she is borderline personality disorder, stalking and you fear she's going to assault/damage property).
Emca01s suggestion to ignore her behaviour is the conventional wisdom, and good advice. Perhaps, rather than just ignoring, if her bad behaviour leads to negative consequences for her, it may change her behaviour. For example: in the past, she has screamed abuse, so you have a reason to video record every interaction you have with her, you are collecting evidence for a stalking charge.
You'll have to consider which parts of my advice (if any) might work for you, not all of it might suit your situation.
Oh, and for your dogs, you need to complain to the police #in writting# that she said she'd harm your dogs. You need to make clear to the police that you believe the threat and expect them to discuss the matter with her. It'll reduce the likelihood she act on the dogs then.
I hope this helps
To be fair, we haven't given the police much of an opportunity to act because we have been so determined to try and make things amicable for the sake of their daughter. Most issues went unreported because we were worried it would make things worse, but now we're hoping to have a baby together this year, and I'm worried about what might happen when news breaks about a pregnancy. The incidents of violence have become less frequent because changeovers mostly take place at school, but they haven't become any less severe on the rare occasions when changeovers take place at our home.
I've learned that my partner's ex doesn't like authority involvement unless it's to her favour - she even refused mediation recently saying 'I haven't even done anything wrong', as though mediation is a criminal trial or something. Both times there was a temporary order in place, things have been really good, so she can control her temper when she knows there are consequences for not doing so. This is why I think a DVO will deter her from continuing this way.
I guess I'm just trying to work out what the chances are of us succeeding. We have videos of her losing her temper, photographs of damage she's caused to property. In two years after they separated, my partner received about 20,000 text messages from her, and I would say less than 200 were not either abusive or part of a conversation that was coercing him to reconcile their relationship, engage in sexual activities with her, or threatening to withhold their daughter or commit suicide if he didn't comply. There's stacks of text messages where she admits to something she's done, like 'Sorry I ripped your shirt but you made me this way', 'Sorry I threw the phone at you but it's your own fault for leaving', etc.
I just want it to stop.
OK. You say you have endured her campaign of criminal acts in order to "be amicable for the daughters sake". For something like 4 years.
Perhaps that is part of your problem. You do not need to endure that stuff to be amicable. You seem to have normalised her criminal acts towards you. You accept, put up with and allow them, without even calling the police.
Amicable is two way. The daughter will have seen your effort to make it work, now she sees that you are being pushed around be these (undesirable) tactics.
You just want it to stop? Give the dvo a try.
What are the chances of success? I don't know. My personal experience was not domestic, so I considered a peace and good behaviour order, I chose not to because the police didn't act on evidence I provided for assaults, property damage and stalking. Why would they act on a breached pagbo?
I recommend you phone and discuss with a women's crisis centre for better advice about chance of success and so on. Did you see 4 corners " hitting home"? They showed dvo application in court. Recommend you check it out, might give you a picture.
Apart from the dvo do you have any other plans to "make it stop"? If you don't, well you choice is actually: dvo or status quo.
Might as well have a go.
The behaviour you describe (blame shifting, suicide threat, threats to animals, normalising, not-my-fault-your-fault, push-pull) are listed on this page
Have a read, you'll probly spot a few more.
I hope this helps.
yep I agree. Get a track record. Get a history. Make the coppers know that you're not just the new woman and she is a vindictive ex.
Look you've done the right thing trying to be amicable but really how much do you have to put up with.... But you have to make sure it works. For that reason I'd suggest letting it go for the minute.
Just thought I'd provide an update on this.
On the day of trial, we were represented and agreed to accept undertakings from the ex-wife on the condition that the parenting orders also be amended so that our contact with her is now virtually non-existent. Communication about the child occurs via communication book instead of text message, and changeovers happen at a public place instead of at our house.
However, despite there being no trial, the magistrate did have some remarks made on the record to the respondent after reading all the material filed. I can't publish what was said, but we'll say the magistrate made it significantly easier for us to get an actual DVO if we need one in future.