Family & de facto law, financial agreements, consent orders
I'm so sorry to hear your news. I can understand how heartbroken you and your husband must be. If its any use, from what I've read on some of the other forums, if children want to live with one parent, they are allowed to do that. I think that the Court takes into consideration what the child wants and who they want to be with, it isn't what the parents want. I know when I divorced my husband, he more or less gave our two boys to me, and rarely asks to have them, but that doesn't help you, however, my boys wanted to stay with me and I was really relieved because I would be lost without them. Sorry, also, to hear about your family loss - you are really having a rotten time right now, and it couldn't have happened at a worse time - the festive season. Hope things get much better really soon, and that your much loved daughter returns to the loving folds of her family. She is lucky to have a nice step-mum like u. Best regards Shanelle
You have legal recourse. I see this sort of situation fairly often.
The most efficient way forward (with a view to the medium term) is to send an immediate demand to the mother for Hayley's return on Tuesday by flight to Adelaide. If she fails to arrange this, proceedings will be commenced.
Go to the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia tomorrow, in South Australia. Get the paperwork (the application form). Seek in the paperwork an interim order for the return of Hayley to live in South Australia.
Support it in the affidavit with very clear, unbiased evidence on Hayler's living arrangements to date, and what has occurred, using language as close as possible to that which has been used by the parties (don't fudge anything, it is an affidavit).
Ask the Registrar of the Court for the earlier possible 'return date' for an interim hearing (in the Court's duty list). You may be lucky and get a date one week away from the date of filing.
As you can see, a lawyer is desirable. It is very doable, I assure you. But you need to rally and have a little patience. You want a solution that sticks. You also do not want to damage your longer-term position by doing anything disproportionate to what has occurred (I only mention that for completeness).
Can I just ask whether your husband has actually spoken to the child's mother about this to confirm what his daughter is saying ? And what she is saying to her mother ? Perhaps things are not quite what they seem.
I guess I am playing devil's advocate, but you know, ten year old girls, (especially "Daddy's girls" ) can be pretty manipulative too you know and for whatever reason, really do sometimes try to play one parent off against the other. I am sorry for your loss and maybe this could be affecting the way everyone is seeing this situation at present.
As the stepmother, congratulations for having such a great relationship with your stepdaughter (my daughter's stepmother is wonderful also, for which I am very grateful - it is not too common !) but after just eighteen months I think perhaps it would be in the longterm interests of your relationship with your stepdaughter, to just step back from this a bit and let the father deal with it. I assume there was no serious reason such as abuse etc why the child moved from living with her mother to living with you and her father ?
I do understand your concern and the panic you must be feeling, but I really think you should leave this to the parents. What sort of firsthand acquaintance/knowledge do you have of the mother ? I respect your loyalty to your husband, but it would be only natural for his assessment of her character and motives be somewhat less than objective, wouldn't it ? I am not trying to be harsh here, but I have been the "manipulative b****" and judged quite unfairly, largely on my child's far from truthful accounts to BOTH parents. It was only when the step mum and I decided to be grownups about it all and meet, get to know each other for ourselves, that we decided that neither of us really was the wicked witch we had been painted !
Good luck with this all. i hope there is some non-legal solution to all this.