1 Comments Family & de facto law, financial agreements, consent orders
There are so many things you can look into here. Firstly, has the court-ordered an Independent Children's Lawyer? Also, in the initial orders that you drafted and submitted to the court, did you put in your affidavit that there are suspected or known substance abuse and mental health issues? Remember that the court will operate from a point of the best interests of the child. Substance abuse is one of those reasons why one parent will get custody of the children over the other. If the parent is a danger to the children the court takes this very seriously. To make it fair, anything you ask of her within the court, you should consider participating in yourself. So, if you ask the court to have her drug and alcohol tested, then you should be too. Although you don't have to do this, it will look better in the court, that you are willing to do anything that you are asking her to do. In your original orders did you ask the court for Sole Parental Responsibility, as it's usually given to both equally. If she is not seeing the children and not communicating with them or you are unable to communicate with her in parenting matters, coupled with the substance abuse, you should ask for full Parental Responsibility and that way you get to make all the decisions for the children without having to discuss with her first. Keep in mind that a court does not like to give full parental responsibility to one parent, they prefer it is shared equally. However, if there are significant issues surrounding the other parents' ability to make appropriate decisions, then the court will definitely look at it. Insofar as an interim hearing versus a directions hearing, if it is a new and never mentioned before issue then it may very well be a matter for another interim hearing. Although, the judge has the discretion on this one. You really need to get some professional legal advice for the issues you are having. Legal Aid are in each courthouse and it's first in first served, making sure it's the Federal Circuit Court or Family Court. There are also legal firms that offer a phone call for free to give advice or even the first appointment for free. List your questions before you speak to them so you don't waste any time. Also, have a pen and paper ready! All of these suggestions, full parental responsibility; independent children's lawyer; drug and alcohol testing, should really be in an affidavit to the court and part of your submissions. Some can be ordered once you do your family assessment and family report, which the court will have you all participate in. It is then you can speak to the report taker about your concerns too. Definitely get some legal advice so you know how you can move forward.