by Christos  08/12/2018  445 Page Views
8 Comments  Family & de facto law, financial agreements, consent orders
Chasing a bit of varied advice.Will be a bit long winded but backstory is needed to make informed decisions.

Ex and I have been separated just over a year.

I work FIFO (in a sense) with a pretty brutal roster, at times away for up to 4 months at a time. Not consistent either, although since the split I have changed jobs to get more consistency for time with the kids. Currently running 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off.

Ex emptied bank accounts prior to departure.

Continued ignorance and non responses to confirmation of time spent with kids etc. Being informed, at times, after 3 weeks of ignorance that I can pick my kids up for a two week stay less than 24 hours prior to the pick up time.

After verbal agreement that I will continue to pay mortgage and $200 a week child support (2kids), 2 days after making first payment get hit with a $2k a month CSA Bill. Informed ex that if she was not going to honour original agreement then she will have to contribute to mortgage. She flat refused.

For the last year have had nothing but backflips, mistruths and false claims through her lawyer. Including claims of abuse to CPS, which they investigated. Couldn’t get my name right nor the sex, and names of both children in the investigation report. Outcome of the report ‘Nothing found to suggest I am not a willing and able parent. Insufficient information from complainant to investigate further’ Included in this was a mediation session where they refused to address the accusations, only discussed future access to the children. Essentially spent $2500 and 6 hours for a resolution that could have been achieved by a 3 minute phone call.

Flat refusal to negotiate orders. I propose a wording change or a time frame change, all I receive back is ‘do not agree with proposed changes’. No suggestions or ankternate ‘halfway proposals.

Flat refusal to supply disclosure documents. Bank statements etc.

To this point my lawyer has maintained that there is ‘a duty of full disclosure’. I have repeatedly requested the same information over and over again, as advised by my lawyer. Continually ignored or refusal to comply.

Now, after 12 months, and $22,000+ in lawyers bills, the mention of application for divorce has been raised, and my lawyer has only just mentioned that once the application is lodged, there is a formal duty of disclosure, which insinuates that until now, there has in fact been no duty of disclosure, which contradicts the advice I have received over the last 12 months.

My queries about all this are:
Is there any recourse over my lawyer advising me to continue down a path that seemed to have no obligation of compliance from the other side, and repeatedly went ignored. The only purpose this served was racking up ‘billable hours’?

What are the repercussions, if any, if I change lawyers at this stage of the separation?

Is it feasible to apply directly to the courts for orders citing ‘refusal to negotiate’ as a valid reason or am I about to spend another small fortune on the slowest and most biased negotiation system known to the civilised world (court appointed mediation)?

Thanks in advance for any insights.