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A strategy question for a friend, if I may

(8 Posts)
cestlavielife Mon 14-Jan-13 14:17:12

tell he to imagine this wa a nanny she was employing - she would be sacked for not feeding dd, not taking her to places she should be ie nursery adn taking crystal meth!
is that legal or illegal in australia?
she needs to report this to solicitor, police whoever immediately so it is recorded . has he admitted it to others, ?
yes she should stop contact til she is cnfident her ex can really take care of her dd.
nursery fees - agreed is red herring - chances are he wont pay up or will forget etcetc. nursery will chase her anyway.

HeyHoHereWeGo Mon 14-Jan-13 13:38:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

One23 Mon 14-Jan-13 13:29:45

The nursery won't "chase" him for half the money, they will simply tell her it's up to the child's parents to arrange who pays the fees and if they aren't paid in full (ie if he refuses to pay the half she wants him to) then they will refuse the child access to the nursery until one of them pays it.

Another poster said applying for child maintenance the official route and using that to pay the nursery. However, your OP states he is not working and with a drink, pot and now crystal meth habit I would guess he won't be working anytime soon, so I very much doubt that any child maintenance would be obtainable anyway.

If he has parental responsibility (ie names on birth cert) has been having his child 50/50 and the nursery are aware of this and he often drops off and picks up, knows the password etc then the nursery would have to release his child to him if he arrives to collect her. Your friend needs to keep their child away from him and apply to court immediately for whatever the Australian equivalent of an interim/emergency residency order is. The court order then needs to be given to the nursery so they are able to refuse him the child if he tries to collect her at any point.

He has been a devoted and good father with 50/50 care until now but has started drinking and using drugs, if I am understanding this correctly. He is very unlikely to have "no contact" orders, he will be very likely to have supported contact in a contact centre (or the equivalent) until he can prove he is no longer taking drugs and then a Judge is likely to order unsupervised contact regularly building up to overnight contact once again.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Mon 14-Jan-13 11:47:33

Yes, I agree. I'm actually a lawyer, although not a family lawyer, I suppose I'm really asking am I being all lawyery and paranoid (which is what I think she thinks) or am I right that this is a big deal and she needs to stop worrying about upsetting the apple cart and just take care of it? I understand that when they had joint custody, and he was able to be a great dad, it was worth it to her to take a small financial hit to preserve relations. But now, I think she is in denial that she needs to formalise things.

I don't think she wants to go the formal child support route because it feels like 'too much' - which is why she said she only wanted nursery fees - if she goes the formal route, she can't elect to receive less than the mandated percentage, I don't think. But irrespective of the financials, she needs the custody thing formalised, yes?

Am I right in suspecting that unless she documents, and the court accepts, that his drug usage has affected their DD, the court will order that he has some contact? She thinks that drug use means automatic No Custody For You. I think the court will want proof that it has directly negatively affected the DD. Like not feeding her, but that was only the once.

Sorry, now i am asking legals! I guess if I get perspective about what your experiences have been there, in terms of what constitutes 'bad enough' to stop custody, I can get a sense of what to tell her over here. It's pretty similar, just the agencies and terminology is different.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 14-Jan-13 11:14:42

She needs Australian legal advice to get correct order to prevent him picking up from nursery etc. It is important that this is done correctly so that if later he cleans himself up and goes to court for improved contact she has dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's.
It is probably easier to got for child maintenance rather than nursery fees. I would suspect that as she is the one that set up Nursery she signed the contract and therefore it is her who is liable for the fees. I think nursery are very unlikely to chase him for the fees.
He maybe a really nice guy underneath, but currently that person is not avaliable as they have been replaced by a drug addict.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Mon 14-Jan-13 11:04:22

I know I said no legal advice, but I assume that nurseries and schools would need a court order to prevent the other parent picking up, etc? Because until now, the nursery is used to the shared contact idea, so he knows the code and the teachers' names, etc. Surely they won't stop him picking up just on her sayso?

AllDirections Mon 14-Jan-13 11:00:46

You are right. Your friend needs to stop any unsupervised contact until her ex is capable of looking after his DD properly.

If she wants money for nursery fees then she can claim child support from him and use that money.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Mon 14-Jan-13 10:54:56

I hope it's alright to post here. I'll say upfront that I'm in Australia, so I'm not looking for legal advice so much as ...strategy advice, I guess. My friend is lovely and wonderful and smart, but I think can be quite naive and I want to advise her (she has asked, specifically, I promise I'm not just being interfering) without scaring her off.

She has a DD, 4 years old. She and her partner separated two years ago - never married, but he is named on BC, no issue there. When they separated, they drew up a formal financial separation agreement that dealt with their assets, but never made any formal agreement in relation to their daughter, either in terms of custody or child support. This is because they had a 50:50 custody split, and are both fairly wealthy due to a financial windfall that happened during their relationship and was split (unevenly, favouring him) between them.

So, no problem for ages. He doesn't work due to this financial windfall. She works fulltime, she owns her own business. Their DD was booked into nursery two days a week, one falling on 'her' day, one on his day. She arranged this and has always paid for it. This is Issue One, as it was never meant to be a lasting arrangement. She has since expressed a lot of irritation about this inequality, but every time she raised it with him, he got annoyed, and she dropped it again since she can afford it and it's not worth the hassle. I had suggested that she contact the nursery directly and change the arrangement, so that her direct debit only covered the day that she needed DD in nursery, and then if he wanted DD to continue on the second day, that was up to him to arrange and open an account. That was a year ago.

Anyway, a few months ago it became clear that he was struggling. Not dropping DD off at nursery until almost lunchtime, that sort of thing. He finally contacted her and confessed - his latent alcohol & pot problem was getting out of control, he needed her to take DD fulltime while he got himself sorted out. In order to do this, she increased nursery to three days a week and also called in family favours. She encouraged him to go to counselling, take ADs, etc, and has been supporting a slow build up back to full contact - starting with day visits, then occasional overnights, then increasing. All throughout, she's been paying all of nursery.

Last week, she allowed DD to go to him overnight during the week, and she just didn't turn up at nursery the following day. He called her at 4pm to say, you'll have to close the shop and come pick up DD, I haven't managed to do anything with her all day or get her to nursery. She got there to find DD just standing there, and he was clearly not right. DD told her that she hadn't eaten anything since breakfast. She took DD back, said she was cutting off all contact until he got himself sorted out, he didn't argue. Well, yes he did, he argued that she was overreacting wrt day visits but agreed he didn't want DD overnight again for a while.

Two days later he rings her and confesses that he's been taking crystal meth.

This is such a novel, sorry! Here is my actual question: because she is now looking down the barrel of full custody, she wants to follow my suggestion of a year ago and ensure that some of the nursery fees are paid by her ex. She isn't chasing any further child support, although she is entitled to it - it's not means tested so her income is irrelevant, he should be paying 15% or so. So she wants to contact nursery, cancel her direct debit for half the days and make them chase him for those days.

I think she's missing the point. I think she should be contacting nursery and saying that he no longer has custody, is a danger to himself, should not be allowed to pick up DD. I can't see how that could be compatible with making him directly responsible for payments, and now that he doesn't have custody, the whole point of that strategy - which was to make it his problem if he didn't pay, by withdrawing childcare - is moot.

I also think she should be formalising custody. She is all "oh, but he's a nice guy underneath, he won't push it". But, I'm right, aren't I? Crystal fucking meth is bad news? Like, bad enough that she should get this in place now and not wait until he comes to pick up DD and takes her off somewhere?

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