EDITOR’S NOTE: Sadly, court orders are unenforceable in family law matters, especially if you are a father. (Please read the story below)
Unhappily, the situation is going to become much worse after the Labor Party’s horrific changes to family law. If a father had done what the mother in the story below did, there would have been a police chase, which would have been on the nightly news.
The headline would have been ‘Criminal Father Abducts Daughters’, with a huge police search and certain jail for the so-called criminal father.
My name is John Wilson, and I live in regional New South Wales. I am a subscriber to Dads4Kids and also donate when I can.
I am also the father of two teenage girls aged 14 and 15 years old. In October 2015, His Honour, Family Law Court Judge (Name Withheld) handed down his Judgment and Final Court Orders that placed both children in my care as Sole Parental Responsibility.
The orders indicated that the children live with me and spend time with their mother. If you read between the lines, for a father to be given sole parental responsibility, is big.
Some history was that the children’s mother and I had been in and out of court from 2010 to 2015, starting first in our local regional court and then moving to the Family Court of Australia, Canberra. The case was given to a Deputy Chief Justice to preside over (2013 to 2015). An Expert Witness was appointed, a well-respected expert in their field of Child Psychology, to provide an extensive report to His Honour.
Our lives were dissected and put under the microscope and evaluated from observations and psychological exams to profile our behavioural and thought patterns.
Forward to 4 December 2023. The girls had spent their usual weekend time with their mother. I went to the bus stop in the afternoon, as I do each day, to pick up the girls, but they were not at the bus stop.
They had not messaged me after school to ask if they could walk downtown as they often do once or twice a week to hang out with friends.
I phoned the local high school they attend and spoke to the principal, who, after enquiring with office staff, told me that the mother had phoned the school in the morning to advise that the girls were not attending school that day and they would not be going to their father’s.
My world just stopped, as the girls were not at the bus stop with no text messages or phone call; I thought something was wrong.
Before ringing the school, I phoned both girls with no response.
I made contact with my solicitor in Canberra, the same firm that represented me before from 2013 to 2015. Their initial advice was for me to attend the local police station and advise of what had happened. The principal also contacted the police and emailed through the Court Orders, as the school has a copy.
I spoke to a sergeant who advised me they cannot do anything as there are Court Orders, and I will need to talk to a solicitor to arrange a Recovery Order as the mother is contravening the orders.
They did indicate that they would do a welfare check. They did this and notified me the girls were ok, but could not advise of their location as they were not at their mother’s residence.
So, I arranged to meet with my solicitor that week to discuss a plan. They made contact with the mother to get an email address, and they were advised that a law firm in Wollongong would represent her.
A letter was sent to the solicitor advising that the children were to be returned to the father immediately as their Final Court Orders instructed. My lawyer also asked the name of the Lawyer who had given the girls legal advice that they could do as the mother advised.
The mother of my girls said her Lawyer advised that she has done nothing wrong and cannot get in trouble. My solicitor told me that the myth of 12, 14, or 16-year-olds can do as they please is just that, a myth, and that the Final Orders are in force until the girls reach 18. It took the mother’s solicitor over a week and a half to respond.
We lodged to the Family Court a Contravention Application marked ‘Urgent’ due to the history of significant psychological harm to the girls. Attached to the application was the Final Orders, Judgement and Expert Witness report, as the Judgement makes reference to the report.
A response was received by my solicitor that the Contravention Application was refused and the matter needed a Family Dispute Resolution mediation. My solicitor said a court official anywhere in Australia could have received the application for assessment.
Anyway, I have had to chase up a FDR Registered Mediator to invite the mother for mediation so as to obtain a Section 60i Certificate, to then reload the contravention application.
I am beside myself over this matter, and the cost so far is mounting. I have had no contact with my daughters since 4 December when they were to return home.
I did have a brief encounter with my eldest in town when she walked around the corner. I kept this encounter brief as I don’t know what game the mother is playing. I said hi and asked how she was going.
Then I hugged her, and she hugged me back. I told her I love her very, very much and kissed her on the head. She said in a soft voice, “Love you too.” She was with a friend, so I guess that’s why the softer voice. That was about two weeks ago.
I am a Christian. The girls attend our local church with me. We attend a growth group each Tuesday evening, and the girls attend our church’s youth group every second Friday when in my care.
My eldest daughter is also meeting up with a lady of church as our church has a teenager’s mentoring program This program only started in November, but my daughter has loved catching up after school with this lady to read the Bible, pray and to chat. It is wonderful when you are young, when someone older offers friendship and encouragement to you as a younger person. Sadly, this has not occurred since 4 December.
Anyway, I just felt drawn to send you this email as this has turned my world upside-down. I believe there are dark forces at work to separate me from my beautiful daughters, whom I love so much!
I am stricken with grief, and I don’t know what to do. I’m not sure whether you can provide any advice as to this matter I’m facing.
Kindest regards and God’s blessing,
Photo by Kindel Media.