Editor’s Note: This great article by Josephine Agostino from Kidspot, hosted by News.com.au, is reprinted here as a service to the many single parents who are robbed of their children and their rights as parents.

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“The only pictures I’ve seen of my kids in that time are on their school reports… I don’t even know where they live. Sadly, I am resigned to the fact I will never have a relationship with my children,” the Melbourne dad-of-two reveals.

On December 9, 2017, *Marcus and his then 11-year-old son, *Joshua, excitedly made plans for their first Christmas together in many, many years.

“He was so happy about it,” the Melbourne father tells Kidspot.

“When we said goodbye, I told him that I loved him and that I would see him next week.”

But that year, Marcus would spend that Christmas alone, without his beloved son, or his daughter, *Rani, then aged nine.

Little did he know, that December day would be the last time he would see or hear from his children again…

Changed Behaviour

From the moment they became first-time parents in 2009, after seven happy years of marriage, Marcus remembers his now ex-wife *Esther having “unreasonable” demands.

“Whenever I would want to take Joshua on my own, she would say I couldn’t take him anywhere, or if my parents wanted to see him, it would always be the wrong time,” the 47-year-old remembers.

“They were never allowed to hold him when he was born. Then when Rani arrived, Esther said that unless her mother could live with us, she wouldn’t let my family see the kids.

“I went from full-time father to one hour’s supervised weekly visits”

In 2011, when their son and daughter were 18 months and six months old respectively, Marcus became blindsided when Esther announced she wanted a divorce, and life as he knew it as a father, was shattered into a million pieces.

“Within an hour of her leaving the house with the kids, I received a solicitor’s letter stating that the kids were too young to be living with me and that I would only have supervised contact,” he says.

“It was heart-wrenching. I pleaded with her but she wouldn’t change anything. Then she would try to fool me by saying ‘Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to see the kids’. But I didn’t see the kids at all for months after that letter.”

Marcus went from being a full-time father to suddenly only being allowed an hour’s supervised visit each week.

“I was too scared to protest it, because everything I would say would be recorded as harassment.”

With the legal system failing to help him throughout his four-year court battle, Marcus slowly watched his beloved children slipping away from him.

“My kids’ mum never followed any of the court orders”

When the Family Court issued parenting orders in 2015, giving Marcus 80 nights per year with his children, in addition to Christmas, Easter, school holidays and birthdays, the devoted father hoped it would give him a chance to rebuild the distant relationship he now had with Joshua and Rani.

But devastatingly, it only pulled him further away from the two little people he loved most in the world.

“Esther never followed any of the court orders,” he says.

“I never saw them on their birthdays. I missed out on all of that. I was told their presents would be destroyed, so I’ve just kept them all, hoping I can give it to them one day.”

“When I would give Joshua things on our rare visits, he would leave it with me out of fear of what his mother would do to them.”

At one point, Esther refused to allow Rani to see her father for “months”, claiming that she was unable to due to having broken her leg. It suddenly raised alarm bells for Marcus, who had begun to see signs of potential abuse on his son during their sporadic visits.

“I found bruises on Joshua’s knees and arms,” he says.

“He was also very withdrawn, and I have no doubt he has been emotionally and psychologically abused. Esther would actually blame Joshua for Rani breaking her leg, saying that he was playing roughly.”

“The alienation caused by her mum caused irreparable damage with my daughter”

Heartbreakingly, the alienation created by Rani’s mother had caused irreparable damage to Marcus’ relationship with his daughter.

“She didn’t want to look at me,” he sighs.

“She didn’t want me near her. She wouldn’t call me ‘Dad’ unless she was prompted. I would only be able to see her at the changeover with Joshua and she would say, ‘Go away, I hate you’.”

Despite the alienation he faced, Marcus never gave up trying to repair their broken bond… but his efforts were to no avail.

On December 9, 2017, Marcus and Joshua spent their day together excitedly planning a Christmas celebration that they hoped to have with their cousins.

“I was talking to him about how I hoped he and his sister would both be able to spend time with me then and how I’d asked his mother if that would be OK,” he clearly remembers.

“He was excited and he had asked me to take him to a LEGO exhibition and I said I would… that was the last day I saw him.”

Claiming that their son was sick in the weeks after, Esther immediately cut off all contact between Marcus and both his children.

“There’s been no way for me to contact him or his sister by phone or email, it’s all been blocked by their mother.”

In 2018, Marcus’s attempts to regain contact with Joshua and Rani were met with hostile refusals from Esther’s partner, who remains in the picture.

“He told me, ‘If you don’t stop, I’ll make you understand to stop’,” he retells.

“He threatened me and I took it to the police.”

“I pay 100 per cent child support despite having not seen them for five years”

Incredulously, since 2011, Marcus has been ordered to pay 100 per cent child support — $1,200 a month — despite court orders allowing him shared custody and countless attempts to share more care of the children.

“This is why she’s withheld the children…  if I have care, she stands to receive less. There’s nothing I can do. I’ve had to pay it all.”

On top of that, the disillusioned father-of-two has spent more than $65,000 in legal fees, which are ongoing as he attempts mediation with his ex.

“She’s refused all mediation offers… there’s no hope with her. All this money later, and so much stress on my family, and I’m still in the same position as I was when I lost my kids in 2011.”

“The only pictures I’ve seen of my kids in five years are on their school reports”

Nevertheless, this desperate father continues to try any way he can to watch over his offspring.

“I had to phone schools to see if my kids were going there because their mother wouldn’t tell me,” he says.

“Once I found out, I couldn’t even go there because I know the school was told things about me that aren’t true and I was afraid of what would happen if I went on the grounds.

“When I asked the school if the kids were getting my emails because I never had one response, they would only tell me that Rani has asked not to have any contact with me. So I believe I’ve been blocked with both kids.

“The only pictures I’ve seen of my kids in five years are on their school reports… I don’t even know where they live.”

“The kids might come back to me in their 20s or 30s but no one knows if they will”

Tragically, last month, Marcus’ mother passed away. His only hope was to let his children know of their grandmother’s death, but even that was refused by their school.

“They will never have a relationship with her now… they don’t even know she’s gone.”

Mourning his mother and the years he will never get back with his cherished kids, Marcus is forced to go on, fearful to have any optimism that his family will ever be reunited.

“I’ve lost the most important years… they might come back in their twenties or thirties but no one knows if they will,” he says in despair.

“Sadly, I am resigned to the fact I will never have a relationship with my children. I struggle to have any hope, but I won’t stop fighting.”

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Originally published at KidSpot. Photo by Pavel Danilyuk.

About the Author: Guest Writer

Dads4Kids is a harm prevention charity committed to excellence in fathering. Our vision is to transform the nation by inspiring fathers to help their children be the best they can be.There’s a crisis in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 870,000 children, more than 1 in 6, live without their biological father at home.

3 Comments

  1. Warwick Marsh August 2, 2022 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Very powerful and heartrending article!!!!

  2. Delandric Webb August 5, 2022 at 5:52 am - Reply

    That is such a tragedy. As a single father who has raised his children, and never kept their mothers away even though they do nothing for their children my heart goes out to Marcus. Where I live she would have been arrested for violating the court orders.

  3. Rommy August 26, 2022 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    This makes me so angry. Some parents – yes, even including mothers (shock, horror) – are a disgrace. They have no qualms for hurting their children for their own narcissistic reasons. Fancy causing that sort of grief to the children’s father, grandmother, cousins etc, not to mention the children themselves, who, no doubt, will have ongoing issues for the rest of their lives.

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