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A depressive loop and A broken family
This is my situation, I have been separated from my Wife for nearing 8 years now, we have 2 young children (at the time of separation, they still young, but not as young anymore), their ages Were (at time of separation) a daughter of 2.5 years old and a son of 8 months old. After being told by my Father-In-Law that my wife didn't want to live with me anymore (the only reason I have ever been given for the separation), they took the kids and stayed away for 2 days before coming back to change the locks on the family home, effectively locking me out, despite me willing to co-operate peacefully for the sake of our children, which so happened to be on my very Birthday that year. Since then the only contact my wife has made to me is demands for things like signing the divorce (which I haven't for fear she will manipulate it so I am signing away my rights to our children as well), or for saying that she was upset I didn't buy her a birthday present the following year after our separation. She had moved house, not telling me where she had moved to, changed her number and in the last year has blocked my last chance to talk with her through Facebook. I had made many attempts over the near 8 years to try and regain contact with our children in a peaceful, mature and civil manner, but she never responded to any of my reasonable requests including sitting down together with an independent person (Justice of the peace for example) who could keep our children's best interests while working out a parental agreement/custody order. Privacy laws stop me obtaining addresses and contact information from Government Services (Centerlink, Child Support, etc), so Lawyers cant send documents to her in regards to solving the issue, so no custody order can be initiated, meaning courts and police cant intervene because there is no breach of order.
This has me feeling depressed (my opinion), I can't maintain work as I feel there is no point to it, I can't seem to move forward in my life as the issues above keep pulling me back, I can't seem to form a lasting relationship as I cannot marry again due to already being married, I am not suicidal though, as I still know there is our children and much other happiness to live for as well. How do I get out of this seemingly endless loop? Also been suggested to see a GP, but I don't have one and no one seems to let me know how I can get one, at least to confirm I am actually depressed or if it is just something I am using as an excuse.
Welcome and thankyou for having the courage to post too!
I am sorry that you have been 'left in the dark' as per the contact you are entitled to as the father of your children. I feel your pain as I had 8 months (back in 1994) without any contact with my 18 month old daughter (at the time) who is now 25.
Its heartbreaking to read that your father in law was the person who informed you. That I dont understand.
I spent 6 years off and on in the family court with my ex refusing me contact with my daughter and it cost me my mental health...even though I kept working in a senior role...I was damaged
I see that you have tried to get contact with your children through various avenues like a justice of the peace which is good Terry. Can I ask you if you have tried to use the family court to arrange a mediation session with you and your ex to sort this out?
If memory serves from 1994 the family court always pushed mediation to avoid a court case occuring
I understand there are financial issues with engaging a lawyer for sure. They would have no issue tracking and then communicating with your wife to establish a mediation session
What are your thoughts?
Just a note....the forums are a safe and secure place where you can post. Your privacy is paramount here
My kind thoughts
Thank you for your reply.
I originally had written more but due character count restrictions, I had to "brief" it down a bit.
I have tried to go through the courts, but without the Wifes current address, I cant get them to even look at it as they cant contact her on my recommendations (as that is what the courts told me), and Lawyers have the same problem, Police can't act as there is no custody order to breach, which means I have to get that from the courts who cant act because I cant put in her address on the forms, and of course, she wont even speak to me let alone let me know her address. The only avenue I have been told is the very slim chance that the court allow a subpoena of her information from centerlink or child support to a lawyer, but the chance of that is low and will take a good 2-3 months just to make an attempt through the courts.
You are correct about the family court pushing mediation, but again, we dont know how to contact her to inform her of the decision to do this.
People (friends, associates) I have spoken to have suggested a Private Investigator to find her address, but it feels very morally wrong to have a stranger track and stalk our children, even if it is a means to an end. Plus I am not sure how much they cost or how to contact P.I.s anyway.
The bit about my Father-in-law I had to make brief, but without trying to sound bitter or shifting blame, he really is a true perfected example of a narcissist you could possibly get, and I believe what may have happened (again, this is only what I assume, as I havent been told anything except what I had written in previous post) is my wife had been to her father, has some sort of problem with me and told him instead of talking with me, and he stepped in. So after I return home to an empty house after work (was no big deal when I first walked in as wife may have gone shopping etc, I had no reason to worry), but when I was coming out of a shower, the father-in-law and my wife were there, no kids, and she was in the kids room, while he was at the bathroom door telling me that my wife didnt want to speak to me and didnt want to live with me any more, wife said nothing and they left while I was trying to process what had happened. 2 days later, was my birthday, and the same day the locks were changed on me, thats why I remember it so clearly.
Hope that gives you a clearer picture of what has happened
Thanks for taking the time to write back.
I dont envy you after what you have been through Terry and thankyou for elaborating. I would have been a mess in your situation after getting out of the shower and finding my ex and her father in law in my house (without my children)
My ex tried to relocate interstate even with a court order saying that she couldnt do so which I had to go back to court again to challenge (more burnout). I understand what you meant about hiring a PI. Its just not a good idea
You mentioned "The only avenue I have been told is the very slim chance that the court allow a subpoena of her information from centerlink or child support to a lawyer, but the chance of that is low and will take a good 2-3 months just to make an attempt through the courts"
Just from my experience the best and most efficient way to proceed is even one visit with a lawyer...and then self representing which I did in the final years of my court case
You are right with the waiting time with the turnaround to hear your case....approx 3 months...
May I ask if you know any of your wife's relatives that you may be able to approach? Please excuse the question but I had to ask.
While you are going through this awful pain without contact with your children......do you have any support from a friend or relative to help you while going through this bad period?
I really feel your pain Terry...Its a bad place to be in
My kind thoughts and here for you
Again, thank you for your input.
I have actually seen a lawyer for advice a few times now, I have an uncle who is a lawyer but he deals with corporate, however his business partner is a family lawyer and has been offering me free advice which is a godsend in relation to understand all the process. It is through him that I had discovered about the roadblock in the form of the subpoena, the wait times etc.
I also have been to the police as I had read in my studies of my situation, that the custodial parent cant move without giving the other parent notice and information of the move, as that is treated as kidnapping within the courts. However, because there is no Court order in place, police cant act, so she is able to get away with it, they then suggested I go to court to get one, which I took their advice, and after much running around, finding out they cant act without an address of where my Wife is living. This was confirmed by a lawyer (Uncles business partner), and made some suggestions, like hiring a PI, contacting members of her family, etc
I have considered talking to members of her family, but due to the reception I had received from them all, I doubt it is a possibility as they all support her. Her parents are separated, but still we already know where her father sits, her sister and her partner both also helped her to ensure I was left feeling intimidated when I was allowed to come back to the house the following Saturday after the locks were changed to "pick up the rest of my stuff", so had considered talking to her mother about whats going on, but sadly she had rang me abusing me over the phone about lies that my wife had told her about the situation. This was about 1 week after the above, something I was not prepared to deal with as I had just had become homeless, lost my family, quit my job, and a few more sudden worse turns. In the end I heard her (mother-in-law) voice starting to abuse me so I just hung up.
The support I get is minimal to say the least, My parents live in the country and although they are willing to help and support, their hands are quite tied as they are in fear of losing what little rights my wife has allowed them, and it would be heartless for me to proceed with the situation without considering the impact on them as well. I have no sisters or brothers (only child) and the rest of my family tend to keep to their own worlds.
Thank you again for your words
Thankyou for being a part of the forum family
You are fortunate to have that legal advice available to you. I see what you mean about you being brick walled out of your childrens lives. I do know that when it does go to court your wife wont be winning any awards where parental responsibility is concerned. It is so close to kidnapping. I fail to comprehend how this can be allowed to happen in 2018 Australia. Its actually un-Australian
All children benefit from seeing both parents and have the right to do so. You too are entitled to contact with your children. This is so sad Terry. I am going to have a sticky beak and see if there are any alternatives that I have missed yet the info you have received is very accurate.
May I ask you how your health has been? As in sleep quality etc
My kind thoughts
I don't know how to start except by saying i'm so sorry for what you are having to endure. It's really unfortunate how you were left in the dark like that. Congratulations for using these forums as a means of venting your frustration. They really do help.
In regards to advice i can give, try calling the board of education to see if you can find out what school they are enrolled in. If you prove to them you are the biological father and there are no court orders against you, they may have an obligation to tell you which school they are going to. If so, i will go to that school and attempt contact with your ex from there.
I will still try to contact members of her family, especially those who have children themself. You will find people that are also parents are more sympathetic to your situation. I will also definitely consider hiring a PI. They are your children and you should take whatever means necessary in order to see them. At the same time though, i do understand yours and blondguys' perspective.
You can also do a bit of PI work yourself. Make a file of any information you know about her and your children and see if theres an avenue to speak to her and agree on an arrangement where you see your children. Keep in mind that you did have 2 children with her so there must be a common ground you can reach for the childrens sake.
Totally understand about her father being a narcissist. Narcissistic behaviour destroys families and lives and i hope your ex realises that and i hope her father gets treatment for his behaviour.
Thank you for reaching out to us and keep us posted with your progress. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Thank you for the comfort
Just a short note to answer your question, My health hasnt been terribly bad, not great either but I cant say unhealthy. I eat well, I still socialize and I still find some happiness in life from time to time. As for actual sleep, thats a different thing, I often have to get myself so tired I basically never sleep, rather just pass out, as the dreams I can remember over last 8 years, a good 80% or more of them are all about me having to face court and debate on defending myself to see the children.
I also want to add, I have never been violent to women or children, for 2 reasons, firstly that it goes against how I was brought up, one lesson that my father taught me and it has stuck is that as a man you should never, under any circumstances, hit a woman, there is always a better way. The second is because when I was a teenager, I trained in a martial art, and that taught me to hate violence, to always seek a peaceful way out, and run if the opportunity presents itself, that fighting is only a last resort, and if it went that far, things have gone very wrong.
I also dont take drugs and dont have a criminal ridden past, I once took a drug as a teenager, hated how it made me feel so I never touched any of the "leisure" drugs again.
There is actual information I have received from various "slip ups" of my Wife (I call her that not because we are together, but because we still are technically married, so dont feel I can call her an Ex yet) when my Parents have had their visits to see the children. She has never disclosed the address she is at to my parents, always meeting them in a public place, usually a shopping center. However, she had revealed her suburb she is living to my parents who in turn, relayed that information to me, From that information, I have worked out that there really is only one Primary School nearby so most likely will be that school she is taking them to, this was confirmed by a photo my parents had shown me of our children, as they were wearing their school uniforms which you can clearly see where they were from, and last bit of confirmation on that was when our daughter has let it slip that she went to the school we were suspecting.
I did try and ring the school, sadly they would not release any information over the phone, and I have approached the school but they again turned me away. I had considered some other options, like waiting for school to finish and tailing them silently (since I have a different car since when I was living with my wife), taking note of their home address that way, but thats when the morality issue pops in, I havent seen our kids for 8 years, so I am a stranger to them now, and in no way would I ever feel comfortable with a stranger stalking a child, let alone my own flesh and blood, I just couldnt stoop that low, also hence why a PI is irksome to me as well, however I am considering it because my reasoning is that the PI is a professional and is more authorized and official to carry out the task without disturbing the children.
Last point you make is still trying to contact her family, I can just simply say, not a chance, they all were against me from the start of the separation, and more liable to call the police on me for even talking to them let alone trying to get information from them.
If you read my reply to Paul before (Paul being blondeguy), you will see my standing in relation to violence and police record.
Thank you again for your advice, it does help to hear someone put forward views, even if they are ones I have considered or tried, it helps me to know that I am at least thinking on the right track.
Thats fine Terry. I am the same too where violence is concerned.
You made a good point about not upsetting your children by just turning up at school. Its a pain though because there is no court order which means that you arent restricted in seeing your children.
It really seems to be a court ordered mediation issue (once the address is available) which is straight forward. Interesting too as if a partner doesnt show up the court wont be overly happy with your wife when an order is made for contact
Do you think making an appointment with the school principal is worth considering? They may let you leave a letter for your wife's attention. Since there isnt a current court order of any type the principal is only handing over an envelope. If the principal is made aware that your intentions are in the childrens best interests (no visit) I dont foresee an issue. You could even mail it to your wife (c/o the school) with a return address and see what happens?
Especially if your letter is about seeking independent mediation 'to avoid family court proceedings'
I do hope your sleep quality improves Terry
my kind thoughts