Hi I'm trying to help my friend she's a single mum English is her 2nd Language with no relatives in Australia and is dealing with a difficult ex husband (Australian), with custody issues. Would like to find out from other mother's who have this similar court appointed custody matter and how they handled it.
The background is the husband left her for another woman when child was 18months. He had little contact with the child He then instigated custody proceedings when the child turned 2 for 50/50 split. On account of the child's age he got 3 days every fortnight. He also requested a phone contact order eg that he could ring at certain designated times to speak with his child during week days or on weekends.
The problem is that as he uses the phone contact to
a) harass her and intimidate/threaten and bully her
b) belittle her tell her she is a bad mother etc
c) records the conversations and only tells her at the end of the conversations that she is being recorded (which is not illegal but she doesn't record him ( I think she should)
He expects to have his designated phone contact at each of these times and at times the child has been asleep when he rang if my friend states this and asks to ring back when the child wakes " he Quotes the "I have a custodial right to speak to my child" Go wake her up or threatens her with you are breaking the court orders. My friend has on several occasions when the child has asked to speak to her father rung him outside of the court ordered times.
Another time I was present and the child aged 3 didn't want to speak but just wanted to play with my daughter when he rang. He was quite rude stating why he couldn't hear his daughter talking to him why wasn't his wife holding the phone close enough to the child. & yet she was doing everything humanly possible eg she encouraged the child to talk to the father had the phone on loud speaker. He was also rude to me when I explained the situation and told me it was his "court appointed time " and told his ex wife how she shouldn't have visitors over (I dropped in to give a birthday gift to the child & was packing up my belongings to leave).
d) is now using these 2 instances to take her back to court to negotiate 50/50 split so he doesn't have to pay any money the child just turned 4years old.
She had hoped to settle matters at mediation meeting but He now has refused to attend mediation dates and wants to proceed straight to court stating she is in breach of custody orders relating to the phone because she hasn't "Facilitated the phone conversations and also wants the mother to pay for a very expensive new phone eg video ability and for her to pay the insurance & costs against accidental breakage(money she doesn't have and so hence refused this ultimatum from him). (Skype would be a cheaper option) She can't even afford a lawyer gets some legal aid assistance.
As an early child hood teacher I do observe children 2-4 yrs regularly have:
a)) short conversations with significant others eg family relatives/friends that they see on a week to week basis.
b) their child's friends.
Even in role playing phone conversations with other playmates conversation is short especially if the child has limited language abilities to sustain a conversation or for emotional personality reasons (shy timid child)
Can anyone shed any light on what she should do? Thanks