Good to know

You are not alone

  • One of the most common things people say to us is how surprised they are that there are so many others going through the same thing.
  • There is much to be said for sharing constructive time talking to people in the same situation.
  • It does not help if everyone around you says there is no hope and it’s all bad because, generally speaking, thats just not true. Sometimes this can happen in groups that are activism focussed and you need to be aware how such ‘negativity’ can negatively impact your state of mind and stop you finding positive / proactive solutions.
  • Reach out to us and come meet others in the same boat – you’ll be surprised how much they can help you, and you them.

There is hope

  • The great thing about sitting in a room with some of us old timers who’ve been through it before, is that we know where you are, how you feel and even how best to make your way through the challenges.
  • Fact is, positive outcomes do really occur all the time – if you know how to focus and you follow through and do the right things.
  • Thats how we help; we help you put your situation into perspective and assist you to focus on the best way through the challenges that you have.
  • With us, there’s always hope. Come say hello.

False allegations are not unusual

  • Its sad that we have to say it but, yes, false allegations happen a great deal when it comes to family separation.
  • In every high conflict family situation, legal or otherwise, there are three sides to the story – yours, theirs and then there’s the truth. Point being, if everyone always told the truth, there’d be no disagreement over the facts and no conflict. Add into that equation an adversarial family law system and you easily start to see how things that are not true get claimed in an effort to get ahead.
  • In our experience, both mums and dads can make false allegations against the other parent in equal measure so that they can gain the upper hand, but you can read one retiring family court judges views on the matter here.
  • If you’re on the receiving end of such allegations, particularly extreme ones, its hard to understand how that happens and to worry about the shame of them being shared with others. This is normal but you can’t let it stop you from doing what is right for yourself and for your children.
  • Know such allegations for what they are, which is strategic manoeuvrings to gain legal control, and little more. They are an attempt to derail the trajectory of and to delay the legal case and ensure short term legal dominance.
  • The good news is that in the long term, false allegations usually do not work – family court outcomes suggest that most such allegations are eventually overturned.
  • The secret is not to make it worse in the meantime by overreacting; that means lashing out against yourself or the other party and it also means not walking away.
  • If you’re worried what others might think, send them over to here to read these notes so that they can be better informed.

Managing your expectations, your emotions and your actions

  • Managing your expectations is key to surviving the hardest times. If each time something bad happens, your expectation is that it will immediately be corrected, then there is a good chance that you’ll be disappointed.
  • The world in general and certainly something as complex as family breakdown and family law does not work fast and its not always easy to see the logic of the decisions made when you’re in a highly emotive state.
  • The legal wheels move slowly but thats no reason to give up hope, rather it’s a very good reason and opportunity to start working on a medium to long term strategy versus expecting quick fixes. Quick fixes happen but they are rare.
  • Its normal to feel angry if you’ve been wronged but use that in a constructive way, not in a destructive way that makes you spiral down. Our helpline operators and groups are great at helping you do this.
  • A common and easy exercise is to list off all your challenges under the headings of (1) things I can control, (2) things I can influence and (3) things I have no control over. When you’ve done that, work on the items in (1), work on developing your approach to the items in (2) and think of not wasting time, energy and emotion on items in list (3). Do this, and set realistic expectations and timescales, and you’re a long way towards managing your situation in the best way.
  • Lastly, it really helps to keep fit, to eat well, get out and to get into or keep at your normal daily routine; think about the time you get up, eat, go to bed, how and when you work. All these things in a daily routine help keep you sane and healthy and ensure that you’re the same parent that your kids remember when they get back with you again.
  • Of course, all the above is the kind of thing we can help you with so drop us a line and/or attend a group.

Start keeping a daily diary

  • These situations can sometimes take a long time to resolve and its easy to lose track of what is happening, why, when, how and who was involved. The sooner you start to do this the easier it is to get your facts straight when you might be asked about what has happened.
  • Use a diary with a full ‘day to a page’ format and get used to writing a quick update each day, even if only to report that nothing happened that day – it might be key to show this in a court case.
  • If anything happens, stay calm but write it down for later consideration. Think what happened, who was involved, time, location, witnesses, what the lead up to it was and what happened at the end. All of this will help you later.

Best Interests of the Child

  • If your situation involves children in a family legal case then it is critical to understand that the court will make a decision concerning their care based primarily on the 1975 Family Law Act, Section 60CC.
  • You can find the primary definition in law by clicking here, and a useful overview by clicking here.
  • A general rule of thumb is that every communication with or submission / application to the courts should take these factors into account. Any other factor is largely irrelevant.
  • If you are making an application to the court, responding to an application or writing affidavits or parenting order proposals, you should also structure them around the best interests factors to ensure that the court see that you are acting in accordance with expectations as a good parent or other guardian.

 

Empowering Families - Creating Futures