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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 03-31-2014, 10:51 AM
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Default Settlement Conference over... What now?

So I recently had my settlement conference which didn't go so well. The OCL is involved and at the disclosure they stated the child was consistent in that she didn't want to see the father. She holds a lot of resentment towards him and doesn't trust him based on his lies and aggression. They believed based on investigation that this was due to the fathers lack of interest over the years and agreed that ties had been severed quite some time ago. My child has not seen her father in 3 years. She is almost 12 years old. The father now has a steady partner and has decided he wants our daughter back in his life so has made up a load of garbage to support his application. He has never paid a dime in child support and has quit his job in order to receive legal aid. He lives in another province. The judge clearly never read any of my brief but did read his nonsense (for which none is supported). She has accused me of parental alienation (OCL differs) and ordered therapeutic counselling at my expense and the father should chose the services. Anyone know how long I am expected to agree to this for? I have 3 children and if I have to pay for counselling for the foreseeable this will cripple us financially. We are already on the brink with ongoing legal fees. (I previously took my child for counselling off my own back and after a few sessions I was told my child was very mature, had great coping mechanisms and it really was a waste of my dime as she didn't appear psychologically affected). The judge also stated no child support should ever be paid by him and that as the aggression and violence previously displayed by him are historic, therefore she wants to grant access. I agreed to supervised access and judge said supervised for one week with a view to unsupervised. Is it common to go against OCL recommendations like this? His counsel agreed to write up minutes of settlement but the judge also said she would leave his application open. What exactly does this mean? Does it mean we have settled but he can change his mind at any time and proceed to trial? That sounds a bit contradictory to me. Any help/experience would be appreciated.
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Old 03-31-2014, 11:15 AM
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I will be honest. I don't understand your post. You are trying to intertwine issues together that aren't intertwined making your story harder to understand. I recommend using paragraphs and sorting out your ideas so we can make sense of it and help.
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Old 03-31-2014, 11:27 AM
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Apologies, I lumped everything together to save future questions.

I am asking what happens after a settlement conference when we have reached an agreement. The judge said she was going to leave the application open. What essentially does this mean? Does it insinuate that this is only a temporary agreement with a view to going to trial?

Is it common for the judge to completely disregard the OCL disclosure?

Is it normal for a judge to state no child support ever to be paid? (He has never paid child support but states he has - he has no proof) I have sole custody. He has not seen the child in 3 years.
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Old 03-31-2014, 01:15 PM
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It is not normal for a judge to not order CS. Was CS requested in the motion?

You're in settlement stages at the moment. The OCL report will come into play during the trial. At the moment, it is nothing more than a recommendation....

Separate child support and access in your head. One has nothing to do with the other, and you're mixing up the two issues to your detriment.

My first question is - how did OCL do a home visit/investigation with the non-custodial parent (father) if he lives in another province? How long ago did he move?

What has been the access routine til now?
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Old 03-31-2014, 01:46 PM
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Yes, CS was requested in the motion. I have no income. He is citing financial hardship as he will have to travel to see our daughter.

We have agreed to his offer to settle, but judge said she would leave the application open. What exactly does this mean?

I have separated both CS and access. I've never had a penny in CS during my daughters 12 years and always enforced access regardless.

OCL visit with the father took place in Ontario. At a mall and at a park.

I moved from NS to Ontario 3 years ago. My daughters father said before I moved he wanted nothing more to do with her. My husband was offered a better paying job in Ontario and I discussed this with my daughters father and he verbally agreed. He hadn't seen her for 2+ years before the observation visit with the OCL.

When he did see her if was for a few hours per week. That's when he showed up.
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Old 03-31-2014, 01:47 PM
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Is it uncommon that a judge ignore an OCL report? Yes, it is uncommon for a judge to do so, but it does happen.

As for c/s, and why none was ordered, it also can happen. From the sounds of it, you guys are provinces apart. In situations like that, a judge may forego c/s, as the costs of your ex to exercise parenting time would be expensive. Thus, to offset the cost of travel, the judge waives c/s. Who moved?

Edit - just read your reply above. So you were the one that moved, and while you said you got him to agree verbally, you never got it in writing. Bad move. Also, when you moved, did you come to an agreement on a new parenting time schedule? Because you moved, you would likely be the one responsible for the costs of transportation for your ex to exercise his parenting time, either by paying for it out of your pocket, or by not receiving c/s.

Last edited by HammerDad; 03-31-2014 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 03-31-2014, 01:55 PM
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Thanks for the reply HammerDad,

I moved. My daughters father at that time didn't want to see her and was frequently moving. He was not actively involved and never has been. We were never married nor did we ever live together.

I discussed moving as my husband is the main bread winner and was offered a better paying job (I have another 2 children to my husband). Ex had no issues with this.

I think he agreed as he was wary of court action at that point. He has previous convictions for domestic abuse against me and he has assaulted my daughter before. However last year he said a mate told him that's historic and because he's more settled now he has a good chance of custody...
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:02 PM
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You made the mistake of moving without a written agreement. Simple as that. And while you may say he was disinterested in the child, that will be your perception.

My ex and I were never married and barely lived together (like maybe 5 months in total during our 2 year on/off relationship). It has no bearing on whether you can move. My agreement specifically provides that my ex can't move outside of a certain distance from my without my written consent or a court order.

From the sounds of it, your ex wasn't very settled and now has straightened up and realized he has made some mistakes and wants a better relationship with his child. That is good. It is good for the child. The costs for his parenting time will be born by you, in no c/s. Your ex shouldn't have to bear the extra costs for his parenting time because you moved.
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:29 PM
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Yes, I am aware now that I should have obtained written agreement. However I have emails from my ex stating he couldn't give a sh*t about my daughter and to do as I wished.

I tried endlessly to ensure my daughter had a relationship with her father and certainly did nothing to alienate him.

While I agree that it is most definitely a good thing that he has straightened up his life, this has also had a negative affect in my daughter. I have been back to NS numerous times over the last few years and he has never agreed to my offer of seeing our daughter. Some of the last memories she has of him is when he left her black and blue.

There is obviously a lot more to this case but I didn't think I would end up bearing the brunt financially when he has never been interested or paid CS.

I don't understand why a father would try to sting the mother financially when it's the kids who suffer when there's no beans in the pot. It's not like he's not being offered access. To avoid substantial legal costs I'm even offering more than the OCL have recommended!
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feeling helpless View Post
Yes, I am aware now that I should have obtained written agreement. However I have emails from my ex stating he couldn't give a sh*t about my daughter and to do as I wished.

I tried endlessly to ensure my daughter had a relationship with her father and certainly did nothing to alienate him.

While I agree that it is most definitely a good thing that he has straightened up his life, this has also had a negative affect in my daughter. I have been back to NS numerous times over the last few years and he has never agreed to my offer of seeing our daughter. Some of the last memories she has of him is when he left her black and blue.

There is obviously a lot more to this case but I didn't think I would end up bearing the brunt financially when he has never been interested or paid CS.

I don't understand why a father would try to sting the mother financially when it's the kids who suffer when there's no beans in the pot. It's not like he's not being offered access. To avoid substantial legal costs I'm even offering more than the OCL have recommended!
If he left her black and blue, you should have called the police.
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