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Brisbane-Lawyer, Solicitor - Admitted 2005
Category: Australia Law
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Experience:  I did my law degree at the University of Queensland
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The abuse is not physical. It is long-term emotional. E.g.

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The abuse is not physical. It is long-term emotional. E.g. The child had a laptop with viruses, and for the past 1.5 years begged his mum to fix it. He needs it for highschool, and was always getting complaints off his sister because he had to use hers. Finally mother recently ran her anti-virus through it, and fixed it. Took 10 minutes. Excitedly he went to grab it, and she said no, it's junk, and he found that she had snapped it in half & put it in the bin. A few days later his dad gave him a spare computer whilst he was at visitation, and upon the boy's return home with the computer, she went ballistic, and in response to his measured but frustrated responses, she told him he was just like his father. We have been told to pick it up. The boy has called his father, told him he has to pick it up, and as always sounds extremely depressed. We recently made a birthday party for both my partner & his son (same birthday!) because it fell on a visitation day. This is either the first or second time this has happened in the past 10 years, as she never allows them to see each other on that day. Because my partner had to negotiate for her to allow visitation to start 4 hours later (evening for the party), ex wife terrorised both father and son knowing that they would agree to anything so that they could be together for this event. My partner had to "enthusiastically" agree that he was a 'bad father' to her on the phone. Whilst he was emotionally shattered after the phone call ordeal, he did it so his son would be able to attend, so his son would have something good to look forward to. Singularly, these may not seem much, but in the context of ongoing irrational targetting, her abuse of his dad and myself, and the fact that he insists on secretly calling his dad 'because I have no-one to talk to' (as mother is not engaged with him, and makes no effort to), we would like to know if emotional blackmail, manipulation and cruelty are solid grounds to attempt custody. I think it would break both father and son if it was unsuccessful.
If the abuse is not physical, then Child Protection is unlikely to get involved. That means the only other option is for the father to apply to the Court for new and updated orders giving him custody, or to discuss this with the mother and see if she is willing to agree to that.
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