If there is no parenting Court Order in place, whilst you are not in the strict sense legally bound to send your children to the other parent, it might be to both yours and your children’s detriment in the long term if you do not send them.
The Court frowns very heavily on parents who do not foster a relationship between the other parent and their children, which could result in losing primary care of your children.
If there is a parenting Court Order in place, stating that your children must see their Mother and/or Father at certain specific times, then you must abide by those Court Orders.
Parenting Orders have effect until the children turn 18 years of age, unless the parenting Orders are superseded by a Parenting Plan, amended by consent or changed by the Court.
This means that legally, there is no age below 18 where it is acceptable for either parent to unilaterally stop the children from spending time with the other parent. Doing so without valid reason constitutes a contravention. “The children keep saying they do not wish to go” are not valid reasons.
You cannot breach a Court Order unless you have ‘reasonable excuse(s)’. The most common example of a reasonable excuse usually is – where the child is at genuine risk of harm whether physically and/or emotionally if he/she was to spend time with that other parent.
Factors such as the age of the children can also have a huge bearing on this question, as can many other factors.
The Court will look at evidence such as Police records, Doctors’ and Hospital records, reports from Schools and from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services. The Court will also look at other evidence that are relevant.
People who make up allegations of abuse and/or not encouraging the children to spend time with the other parent are looked upon very critically by the Court and it may even Order you to pay some or all of the costs of the other person. Sometimes dependent on the circumstances that parent is sentenced to go to jail for a certain period of time.
Even if allegations of abuse are found to be true, that does not necessarily mean that the abusive parent will be prevented from seeing their children. Supervised time will occur with that parent by an independent person or at a Care Centre to make sure nothing goes wrong.
The contents of this article are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Please seek appropriate legal advice before proceeding with any course of action.