Click to find out more

What to do if the children’s mother is being destructive

Often we get asked interesting questions, so we nicely ask our professional friends of Dads Online to help provide answers to them. Remember this is not official legal advise as everyone’s situation is different, it is only an experts opinion. All names and identifying remarks have been omitted.

question dads onlineQuestion: My Granddaughter is being used by her mother as a pawn to do whatever she can to destroy my sons time and relationship with his young daughter. When he objects or doesn’t give the mother what she wants there is abuse and yelling.

She lies to my granddaughter who is told her daddy doesn’t want to see her, but in fact he has had weekend visits every weekend since she was 2 years old (she is now 10) and that will not change!

Because of the mothers desire to hurt my Son by being destructive and now even texting my sons partner with abuse. We just cannot take anymore and need some advise on where to go, I cannot afford to go to court but I desperately want a relationship with my granddaughter and my son is not sure where to start in the Court System to at least have some sort of legal standing. I hope you can give me some answers…

Answer: In this instance, it would appear that the best way to proceed is to seek to vary the original Court orders (if there are any). Otherwise, applying to the Court for parenting orders would be the best idea and the orders should include a clause that either party cannot denigrate the other party in the presence of the children (or to that effect).

The only issue is that this is a costly exercise. Other than this, options are to contact places such as Lifeworks and Relationship Australia and see what that can offer in terms of courses in these instances, they generally have great advice for dealing with these exact scenarios.


  1. Tony says:

    Relationships Australia were no help to me. I was fobbed off trying to organise mediation with a very manipulative x wife. In fact it appears once you have the DVO title there is no help. Rather disheartening when just wanting a more balanced relationship with my kids rather than only 60 nites a year but expected to pay half of everything.

    • Phil says:

      Phil Says:

      I have dealt with Relationships Australia on a number of occasions during my divorce and subsequent child access court case. They were pretty wooly, vague and non-committal in all ways. Most recently, they mis-read the parenting orders and offered a counselling service that they didn’t actually provide. It took 6 weeks from the date of the orders for them to speak to myself and my ex-wife. Only then did they realise that the type of counselling ordered and they had committed to was not a service they were qualified to provide. So it’s back to court and more money spent. Not to mention the feelings of disappointment and frustration associated with all the drama. Still have not seen my kids for three and a half years!

      • Peter says:

        Hi Phil,
        That must be so frustrating. I can only imagine how that would feel. The last thing we need are professionals making mistakes which prolong the agreement. Continue to be patient, it will be worth it in the long run, life will get back to a happier place. Best wishes.

  2. Duncan says:

    Relationships Australia demonstrated no desire to repair a relationship, offered no tools or skills to mediate with partners, and simply said the best was to leave!
    Best advice is to find a stronghold, separate from your kids, that your ex is unable to manipulate or change……. I have a similar situation at present with ex not wanting to follow a mediated Parenting Plan, knowing full well Court Orders are expensive and probably out of the plan. So find an alternate, I intend to stop the mortgage payments ( I have two houses that she has access too) let the bank repossess both, she gets kicked out, I already had the expense of setting up another apartment, kids can stay with me whilst she deals with the fallout. Lawyers from both sides have run a country mile, no replies., so the only way forward is to take a hard stand……….otherwise her manipulation and continued greed goes unchecked, with your access, sanity and child’s relationship completely altered.

  3. Owen Kahler says:

    Relationships Australia is a clearing house for women and not supportive of men in my experience. Your best option is to apply to the court and do the work yourself. Lawyers are mostly a waste of money, it is what they are in the game for. You know your circumstances best, study the applicable law and precedents and put together a clear, evidence based, succinct and unemotional affidavit to support your change of orders or application for orders and go from there. Be the calmest and most prepared person in the room. If you have an ex-partner who will only change based on a possible consequence due to breach of court orders then this is what you would be well advised to do. Once the orders are in place do not budge one millimetre from them.

  4. NH says:

    My soon to be ex-wife is trying to manipulate the system so that I don’t get enough time with our kids. She is saying that I was not a big enough part of their lives when we were together (because I worked long hours to provide for the family). She’s left me with huge debt which she now claims she can’t pay as she’s never earned any money whilst married, this is because she’s never lodged a tax return whilst running her photography business which was entirely run as a cash business. I’m trying to work out an agreement with her where I will absorb the debt if she is willing to give me adequate access to our kids but she is denying me that privilage. She is a trained actress so putting on the water-works comes easily. I have not tried relationships Australia and from what I’ve read it seems a pretty one-sided organisation, much like our Family Court system.
    She has been on pain medication since I’ve known her, now she has been on a year of hard antidepressants that she admits were responsible for the breakup. She is in an artificial high of confidence and has completely changed. She doesn’t even care about what is happening to our kids, emotionally and physically.
    She leaves our kids with her disabled elderly parents while she goes out, sometimes overnight. Whilst in her care, our littlelest has had a busted big toe and a broken collar bone to what she’s claimed that accidents happen. If the shoe was on the other foot, it would’ve meant the end of visits with dad.
    They cry so profusely when they get picked up, holding on for dear life to me as their mother takes them away. She even denies me access to them when I try to call them to show that I care. They don’t want to be with her.
    I am afraid of what she will do next.

  5. Kevin Gately says:

    Hi NH,
    Thanks for your efforts & glad you posted your story. Unfortunately that sounds like the same script all the fellas at Dads in Distress tell me. It is clear you have some serious concerns for your kid’s welfare and rightly so.
    No doubt your comment on the courts is from experience? It is a minefield for fathers in high conflict separations. I can only say you are not alone and you’re welcome to attend any Dads in Distress meeting across the country. Check the website ‘Parents Beyond Breakup’ if you don’t know where to go. We all talk about exactly those situations and how to cope and get through it.
    I facilitate a weekly meeting on Monday nights in St. Kilda (if you’re wondering).
    Keep up the good work, you’re kids know you’re a good Dad.
    Cheers, Kevin