Zhilan arrived to Australia from China on a Student Visa in 2014 and after a couple of years she became an Australian citizen. Fortunately for Zhilan, her parents were able to fund all of her financial expenses when she initially arrived to Australia, and when they were on good terms.
Before arriving in Australia, Zhilan experienced a tragic illness in the family – her father was diagnosed with throat cancer. In an attempt to treat it, her father had an operation in 2013 but unfortunately, he did not recover very well. During her first year in Australia, Zhilan met Harry, an Oncologist at a café. Since his professional field revolves around treating cancer patients and to get assistance for her father’s condition, Zhilan gave her contact number to Harry.
Initially, Zhilan and Harry became good friends. Harry showed a lot of affection towards Zhilan at the start of their friendship. He offered to teach her English and took care of her just like a father would look after his daughter.
After a month their friendship blossomed into a romantic relationship. When Zhilan’s parents found out about her relationship with a non-Chinese man, they disowned her for not maintaining their version of Chinese family tradition. This left Zhilan feeling isolated with no one left to turn to other than Harry.
Zhilan lived with Harry and he continued to look after her by paying her rent and travel expenses. However, by the end of 2014, Harry became aggressive towards Zhilan and ordered her to do everything he wanted. Harry intimidated Zhilan by threatening her that he would not pay her rent if she did not follow his orders.
Also, when their relationship started, Harry told Zhilan that he had four children and an ex-wife with whom he had a good relationship with. To Zhilan’s shock, she discovered later on that Harry’s story was a lie and ended the relationship. Several weeks after their separation, Harry went to Zhilan’s apartment to restore the relationship and explained to her that he was separated but was in the process of getting a divorce, and that the divorce was taking a while to be finalised. Harry also explained to Zhilan that he had to pretend that the family was still a unit for the sake of his children. Zhilan believed him and agreed to reconcile with him. She then became pregnant with his child.
When Harry found out about the pregnancy, he was furious and told her to get an abortion because her pregnancy would ruin his reputation as a doctor. To defuse the tension, Zhilan agreed that she would get an abortion but she did not. After a couple of months, Zhilan confessed to Harry that she was still pregnant and out of anger, he ceased paying her weekly rent. Harry also threatened Zhilan by telling her that he is a doctor who has many contacts like the police, lawyers and immigration officers who can remove her from Australia.
When the child was born, Harry told Zhilan to never call him again and changed his number; he did not want any ties with her nor with his child. When Zhilan applied for child support with the Department of Human Service, her application was rejected on the basis that there was no proof that Harry is the parent of the child.
At a vulnerable point in her life, Zhilan came to us for help. When we took control of the matter, we had to firstly prove that Harry is the parent of the child, before we could apply for court orders at the Federal Circuit Court. The court orders that we sought for Zhilan included the continual payment of child support for the maintenance of the child, and the payment of Zhilan’s medical expenses that were related to her pregnancy and childbirth. To prove that Harry is the father of the child, Harry had to undertake a DNA parentage test – Harry was found to be the father of child.
We then initiated proceedings before the Federal Circuit Court to formally declare that Harry is the father of the child, based on the evidence of the DNA test results. When this declaration was made, we were then able to successfully obtain parenting orders that required Harry to pay Zhilan all of the medical expenses that were related to her pregnancy and childbirth, and to continually pay child support for the maintenance of the child.
Zhilan was thrilled with the outcome and we are happy to know that both Zhilan and her child are doing well.