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Child Custody Rights

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 5 May 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Custody Residency Disputes Courts

In the UK child custody law determines who should be responsible for the care and charge of a child, after divorce or separation. The term custody is now more commonly referred to as residency - indicating where the children's main residence is, following a parental break up.

In the many cases, parents preference is for joint custody (or residency), which enables the child to spend an equal amount of time with each parent. This option also allows both parents to participate in any decision making which may affect the child. However, if parents are unable to decide amicably on what living arrangement is best for their child, the courts will decide on their behalf.

Parent Vs Parent

Most bitter disputes between married couples end up in the family courts. Whilst the separation and ensuing bitterness will undoubtedly affect the children it's important to remember that:
  • Most child residency court cases end amicably with either agreed residency or joint residency as the outcome
  • Access and maintenance payments from the non resident parent are also taken into consideration
  • In disputed cases each parent is individually assessed before a decision on which parent is given custody of the child, or children, is made

The best interests of the child is the general standard at the heart of all residency cases.

Joint Residency

Joint residency is considered to be the preferred solution as being in the best interests of most children.

BUT...there are no laws or 'rights' that state that a child should live specifically with either the mother or father.

Assuming you both have parental responsibility it is up to you to negotiate residency on the basis of what is best for the children. Many couples neglect to consider this fact and err on the side of what they themselves would prefer (or what suits them).

If you cannot come to an agreement, you should try mediation first. If that is unsuccessful, the courts will become involved and will issue a court order based on what it sees as appropriate.

Joint Residency Reflect Modern Society

The choice of joint residency, reflects the changes in society and takes into consideration work that mothers do outside of the home and a more hands-on approach of child care by fathers. By allowing both parents to have an equal share in the physical care of their child, or children, all legal rights connected to responsibilities and obligations to children are divided.

Custody Disputes

Most custody disputes involve the child’s mother and father. However, in some cases a third party – a grandparent, for instance – may seek custody at the time of a parent’s death or incapacity. If a couple has never married - making provisions for the care of their child may also develop into a dispute. Generally though a court will accept that a parent is in the best position to maintain the welfare of their child.

Unusual Circumstances

In some rare circumstances one parent may be permanently excluded from having any access to their child. However, the court has the right to change the decision at any point in time, should the parent’s circumstances change. The parent is able to re-apply for access at any time, and once an application is made the court may reconsider arrangements after examining evidence.

The Court Decides

The courts will generally accept custody arrangements that parents submit as part of their separation agreement. To ensure these arrangements serve the child’s interests the courts will review the plan. The role that grandparents, step-parents and other influential adults play in the child’s life may also be taken into consideration by the courts.

Changing Or Regaining Custody

Changing a child’s residency arrangements is possible. In order to support the change, substantial evidence of the stability the child will need to be submitted. There are many other factors to consider, which may include relocation of a parent, stability of employment, integration of the child into the new environment etc.

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hello I and my partner separated when I was 7weeks pregnant. He denied being responsible for my pregnancy it was a nasty period for me. He was also very violent towards me during our time together.Now I have put to bed and he wants access to the baby. I registered the birth without him as the father. I don't want him anywhere near me or my baby what do I do
graced - 5-May-16 @ 4:25 PM
Hamster - Your Question:
I left my partner nearly 5 yrs ago because of alcohol problems. I have always tried to ensure contact with our child remained. He calls our daughter every night and got to see her as regularly as was possible given his circumstances, with his parents helping to facilitate. He had to move back to the city where his family live for support so contact is limited. He hasn't paid any money towards her since we split.I never got a court order for residency because I could not afford to go through the process but he was in no fit state to look after our daughter so never contested her living with me. Now that he's starting to get better he's becoming very demanding about when he sees our daughter, gives me very limited notice at times and is completely unreasonable when she has things on that she wants to attend in our area. He has recently threatened court action because he's now working and can afford it. He still doesn't pay regularly for his daughter though. I have no problems with her seeing her dad and I welcome regular contact so we can plan around it, but he's unwilling to be flexible around her commitments in our city (school gala days, club commitments etc) and refuses to compromise. I would never stand in the way of their relationship but I'm worried about what it will do to our 9 year old to drag this through a court case and about the money it will cost to do so.

Our Response:
Have you thought of attending Mediation in order to sort out the issues? Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court. It is most often used in family proceedings, Contact Orders, residence agreements and divorce. It is a formal negotiation and courts can accept the agreement of the mediation instead of having to go through the court process, although it is subject to final court approval. Mediation takes place in front of a neutral third party. The mediator has no pre-conceptions and will not force you to make an agreement. They will assist the two parties in taking turns in the conversation, and helping you reach a decision that you are ready to agree with. Mediators do not pass judgment or offer guidance; they are there, in effect, to facilitate conversation between the two sides. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-May-16 @ 2:46 PM
Sid - Your Question:
I have described my situation below but please feel free to scroll down if you feel its too much I have bullet pointed the key issues.What are the orders I may apply for (and the relevant considerations taken into account by the court) to secure:1) my relationship with Anne(my daughter) 2)prevent her first and maiden name being change3)prevent her being taken abroad.kind regards,Sid

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear of your situation. Firstly, your wife has no right to stop access to your daughter regardless of whether she thinks you are 'gay'. Secondly, as you have parental responsibility over your daughter, if your wife is planning to leave the country and does without your consent, then this will be classed as child abduction. If you wish to stop you wife from doing this, you can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order. A PSO is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This is more common in cases where there is suspicion that one parent may leave the area with their children We have all heard the stories of a parent taking their child for the weekend and not returning them or going abroad with them and it becoming extremely difficult for the other parent to get their child back. Thankfully, this is one of the scenarios that a PSO seeks to prevent. Regarding residency of your daughter, the court is unlikely to take your child from the primary carer (her mother) and hand her over to the non-resident parent (you), without very good reason. The court will always opt toward what is in the best interests of your child and stability and consistency is of paramount importance. However, you can officially apply for access through the courts, via a C100 form and you can apply for the PSO alongside. Unless there is a very good reason then the courts will award you arranged access to your daughter. If you do not wish your ex to change your child's name then you can apply for a Specific Issue Order through the courts. Specific Issue Orders, much like the name suggests, are orders sought from the family court to determine a particular matter in connection with the exercise of Parental Responsibility. These orders can cover a wide range of issues that you and your ex-partner cannot agree on. You may be able to apply for the PSO under this category too. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-May-16 @ 12:28 PM
I left my partner nearly 5 yrs ago because of alcohol problems. I have always tried to ensure contact with our child remained. He calls our daughter every night and got to see her as regularly as was possible given his circumstances, with his parents helping to facilitate. He had to move back to the city where his family live for support so contact is limited. He hasn't paid any money towards her since we split. I never got a court order for residency because I could not afford to go through the process but he was in no fit state to look after our daughter so never contested her living with me. Now that he's starting to get better he's becoming very demanding about when he sees our daughter, gives me very limited notice at times and is completely unreasonable when she has things on that she wants to attend in our area. He has recently threatened court action because he's now working and can afford it. He still doesn't pay regularly for his daughter though. I have no problems with her seeing her dad and I welcome regular contact so we can plan around it, but he's unwilling to be flexible around her commitments in our city (school gala days, club commitments etc) and refuses to compromise. I would never stand in the way of their relationship but I'm worried about what it will do to our 9 year old to drag this through a court case and about the money it will cost to do so.
Hamster - 5-May-16 @ 6:52 AM
I have described my situation below but please feel free to scroll down if you feel its too much i have bullet pointed the key issues. Me and my wife have been separated for a few months. My profession is extremely demanding and i work long and erratic hours. However, the success of my company has allowed the family to enjoy a high standard of living. my wife left private practice when my daughter was born and now works 3 mornings a week. She undertakes the most of the household duties and child care, although she is assisted in this by a live in nanny whose salary is paid by me. In the past 3 months I left the house i continued to maintain contact with my daughter (spend time with her when she has dinner, pick her up on Mondays when school finishes and take her to her swimming lessons) this is an activity we both enjoy. However, in the last 2 months my wife banned me from coming to the house and picking my daughter up from school and taking her to her swimming lessons. I have tried to calling the via the house phone but everytime i call my wife verbally abuses me and hangs up i have tried sneaking in a few calls via the nanny but this is very upsetting to the both of us as my daughter starts crying asking me when i will come see her. Last week, my wife petitioned for a divorce last week and stated because Iam gay she has decided that it would be best that I have no contact with my daugher. she feels that it would be extremely damaging for her to realise that her father is “living in sin” with another man and be exposed to his “immoral” lifestyle. She has told me that my daughter is young enough to get used to not having me in her life. When I protested she said she would take legal action, she told me that she will defy any court order i get and would even take my daughter abroad if necessary to keep her away from me. Just before leaving, she told me that she is thinking of changing my daughters name as she no longer wants her to have any link with me. My daughter was named in honour of my late sister and my wife wants to rename her Amy (after her grandmother) and to change her last name to that of he maiden name I want to maintain a full relationship with my daughter. While I was initially happy to allow her to live with her mother due to my work schedule, I feel that I may have to fight for custody. I also want to ensure that there will be no chance of her changing my daughters name or to carry out her threat of taking her abroad. What are the orders i may apply for (and the relevant considerations taken into account by the court) to secure: 1) my relationship with Anne(my daughter) 2)prevent her first and maiden name being change 3)prevent her being taken abroad. kind regards, Sid
Sid - 4-May-16 @ 6:37 PM
Rosie - Your Question:
My husband and I have recently split. I am more than happy for him to see his children but don't trust him. To put an extremely long story short his mother has been banned from contact with our children and now that we aren't together I know he'll try and change that. Is there any way I can make it so it's illegal for her to see them

Our Response:
You would have to apply to the courts for a Specific Issue Order. A Specific Issue Orders, much like the name suggests, are orders sought from the family court to determine a particular matter in connection with the exercise of Parental Responsibility. These orders can cover a wide range of issues that you and your ex-partner cannot agree on, such as preventing someone from having contact with your child.As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-May-16 @ 11:53 AM
My husband and I have recently split. I am more than happy for him to see his children but don't trust him. To put an extremely long story short his mother has been banned from contact with our children and now that we aren't together I know he'll try and change that. Is there any way I can make it so it's illegal for her to see them
Rosie - 3-May-16 @ 5:26 PM
My ex requests that our 8yr old son stays with him on his 3 days off which I am totally fine about. The day before his days off he works 2-10 shift and requests that our son gets dropped off that evening around 7pm with his partner so it's convenient for him the next morning. Our son doesn't see his dad that evening. My ex's partner is having (another) child so my child maintenance will go down again. He currently pays me an agreed amount. We have both been on the csa calculator to work out how much I will lose. Surprise surprise he has worked out that I will lose a lot more than I worked out! He has worked it out as having our son for the 4 nights which I do not agree with. I am quite happy with the 3 nights but the 4th night he has put down is a night when he is not even there, it's just for his convenience the next morning. The whole idea of our son going to his dads is to spend time with him and not his partner. Him putting the 4th night down lowers my payment considerably. When I put the situation to him he just throws it back at me saying I'm being selfish and just thinking about the money! I don't think it's fair even expecting our son to go the night before his days off, he doesn't even want to go when it's just his dads partner there. I'm quite happy for him to just go the next morning. Could someone please advise me on this. He is being so unreasonable and making out it's me being the bad person!
Nicky - 30-Apr-16 @ 10:45 AM
I have 3 children, my oldest who is 9 has been brought up by my ex as his own since she was 2 weeks old. I then have 2 children from my ex who are 3 and 8. Since we split 18 months ago and he has a new partner who has 3 kids he no longer wants anything to do with my oldest and was having the other 2 on odd weekends. My 8 yr old has add and it is badly effecting her staying at his with no routine and being away from her sister. My oldest is obviously extremely hurt and both my 3 and 8 year old are now refusing to go with their dad. They get extremely upset when they have to go. I haven't made them go for a few weeks but what can I do legally so they don't have to stay there. He is adamant he wants them on weekends so he can pay less mainainence although he isn't actually paying anything at the moment and hasn't for 3 months. Any advice is greatly appreciated
Jgm83 - 28-Apr-16 @ 12:01 PM
my daughter and her boyfriend have 2 children,and my daughter used to let them stop athis home for weekends by mutual agreement,then her boyfriends family decided to keep them and would not allow her to take them home. The house they are now living in is frequented by drunks,addicts and thieves,so really, she should not have left them in the first place,but the children need to be out of that environment and away from the bad influences that are around them.The said that because his name is on the birth certificates that he is legally allowed to just keep them. could you please me of her rights concerning custody
grandad - 28-Apr-16 @ 10:45 AM
Justme - Your Question:
Hi, I am a father of one 9 year old boy recently divorced. Myself and ex have been apart for over 4 years and since the break up I have remained with our son in the family home. My ex moved back with her parents in there home for the first 18 months and then into an attached annexe next door where she still lives. For the first 2-3 years my son would go and stay for 2 nights a week at the weekend sometimes his mum would be there sometimes with his grandparents. A year ago after many arguments etc I agreed in principal that he would stop 2 nights one week and four the following week to try and encourage more time with his mum. The problem I keep encountering is that he spends a lot of time with the grandparents or back and fourth between the two and not so much time with his mum. If I open my mouth to discuss I am faced with an onslaught of abuse which has resulted in me not even being allowed near the property. My son has been put directly in the middle of this and been upset on many occasions with direct manipulation and it is always put across to him that I am some how at fault. I constantly get frustrated that when his mum isn't around, has gone out, has other plans during her supposed time he isn't back at home with me or I`m not even spoken to instead he is next door with the grandparents. Our son has expressed to me and his mother that he likes seeing them but not as much as he does. All I ever here is it is her time so none of my business. My ex has never contributed maintenance wise towards the upkeep of our son and this is something I have given up raising with her as again its just abuse and she doesn't see why she should. I feel that time is so precious as he gets older and I work very hard with my own business, running the home, the schooling and all other parental duties. If he isn't with his mum in her supposed time I feel he should be with me at home especially as it is usually the weekend and we could have more of the quality time tht is so important. I face a constant power struggle and feel like I'm against a brick wall. That loosely covers some of it and believe me there is a lot more but I guess what I would like to know is how far my rights stretch as a father, the resident parent and someone who has consistently done everything for there child. I`m sick of being threatened with well if you don`t like it we`ll go to court, I`m sick of the hostility and I'm sick of hearing that what happens in `there time` is none of my business`. I would never stop him seeing his mum or grandparents but if she isnt there surely there is no place like home.Any advice would be appreciated.thanks

Our Response:
Your only option would be to either suggest mediation in order to sort the problem out. You could also contact Child Maintenance Services in order to apply for child maintenance if your ex works. You don't say who receives the child benefit etc and/or who is classed as the primary carer. If you are, then the CMS will assess your ex for payment. You can see how much you may be entitled to here. With regards to your ex leaving your son with his grandparents, it is unlikely a court will issue an order to stop your child being looked after by them as this is quite a natural thing to do, especially if your ex is living with her family. Unless you can raise a specific reason why this should not happen, then it really is up to your ex's discretion.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Apr-16 @ 2:07 PM
Emu - Your Question:
I am divorced from my ex-husband and I have 2 children with him (aged 12 and 10). Both children currently live with me and my new partner and my ex lives with his dad (until he can find a property). I am going through the re-mortgage process to release funds to him and he is now asking for 50/50 custody. What is the likelihood of him getting this if it went to court? I do not think that 50/50 would work for my daughter (aged 12) as she finds it difficult to have conversations with him (he doesn't listen to her and shouts all the time). It would be wrong of me to split the two children up and send my son to his for 50% of the time and not her. I have been flexible with his access so far so that the children do not miss out on a relationship with him but that has started taking a strain as he changes plans at the last minute and as a parent cannot plan anything. I have support from my partner as well as immediate family members where is has no-one (his dad doesn't help at all). What are the chances of him obtaining 50/50 custody?

Our Response:
It is unlikely your ex would be granted 50/50 custody if you don't agree with it. Shared care is usually granted when either parents already share the care of their children on a day-to-day basis, meaning there will be little change in their domestic routine. Or they both agree this is the domestic set-up they would both prefer.
ChildSupportLaws - 27-Apr-16 @ 12:08 PM
Hi, I am a father of one 9 year old boy recently divorced. Myself and ex have been apart for over 4 years and since the break up I have remained with our son in the family home. My ex moved back with her parents in there home for the first 18 months and then into an attached annexe next door where she still lives. For the first 2-3 years my son would go and stay for 2 nights a week at the weekend sometimes his mum would be there sometimes with his grandparents. A year ago after many arguments etc I agreed in principal that he would stop 2 nights one week and four the following week to try and encourage more time with his mum. The problem I keep encountering is that he spends a lot of time with the grandparents or back and fourth between the two and not so much time with his mum. If I open my mouth to discuss I am faced with an onslaught of abuse which has resulted in me not even being allowed near the property. My son has been put directly in the middle of this and been upset on many occasions with direct manipulation and it is always put across to him that I am some how at fault. I constantly get frustrated that when his mum isn't around, has gone out, has other plans during her supposed time he isn't back at home with me or I`m not even spoken to instead he is next door with the grandparents. Our son has expressed to me and his mother that he likes seeing them but not as much as he does. All I ever here is it is her time so none of my business. My ex has never contributed maintenance wise towards the upkeep of our son and this is something I have given up raising with her as again its just abuse and she doesn't see why she should. I feel that time is so precious as he gets older and I work very hard with my own business, running the home, the schooling and all other parental duties. If he isn't with his mum in her supposed time I feel he should be with me at home especially as it is usually the weekend and we could have more of the quality time tht is so important. I face a constant power struggle and feel like I'm against a brick wall. That loosely covers some of it and believe me there is a lot more but I guess what I would like to know is how far my rights stretch as a father, the resident parent and someone who has consistently done everything for there child. I`m sick of being threatened with well if you don`t like it we`ll go to court, I`m sick of the hostility and I'm sick of hearing that what happens in `there time` is none of my business`. I would never stop him seeing his mum or grandparents but if she isnt there surely there is no place like home.Any advice would be appreciated......thanks
Justme - 26-Apr-16 @ 8:24 PM
I am divorced from my ex-husband and I have 2 children with him (aged 12 and 10).Both children currently live with me and my new partner and my ex lives with his dad (until he can find a property).I am going through the re-mortgage process to release funds to him and he is now asking for 50/50 custody.What is the likelihood of him getting this if it went to court?I do not think that 50/50 would work for my daughter (aged 12) as she finds it difficult to have conversations with him (he doesn't listen to her and shouts all the time).It would be wrong of me to split the two children up and send my son to his for 50% of the time and not her.I have been flexible with his access so far so that the children do not miss out on a relationship with him but that has started taking a strain as he changes plans at the last minute and as a parent cannot plan anything.I have support from my partner as well as immediate family members where is has no-one (his dad doesn't help at all).What are the chances of him obtaining 50/50 custody?
Emu - 26-Apr-16 @ 2:17 PM
Dee - Your Question:
My ex has access of weekend to our 7year old. He allows her to sleep in his bed despite me strictly asking not too as it causes issues sleeping alone when she comes home. Can you advise best course. He has a 2nd bedroom but isn't getting it ready and appears to want to play good cop

Our Response:
It depends how strongly you feel about this and how far you wish to go in trying to assert your opinion. If you cannot sort this out informally between you then you may wish to suggest mediation in order to resolve the matter via a third party. Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court. It is most often used in family proceedings, contact orders, residence agreements and divorce. It is a formal negotiation and courts can accept the agreement of the mediation instead of having to go through the court process, although it is subject to final court approval. Mediation takes place in front of a neutral third party. The mediator has no pre-conceptions and will not force you to make an agreement. They will assist the two parties in taking turns in the conversation, and helping you reach a decision that you are ready to agree with. Mediators do not pass judgment or offer guidance; they are there, in effect, to facilitate conversation between the two sides. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Apr-16 @ 11:47 AM
k7 - Your Question:
Hello there putting this up on behalf of my sister. her son is 6 years old he was recently removed from his home (with his mum) by the police as she was in a bad relationship drugs were involved and some abuse, he was placed with his father who has not had contact with him for the past 2 years and not paid a penny towards his son either. social services had been involved and concluded after 1 meeting with his dad that he was in a safe place despite 2 years ago going to court as his dad had refused to hand him back after hving him for a weekend to which the court ordered him to be returned to his mother hence since then no contact with his son despite my sister setting up mediation to which he refused to come. social services have told my sister they have joint custody so we just want to go get him and let the court decides what happens from that point. my sister has turned her life around ie:taking drug tests (she is clean) and seeing a domestic abuse group to spot signs of a wrongun, the guy she was with is gone and all his stuff too, his dad is refusing to let my sister or any member of our family near him although were the ones who have been there for him hence waiting on a court case and as you know the court papers state mediation must be attempted first which we set up but again he refused. we have recently found out too he has changed him to a different school without anyone informing my sister of this. where do we stand if shes got joint custody to just go get him? thank you.

Our Response:
I'm afraid if Social Services have been involved then we cannot advise on this. Although, I would not advise snatching the child as this could land your sister and you as family in trouble and as a result more restrictions on access to her son. I can only suggest your sister seeks legal advice regarding her options in this matter.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Apr-16 @ 10:32 AM
Cherry78 - Your Question:
I have 2 children with my ex partner age 12 and 15. Both were born before 30th November 2003 so he has no parental responsibility. He lives with his parents and has no job. My children sleep over 2 nights a week (in grandparents house) in which they share a double bed. I expressed my concern at this after which resulted in an argument and him threatening full custody. Where do I stand?

Our Response:
You have every right to be concerned. If your ex does not have PR then it is up to you to make the decision on what you feel is correct for your children. He is highly unlikely to gain full custody, and it sounds like these are just knee-jerk threats from him. If your ex will not see this is a problem, then you have every right to stop overnight access until the situation is resolved. Another option is to suggest Mediation in order to attempt to resolve it by a third party and which will be overseen by the courts. Please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Apr-16 @ 10:26 AM
My ex has access of weekend to our 7year old. He allows her to sleep in his bed despite me strictly asking not too as it causes issues sleeping alone when she comes home. Can you advise best course. He has a 2nd bedroom but isn't getting it ready and appears to want to play good cop
Dee - 25-Apr-16 @ 6:10 PM
My wife and I have now been separated for 7 months.I have remained in the house.As it stands now I have our 8 year old daughter 2 nights per week and every other weekend.However, I am 5 minutes from her school.I live in a 3 bedroom house.My daughter has her own bedroom.All her after school clubs are unaffected when she is with me.My wife also has a 13 year old son to a previous relationship.She has now moved into a 1 bedroom upstairs maisonette with a loosely converted garage downstairs which she is proposing to live with all three of them. So up stairs there is 1 bedroom and a sofa bed within the kitchenette area.However, the flat she is renting is some 15 miles outside of the school catchment area.My daughter has to travel both ways daily and has to get up extra early for the journey.Could you advise me on my custody dispute please
Rob - 25-Apr-16 @ 3:34 PM
Becca - Your Question:
Hi I recently broke up with the father of my 3 children and his turning horrible saying his going for full custody and will win because I smoke cigarettes in my flat that I live in with the children can he do this? Is it possible. Im scared I love my children and dont want to lose them

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely the courts would rule that your children be taken from you as the primary carer and handed over to your ex unless absolutely necessary. The courts will always rule what is in the best interest of your children andstability is of great importance. While your ex can take the matter to court, it is unlikely he would be awarded custody.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Apr-16 @ 2:56 PM
loulou - Your Question:
Split from sons dad who has joint parental responsibility. For the entire time since the split (6 years) my son has lived with me, having contact every other weekend from friday to sunday. He is now in a new relationship and is demanding 50/50 access. From what my son has said there are lots of arguments taking place. My son is now having various medical issues which is looking alot like Anxiety. Son's dad phones our house constantly and if the phone isnt answered will ring continuously until it is. He is now demanding that I tell him about every single doctors appointment I make for my son, and is making my day to day life a misery. I have never stopped contact and always go out of my way to let him have my son for extra days if he asks. I do not know which way to turn.

Our Response:
If you cannot agree arrangements between you, then you may wish to suggest mediation to your ex. Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court. It is most often used in family proceedings, contact orders, residence agreements and divorce. It is a formal negotiation and courts can accept the agreement of the mediation instead of having to go through the court process, although it is subject to final court approval. However, if your ex is continually harassing you and you feel intimidated by his demands, then you may be able to contact the police. Please see Ask the Police link: here . I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Apr-16 @ 2:52 PM
Nicola - Your Question:
Hi, my son is 1 and me and his father are currently arguing over him having access to him. I have tried since my son was born to get them to have a relationship and regular access but his dad doesn't seem to bothered by it all. He's always telling me he will see our son when he feels like it and goes weeks at a time without seeing him. Due to this and the way my son has come back after his father has had him (not having his nappy changed enough, brought home in wet clothes ect.) I have said that he needs to sort out contact centre. I feel that my son needs a father who puts him first not one that walks in and out of his life as and when he please. My son also doesnt seem happy when leaving with his dad he cries and tries to get me to get him out of the buggy. I'm not sure I stand and I'm worried he'll try to get custody of my son. Please help.

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely a court would award custody to a non-resident father unless absolutely necessary. If you cannot agree what sort of maintenence he has, then Mediation may be a valid option. Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court. It is most often used in family proceedings, Contact Orders, residence agreements and divorce. It is a formal negotiation and courts can accept the agreement of the mediation instead of having to go through the court process, although it is subject to final court approval. Mediation takes place in front of a neutral third party. The mediator has no pre-conceptions and will not force you to make an agreement. They will assist the two parties in taking turns in the conversation, and helping you reach an decision that you are ready to agree with. Mediators do not pass judgment or offer guidance; they are there, in effect, to facilitate conversation between the two sides. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Apr-16 @ 2:39 PM
hello there putting this up on behalf of my sister. her son is 6 years old he was recently removed from his home (with his mum) by the police as she was in a bad relationship drugs were involved and some abuse, he was placed with his father who has not had contact with him for the past 2 years and not paid a penny towards his son either. social services had been involved and concluded after 1 meeting with his dad that he was in a safe place despite 2 years ago going to court as his dad had refused to hand him back after hving him for a weekend to which the court ordered him to be returned to his mother hence since then no contact with his son despite my sister setting up mediation to which he refused to come. social services have told my sister they have joint custody so we just want to go get him and let the court decides what happens from that point. my sister has turned her life around ie:taking drug tests (she is clean) and seeing a domestic abuse group to spot signs of a wrongun, the guy she was with is gone and all his stuff too, his dad is refusing to let my sister or any member of our family near him although were the ones who have been there for him hence waiting on a court case and as you know the court papers state mediation must be attempted first which we set up but again he refused. we have recently found out too he has changed him to a different school without anyone informing my sister of this. where do we stand if shes got joint custody to just go get him? thank you.
k7 - 25-Apr-16 @ 11:57 AM
I where he would have her every other saturday. The easter sunday we both went to his sons birthday party on my weekend. Then the following weekend was his weekend and i asked him if i could take my daughter to my dads as i had that weekend off work. I phoned him on the Thursday. He agreed then he made a plan to phone me and arrange to have her that following week as it was the school holidays and he had his sons from a previous relationship. He also made a plan to have her that following weekend. However after that enitial call he didnt contact me at all until 3 weeks later he text me saying he was having her every saturday and to have her ready. I then called him and said thats not convenient for me and it will have to be everyother but only at his moms house due to the fact his new relationship is violent and his new girlfriend has social services involved with her son from a previous relationship. He agreed to have daughter at his moms. We then argued to which he got very agressive and compleatly un cooperative. I then said he couldnt have her as he has no where to live, no job, hes a heavy drug user cannabis  and i know he wont get up at a reasonable time with her. I am 37 weeks pregnant and i told him i dont need the stress or arguments so until iv had baby he needs to stay away. He also pays nothing to help towards costs of his child and has no contact apart from the Saturday he had her. He wont even call his daughter in the week. He missed out on her school play which he had known about for weeks before as we had discussed who would be going due to limited tickets and he didnt want to go with my dad as only two people could go to the morning showing then two people to the afternoon showing. Due to that falling into the time we broke up he didnt bother to come. He missed her 1st pearenting morning which i informed him about then when i rescheduled due to my daughter and i running late i informed him of new time and date and he once again didnt turn up. Hes not called after midwife appointments which iv informed him about. I am care assistant on very low wage i want a plan in system safegaurding my daughter so he has supervised access at his moms or a contact centre as i am worried over his state of mind his behaviour is out of character. Hes been rude, aggressive and compleatly un cooperative. In the past we we were always amicable and have always made arrangements that suit both him and me. Even if we have had to involve a 3rd party to pick up and drop off. I dont want to stop access compleatly as its not fair on my daughter however i dont trust his behavior at the moment as hes never been so aggressive towards me. Seems to use daughter as a weapon. He had her 5th March our sons 5 year anniversary he blocked me off everything so i couldn't contact my daughter that night to say goodnight or i love her i felt that was out of spite. I phoned his mom at 11am mothersday to see if daughter was ok and daughter was still in bed with her dad. I t
tasha - 25-Apr-16 @ 10:30 AM
Hi, my son is 1 and me and his father are currently arguing over him having access to him. I have tried since my son was born to get them to have a relationship and regular access but his dad doesn't seem to bothered by it all. He's always telling me he will see our son when he feels like it and goes weeks at a time without seeing him. Due to this and the way my son has come back after his father has had him (not having his nappy changed enough, brought home in wet clothes ect.) i have said that he needs to sort out contact centre. I feel that my son needs a father who puts him first not one that walks in and out of his life as and when he please. My son also doesnt seem happy when leaving with his dad he cries and tries to get me to get him out of the buggy. I'm not sure I stand and I'm worried he'll try to get custody of my son. Please help.
Nicola - 25-Apr-16 @ 10:24 AM
I have 2 children with my ex partner age 12 and 15. Both were born before 30th November 2003 so he has no parental responsibility. He lives with his parents and has no job. My children sleep over 2 nights a week (in grandparents house) in which they share a double bed. I expressed my concern at this after which resulted in an argument and him threatening full custody. Where do I stand?
Cherry78 - 25-Apr-16 @ 10:05 AM
Split from sons dad who has joint parental responsibility. For the entire time since the split (6 years) my son has lived with me, having contact every other weekend from friday to sunday. He is now in a new relationship and is demanding 50/50 access. From what my son has said there are lots of arguments taking place. My son is now having various medical issues which is looking alot like Anxiety. Son's dad phones our house constantly and if the phone isnt answered will ring continuously until it is. He is now demanding that I tell him about every single doctors appointment I make for my son, and is making my day to day life a misery. I have never stopped contact and always go out of my way to let him have my son for extra days if he asks. I do not know which way to turn.
loulou - 25-Apr-16 @ 9:30 AM
Hi i recently broke up with the father of my 3 children and his turning horrible saying his going for full custody and will win because I smoke cigarettes in my flat that i live in with the children can he do this?Is it possible.Im scared i love my children and dont want to lose them
Becca - 23-Apr-16 @ 6:41 PM
I have a question regarding residency. My children live with me and will continue to do so. There is no issue regarding that. My ex sees them every seconf weekend. Now that he has a new partner he prioritises time with her over them. Changing dates around etc, making them meet her when they are not ready etc. Anyway what I want o know is can I ask for full custody but with visting or access rights fro him. Joint custody seems the wrong title given its not 50;50, I am doing the lion share and I an raising them. I dont want to stop him seeing them but i want tio make it clear to him that given his lack of involvement I am the main decision maker.
stroudie - 22-Apr-16 @ 10:25 AM
@Colleen - if he doesn't like it either you should tell him he can pick them up or take the matter to mediation. They are well old enough to be able to walk home together and no court is going to rule against this. Sounds like he's just being petty. You also have PR and therefore can make a decision based on that. Stand your ground - plenty of kids walk home alone that that age.
Bella - 21-Apr-16 @ 12:52 PM
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