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What Rights Does My Ex Have With Regards to Our Children?

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 24 Aug 2016 |
 
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We get many comments and questions from you about child support. We've taken a selection of your comments addressing the issue of keeping contact with your children and the fear of your ex taking them from you - and asked our expert to give some comprehensive information and advice.

The traditional view of the family set up has become something of a minority in 21st century society and because of this, a broken down relationship can lead to complicated legal issues. Whether you are recently divorced and wondering about the role your ex-husband has in your child's life, or you have a child from a relationship that has broken down, but were never married, you need to understand your legal position when it comes to creating an amicable situation for your child to grow up in. Here we aim to dispel some of the myths about parental access and to give you the advice you need to rebuild your life and your children's lives.

Parental Responsibility

Parental responsibility (also known as PR) creates "responsibilities" rather than "rights" regardless of whatever the state of the parents' relationship, emphasising the view that each will maintain an equal, shared and continuing responsibility towards the child.

Where both the mother and the father have PR, they have the power to act alone unless there is a circumstance where, by law, each person with PR is to give consent i.e. in the case of adoption. In reality, holding PR gives the ability to make decisions in relation to the child's name, religion, school, consent to medical treatment and marriage etc.

Who has Parental Responsibility?

Below is a flow chart to help you determine if you have Parental Responsibility:

A mother always has PR. A father who is married to the mother at the time of birth will automatically have PR.

To clarify, for unmarried fathers, the situation is different. Unmarried fathers will have PR if:

  • They marry the mother after the child is born
  • They have jointly registered the child's birth with the mother i.e. their name is on the birth certificate
  • For pre December 2003 registrations, the mother provides a formal declaration of agreement that the father's name is to be added to the birth record and the father re-registers the birth to add his details
  • The court orders a residence order in favour of the father, although this will usually terminate when the resident order ends (generally age 16)
  • A birth parent has signed a parental responsibility agreement
  • A step-parent's PR agreement can be made by consent with all those already having PR for the child
  • By obtaining an adoption order from the court

Where a father has not automatically gained PR, the mother does not have to add the father's name to the birth certificate. However, this will not stop the father from being able to apply to the court for an order, such as a parental responsibility order, which may result in him acquiring PR.

Other family members

Other family members, taking grandparents as an example, do not automatically have PR. They would only be granted PR by a court if, for example, they were appointed as Guardian or were to adopt their grandchild for any reason. If a father with PR asks his parents to take care of the child, they can do so usually without the mother's agreement. However, the child would not be able to remain resident with the grandparents unless they had been granted a residency order by the court.

Voluntary access arrangements

If more than one of you has PR, then the best thing you can do for both your children and yourselves is to voluntarily agree to contact and access etc. If you can do this, then you are more likely to maintain a more harmonious relationship for the sake of your children. Additionally, it will prevent you from having to go to court and from having to pay court and solicitor's fees if you are unable to get legal aid.

Of course, this is the ideal scenario and not always a realistic one. If you cannot agree on residence and contact etc. then you may find that your ex will end up applying to the court for an order.

My Child has Been Taken Away From Me: What Can I Do?

Unfortunately in some circumstances, a father may take your child during agreed contact time and then refuse to bring them home again. If this happens and you are unable to negotiate with the father then you should call the police. However, the police may not be able to do anything. This generally comes down to whether or not the father has PR. If they do not, then the child is the mother's sole responsibility and the police may be able to take the child back to the mother. If the father does have PR, then in usual circumstances, they have the same rights as the mother to look after the child and therefore, so long as the child is not in any harm, the police cannot usually do anything about it. This can be understandably distressing for a mother. What can be done about it?

Residence Orders

A person can make an application for a residence order, whether or not they have PR. For example, a father without PR can make an application for and be granted residency but then he will automatically acquire PR at the same time. It is unusual for a father to be granted residency as well as a mother as this would result in shared residency, which is not always in the best interests of the child. As a result, it is usually the mother who would be granted sole residency.

If a child has been taken by their father and the police cannot do anything, the mother can make an application for a residency order. If the child was snatched or she believes that her child may be in danger, then she can apply for an emergency ex parte application. This is also known as a 'without notice application' i.e. the other party is not given notice of the application. If the mother cannot make an ex parte application then an application can still be made but the father can attend and make his case. At the end of the hearing, the judge will make an order.

There are lots of other orders which the court can make, including contact orders, prohibited steps orders and specific issue orders.

What Factors Will be Taken Into Account?

When reviewing applications, the court will take a number of factors into consideration with regards to the child or children's welfare. These are:

  1. What is best for the child and the feelings and wishes of the child. This is considered according to the child's age and understanding
  2. How capable the parents (and any other relevant people) are of meeting the needs of the child or children
  3. Any harm that the child is at risk of suffering or has suffered
  4. The likely effect of a change of circumstances on the child
  5. The age, background, personality, sex and any other characteristics that the Court believes to be relevant
  6. The child's emotional, physical and educational needs

Domestic abuse

If you have been subjected to domestic abuse, this would clearly be a very important factor for the court to consider when determining what will be in the best interests of the child. If the father makes an application to the court then you can oppose it by giving evidence as to why he should not be given the order. You can oppose any application in much the same way.

Reality Check

When you find yourself fighting to look after your own child your emotions can begin to take over. It is important when you begin to plan your child's parenting and the access of the father that you understand the law and how it might impact on your child's future.

Remember that if your child's father is on the birth certificate, or you were married and are now divorced, the father has the same access to the child as you do in the eyes of the law. If they take your child or even threaten to do so, the police can often be powerless to change the situation. The best advice is to seek mediation and organise access in a written agreement, give yourself something concrete to work from. If your ex is unreasonable then apply for a residency order to ensure that you keep custody of your child.

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I left my emotionally abusive husband in January, I left the children with him as I believed he was a good father to them and I couldn't take them to stay at my mums or sisters due to my youngest sons asthma, my ex refused to leave saying ' you want it over so you pack your f***ing bags!' I had no where to stay within the local area and had to stay with a friend from work initially and found a room to rent shortly after. At the time I was working horrific shifts whereas my ex worked a 9-5 so again I thought it would be best for the kids, I asked for part time at work and as of May I got that due to my ex having a go I wasn't having them enough which was killing me. I thought we had been working well to sort care of our children between us until now. I am now with someone new who made me realise what my ex dos to me was not right through the way he treats me like an equal. We are selling his house to move back closer to the children as I want to be there for them as much as I possibly can and after having the kids for over 2 weeks in the holidays dropped them back to my ex and was told by him I front of the children I would only be seeing them every other weekend after this. I couldn't argue with him I front of the children and he still knows how to intimidate me, since then he has not replied to my texts giving him 2 months worth of dates I can have the children all kindly worded so not to set him off, he hasn't responded to a text asking what time I can pick them up on Saturday either. He has to use child minders in the week when working which seems unfair if I'm not working and I can have them? I've tried to be more than reasonable all the way through, admitting adultery due to new relationship so he can have a quick divorce, accepting only 30k from our house which has 150k equity as I know this is all he can afford to pay and I don't want to see him have to sell the house. I'm now feeling stronger and feel that I have always put the kids first (I pay more than stated every month for maintenance) and tried to be more than reasonable but feel he is now pushing and trying to take advantage of my nature. My question is would I have a case to get the children living with me considering the abuse I suffered? I have at least one witness if needed? It's not a road I want to go down for the sake of the kids but if I don't I may lose my relationship with my children? To everyone else they think he's a real upstanding guy ??
Broken101 - 24-Aug-16 @ 12:54 AM
I left my emotionally abusive husband in January, I left the children with him as I believed he was a good father to them and I couldn't take them to stay at my mums or sisters due to my youngest sons asthma, my ex refused to leave saying ' you want it over so you pack your f***ing bags!' I had no where to stay within the local area and had to stay with a friend from work initially and found a room to rent shortly after. At the time I was working horrific shifts whereas my ex worked a 9-5 so again I thought it would be best for the kids, I asked for part time at work and as of May I got that due to my ex having a go I wasn't having them enough which was killing me. I thought we had been working well to sort care of our children between us until now. I am now with someone new who made me realise what my ex dos to me was not right through the way he treats me like an equal. We are selling his house to move back closer to the children as I want to be there for them as much as I possibly can and after having the kids for over 2 weeks in the holidays dropped them back to my ex and was told by him I front of the children I would only be seeing them every other weekend after this. I couldn't argue with him I front of the children and he still knows how to intimidate me, since then he has not replied to my texts giving him 2 months worth of dates I can have the children all kindly worded so not to set him off, he hasn't responded to a text asking what time I can pick them up on Saturday either. He has to use child minders in the week when working which seems unfair if I'm not working and I can have them? I've tried to be more than reasonable all the way through, admitting adultery due to new relationship so he can have a quick divorce, accepting only 30k from our house which has 150k equity as I know this is all he can afford to pay and I don't want to see him have to sell the house. I'm now feeling stronger and feel that I have always put the kids first (I pay more than stated every month for maintenance) and tried to be more than reasonable but feel he is now pushing and trying to take advantage of my nature. My question is would I have a case to get the children living with me considering the abuse I suffered? I have at least one witness if needed? It's not a road I want to go down for the sake of the kids but if I don't I may lose my relationship with my children? To everyone else they think he's a real upstanding guy ??
Broken101 - 23-Aug-16 @ 3:00 PM
Sara - Your Question:
I have 2 children with my ex he has PR. We have a contact order which is rarely stuck to. It says that he is to pick the children up and return them at the stated time. When he last had contact he refused to return them and demanded I pick them up otherwise he would keep them. Can he do this?

Our Response:
If the order specifies 'he' is to return the children and he refuses, then he is in breach of the order.
ChildSupportLaws - 23-Aug-16 @ 12:23 PM
I have 2 children with my ex he has PR. We have a contact order which is rarely stuck to. It says that he is to pick the children up and return them at the stated time. When he last had contact he refused to return them and demanded i pick them up otherwise he would keep them. Can he do this?
Sara - 22-Aug-16 @ 7:04 PM
Anon1 - Your Question:
I have a 10 year old daughter with my ex, he's seen her once in approximately 2 years and was very intermittent before then too. He is threatening me with court and is being highly abusive on voice mail since iv had to block his incoming calls. My daughter voiced that she didn't want to see him except for once or twice a year after there most resent visit. He has pr due to being named on the certificate. She has always lived with me, am I in need of obtaining a residency order even though it says generally awarded to mothers automatically. How can we protect ourselves from his abusive demands when in fact it is not me stopping it. Thank you anon

Our Response:
if you feel your ex is harassing you, please see link here. If your ex wishes for more access than you are offering and you do not wish to attend mediation in order to try and sort the matter out, then he will have the option to take the matter to court. Cafcass will then get involved and compile a report based upon talking to family etc. Your daughter will also be able to express her preference of whether and how frequently she wishes to see her father.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Aug-16 @ 2:14 PM
I have a 10 year old daughter with my ex, he's seen her once in approximately 2 years and was very intermittent before then too. He is threatening me with court and is being highly abusive on voice mail since iv had to block his incoming calls. My daughter voiced that she didn't want to see him except for once or twice a year after there most resent visit. He has pr due to being named on the certificate. She has always lived with me, am I in need of obtaining a residency order even though it says generally awarded to mothers automatically. How can we protect ourselves from his abusive demands when in fact it is not me stopping it. Thank you anon
Anon1 - 22-Aug-16 @ 1:42 AM
Hi ...just a question ..my partner and myself have split up,my partner is not in the right frame of mind and is suffering from post natal depression ..we had a row and now she's left with my son and gone to her sisters over 200 miles away ..I fear for my sons safety and worry that he's not being looked after propley ..what can I do about this ? I have PR as I'm on the birth certificate and have discussed this with the police ..I'm due to have him very soon and don't really want to take him back there ..her sister works and my partner works so it's not like she's even looking after him ..the police man said that if I have PR then there's not much they can do ..do I need to get some kind of order in place in the mean time ?
Deano - 20-Aug-16 @ 1:42 AM
Hi, I have a child who is almost 3, her father is involved but the last year contact is starting too fade. We have an arrangement where he sees her every other weekend at my house as he doesnt have a permanent address. The last few months he has been failing to show up at the correct times and has often shown up drunk. I bend over backwards to be reasonable with him and keep a continued relationship between himself and our daughter, but he is verbally abusive to me and often threatens to take me to court. I dont believe our daughter is safe with him on his own due to his aggressive outbursts and heavy drinking. Every other weekend i dont know if hes going to show up or not and our daughter is getting to the age where she understands whats going on. I have tried mediation but he refuses to go, what other options do i have because i cant continue to have this everytime its his weekend with her. Many thanks
Abc - 19-Aug-16 @ 6:16 PM
Carrie - Your Question:
Hi can anyone advise on my situation? My partner and I are splitting up and we have 3 children, 2 of whom I have a residence order for, but are my step children and his by blood, which of us has more right to have the children live with us? I have had to move out of the family home into a new house, and I want the children with me whereas he wants them to stay with him, they are 15 and 13. Hope somebody can help, thanks

Our Response:
If it cannot be worked out between you, you would have to seek legal advice regarding this due to the complexity of the family dynamic. Much depends on where the children would prefer to live, as due to their ages their opinions would be considered in court. But as a rule biological children stay with their biological parents. It depends also which children you have a residence order for, as they will automatically stay with you.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Aug-16 @ 2:51 PM
Ac27 - Your Question:
My ex partner has been threatening me and I am scared that next time he has access to my little girl (2yrs) he will keep her, am I within my rights to stop access until a court order is in place to prevent this happening? He has PR and the details have been logged with police.

Our Response:
Yes, if you fear your ex will keep your child without consent, then you can deny your ex unsupervised access. Regardless, of whether your fears are logged with the police, the police would be unable to intervene and return your daughter to you if your ex has PR and if no child arrangement order is currently in place.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Aug-16 @ 12:33 PM
Dawn123 - Your Question:
Hi a few questions to ask, I am a father of 1. I split from my ex 4 years ago & always have had contact with my kids who live 200 mile away so I travel every other week to see them, it's 6 weeks holidays and usually I have them for 2 weeks over the holidays but I have recently got into a new relationship and now my child's mother is stopping me from having my son. Can she just stop me seeing him and also is there anything I can do about it without going through courts? I pay child maintenance every month, I'm also on birth certificate?

Our Response:
If your ex is denying you access you have two options, firstly you should suggest mediation as a way of trying to resolve the issue. Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court and is most often used in family proceedings. 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. Mediation should, where possible, be used before the matter reaches court. However, if your ex refuses mediation, or the mediation process breaks down because neither of you can agree a solution, then the next stage is to apply through court. If you go through court whatever order is decided upon will be fixed and your ex will have to adhere to this.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Aug-16 @ 10:46 AM
My ex partner has been threatening me and I am scared that next time he has access to my little girl (2yrs) he will keep her, am I within my rights to stop access until a court order is in place to prevent this happening? He has PR and the details have been logged with police.
Ac27 - 17-Aug-16 @ 8:53 PM
Ciara - Your Question:
I have a 4 year old daughter to my ex. He has not seen her in 3 years. I had an injunction against him for domestic violence. He is now on the run from police. I want to change my daughters surname by deed poll to my partner's name. Would I need to go to court to do so for permission from ex?

Our Response:
If you cannot locate the father of your child to ask for consent, you would need to take the matter to court to prove that you cannot contact your ex. The court will make a decision regarding what it thinks is in the best interests of your child.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Aug-16 @ 2:28 PM
Hi a few questions to ask, I am a father of 1. I split from my ex 4 years ago & always have had contact with my kids who live 200 mile away so I travel every other week to see them, it's 6 weeks holidays and usually I have them for 2 weeks over the holidays but I have recently got into a new relationship and now my child's mother is stopping me from having my son. Can she just stop me seeing him and also is there anything I can do about it without going through courts? I pay child maintenance every month, I'm also on birth certificate?
Dawn123 - 17-Aug-16 @ 12:27 PM
I have a 4 year old daughter to my ex. He has not seen her in 3 years. I had an injunction against him for domestic violence. He is now on the run from police. I want to change my daughters surname by deed poll to my partner's name. Would I need to go to court to do so for permission from ex?
Ciara - 16-Aug-16 @ 9:57 PM
Hi. Could you advice me where I stand with my son's father. He hasn't seen him since March 2015, doesn't pay maintenance for him and hasn't tried to make contact with him. The police have also been involved due to threats towards my current partner a PIN was issued against him for harassment. I want to know if I could apply for full legal responsibility for my son? His father's name is on the birth certificate. Many thanks
ACB - 15-Aug-16 @ 9:16 PM
Nina - Your Question:
I'd like to ask a question please? Could you advise me on where I stand on letting my ex know daily how our baby son is he demands I let him know and says I have a legal obligation to do so, he doesn't make time to see his son as he works and is unable to make plans in advance, so he merely turns up for half hour once a week at random telling me I am keeping me from his son if I am not home? But yet he wants to take our son for a few hours when his relatives visit in next couple of weeks I have said cannot take our son until you commit to seeing him on a regular basis in his own surroundings he sees this as unreasonable and it's even been suggested I am using our son as a weapon I only have my young sons interest at heart as we are very close and he is also still breastfeeding but am I being unreasinable I really need the truth? Should I allow our son to go merely because its his dad even though reality is our son doesn't really know his dad because he doesn't see him enough? What would a court suggest in these circumstances? Any advice would be much appreciated :)

Our Response:
You have to do what feels right for you. You don't say whether your ex is on the birth certificate or not. If he is and you cannot agree between you, mediation may be the best way forward. Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court. It is most often used in family proceedings. 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 - 15-Aug-16 @ 2:45 PM
El84 - Your Question:
My daughter is 6 when she was 2 days old I found out my ex had 3 children which had been taken off him by social services and ultimetly adopted. He has not seen my daughter since he is not on her birth certificate he has just got in touch demanding to see her and saying if I don't give him supervised contact he will call me and take her where do I stand

Our Response:
If your ex is not on the birth certificate, he cannot legally take your daughter without the police getting involved. You do not have to allow your ex to see his daughter. However, he will have the option to apply through the courts. There is no guarantee he will be awarded contact, the court will decide what it thinks is in the best interests of your child.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Aug-16 @ 2:34 PM
I'd like to ask a question please? Could you advise me on where I stand on letting my ex know daily how our baby son is he demands I let him know and says I have a legal obligation to do so, he doesn't make time to see his son as he works and is unable to make plans in advance, so he merely turns up for half hour once a week at random telling me I am keeping me from his son if I am not home? But yet he wants to take our son for a few hours when his relatives visit in next couple of weeks I have said cannot take our son until you commit to seeing him on a regular basis in his own surroundings he sees this as unreasonable and it's even been suggested I am using our son as a weapon I only have my young sons interest at heart as we are very close and he is also still breastfeeding but am I being unreasinable I really need the truth? Should I allow our son to go merely because its his dad even though reality is our son doesn't really know his dad because he doesn't see him enough? What would a court suggest in these circumstances? Any advice would be much appreciated :)
Nina - 14-Aug-16 @ 11:31 PM
My daughter is 6 when she was 2 days old I found out my ex had 3 children which had been taken off him by social services and ultimetly adopted. He has not seen my daughter since he is not on her birth certificate he has just got in touch demanding to see her and saying if I don't give him supervised contact he will call me and take her where do I stand
El84 - 14-Aug-16 @ 11:11 PM
Hi can anyone advise on my situation? My partner and I are splitting up and we have 3 children, 2 of whom I have a residence order for, but are my step children and his by blood, which of us has more right to have the children live with us? I have had to move out of the family home into a new house, and I want the children with me whereas he wants them to stay with him, they are 15 and 13. Hope somebody can help, thanks
Carrie - 12-Aug-16 @ 10:26 PM
Robert - Your Question:
Hi - My ex and I broke up 4 years and I had to go to court to gain access (Daughter is 5 now) and ever since we broke up things ave been made difficult at every opportunity. I've had planned holidays cancelled which have been put in place for 6 months because she has plans on her weekend at the last moment. the latest one was denying my little girl the right to meet her family from abroad who were visiting for my mums 60th. either way I expect it now. My issue I have at the moment is that my ex is taking my daughter to Australia for 2.5 weeks at the start of her second year in school from 3rd September. The school are not happy about this and neither am I (I have today only just been given the dates) as I had things planned for my weekend plus the other days I have been giving by court. I have been told that I cannot stop her taking her out there even though she is going out for business purposes and not a holiday. Is there anything I can do as I am concerned my little girl will miss out on meeting her new class mates/teacher etc, plus having potential jet lag in such a crucial first month in school. any advice would be grateful.

Our Response:
The fact you have parental responsibility means you may be implicated if the school decides to fine your ex for taking your child out of the country in term time. I can only suggest you take legal advice about applying for a Specific Issue Order due to the fact you disagree about the timing of the trip as it will disrupt your child's schooling and because your ex keeps breaching the contact order to suit. 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. 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. However, the timing may be left short here i.e as you may not be able to get the matter heard in court before the date of departure. Plus, you would have to see whether a legal representative thinks this is a viable option.
ChildSupportLaws - 11-Aug-16 @ 12:06 PM
In need of answers. I am a mother of a almost 1 year old this guy who I don't even know if he's the father of my child(thinking he was at the time) has emotionally harmed me by cheating twice and being in and out of our lives when I was pregnant with my son, in mid July-August he made several fake account trying to contact me I blocked all of them he then made death threats at 1 in the morning that he was going to come over and kill my family including my self and my kid and being pregnant at the time it washard to deal with we called the police and they couldn't do much. Then I was at a sonogram and they had called a case worker for me and I told the lady about it and she said that he was not allowed to come 20 ft near me and if he does to call the police or child protective services and I felt so reassured. It finally came to me having my son and this guys name isn't on the birth certificate and his name is not on anything. He has not been there through nothing and so I never let him come around he has asperger syndrome and some what of autism and is not even capable to take care of his self he cant even keep hygiene up he is very disrespectful and a danger to others he a very violent person and I thought you know I'll give him a chance to see my son and he even said that it wasn't his kid and I told him to go and later on he said that cow couldn't stop him from taking my son away and it scared me he's even walked in my yard before. His mom has 5 kids they live in a whole other state and in a 2 bedroom house is looks filthy and she has a teenage daughter a teenage son a preteen son a toddler and a baby, some kids sleep on a couch. his father lives in a small trashy 2bedroom home in my city and Sam (my ex) slept in a camper always had ramen for breakfast lunch and dinner never was aloud in the home past 7 pm and hardly had any clothes and never showered. I do not want those living environments for my son at all that's not the right environment for a baby to be in. Then there's my home a 2 story house in a very nice neighborhood and child proof home with tons of clothes in the closet I just spent 150 buck on and some clothes I got not long ago he's got food and eats a lot and he gets his teeth brushed goes to dr apps and dentist apps he gets a bath every other day and is very smart almost a year old he is very happy baby I live with my mom and my boyfriend I've been with for months is a really good step father he's paying for diapers and wipes and everything for my son and my mom works too she has a decent income and there's my grandpa who helps he plays outside and loves to go to the park and slide down the slide he does throw fits but rarely I feel that you know his actions he has took really are for the worst and I just won't have an immature 16 year old near my son I will not have some thing like that take an affect on my little boy
Hope - 10-Aug-16 @ 10:00 PM
Hi - My ex and I broke up 4 years and I had to go to court to gain access (Daughter is 5 now) and ever since we broke up things ave been made difficult at every opportunity. I've had planned holidays cancelled which have been put in place for 6 months because she has plans on her weekend at the last moment. the latest one was denying my little girl the right to meet her family from abroad who were visiting for my mums 60th. either way I expect it now. My issue I have at the moment is that my ex is taking my daughter to Australia for 2.5 weeks at the start of her second year in school from 3rd September. The school are not happy about this and neither am I (I have today only just been given the dates) as I had things planned for my weekend plus the other days I have been giving by court. I have been told that I cannot stop her taking her out there even though she is going out for business purposes and not a holiday. Is there anything I can do as I am concerned my little girl will miss out on meeting her new class mates/teacher etc, plus having potential jet lag in such a crucial first month in school. any advice would be grateful.
Robert - 10-Aug-16 @ 2:25 PM
Ahmad - Your Question:
Hi need advice pls. I am a divorced dad of three children 13,11 and 9 living in London. My ex (the children's mum) divorced in Dec 2011. She tried to relocate the children to her native country Pakistan. I took her to court and basically the courts decided in my favour and her application to relocate the children was denied on the basis that she lied in court. We were both given shared residency in July 2012 and a contact agreement was set up through the courts. Soon after this order was passed my ex abruptly left the children in my care and returned to Pakistan. She basically dumped the children's belonging in my back yard and announced that she was leaving the country that evening. In Dec 2012, I returned to the court to apply for full custody over the children. Financially I was struggling and at the time my ex was receiving child tax credits and other benefits whilst living abroad. In order for me to have the benefits transferred over to my name I need to obtain full custody. My ex failed to turn up to the hearing and custody was eventually granted to me. No legally binding contact agreement exists and any contact between my children and her is basically upon me agreeing and my discretion. In early 2013 we found out that my ex had remarried and moved on with her life.Since my ex has been living abroad I have given her months phone contact and she had requested to come visit the children during the summer holidays. I have basically facilited this despite the fact that she has not been cooperative and never been forthcoming with her true expectations and intentions regarding contact. Whenever she gets the chance she tries brainwashing the children. Over the past 4 years I have been both mum and dad to the children. It's been a struggle but my kids have finally adjusted to life without their mum. They are thriving academically and settled. Last year in the summer of 2015, my ex came to visit the children during the summer holidays. This year is her second year but now she has announced that she will be remaining in the UK indefinitely and that she will be starting work here. She also wants regular daily phone contact and wants to see the children regularly.I'm not sure what she's up to. I do not trust her at all. I do not want the children to undergo any further distress especially now that they are settled. My question is what if she goes back to court. What are her chances of regaining custody or shared residency again? Has anybody else been in a similar situation and can shed light on what I can do to protect my kids from her.

Our Response:
As the children's mother, it may be that quite naturally she wishes to see her kids as she misses them. As you have residency of the children, it is up to you what access you negotiate. However, there are other factors to take into consideration, one is that your ex will be able to take the matter to court. It is highly unlikely that the court would opt to hand your children over to your ex just because she has decided to return to the UK. The courts will always act upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your children and consistency and stability are the most important factors. You don't say what your children's opinions are in this matter, as if the matter goes to court then Cafcass will get involved and your children will be consulted on their opinions, please see link: What Goes into the Cafcass Family Report? here . In the meantime, you can specify what access your children have to their mother and if you feel that your ex may disrupt their wellbeing, you perhaps should keep the access to a regular minimum until you see how the situation progresses.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Aug-16 @ 2:11 PM
Gell- Your Question:
Hi. I'm just wondering me and my ex (was wife) split last year as she left me. I have moved on into a new relationship. Contact with my ex is very hard as she is stopping me seeing my son we had a perfect routine in place all done over text messages so still have the agreement in writing but recently she has stopped all this as she says my new partner is a liar (which she isn't my ex just doesn't like her cause Iv moved on) also my ex and my current partner had brilliant contact regarding my son they formed a good relationship even met with the boys and went out places. I'm just tracking everything down ready to go to a solicitor will the agreement still stand even though she isn't now agreeing to it? Thanks

Our Response:
Unless the agreement was formed through a court order, then there is no legal obligation for that agreement to stand. However, it will act as a pre-curser to any other agreement made in court and once a court agreement is in place your ex will have to adhere to it.
ChildSupportLaws - 10-Aug-16 @ 12:40 PM
Hi need advice pls. I am a divorced dad of three children 13,11 and 9 living in London. My ex (the children's mum) divorced in Dec 2011. She tried to relocate the children to her native country Pakistan. I took her to court and basically the courts decided in my favour and her application to relocate the children was denied on the basis that she lied in court. We were both given shared residency in July 2012 and a contact agreement was set up through the courts. Soon after this order was passed my ex abruptly left the children in my care and returned to Pakistan. She basically dumped the children's belonging in my back yard and announced that she was leaving the country that evening. In Dec 2012, I returned to the court to apply for full custody over the children. Financially I was struggling and at the time my ex was receiving child tax credits and other benefits whilst living abroad. In order for me to have the benefits transferred over to my name I need to obtain full custody. My ex failed to turn up to the hearing and custody was eventually granted to me. No legally binding contact agreement exists and any contact between my children and her is basically upon me agreeing and my discretion. In early 2013 we found out that my ex had remarried and moved on with her life. Since my ex has been living abroad I have given her months phone contact and she had requested to come visit the children during the summer holidays. I have basically facilited this despite the fact that she has not been cooperative and never been forthcoming with her true expectations and intentions regarding contact. Whenever she gets the chance she tries brainwashing the children. Over the past 4 years I have been both mum and dad to the children. It's been a struggle but my kids have finally adjusted to life without their mum. They are thriving academically and settled. Last year in the summer of 2015, my excame to visit the children during the summer holidays.This year is her second year but now she has announced that she will be remaining in the UK indefinitely and that she will be starting work here. She also wants regular daily phone contact and wants to see the children regularly. I'm not sure what she's up to. I do not trust her at all. I do not want the children to undergo any further distress especially now that they are settled. My question is what if she goes back to court. What are her chances of regaining custody or shared residency again? Has anybody else been in a similar situation and can shed light on what I can do to protect my kids from her.
Ahmad - 10-Aug-16 @ 1:50 AM
Hi. I'm just wondering me and my ex (was wife) split last year as she left me. I have moved on into a new relationship. Contact with my ex is very hard as she is stopping me seeing my son we had a perfect routine in place all done over text messages so still have the agreement in writing but recently she has stopped all this as she says my new partner is a liar (which she isn't my ex just doesn't like her cause Iv moved on) also my ex and my current partner had brilliant contact regarding my son they formed a good relationship even met with the boys and went out places. I'm just tracking everything down ready to go to a solicitor will the agreement still stand even though she isn't now agreeing to it? Thanks
Gell - 9-Aug-16 @ 6:40 PM
Adam - Your Question:
Hi guys,I have recently put in a court application for access to my son, he lives with his mother and her new bf, we live 3 hours apart from each other, I moved away due to not been able to afford housing alone so had to move back to my parents, my ex was very supportive at the time and agreed to meet me half way for pick up/drop off of my son once a month for a weekend. This changed when I told her my current girlfriend was pregnant, she stopped visitation without any reason as why. We attended mediation and she told me that she felt because of the situation you believe I should travel to her to pick up my son on a Friday evening and again to drop him off on a Sunday afternoon, I don't drive so have to rely on either my partner or family to take me, the mediator quite clearly said that because the agreement to meet half way was already in place then she needed a valid reason to change that, she said that it was just 'principal'. I met with a solicitor who told me the same thing, in the eyes of the law if she has already agreed to meet half way whether formally or informally then she needed a solid reason to change this, he wrote a letter to her explaining this but still nothing changed. After my little girl was born we saved up some money to spend a weekend with my son, after this my ex again agreed to meet me half way, this happened once then she was back to saying no and now stated that she couldn't afford it, yet she goes to visit her partners family 4 hours away at least once a month.I have applied to the courts for holiday access and a specific order for handover, could you advise me on what I should expect to get from this?Thanks in advance!

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot anticipate what may happen in court. Much depends upon the argument your ex puts up regarding why she cannot meet halfway which makes it impossible to predict. However, you have all the previous negotiations in place that will give the court a solid foundation to base its decision upon.
ChildSupportLaws - 9-Aug-16 @ 11:18 AM
Hi guys, I have recently put in a court application for access to my son, he lives with his mother and her new bf, we live 3 hours apart from each other, I moved away due to not been able to afford housing alone so had to move back to my parents, my ex was very supportive at the time and agreed to meet me half way for pick up/drop off of my son once a month for a weekend. This changed when I told her my current girlfriend was pregnant, she stopped visitation without any reason as why. We attended mediation and she told me that she felt because of the situation you believe i should travel to her to pick up my son on a Friday evening and again to drop him off on a Sunday afternoon, I don't drive so have to rely on either my partner or family to take me, the mediator quite clearly said that because the agreement to meet half way was already in place then she needed a valid reason to change that, she said that it was just 'principal'. I met with a solicitor who told me the same thing, in the eyes of the law if she has already agreed to meet half way whether formally or informally then she needed a solid reason to change this, he wrote a letter to her explaining this but still nothing changed. After my little girl was born we saved up some money to spend a weekend with my son, after this my ex again agreed to meet me half way, this happened once then she was back to saying no and now stated that she couldn't afford it, yet she goes to visit her partners family 4 hours away at least once a month. I have applied to the courts for holiday access and a specific order for handover, could you advise me on what I should expect to get from this? Thanks in advance!
Adam - 8-Aug-16 @ 5:23 PM
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