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Your Legal Rights as a Parent

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 29 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Parent Child Parent With Care Non

Losing full-time contact with a child is a difficult and painful outcome of any separation or divorce. The parent who retains day-to-day care of the child may not experience as much separation anxiety as the non resident parent, but they will however become more financially minded.

Maintenance payments from the non resident parent will help ease the financial pressure of raising a child, but unless parents agree to shared care or regular access and visits there may be other problems to overcome too.

Parenting Plan

A custody court order will include a parenting plan or visitation schedule which parents must adhere to. This plan is more likely to affect, and/or restrict, the non resident parent, particularly if the parents are not able to communicate effectively. Understanding and accepting that there will be imposed changes that will affect a non resident parent’s relationship with their child in some way, may enable the parent to consider expressing views openly prior to the custody order being finalised.

Many parents are able to make private arrangements that put the child’s rights and needs first. Joint custody or shared care will enable both parents to have regular contact with their child, and to contribute equally to the emotional, physical and financial aspects of child raising.

Making Modifications

A non resident parent may have a court order but may still experience problems enforcing it. Being flexible about re-arranging a visit keeps communication open. However, the parent with care must acknowledge the non resident parent’s rights.

If problems persist, threatening to withhold child support is not a good idea. If a parent has to go to court to enforce visitation any threats to stop child support payments will be held against them. Modifying maintenance is only acceptable if the parent with care has an increase in income whilst the non resident parent’s income has decreased, or a parent’s expenses have increased considerably through illness etc.

Parent And Child Rights

On the whole, the law allows parents to bring up their children in accordance with their own beliefs and values. This gives parents the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing, provided the child’s well-being is never put at risk. Parents must accept that wanting their own way however, is not the same thing as exercising a right. Although parents have the right to set limits they do not have the right to enforce views.

A parent has the right to determine their child’s name, religion, form of education and healthcare. They also have the right to accompany the child outside the UK and agree on emigration issues. Parents who have a joint custody agreement share rights and parental responsibilities. If the child’s parents are divorced, however, the mother generally has charge of parental responsibility, although the father’s opinions can be expressed and documented.

A child’s rights state that a parent must ensure their child is safe from harm, has somewhere to live, has food, clothing, medical care and education and is financially supported.

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My son has a courtorderthat states his child stays with him threenightson week one and fournightsweektwo . He takes his childto all her hospitalappointments as her mother has ignoredall the appointments that have beenmade and therefore becauseofthis nearlyhad my grandchild dischargedfor not attending .my grandchild is now of an age where she can attendfull time schoolbut her mother has lied and told my son that she has got a placefor theirchild at a localschoolnear to her , he has since found outthatshehasn'tfilledthe applicationthereforemy grandchild has no schoolto go to in Septemberwhat shouldhe do ?
Hugh - 29-Jun-17 @ 10:19 PM
Cnaglis - Your Question:
Hi, I need a little help my son is 10 and I have an arrangement with his father for every other weekend. My son really doesn't like going due to his new girlfriend has 3 girls and he has to share a room with his sister and her two other daughters. I heard that at the age of 10 he can make his own decisions whether to go or not? Is this correct? We don't have any legal agreement but has been like this out for 3 years. Thanks

Our Response:
The more important note to mention here is that if the house is rented and owned by a housing association, sometimes they do have rules and regulations in place concerned with how many children, and which sex of children, can sleep in any one bedroom. For example, they may state that after the age of 10, different sexes of siblings shouldn’t share a room. As a rule, after the age of 10, children of the opposite sex shouldn't share a room, and especially if they are not related, so this may be something to consider. Talking to your son's father is the first option to consider in order to explain the situation. There may be another way around the arrangement - but mutual negotiation is the best way forward. Mediation should be your next suggestion if your son's father does not wish to mutually talk through the problem.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Jun-17 @ 4:01 PM
Hi, I need a little help my son is 10 and I have an arrangement with his father for every other weekend. My son really doesn't like going due to his new girlfriend has 3 girls and he has to share a room with his sister and her two other daughters. I heard that at the age of 10 he can make his own decisions whether to go or not? Is this correct? We don't have any legal agreement but has been like this out for 3 years. Thanks
Cnaglis - 17-Jun-17 @ 11:12 PM
DW3 - Your Question:
HiCan I have some advise please? My ex is a very difficult person and is trying to get me to drop the CSA and agree to something between us.i did this before and he stopped paying.hence using the CSA. He is now saying that he can not afford the CSA payment and if I insist on doing this I will have to do all the drop off and pick ups.He only see's our son 2 weeks ends a month and its usually only the Sat night as he says he can not afford to drive my son to football the Sat morning so made the 12 yrs old boy choose between football and his Dad!!!He moved 30 mins away from where we are to make his life earier for work and when he did this he said he would do the drop off's and pick up's as it was his choice to move away.Am I right to refuse to do this running around as I do everything else?

Our Response:
Child Maintenance Service prefers parents to organise maintenance payments through a family-based arrangement. However, if your ex is unreliable then it may be in your son's best interests to go through CMS. Have you thought of suggesting mediation in order to come to an agreement both via maintenance payments and other issues you both need to iron out? You can read more about what mediation can offer via the link here . We can't advise whether you are right or wrong to refuse drop-offs and pick-ups - this is up to you to decide as it is at your discretion.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Jun-17 @ 3:28 PM
My child has been placed in a special needs residential school due to severe complex needs. This is a 52 week placement and will be coming home (to mother) hopefully every 3rd weekend if progress is made. I still receive the child benefit and child tax credits. School is funded by local authority and placement is under the Education Act. Father is currently paying child maintenance but has recently contacted them asking to stop payments as child is living away from home. They have told him he still needs to pay maintenance, he hasappealled this decision. Is there any legislation covering this please? I'm worried my payments are going to stop?
sandy - 6-Jun-17 @ 6:12 PM
Hi Can i have some advise please? My ex is a very difficult person and is trying to get me to drop the CSA and agree to something between us....i did this before and he stopped paying...hence using the CSA. He is now saying that he can not afford the CSA payment and if i insist on doing this i will have to do all the drop off and pick ups......He only see's our son 2 weeks ends a month and its usually only the Sat night as he says he can not afford to drive my son to football the Sat morning so made the 12 yrs old boy choose between football and his Dad!!! He moved 30 mins away from where we are to make his life earier for work and when he did this he said he would do the drop off's and pick up's as it was his choice to move away. Am i right to refuse to do this running around as i do everything else?
DW3 - 6-Jun-17 @ 3:39 PM
I split with my ex in January. He has our 2 kids who are 6 and 3 Friday to sunday most weekends, which he complains about but does it so he can keep the maintenance payments for them as low as possible. On a saturday he says he had something to tell me that hes been seeing someone for about a month n half, but that he was telling me because our daughter had 'worked it out' Then he says hes taking the kids into town cause our daughter said that she wants to go. This is not something he usually does I said I was glad it was going well for him n this girl (who I didnt even know her name). I ask if hes taking them to meet her and he said if she decides she was turning up then might be. He was not going to tell me that he was taking the kids to meet her and after said to our daughter not to tell me, which really got to me and ge should not be telling our daughter to keep secrets. Can he do this without talking to me about it first/telling me anything about her? I dont know where this girls from or anything so naturally I was really worried. He was controlling and abusive to me and it just seems like hes acting like its a competition. He took our kids to meet a stranger n I had no time to prepare them for it so the kids felt that I am not ok with it and its me who has to answer questions during the week with them as they live with me. Please can you clarify my rights on this as a friend told me that legally he has to have been with someone for 6 months and then review what is going on about new partners meeting the kids? Is this right? Thank you
Bubbles1088 - 5-Jun-17 @ 6:35 PM
I split with my ex in January. He has our 2 kids who are 6 and 3 Friday to sunday most weekends, which he complains about but does it so he can keep the maintenance payments for them as low as possible. On a saturday he says he had something to tell me that hes been seeing someone for about a month n half, but that he was telling me because our daughter had 'worked it out' Then he says hes taking the kids into town cause our daughter said that she wants to go. This is not something he usually does I said I was glad it was going well for him n this girl (who I didnt even know her name). I ask if hes taking them to meet her and he said if she decides she was turning up then might be. He was not going to tell me that he was taking the kids to meet her and after said to our daughter not to tell me, which really got to me and ge should not be telling our daughter to keep secrets. Can he do this without talking to me about it first/telling me anything about her? I dont know where this girls from or anything so naturally I was really worried. He was controlling and abusive to me and it just seems like hes acting like its a competition. He took our kids to meet a stranger n I had no time to prepare them for it so the kids felt that I am not ok with it and its me who has to answer questions during the week with them as they live with me. Please can you clarify my rights on this as a friend told me that legally he has to have been with someone for 6 months and then review what is going on about new partners meeting the kids? Is this right? Thank you
Bubbles1088 - 5-Jun-17 @ 6:35 PM
Jusr recently I got into a n argument with my kids father and he hit me and threw me around and I left . I packed all of my things and my kids things and left . He took our oldest son ( 3yrs old ) and left before I even finish packing . I waited but he never showed so I left cause we were staying with he's parents and I didn't want to be there and also he's mom Favor my Boyfriend so I don't really get along with her , she didn't want me there at that time . I stay home and take care of the kids and he works , so I waited and waited on Monday And he never brought my son over and he knows very well That I DO NOT want anybody else to watch our kids besides me or him . I only trust my mother braise she's the only person who supported our kids when I was pregnant and also when I gave birth too .. My kids fathers mother is paralyze so I don't count on her . Anyways , I'm going over this weekend to get my son and I know so well that my sons father will do things just so I don't take my son with me . I have done nothing so wrong to be hitted that day and to also take my son away from me and do things w/ my son where I don't approve ! I was wondering if I do go over and he won't give me my son , can I have the police to present to Make things easier for me . Or do I really need to bring him to court ??
Rosa - 1-Jun-17 @ 4:02 PM
Jusr recently I got into a n argument with my kids father and he hit me and threw me around and I left . I packed all of my things and my kids things and left . He took our oldest son ( 3yrs old ) and left before I even finish packing . I waited but he never showed so I left cause we were staying with he's parents and I didn't want to be there and also he's mom Favor my Boyfriend so I don't really get along with her , she didn't want me there at that time . I stay home and take care of the kids and he works , so I waited and waited on Monday And he never brought my son over and he knows very well That I DO NOT want anybody else to watch our kids besides me or him . I only trust my mother braise she's the only person who supported our kids when I was pregnant and also when I gave birth too .. My kids fathers mother is paralyze so I don't count on her . Anyways , I'm going over this weekend to get my son and I know so well that my sons father will do things just so I don't take my son with me . I have done nothing so wrong to be hitted that day and to also take my son away from me and do things w/ my son where I don't approve ! I was wondering if I do go over and he won't give me my son , can I have the police to present to Make things easier for me . Or do I really need to bring him to court ??
Rosa - 1-Jun-17 @ 3:13 PM
Rachel- Your Question:
I'm looking for advice,I have a nearly 11 year old son we have always had a good relationship after our split 6 years ago. but he has now remarried and his new wife has caused a lot of problems resulting in drunken verbally abusing me calling me a bad mother,even tho over the years I've done so much for our son,my ex partner do sent even know half of what I do. I attend every single appointment at hospital due to his asthma his dad doesn't even belive he has it so dosent make him take his pump which resulted in him having an attack and being hospitalised.he stays at his dad's every Wednesday,Thursday, Friday and Saturday but isn't picked up in the evenings till 6.30-45pm then back home to me by 7.30am he has him a Saturday a full day even though he's out most Saturday and he's left with his nan and back to me 12pm on a Sunday.but my sincere now wants to stay here all week. how can I get set rules by law? I've never had any matance money off him. I pay his school dinners every week, dinner her 5 days a week,plus most mornings he's dropped off with no breakfast. I give his money every night to go out with his friends in till he's picked up.I'm just looking to go the best way about things I just want them to have rules to go by without bothering me.

Our Response:
If you an your child's father cannot agree on a matter, you would have to suggest mediation in an attempt to resolve the issue via a third party. Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems. 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.
ChildSupportLaws - 1-Jun-17 @ 11:16 AM
Desperately seeking some advice here; On receiving letters from my ex solicitor i am horrified about the context of the letters; They contain emotive and inflammatory language. Today I received a letter stating that I owed monies in relation to the divorce however the court order for finances has been sealed by the court and I have paid all the monies which I had too in the time frame given; however today the solicitor asked for more and they gave their reasons. However I challenged the letter and referred the solicitor back to the court order. The solicitor agreed that I did not have to pay any further monies however I can't believe the act of dishonestly on their part - they are in a position of trust and they knew I did not have to pay the money but asked anyhow. Back to the court order we were meant to just disclose information about our finances however my ex solicitor put information about caring about the children, I did not include caring about the children because I was asked for information about my finances. This has got me thinking about other letters ...my ex has decided she wants to take me to court regarding th children as she doesn't believe I should have them during the week, however the plans have been working well for the last 18 months.do you think I have a right to complain?
Just me - 1-Jun-17 @ 10:16 AM
I'm looking for advice,I have a nearly 11 year old son we have always had a good relationship after our split 6 years ago. but he has now remarried and his new wife has caused a lot of problems resulting in drunken verbally abusing me calling me a bad mother,even tho over the years I've done so much for our son,my ex partner do sent even know half of what I do. I attend every single appointment at hospital due to his asthma his dad doesn't even belive he has it so dosent make him take his pump which resulted in him having an attack and being hospitalised. he stays at his dad's every Wednesday,Thursday, Friday and Saturday but isn't picked up in the evenings till 6.30-45pm then back home to me by 7.30am he has him a Saturday a full day even though he's out most Saturday and he's left with his nan and back to me 12pm on a Sunday.but my sincere now wants to stay here all week. how can I get set rules by law? I've never had any matance money off him. I pay his school dinners every week, dinner her 5 days a week,plus most mornings he's dropped off with no breakfast. I give his money every night to go out with his friends in till he's picked up. I'm just looking to go the best way about things I just want them to have rules to go by without bothering me.
Rachel - 31-May-17 @ 2:54 PM
I'm looking for advice,I have a nearly 11 year old son we have always had a good relationship after our split 6 years ago. but he has now remarried and his new wife has caused a lot of problems resulting in drunken verbally abusing me calling me a bad mother,even tho over the years I've done so much for our son,my ex partner do sent even know half of what I do. I attend every single appointment at hospital due to his asthma his dad doesn't even belive he has it so dosent make him take his pump which resulted in him having an attack and being hospitalised. he stays at his dad's every Wednesday,Thursday, Friday and Saturday but isn't picked up in the evenings till 6.30-45pm then back home to me by 7.30am he has him a Saturday a full day even though he's out most Saturday and he's left with his nan and back to me 12pm on a Sunday.but my sincere now wants to stay here all week. how can I get set rules by law? I've never had any matance money off him. I pay his school dinners every week, dinner her 5 days a week,plus most mornings he's dropped off with no breakfast. I give his money every night to go out with his friends in till he's picked up. I'm just looking to go the best way about things I just want them to have rules to go by without bothering me.
Rachel - 31-May-17 @ 1:49 PM
Leo - Your Question:
My partner has equal rights with his ex wife for custody of his son. We see him 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off and equal time with him during holidays. We want to take him on holiday on August and need his passport however his mother is withholding his passport and refuses to hand it over. We have contacted the passport office and were told to contact the police. The police called her and told her she does not have any right to hold on to the passport but she continues to refuse to hand it over. What more can we do?

Our Response:
Your only option is to apply to court via a Specific Issue Order. However, you would need to seek legal advice to see whether the application would be heard in time.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-May-17 @ 11:14 AM
My partner has equal rights with his ex wife for custody of his son.We see him 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off and equal time with him during holidays.We want to take him on holiday on August and need his passport however his mother is withholding his passport and refuses to hand it over. We have contacted the passport office and were told to contact the police.The police called her and told her she does not have any right to hold on to the passport but she continues to refuse to hand it over.What more can we do?
Leo - 21-May-17 @ 8:33 AM
Misses - Your Question:
I have a contact order in place since 7/10/14 it states when my daughter goes to full time school the times and days of access changes but this yr my daughter starts nursery in the afternoon 12.30-3.00 my ex has her every second Friday from 1pm and is saying my daughter can't go to nursery school on those Fridays. I offered him extra 2hrs to make up from what he would lose and he's not interested. He keeps threatening me that if she goes to nursery on the Friday that he is meant to have her I'm in breech of contact order and I will lose my daughter. What can I do please help her education is very important to me. Many thanks

Our Response:
You will be in breach of the contract, but you will not lose your daughter. If there is a contact order in place, any changes must be agreed by both parties. One party cannot unilaterally decide to change the order or apply additional terms. If they wish to do so, they will need to refer the matter back to the courts. Therefore, if you wish to vary the order, you can take the matter back to court. The court will then decide what it thinks is in the best interests of your child.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-May-17 @ 12:10 PM
I have a contact order in place since 7/10/14 it states when my daughter goes to full time school the times and days of access changes but this yr my daughter starts nursery in the afternoon 12.30-3.00 my ex has her every second Friday from 1pm and is saying my daughter can't go to nursery school on those Fridays. I offered him extra 2hrs to make up from what he would lose and he's not interested. He keeps threatening me that if she goes to nursery on the Friday that he is meant to have her I'm in breech of contact order and I will lose my daughter. What can I do please help her education is very important to me. Many thanks
Misses - 16-May-17 @ 10:23 PM
Hi I am in a horrible situation at the moment I have 3 children and due to our safety my middle child is now staying with his father this has been going on for the past 3 month and I only get to see him on the weekends when I take him home every weekend he begs me not to take him back to daddy he is only 2 and always wants to stay with me and his two sisters I fear I am losing a battle for him at the moment as I hate having to take him home but his grandmother always has something to say about the matter where do I stand about getting my son back in my care
Tina - 7-May-17 @ 10:50 PM
Emjohn4129 - Your Question:
Hi, My partner has a written agreement with his wife to have overnight access every Friday night and for dinner Tuesday evenings. We have recently moved in together. I have met their two daughters several times and have a good relationship. His wife has now denied access completely based on the her wanting him to sign an informal contract to say that his daughters should never see me again. He refused to sign this and is now without any access. He stated that he would have his girls over night at his mother's house, and I even offered to give them two months having Friday nights at ours and I would stay elsewhere. He has then stated he could see the girls Tuesdays and just Saturday day time and resume overnight access when the wife feels more comfortable but no matter what he tries to compromise she denies access. What can he do? Can she dictate that the girls are never to see me again? Thanks

Our Response:
His only recourse is to suggest mediation to his ex and if she refuses, take the matter to court. His ex doesn't have a right to deny access on the basis he has a new partner. However, it will be up to the court to decide what it thinks is in his children's best interests.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-May-17 @ 11:00 AM
Hi, My partner has a written agreement with his wife to have overnight access every Friday night and for dinner Tuesday evenings. We have recently moved in together. I have met their two daughters several times and have a good relationship. His wife has now denied access completely based on the her wanting him to sign an informal contract to say that his daughters should never see me again. He refused to sign this and is now without any access. He stated that he would have his girls over night at his mother's house, and I even offered to give them two months having Friday nights at ours and I would stay elsewhere. He has then stated he could see the girls Tuesdays and just Saturday day time and resume overnight access when the wife feels more comfortable but no matter what he tries to compromise she denies access. What can he do? Can she dictate that the girls are never to see me again? Thanks
Emjohn4129 - 2-May-17 @ 6:45 PM
My partners ex is demanding matinance and that he picks up and drops off their son despite us having him the exact number of nights to date and last year having him 19 more nights than his mother resulting in shared care Currently she is refusing to pick him up from us unless she gets petrol money to do so, where do we stand with everything and what could be the results of her refusing to get her son despite being told she can come get him at any time? Thanks
Em - 1-May-17 @ 10:07 PM
My partner's ex is withholding his daughter from him, they have no agreement through the courts other than what they agreed between themselves, he pays the mother monthly to ensure his daughter has what she needs and we have her over the weekends. She is refusing to let my partner see his daughter or let her stay the weekend with us as normal. We just want some advice as to what we can do, what are our rights etc. He dotes on his daughter and loves her to bits and we are crushed that she is being kept from us and her half brother.
Jo - 28-Apr-17 @ 5:04 PM
Somerset- Your Question:
Hi, I recently took my child's mother to a family court to request Parental Responsibilty as I was not named on my sons birth certificate. The judge granted me PR, however since that day the mother has blocked my phone number so I have no initial contact in case of emergencies, plus she has moved out her home recently and not advised me where my son is now homed. Do I have any rights when it comes to having a direct phone line to my sons mother and do I have rights to know where he lives?

Our Response:
You would have to apply back to court to have the PR order enforced. If your ex has taken your child away without your consent (which is a requirement if you have PR), then she has breached the order. You would have to fill in a C4 form, which is an application to disclose the whereabouts of a child. This will allow the court to put a trace on your child which will in turn allow you to have the papers served to once again bring the matter to court. However, while a court will put a trace on your child, it does not have to disclose your ex's address if she wants this to remain confidential. The court will outline the terms of the order and what the mother must supply by law in terms of you having PR.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Apr-17 @ 2:30 PM
Hi, I recently took my child's mother to a family court to request Parental Responsibilty as I was not named on my sons birth certificate. The judge granted me PR, however since that day the mother has blocked my phone number so I have no initial contact in case of emergencies, plus she has moved out her home recently and not advised me where my son is now homed. Do I have any rights when it comes to having a direct phone line to my sons mother and do I have rights to know where he lives?
Somerset - 21-Apr-17 @ 6:04 AM
Gemma - Your Question:
Hi my partners ex has a residence order through the courts where the ex gets the custody of the children living with with her. My partner sees the children in school holidays as they live far away and this is the agreement that the ex wanted. This easter holidays the children have come down and they will be going back at the end of the holidays. My partners very reliable friend will be taking them back home as he is going on holiday and will be driving past where they need to go but my partner will not be in the car. My partners ex knows my partners friend from when they were together. Is this allowed that he will be dropping the kids off without the father present as we are now having problems off the ex saying this is not allowed. Thanks.

Our Response:
This should be agreed between the parents. There is no law to say this is or this is not allowed (unless specified in the court order). However, if the matter is not resolved between both parents, it can lead to bad feeling and/or the mother claiming your partner has breached the court order.
ChildSupportLaws - 18-Apr-17 @ 2:35 PM
Hi my partners ex has a residence order through the courts where the ex gets the custody of the children living with with her. My partner sees the children in school holidays as they live far away and this is the agreement that the ex wanted. This easter holidays the children have come down and they will be going back at the end of the holidays. My partners very reliable friend will be taking them back home as he is going on holiday and will be driving past where they need to go but my partner will not be in the car. My partners ex knows my partners friend from when they were together. Is this allowed that he will be dropping the kids off without the father present as we are now having problems off the ex saying this is not allowed. Thanks.
Gemma - 18-Apr-17 @ 11:10 AM
Hello, please I need urgent advice, I have a court arrangement on my kids, the dad is to have one overnight each weekend and see the other for few hours in the presence of my family member or I if non is available. Now this week no one is free and I have appointment as well, so have arrange a childminderswho is like a family friend to have the kids and he can pick from her and see the other there too, also I would be working soon on most of these days and these arrangement might have to happen often, but he is saying I can't usethe minder, that he won't pick from there and if he would have to stay and the the child there then I must be there, the children are available to him but his threaten that if I dnt he would take me to court again. Am tired of going to court and is not good for my kids too but I got other things to do and would like to move on with my life. And He just remarry also so I would have thought that suppose to work for him. Please advice, am so tired of all hiscontrolling attitude and trouble. Thank you
Teb - 8-Apr-17 @ 12:06 AM
Sandy - Your Question:
We have a court order in place following divorce where my ex has our 2 children 3 nights of the week. Will he have to pay full child Maintaince to me or a reduced amount as he cares for children 3 days & those overnights too? Thank you

Our Response:
His child maintenance will be assessed on the amount of nights he has the children overnight, yes. You can see more via the gov.uk link here .
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Mar-17 @ 2:10 PM
We have a court order in place following divorce where my ex has our 2 children 3 nights of the week. Will he have to pay full child Maintaince to me or a reduced amount as he cares for children 3 days & those overnights too? Thank you
Sandy - 27-Mar-17 @ 10:29 PM
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