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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33301
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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I recently separated from my husband after 10 years of marriage.

Customer Question

I recently separated from my husband after 10 years of marriage. We have 2 children aged 7 & 10. Throughout the marriage i have been the main bread winner, holding down a full time job, taking care of children taking them to school etc. One of the reasons we separated was due to his irresponsible behaviour and in my opinion neglecting our children. On at least 2 separate occasions whilst the children were in his (school holidays) he left them at home alone aged 6 & 9 for a period of a out 30 mins, also happily left them in one shop in busy shopping centre whilst he went to another shop. He sees no issue in sending the children to use public toilets alone in shopping centres when he maybe on a different floor. For these reasons i feel extremely uncomfortable in leaving the children in his care, frankly i am really concerned incase he is granted over-night visits.
Since leaving he has also refused to provide any financial support, claiming that he does have any money, he is self employed. Though i am employed i earn £21k pre tax which means money is tight. Are there any options open where i might be able to apply for a court order to stop over night access? I am right in thinking in some cases court fees can be waived for people who are basically unable to afford the fees?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
I will do my best to assist you but I need some further information first.
Has your ex actually asked for overnight contact?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
He has requested it yes but not through any legal channels yet. He has just asked me, but when i refused his request, he said he would be seeking legal advice to gain overnight stays
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
If you will not agree to overnight contact then your ex will have to apply to the court for a defined contact order so that the court can decide what is or is not appropriate.
This means that he will incur the applictaion fee and not you.
Within these proceedings you can then raise the serious concerns that you have.
Clearly these concerns will become less significant once the children are older and in the meantime they can be dealt with by way of your offer of the children staying with their grand parents
However if you and your ex cannot reach a compromise it will be for the court to hear the evidence and make a decision about what should happen next .
Before going to court you need to try and discuss matters with your ex using Family Mediation (www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk)
I hope that this is of assistance - please feel free to ask for further clarification or information
Claire

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