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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33276
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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Hi I am seperated from my wife since December 2010. In October

Customer Question

Hi I am seperated from my wife since December 2010. In October 2011 I signed the divorce papers which stipulated regarding contact with our children that I would have them every Tuesday (8am- 5pmish) and Friday evening, Saturday day and night and Sunday day, returning them at teatime. Unbeknown to me, my wife hid the divorce papers under her bed and we remain legally married though seperated. This means there is no legal arrangement in place regarding contact. From the birth of my youngest child (March 2011) I have had my daughters Tues, Fri, Sat, sun very consistently and paid £60 maintenance per week without fail until July this year. Tanya (my wife) has always maintained that I had no rights, that even when I had no work and zero income ( I am self employed and have not claimed benefits during times of no work). For example during January, February and March this year I worked less than 7 days and still continued to pay Tanya £60 per week, whilst sometimes having the girls for 5 days and 4 nights in a week. This was because I was misinformed and believed that if I did not pay this amount Tanya would be able to prevent acccess to my children. In July this year I looked at the CSA website and discovered that if I earn £0-£100 per week I only have to pay a flat rate of £5 (not per child, just a flat rate). I also learnt at this time that access and maintenance are treated as entirelyy unrelated matters in the law. In December 2012 I moved in with my current partner and her two boys and I also have an older daughter with a previous partner. On several occassions since December 2012, Tanya has suddenly denied me access to my children. My children and my partner's children have grown very close and share a loving relationship, I also have my eldest daughter (10) every weekend. Tanya has refused to let me take the girls on a Tuesday to my partner's sons birthday celebration, and this caused great distess, it had been organised for weeks in advance and carefully planned on a day when the girls could attend. There have been several cases of this disruption and upset where she has simply denied access and said that I have no power/ rights. Because we have no legal arrangement in place, she has been able to get away with this spiteful behaving hurting and distressing all the children. More recently (6/10/13) she came to the home I share with my partner and took the girl's away from my partner's sons birthday party in the middle of it (again a day I always have the girls) preventing the girls from being there to sing happy birthday etc when this event was planned in advance. Please advise as to the quickest and most effective way of getting aa legal arrangement in place that will mean if she tries to deny me access to my children at the times they are meant to be in my care then I will have recourse to the court/ legal action. I love my children and want to spent as much quality time with them as possible. Her actions have caused great distress and stress to an otherwise happy family home.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare and I will do my best to help you
The fact that there has been no divorce makes no difference - you have Parental responsibility for the children and your ex has no right to remove them from your care - nor you from hers.
You will have to try and discuss matters with your ex using Family mediation (www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk) but if that fails then you can apply to the court for a Defined Contact Order setting out the pattern of time that the children spend with you and which can then be enforced.
You will find these sites helpful
http://theparentconnection.org.uk/
http://www.cafcass.gov.uk/media/168195/cb7-eng.pdf
Please ask if you need further details
Clare

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