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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33314
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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Because of my estranged wifes behaviour I am likely to obtain

Customer Question

Because of my estranged wife's behaviour I am likely to obtain a Prohibited Steps Order against her and custody of my 3 year old son in the near future. There are no third parties involved in this as far as I am aware. I want to appoint my youngest sister as guardian in case of my incapacity or death. Would it be wise for my sister to attend the PSO/Custody hearing and should I inform the court before the hearing that I intend to do this if the court finds in my favour. In addition should my sister provide information about herself eg background.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Who has had the day to day acre of the child and why do you need a Prohibited Steps Order?
Who does the child live with at the moment?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I work from home and have had the majority of the caring responsibilities. My wife is a foreign national with a diagnosed mental health condition for which she stopped taking her prescribed medication (as I now know) and has always refused to have a full mental health assessment to propery diagnose her condition eg Asbergers, Schizophrenia Following a rapid deterioration in her condition she removed our son early from nursery school eight weeks ago , broke off all contact with me, friends a family and effectively disappeared. It has taken the court 8 weeks to locate her which they did yesterday. I want my son returned to the family home and an order in place that he cannot be removed as my wife's family have substantial funds that could facilitate this. I have also asked the court to make an order for my wife to be fully assessed, left to herself this would never happen as she has refused in the past. Without the assessment this behaviour will continue in the future to everyones detriment. Hope this is sufficient detail of the background.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
What evidence do you have of her mental health problems?
Have Social Services been involved?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Unless the court has involved social services the answer is not to my knowledge. There is an intitial diagnosis letter from the drug alcohol and mental health trust with a note that further assessment is required but my wife declined to go further as I now know and stopped taking the prescribed drug that would alleviate the symptoms and probably prevent situations like this. I would also mention she is 7 months pregnant and had stopped seeing local midwives and as she deteriorated further taking the prescribed lowest possible drug dose allowed that would not affect the unborn child. She was on a much higher dose before pregnancy. This may not have been necessary at all had she accepted a counselor however when this had been tried in the early days she stopped going. As none of the professionals she was seeing could discuss anything with me and my wife only told me selected bits it becomes difficult to understand the complete picture until something like this happens.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Did you not alert Social Services to your concerns when she disappeared?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Reported to police as missing persons within 24 hours. They managed to locate her at that time and were aware of her mental health condition but all they could tell me was they had spoken with her, she and our son were OK at that time, officers did not attend. She was not at a refuge as I understand it. The police finished by saying she was no longer a missing person and there were no court orders in place so they could have no further involvement. I had already sent the C100 and C1A forms to the court and there has been much correspondence since including about the court 'losing' the papers for 3 weeks and its general inaction. To best of my knowledge the GP did not inform social services and as this is not a case of abuse (unless I wish to consider the verbal abuse I get, as abuse, when she has these episodes and I don't - it is not her but whatever is going on in her head at the time). Not sure what all these questions have to do with my original enquiry.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No. Had this been thought necessary surely GP or police would have referred. You are the first person who has mentioned this to me.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Given that it has not been raised I would suggest that you do not expect too much at the first hearing
With regard to your specific question then whilst there is no reason why your sister should not go to court with you - but she will not be allowed into the hearing - and the Court has no power to appoint her as the child's guardian
You can make a Will appointing your sister as such in the event of your death but that is not connected with the hearing at all.
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for the answer. I expect the first hearing to return my son to his home and an order made for my wife to get treatment........but we'll see. Thank you for your time with this. I may need further advice after the hearing asked as separate questions.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Please do not expect that unless you have clear independent evidence that your ex is a risk to your child -
Please have an alternate plan in mind regarding asking for arrangements for you to see the child whilst a full report is prepared
Clare

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