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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34105
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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My daughter has a three and a half year old son. My daughters

Customer Question

My daughter has a three and a half year old son. My daughter's partner physically abused her when her son was 1 months old and was given a 6 months prison sentence. He had a drug and alcohol problems. When daughter and father separated contact was offered but his parents would not supervise contact or accept their son had abused my daughter. Solicitor was appointed - legal aid applied for but Solicitor did not follow through application for a Residence Order. Further legal aid sought but then because daughter had a student loan of £10,000 to fund college course she was not entitled to legal aid or benefits. Circumstances changed on completion of her course and legal aid claimed - solicitor again did not proceed and by the time she did daughter had met someone else and they decided they would live together so daughter no longer met criteria for legal aid. Solicitor then said that she would support daughter in her application for a Residence Order - further delay of several months (no charge would be made.) We have now been informed that Residence Orders are not being given. Daughter's ex has not paid maintenance or applied to court for a contact order however he did contact us before Christmas 2013 to say he would like contact. Daughter had wanted a Residence Order to ensure she could secure safety and have some control over any contact child would have with his father/family. Could you please explain the change in law about residence orders; paternal contact and how we can secure the safety of our grandson. Do we wait until father applies to court or what is the situation.
Many thanks
Di
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 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.
Why does your daughter feel she needs an Order stating that the child lives with her?
her her ex ever actually threatened to remove the child from her care?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare


Solicitor advised that a Residence Order would ensure child's safety and be in place for his best interests. eg for father to undertake drug testings. When child is having contact with his father/family and if there were any concerns she could because she had a Residence Order be able to stop the contact knowing the court were aware of all of the facts. Daughter feels that her Solicitor has not acted in her best interests - the application and order should have been in place in 2011 but solicitor failed to submit her Residence Order application. Does she have any redress on the solicitor as I understand from recent legislation in April 2014 that Residence Orders and contact orders will no longer be available and instead a Child Arrangement Order would be applied for. This would mean that she would have to pay for everything herself and she is not in a position to do this. The alternative would be for her to meet with ex and family and only allow contact on her terms/agreement. Ex has not contributed any maintenance - what is the law saying in these matters. It just feels that everything is stacked against her financially. She wants son to have contact with his Dad and family but also wants him to be safe and for them to not accuse her of untruths. She doesn't want him to become a messed up little person. Could you please clarify if what I have read on the internet is correct and what advice you would give. Ex has not threatened to remove child and says he is a reformed character - however we have been informed that there are still drugs in his life.


Thanks


Di

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
In fact even what she was told was not entirely correct
Having a Residence Order would not have allowed her simply to stop contact and in the event that there had been a court application it is almost certain that an Order for contact would have also been made - which would have have been binding.
On that basis alone I would have been reluctant to apply for a Residence Order unless there was a real threat that the child was likely to be taken by her ex
As things stand if the father is asking for contact then the starting point is for your daughter to offer to discuss matters with her ex using Family mediation (www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk)
I would suggest that contact at a local contact centre would be the best offer to make so that she can be sure that the child is safe
If that is not accepted then she should wait for her ex to apply for a new Child Arrangement Order to set out what contact he has with the child.
If he does then she can ask that the Order states that the child lives with her - the equivalent of the old Residence Order
The only difference at the moment between having an Order and not having one is that if her ex removes the child from her care she would have to make an immediate urgent application for the return of the child to her care - which would be granted immediately
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare


Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No more information needed


Thank you

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
I hope all goes well
Clare

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