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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33953
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 son has PR for his daughter, (aged 7 years). He and the

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My son has PR for his daughter, (aged 7 years). He and the child's mother separated when the mother found another partner (only 6 months after their marriage) and my son moved out of the family home. He was initially having weekly contact whilst all concerned resided in Wiltshire. Mother and child then moved to Surrey and contact was reduced to weekend contact monthly. My son sought employment and residence in Surrey in order to maintain contact with his daughter and contact increased to weekend contact fortnightly, but my son's work commitments, along with the mother's difficult/obstructive behaviour throughout led to him having to reduce contact to weekends monthly again. Mother re-married over a year ago to a soldier, and moved again back to Wiltshire. Throughout this time, mother has refused all attempts at mediation or to meet my son half way with contact arrangements. She has, on occasion, not presented the child for contact when my son has been out of work and therefore unable to pay CSA - or if payments have been delayed due to CSA mistakes. Mother refuses to give any details of where the child is residing, or her G.P. details, etc. My son has been offered no information/input into his child's education. This weekend my son was informed by the child that the family may soon be moving. As her step-father is a soldier, this could be anywhere, including overseas. I am a retired social worker and am aware of my son's rights and the child's right to contact with her father. I am aware that he could apply for a Prohibitive Steps Order to prevent the child from being taken out of the country, but do not believe this application would be successful as she is settled with her mother and step-father (and 1 year-old half sibling). I do, however, have concerns that mother has done everything possible to cut my son out of her and her child's life. I should add that my son has never been abusive towards her or the child in any way, though has suffered much abuse himself from mother and father-in-law over the years. Am I right in thinking that his best course of action would be to make application for a Contact Order - and once this Order is in place, that mother would then have to inform the court of any potential move and seek my son's permission before moving the child out of the country. Also, I believe it is important for my son to know where the child is at all times, and to be aware of her health and education matters. I am appalled that mother has been able to get away with this behaviour for so long and that when the child is with my son at weekends, should she require hospital/medical attention, he is not able to give these details. Please advise our best course of action.
Many thanks.
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.
For clarity - at present your son has no idea where the child is living?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare,


No, he has requested this information from the mother during contact hand over and by text message to the maternal grandfather. These requests have been refused. We know only that mother and child accompanied new husband when he was posted to Wiltshire.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare,


I should add that whilst my son attempted to engage mother in mediation prior and following divorce, she refused to attend, so this did not go ahead. There is no real arrangement for contact other than her writing a list of dates now and again when he can have contact, and these are often cancelled by her at the drop of a hat, sometimes after he has travelled to the hand over venue and has been left waiting. It is certainly not a satisfactory arrangement.


Many thanks.


Pam

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Your have pinpointed a number of cogent reasons why your son needs the basic information about his child's life!
Not only does he need it but he is legally entitled to it since he has Parental Responsibility
His child is entitled to have regular contact with her father - and it is the responsibility of both parents to facilitate this in terms of travel arrangements
equally she is not entitled to remove the child from the country without his agreement or an Order from the Court which also deals with his ongoing contact
The starting point is to try Mediation again
He can use her father's address - or he could trace his ex using an Enquiry Agent and write to her directly
Assuming that she ignores it then your son will need to make an application to the Courts for a new Child Arrangement Order to deal with the issue of Contact (and the travel arrangements) and also for a Specific Issue Order in respect of the address and the school details AND the Prohibited Steps Order to ensure that the child is not taken abroad UNLESS proper arrangements are made.
If your son would prefer not to trace her the he can simply issue the application in his local court and ask the court to order the DWP to release the address TO THE COURT for service.
It will then be transferred to the local court for the hearing.
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare,


This is most helpful. I know from bitter experience that she will not respond to a request for mediation. My son will need to make application to court. My concern is that the fact that we are aware of the forthcoming move suggests it is imminent and the court process can be very slow. Is there a way to fast track this? and if not, how long do you think this process may take?


Many thanks

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
In that case he should use the fact that he does not know her address as an excuse for not going to mediation first and make an urgent application for a Prohibited Steps Order.
This will hold matters as they are and ensure that contact arrangements can be made wherever the child moves to
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33953
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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