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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34106
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 separated from my wife nearly 4 years ago. She has

Customer Question

Hi,
I separated from my wife nearly 4 years ago. She has a long history of psychotic depression and schizophrenia and she has been caring for the children. During this time she spends an average of 4 months per year hospitalised with suicide attempts. Child services know the Grandmother takes responsibility for them during this time as I have had to work abroad. I am now moving back to the UK and would like my children to live with me. They are aged 10 and 14 years. Up until this week she had been on a section order. Do I have a stable family unit with my partner and her children. How do I go about getting my children to live with me? I am 100% certain that my daughter aged 14 will refuse in favour of supporting her mother and would not want to change schools during GCSE. What can I do? There are no arrangements or court order in place. Can I take children before a court order is made?
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.
What contact do you currently have with the children?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I visit them every week for 2 or 3 days. But the 14 year old doesnt want to see

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Where do you and they stay when you visit?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have a friends that I stay at, sometimes hotels and occassionally I drive 2 x 200 mile round trips to pick him up and stay with me and my partner. We live near Cambridge and my wife lives in Manchester

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Do you ever have them (or your son) for holiday periods - if so what is the longest time you had had them in your care?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Last year in July I took 8 weeks off work and cared for both of them in The former family home. This year I took both for a holiday in summer to Spain for 10 days and subsequently my son for 10 days over half term. After my holiday with my daughter and son and my partner, my daughter was made to feel bad about spending time with us. This, allegedly caused my wife to go in to hospital and stayed there for 10 weeks. She is due to be discharged within a week.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
HI
Is the grandmother currently fit and healthy?
clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Social services sent me a report to say that they were satisfied with the grandmother caring for the kids. She is in her 70s and the whole situation causes her a huge amount of stress. Her daughter in and out of hospital and the environment is one of family bickering and tension between all. The grandmother would argue she has everything under control and at school there are no issues. However, when my wife is out of hospital my son experiences high levels of anxiety, complaining about going to school, I believe it is fear that she will not be there when he comes back from school.
In previous years my wife has attempted suicide whilst caring for the children, and police almost took them in to care. But this was before she moved to Manchester near Grandparents. I have been working abroad but will be working in the uk early next yet.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for that.
When do you expect to be settled back in the Uk permanently?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Probably January. But April at the latest. But my partner and I have a place in the village I used to live with my family, and my son would be able to go back to the school that he used to go to with his best friend. And he gets on very well with my partner'a children and we could create a secure family environment for him. Or both my children if my daughter would agree to come with us. But at 14 I understand she could choose. And due to the manipulation, she has been painted a picture that her dad walked away from his family and broke his mum's heart. When I left 3 years ago, I had not met anybody.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Realistically how likely it is that your ex will be hospitalised again after your return to the UK?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Highly likely. Since 2008 she has been in and out of hospital between once and twice per year for periods of 6-10 weeks each time. When she is at home she has a home treatment plan that visits her everyday. My 14 year old daughter had been classified as a young carer and my step daughter at 23 was designated next of kin who was dealing with the doctors and fighting for my wife's rights and wishes. My children are not having a childhood because she doesn't have the strength to parent them and they are parenting each other.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I will be online now for the next hour or so. Hope to have a live chat. Sorry for the discontinuity yesterday. I wasn't able to sit by the computer.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Given the history of the matter there is little doubt that an application to the court for a Child Arrangement Order that your son comes to live with you once you are back in the Uk permanently will be successful.
You can either start the process of going through Family mediation and when that fails making the court application; or wait for the next hospital admission and then collect your son and make an emergency application then.
The court process is described here
http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/cb007-eng.pdf
With regard to your daughter the position is more complex as her wishes will have some force - and of course she is in the middle of her GCSE's
It would be wiser to simply ensure that your daughter is aware that she is welcome at any time and to encourage her to consider doing her A levels back with her old friends
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 2 years ago.
Is it illegal to bring my son to live with me and then applying for custody? does she have more parental rights than me at this moment. I believe that social services although having discharged her are not letting her stay at her house with the kids.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
It is not illegal it is simply very unwise and will put you in the wrong with the court and make what could be a simple application more complicated.
You both have Parental Responsibility but children are not items to be simply retained.
You have been content for your son to live there to date - so he will come to no harm while you go about a change of residence in the correct way - failure to do so could raise a question in the courts mind as to your motives
Clare