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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33305
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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There, I have been separated from my partner past

Customer Question

Hi There, I have been separated from my partner for the past three years and have had constant issues since then regarding access to my children and a getting a divorce. I have nothing in writing to say I have access, we have just verbally agreed for me to have them every second weekend. Issue being is that this changes when she feels like. She suffers from Bi-polar and her mood swings and mental state vary day by day. My children go to school when she feels like it and their well being can at times be questioned. My concerns are:
1. When I tell her of my plans to contact social services or the schools or even police she does something to deter me. Latest one being accusing me of harassment although police have advised her there is no harassment. Can I get an injunction against her? What is the procedure to follow?
2. She leaves my 4 children home alone at times 16, 12, 10 and 4. Sometimes not coming back for a couple of days. Highlighted to police and they say nothing can be done as the 16 year old is old enough to deal with them. My concern is they are not in bed till midnight and run riot. What can I do here?
In a nutshell, need to understand what I do here as not sure where to start with this.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year 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.
Have you actually reported your concerns to Social Services?
Do the schools have any concerns about the children?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Clare

I have contacted the schools yesterday and asked for an update. The school my eldest son is in has serious concerns. He has not been at school for over a week and they are suggesting home study. However, I am against this as I don't really see the benefit to it at all. My wife has no interest in his education and my view is that he simply will do nothing all day.

The kids have been under social services 12 months back, but case was closed. How do I address the situation with social services. Phone calls simply seem to go on deaf ears. Can this be put in writing?

Fear my actions especially with the way she deals with it.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
What about the younger children - how is their attendance?
How often is your contact disrupted?
Could you realistically take on their full time care?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Clare. Between 60 - 80% attendance. She threw them all out last Thursday and fear of repercussions she took them back on Sunday. I could take them on as full time care. My current partner is a school teacher, local schools etc could be done and I earn a good salary. No real issues here.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Where did they go between Thursday and Sunday?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

They came to my house and we took care of them. She simply put them in a taxi and sent them on a 30 mile trip.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Would the children want to live with you full time?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Two of them would jump at it. Concern would be they do not want to change schools. If they moved to me they would need to move schools due to distance.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
when Social Services were last involved did they discuss the care of the children with you?
How often does she abandon the children as she did the other week?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes they asked if I could take care of them I said yes. They highlighted their concerns and my wifes illness. They offered support and said I should be available to assist where needed.

She has thrown the 16 year old out at least 10 times in the last 12 months. She has abandoned the others about 4 times in the same period. Other concern is that she leaves them home alone on several occasions in the care of the 12 year old or 16 year old. Police don't seem bothered by this; however, it has massive impact on the 16 year old. She drags him into her relationship issues and constant care of the other children; however, he has big issues himself to deal with.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
If they asked that may i ask why you did not go ahead and agree to the children moving to live with you immediately?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

She has thrown the 16 year old out today and agreed with the school that he should have home study. Last year of school. She sent him to me and expects me to pick up the pieces. I am happy to take him in and support him; however, when she feels like she wants to take him back for her reasons she does highlighting she is legal guardian to him. Is this relevant can I become his legal guardian and if so how do I do this. This may be a step in the right direction. Concern she continues to make all decisions for him without my say. Hope that makes sense?

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
For clarity - you are married to your ex and the father of all the children?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes father to all children been separated for 3 years.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Then you have Parental Responsibility for the children and equal right to have the children in your care
In fact your 16 year old is entitled to decide for himself where he wishes to live - and on that basis I suggest that you and he discuss whether or not he wishes to change school at this point and begin again elsewhere from a settled home with you.
At the same time you can either wait until the next time she throws the other children out and at that point make an immediate application for a Child Arrangement Order stating that they live with you - clearly something that Social Services will support: or you can make the application immediately.
It could be slightly easier of you wait and react to her behaviour - but either way there is little doubt that you will be successful in taking over the day to day care of the children
Please as if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Clare

Thanks for your reply. Just to confirm, can I do anything to make the 16 year old my responsibility to prevent his mother currently controlling him etc. Also would you suggest I formally write to social services with my concern on the other children? Finally, I suppose it would be beneficial for me to get a solicitor to act on my behalf as I would not know where to start with a child application order?

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
He IS your responsibility - you just need to tell him that he is no wold enough to decide where he wishes to live
You can write to Social Services if you wish - or simply telephone them and ask if they would support you if you applied for the care of the children
You can use a solicitor for the applications if you wish - it is a choice!
Clare

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