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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33809
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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I have a 21 month old daughter. Her dad and I have been in

Customer Question

I have a 21 month old daughter. Her dad and I have been in a relationship of convenience, so that he is able to see his daughter regularly and I can stay with her as I would not like to leave her with him overnight. I have tried many times to break off this relationship but each time he threatens me that he will insist on having our daughter every other weekend fri - sun. I recently tried to end the relationship again and insisted I am not going to allow our daughter to stay with him overnight, but that i will bring her to see him every other Saturday (he lives 70 miles away). He seemed to back down on that argument when I called his bluff and pretended I was not afraid, and then started to say he would stop me from taking our daughter to visit family in SA. He said he had set up an appointment to start the process. Anyhow I have placated him by saying perhaps if he can sort out his life we can have another chance at a relationship, and he is now planning on coming with us to SA!! I have had endless problems trying to break free from this man for years and have even reported him to the police on one occassion. This did not stop him, and the police eventually told me there was nothing more they could do. My reason I do not want to leave my daughter with him unsupervised is that he smokes cannabis and I did not realize until recently how bad the problem is. He told me he smokes day in and day out, except for the days when we are visiting when he doesn't touch the stuff. He has been smoking for more than 15 years and I think he has been affected mentally. I would like to apply to the court for a child arrangements order so that I do not have to worry about him insisting on overnight access, so that I can travel without his permission, and so I can leave him without fear of his threats. Can you tell me if I have a chance at winning the case?
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.
Are you now living separately?
Do you wish to go back to South Africa permanently or just for visits?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare, we have never lived together. Yes, I only want to got to SA for visits no longer than a couple of weeks.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare, I want to add that I have never left Amy with her dad, Wayne overnight unsupervised. I have on occasion left her for a couple of hours or for a morning while I've gone to work at my house. He has never smoked cannabis at my house and I felt comfortable enough to leave her. He is a attentive dad and Amy is always totally relaxed and happy with him. I would not feel comfortable to leave her alone with Wayne in his house though as I think the temptation to smoke may be too great, especially since I did not realise how bad his addiction is. He has a nephew who he used to babysit, and I know he used to smoke when his nephew had gone to bed as he told me, and now his nephew is 17 or 18 years old and Wayne and him smoke together sometimes.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Are you happy for him to see her in your home - or take her out to specific places?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, I would prefer him to see Amy in another setting and to have as little contact with him as possible as he pesters me like you cannot imagine. I can't stress enough how much he pesters me to the point of harassment. I would not mind taking Amy to his mother and him seeing Amy there (she lives around the corner from him). I would not be comfortable leaving Amy with her overnight either though, because my trust in her is a bit damaged too, as she knows Wayne smokes cannabis but makes excuses for him and enables him.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I should have told you I arranged for us to go for mediation a week and a half ago, but he refused.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Just to check - you do trust her for day time contact?
Did you attend the Mediation Information and assessment meeting?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Do I trust him for daytime contact, ooh sorry it's not a yes/ no answer. I wouldn't trust him alone at home with her, and I would worry if he visited friends with her. I don't mind if he visiting at his mum or if he takes her on an outing. Yes, I attended the MIAM alone.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I did trust him in my home alone with Amy as I don't believe he would dare smoke in my house. To be clear, I don't think he would smoke in front of her, but I don't want to take the risk of being too trusting.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
My apologies I did not make it clear - do you trust his mother to ensure that daytime contact goes well
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Oh yes, I do trust her with that, she is good with her grandchildren.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I am sorry - I should have checked - he is named on the birth certificate?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi, yes he is.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
You are entitled to simply end the relationship and offer contact at his mothers house for one day a week/fortnight.
If he is not happy with that then he will have to attend family mediation with you to discuss matters - without attending mediation then he cannot go to court
If he refuses to agree to your taking your child on holiday to South Africa then you will need to use the form the Mediator gave you to apply for a Child Arrangement Order stating that the child lives with you and a Specific Issue Order confirming that you can take her to South Africa for xxx number of weeks a year
Within those proceedings the question of his time with your daughter will be dealt with as well.
Since you have good reason for your concerns you have nothing to worry about from that.
Might I suggest that you agree with his mother than you do not wish to meet his ex and that she deals with the handovers alone
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Clare, that does make me feel a bit more at ease. I have a couple more questions if that is ok. I have been told that Wayne would be well within his rights not to return Amy to me after a visit and to insist he is keeping her overnight. Is this correct, what can I do if he does not allow me to take her back/return her to me after a visit? Also am I correct in understanding that when I take Amy abroad, I am required to carry her birth certificate and a letter of permission from her dad?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
He has Parental Responsibility for the child and accordingly has the right to have her in his care.
If he failed to return her you would have to apply for an urgent court order for her return to your care - at which point all further contact would be restricted to a Contact Centre.
Having said that in fact a simple safe and well visit by the police if he did retain her then their concerns about his drug taking would ensure that they removed the child from him immediately.
There is no need to carry the birth certificate and a letter - but you should get his permission or a court order before leaving the country
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33809
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare

Thank you for all the information, I do feel more clear on what I need to do in different situations. I am hoping to book to go to SA during the Easter hols. I wondered if I can ask a solicitor to inform Wayne of the dates and ask him whether he has any objections. I would prefer a 3rd person to do this as he told the mediator (over the phone) that he won't stop us from going abroad, but then told me he was going to see a solicitor to stop me. Also if he does see a solicitor to stop me, will I be ordered to hand over Amy's passport?

Kind regards,

Hayley

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
You can only be stopped if he gets a court order.
Rather than going to the expense of getting a solicitor to write to him you should write a simple letter saying that since he told the mediator that he would not stop you taking the child on holiday then you are giving him details of the times flights etc.
Send it recorded delivery and keep a copy
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Clare! That is a relief, as I am quite certain he would not obtain a court order as he has a aversion towards people of authority.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Keep a copy of the letter - and pack it with her passport!
Clare

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