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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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I have a residence order that my 5 year old son lives with

Resolved Question:

I have a residence order that my 5 year old son lives with me. My ex abducted him last year (within the UK, but to a new address she had recently moved to without telling me - and the police took 7 hours to find him) and the court ordered contact centre contact as a result. She is now going to apply to vary the court order to ask for unsupervised contact and overnight stays. There is no suitable regular supervisor as she has fallen out with her own family (following an assault on her mum) and my parents live hours away. A friend told me to get a PSO to prevent her removing him from the country, and to state she is not to remove him from my care outside the contact times specified in the court order. While seeing him through a contact centre could be seen as some kind of punishment, she was not actually punished by the court (no fine, community sentence etc). My worry is that, because she was not punished last time, she has no respect for court orders - so may well breach a PSO. If she fails to return him again, will the court punish her this time? And, apart from a PSO, are there any other ways I can limit the risk of her abducting him again?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
HiThank you for your questionMy name is ***** ***** do my best to help you but I need some further information firstHow has the Contact been progressing to date?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Just moved out of contact centres and have been supervising contact myself - to save money on contact centre - for a few hours every other weekend. It's going OK-sh but she is still maintaining that she did nothing wrong by abducting him that time. And she lies a lot still - about big things (like where she is working) and little things. She has also changed her name by deed poll since the abduction but has not updated her passport or driving licence - so she is currently operating under 2 diffeernt IDs - whihc makes me even more worried!

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
is there not a cheaper supported centre in your area?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No - it was costing us £30 each for contact to be supervised by them. And she wants to have him unsupervised and overnight - hence planning to aply to vary the court order. Everyone says the court will just give her a 2nd chance and trust that she has sorted herself out a year on, and won't abduct him again.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Is there a Supported rather than supervised centre in your area - they are generally much cheaper - or even free
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

We did all that before the abduction. That's why we had to move to supervised at the contact centre. She's applying to vary the court order to ask for unsupervised contact and overnight stays - and she's likely to get it apparently. So my question is not about contact centre options - it is about whether, if we get a PSO and she breaches it with another abduction, the court will punish her this time. And what I can do to minimise the risk of her breaching it again - eg tagging?

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
he leap from supervised to overnight stays is usually bridged by using a Supported centre to progress contact rather than going straight form one to the other - hence the questionsSince you already hold a Residence Order stating that the child lives with you technically a Prohibited Steps Order adds nothing to the protection that is already in place - and i assume that you hold the passport so she cannot take him out of the Country in any event.However if you would feel more secure then by all means ask for a PSO stating that the child should not be removed from your care or taken to any address not previously notified to youI would also suggest that you increase the contact in small steps - so she has him for the day for a few months before moving on to overnight contactI am aware that one of my clients actually sewed a tracer into his child's coats - but I could not possible advise it ....I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

So breaching a PSO is no more serious than breaching the original contact order? The courts are not more likely to penalise her if she breaches a PSO/ abducts him again?

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
It was never likely that she would be punished in any way other than restricting her ongoing contact with the child.Fines and community service are usually used as ways of penalising the Resident ParentHowever whilst a PSO is no more likely to be punished - a further abduction will lead to a very reduced pattern of contact - and it would be up to her to pay the supervision fees - not you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK, that's useful to know. So - as long as she doesn't abduct him more successfully next time, and disappear with him without trace - the prospect of moving back to contact centres that she has to pay for all by herself might be something of a deterrent. Thanks.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
You are welcome - and do consider other options...
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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