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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34282
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 separated with my ex partner few years back. Never were

Customer Question

I have separated with my ex partner few years back. Never were married with her.
We have a son who is 15 years old now who has autism and as such never will live independent life. I had to go through courts to get first parental agreement and then visiting rights.
Currently I have him every other weekend including sleep over.
What happens when he turn 18 ? Will I loose those rights? Will I have to go through courts again?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
HiThank you for your questionMy name is***** shall do my best to help you but I need some further information firstHow extreme is his disability - can he express his wishes?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Basic things like food then yes and even then not always. He have very limited speech. Even a simple questions are problems.
It's difficult to explain. His behavior can be interpreted both ways.
When I come to collect him on Saturday mornings sometimes he is ready to go someways he will say "bay bay daddy" clearly not wanting to go. It might take him 10-15 minutes to change his mind and go.
As soon as he seats in the car you can ask him if he wants to go home back to mummy and it's definet no.
Can she use it as his choice of not wanting to go?
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Have you stayed in contact with his school?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm attending parents evening and annual review
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Can I assume that your ex will not be co-operative?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well , somehow I don't think so.
To get the current visiting rights took few years. Even now every summer is a battle , she change the arrangements last minute so it's difficult to plan ahead ( I have a week with him over summer holidays )
I know he will stay in current special school till summer next year.
Next they have provision for "higher education" for special needs kids in the borough but I'm not 100% sure if she will send him there.
But I'm worry what will happen once he reach 18 years I know it's 2.5 years from now but better be prepared.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Was your current order specifically extended until your son is 18?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No , no mention when the consent order finish ( I attached a copy ) but it mention terms like school holidays , therefore you can dispute that it finish with the date my son finish attending school.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
That is interesting
In fact you do NOT have a Court order for Contact at all
The Order simply records the fact that you and your ex have agreed to that level of contact - it would not be enforceable in the event of a problem.
The Order that was made runs until the Charge is exercisable - so until your son is 21 and to that extent your ex may well consider herself bound by it until then, which is good as the usual contact order expires on the child's 16th birthday unless it is specifically extended
Given your son's problems I have no doubt that were you to make an applictaion for a Child Arrangement Order you would be granted one due to your son's incapacity and that it would be extended until he is 18.
It is then possible for you to make a further applictaion - which will be successful given all that you have said.
What I am uncertain of is whether it is worth raising the issue now - which could mean two applications - one now and one when your son is 18 - or seeing if you can stretch it until 21 on the basis of the order
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She recently paid of the charge that was on the house. So the there is nothing binding us till he is 21st.
This is my main worry.
My understanding was that the consent form was put in front of the court , my then solicitor didn't explain that it is simply a record at that stage.
The whole process took almost 5 years and cost me a small fortune , I'm bit apprehensive about going through solicitors again.
But at this stage just wanted to know what to expect
I hope she will not question current agreement till he is 18 years old if she do I will applied for Child Arrangement Order.
What do I applied after he is 18 years old and in view of the law an adult ?
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
It would be a Court Of Protection applictaion because your son would then be a vulnerable adult.If it does become necessary you will need to consider arranging for your son to have the support of NYAS
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So basically she can stop me seeing him any time she wants and I would have to go to courts to get visiting rights?
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Sadly yes.
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Scary , after all I went through to get those I was hoping I will have no problems till his 18
Thank you for you time and effort.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
I hope your ex remains unaware of the possibility of stopping contact