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ukfamilysolicitor
ukfamilysolicitor, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 727
Experience:  Divorce, Finances, Children, Domestic Violence, Care Proceedings
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My husband and I separated 12.5 years ago, and divorced 8

Resolved Question:

Hello, good evening. My husband and I separated 12.5 years ago, and divorced 8 years ago. My daughter is now 12 (13 this year) and my son 15. They have always lived with me, with visiting their dad every Saturday to Sunday, and one day a week for tea (not staying over midweek). I have been financially responsible for my children throughout this time, including private school fees. My ex-husband now wants to seek full custody of the children. I have another 5 year old child, with my long term partner of 10 years. We all live together. Both my long term partner, who has raised all 3 children and I are 45 years old. My ex-husband is 65 years old. I left my ex-husband because of domestic abuse (although there is no police charge, but 2 non-molestation orders) and a series of visits to the house when we were married and one visit after we were married when he strangled me (but no charges). As I have lived with continuous verbal abuse from him, what are the chances that he could win the custody of my children? I am scared of him, and always have been. He says that out of the blue I am a bully and so is my long term partner. That is all he has put. He has written me an email to attend arbitration for joint custody or he will seek full custody if I don't agree.
Also, my children are 15 and 12 and would like to continue to live at home, seeing their father when it is the weekend, when they chose. Can they have a solicitor/lawyer of their own, which will allow them to make their own case for living at home? Their father has told them that he is intending to apply for full custody; this has upset them and they want to go to court to tell the judge that they want to live at home with their mother, "pops" (stepfather) and baby brother. What opinions are open to them as individuals?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 2 months ago.

Hello

Welcome to Just Answer

I am a Solicitor and will assist you today.

I am sorry to hear about the difficulties that you are experiencing with your ex.

It seems very clear to me that your children do not want to live with their father full time.

If this is the case -let him waste his money and apply to court for an order that they live with him - it will be fruitless for him.

The reason I say this is because your children are of a sufficent age that the court would give high regard to their wishes and feelings. They do not need a solicitor. The court can arrange for a Childrens and Families Officer to speak to your children and ascertain their views. It is highly unlikely that a court will rule againt their wishes and feelings.

This couped with the fact that your children have always lived with you - means that your ex is going to get very far!

Do not worry. Try mediation and expain your position - as long as he doesnt try to manipulate you during the process.

If he applies to court - relax and do not worry. A children and families officer will call you befoe the first hearing. You can explain your position to them.

Just because he applies to court doesnt mean that he will be successful.

Maybe its the skeptic in me - but perhaps he's after the benefits for the children.

let me know if I can hep you further

kind regards

Caroline

please kindly remember to star rate our service so that we receive credit for helping you today

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Hello, thank you for your email and it is the first time that I have relaxed in days. You made a very astute point about benefits, which I don't claim, but my husband has just found out that the children are entitled to quite a bit (and it can be back dated). As he lives on just a state pension, and hasn't been successful in launching his photographic career, this is something he asked me about. He claims I am a terrible mother. I asked the children the other day about being at home, and they said I was the best mother in the world and their father doesn't look after them and only takes them to the pub. I am not trying to run my ex-husband down, as although I was domestically abused and ran away, (left Ireland for England - we were married in England, kids born in Ireland), I felt that the children should still have a relationship with their father, as it was my feelings for him and the children should develop their own feelings towards him. His previous wife also ran away, I have learnt, and his son, (a lot older was returned to his father aged 17, but now lives in a squat). I am supposing this will help the case, although because I fear him, as I know he uses all his powers to manipulate, I am worried about losing my children over him. However, I get the sense from you, that they have the final say (unless I have done something terrible - which I have not - only told my son off 4 times in his life). Thank you
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 2 months ago.

Bless you - its so good to hear that you feel better!

If you were a terrible mother - then social services would be involved in the care fo your children and they are not.

If he does make an application to court - keep calm about it all. Make sure that when you speak to the children and families officer you tell them about all the past.

I have had numerous cases like this and often when the father realises that court isnt a walk in the park - and that he wont get residence just because he's asking for it - they often withdraw the proceedings.

Your children are old enough and clearly have a loving relationship with you - just let then know if a child friendly way what is going on and how a children and familie officer may like to speak to them so that they can be listened too and heard.

kindest regards

Caroline

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you so much. How long does the process take from him making an application to the proceedings taking place? I have spoken to the children very calmly, and even asked them what they would like to do (remembering that I don't own them and if they want to live with their dad 50%, 100%, etc, they can). However, they have categorically said "no". They said even if they were asked to go and live with him, they would run away. I am thinking that my son is 15 and 16 next year, so it could be that proceedings take to that time anyway, by which time he can make his own mind anyway. Social Services were involved as my ex-husband hit my son, and although dropped, he accused me of being a very bad mother. He has reported me to social services twice, they have interviewed us, the opposite has happened and we have had no concerns and all cases closed. He accuses my partner of bullying the children and this might be his angle of taking the children away, as I work away from home and my partner looks after everyone. The children are close to him. However, he once told my son off and my husband is using this as "abuse". My son is also at boarding school and was pinched by the bottom by another boy; there are no charges but my ex-husband is claiming that I am a neglecting mother as I have returned my son to a boarding school where he was sexually abused and it for these reasons, he is stating he is going to get a court order to remove my son from Charterhouse, which my son loves. He can't do this either, can he without my son's permission? What a mess hey? Maybe I should have ran away further......
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 2 months ago.

Bless you!

Your ex sounds like a lovely chap.

The reality is that the court wont probably even entertain an application in respect of your son now.

If mediation doesnt work then he can apply to court straight away. The first hearing is usually after 6 weeks so that the children and families officers (cafcass) can do the standard safeguarding for any application made in respect of children - these means checking police and social services records for both of you. Your ex's past will come up.

Whist you ex can apply for a specific issue in respect of your sons school - if your son wants to be there - no court is going to rue against that - especailly given that he will be on with his GCSE's and that is really important for him.

Courts usually only consider applications in respect of children aged 14 or under - that being because they ony last until 16. In your case as both your children are saying the same thing - let your ex apply for both and apply in respect of the specific issue about the schooling. Its going to strengthen the position for your children when they are saying the same thing.

If your children are adamant they want things to stay the same - his application is going to be a waste of time for him.

kind regards

Caroline

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** I will finish up work now and write a proper thank you and review. I really appreciate it.
Kind thoughts, Debra
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
sorry, one quick question that has just come into my mind. Because he has told the children that he is applying to the court to remove them from school and apply for full custody, they don't want to see him, so are breaking the loose arrangements that we have in place (there is no residency order or arrangements order in place). Will this go against us, in that he will say I have influenced the children in not seeing him, even though it is their choice and they don't want to go. My son has made a written statement, unbeknown to me, that he does not want to see his dad at school, nor can he call him. My daughter has also phoned her dad, unbeknown to me, to tell him not to come and collect her. I just want to make sure that all of this doesn't go against them.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Do I also get all my statements from friends and family in support of a loving family. My ex-husband is isolated from his family, apart from an elderly sister (75 years old). We have a very large family, which do not keep in contact with my ex-husband due to the physical abuse, and therefore, the children would lose out on all of this if they lived with him. They should include this in their wishes as well shouldn't they? That and the fact that the other mothers check which house my son and daughter are going to at the weekend, if invited by them, as they won't let their children go to his house from their own experiences, and again, not influenced by me.
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 2 months ago.

Hello

All you have to do is actively encourage your children to spend time with their father.

If your children dont want to go - especially if this is a result of thier fathers actions - then a court will not make them - as your children can simply choose to vote with their feet.

Their father is playing a hard game - they are not babies but young adults - and they will be able to see what is going on.

Although I doubt the court will require the additional statements at an early stage - should he pursue his application - then yes - this will assist you case that he has ulterior motives and that residence to him os not what the children want and it is not in their best interest.

let me know if I can help you further.

kindest regards

Caroline

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you so much. I will write the review this evening. Kind regards, Debra
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 2 months ago.

Thank you Debra - I am glad that I could help you today. If you are happy with the service - I'd also be grateful if you could star rate the service on this page - this means we get credit for helping you today.

If I can help you further - don't hesitate to ask.

Kind regards

Caroline

ukfamilysolicitor, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 727
Experience: Divorce, Finances, Children, Domestic Violence, Care Proceedings
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