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ukfamilysolicitor
ukfamilysolicitor, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1157
Experience:  Divorce, Finances, Children, Domestic Violence, Care Proceedings
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I relation to my children's school places in the context of

Resolved Question:

I relation to my children's school places in the context of my charging their father with domestic violence: I have been told by some solicitors that I am within my rights to move them to a different school I have even Been told by a social worker that I will be seen if negligent of their care if I don't as currently he has parental right to collect from that school and take them, and I have concerns about their safety with him. However other solicitors have told me that it is illegal for me to change their school without his consent. I need to know what to do I can arrange everything else (housing, job) around either option. I'd also like to know if I can safeguard them from his contact in their current school? I have already established that he currental has equal parental responsibility for them. Thankyou.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 3 months ago.

Hello

Welcome to Just Answer

I am a Solicitor and will asssit you.

Please may I ask:

- how old are your children?

- any current court orders?

- are your children seeing their father? if so what is the routine and how often?

- what saftey concerns do you have?

- what is the current level of involvement by social services?

kind regards

Caroline

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Two children aged 9 and 6
I have only just (few days ago) left the family home with the children. There is a long history of verbal abuse and emotional abuse but I never charged him. The incident I left over was because he was very verbally abusive and assaulted me and this was infront of the children, I have made a statement to the police now and they are in the process of questioning him with a veiw to prosecution. I am completing the forms for an occupation order and a non molestation order with legal support.
I have been advised by a social worker that because I feel he may distress or manipulate the children I should not allow him any contact with them including phone contact so I have done this (he is very angry and says he is putting an order on me as of Monday)
I have historical accounts of him being angry at me and other people infront and physically inappropriately aggressive of the children when they are in his sole care. He also shouts at them and criticises them heavily. They have on numerous occasions begged me not to allow them to be alone with him (i.e. Without me there 'to stick up for them') and he upsets them and causes them to cry.,
I also don't think he would be fit to care for them without supervision and he has been distracted and not always aware of their immediate safety such as allowing them to cross a road and not checking they were doing it safely (and then being angry with them) and allowing them to cross a car park junction and a car nearly running over them. Or talking to people and not being aware that one of hem was wandering off into the road when they were small (my mum observed this). He also is a poor role model in his bahaviiur to others and the way he speaks about other people too them. He is volatile and unpredictable. He is on anti anxiety medication which has helped level his mood a little but he has failed to keep up his medication and his behaviour deteriorated into aggression on those occasions.
I have referred ourselves to social services they are coming next week to help complete and assessment of the children's well-being and their views.
Thankyou
Kerry
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Sorry there was a typo above and I want to clarify that he has not been seen to be physically aggressive to the children themselves (except one where he pulled my daughter more forcefully than I was comfortable with) but he has been physically and verbally aggressive to other people when they are there observing it.
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 3 months ago.

Hello Kerry

Thank you for your response.

Please do accept my apologies for my delay in responding to you.

I am very sorry to hear what you are going through.

The point that social services are making is correct - you are under a duty to safeguard your children and if the father has been aggressive in front of the children and he also has issues with his mental health then you do have to safeguard your children from this.

I note that you are getting help in respect of a NMO and OO and I am glad to hear this.

I do think that it is important that you also discuss with your solicitors in respect of obtaining a Child Arrangements Order to confirm that the children live with you. The court can also consider at the same time the time that is safe for the father to spend with your children and whether that time needs to be supervised. The court will investigate the fathers mental health, possibly asking for a report from his GP. Before the first hearing a Court Children and Families Officer (Cafcass) will undertake checks with police and social services and inform the court of the recent incidents so that the court can take this into account.

As the father holds parental responsibility, you do need his permission to change schools. If the father wont agree then you can ask the court at the same time as applying for a CAO to decide the specific issue of your children's schooling.

You do normally have to attempt mediation before you go to court, but in your case, if your ex is charged or if you obtain a NMO you will not have too - so you can apply straight to court. If the issue of schooling needs resolving before the new school term then you can ask the court to list this urgently so that a decision can be made quickly.

I wouldnt allow any unsupervised contact until the court has considered your case. I say this because I do nto want you to be criticised by social services for not safeguarding your children.

Let me know if I can help you further

kind regards

Caroline

Positive feedback gratefully received. Please note that when you leave positive feedback your question remians open and I can answer your follow up questions for free for you.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thankyou
Can you advise what I do if the schooling issue isn't sorted before term starts?
Is there any way the children's safety can be safeguarded even if they remain in the same school? I.e. Something to stop him collecting them from that school (allow the school to stop him?)Also am I also in my rights/ is it my duty of care/ to stop him speaking with them on the phone while we wait for court decisions? I'm fearful he will upset them and/or manipulate their emotions and feelings and/or get information from them that it is unsafe for them to have?
Thankyou
Kerry
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I meant.....Unsafe for him to have.And I think my first question isn't clear enough: I meant: if it's not gone to court yet and school starts then, under my duty of care to protect them, should I change their school anyway or should I keep them off school altogether?
And actually, couldn't he still have the same right even if they are in a different school?
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 3 months ago.

Hello

Thank you for your responses.

I apologise for my delay in responding to you this afternoon.

In respect of the schooling - If social services are pushing you for this and your ex wont agree then I suggest that you apply to you local family court urgently for them to decide.

You can do this on the C100 Form. The court fee is £215 but you may be eligible for a reduction/waiver depending on your circumstances.

If the matter isnt resolved before the start of term and I do think that time is tight, then you cannot technically stop your ex attending at school. In this position I would speak to the school and tell them what has happened, perhaps also ask the social worker to do the same. If your ex does attend at school then you can apply urgently to court, even on the same day, for a prohibited steps order, to prevent him doing this.

You cannot change the schools withouth his permission.

Phone contact could be safe contact in the meantime but make sure this is good for the children and he doesn ot try to manipulate them.

kind regards

Caroline

Positive feedback is gratefully received

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
There is evidently a hole in the law here that makes children and myself vulnerable to further manipulation and abuse. I am even being forced by law to do something that social services are saying they will be concerned about if it goes ahead. So essentially they are asking that I break the law or put the children at risk. This Can't be right surely?!!
There has to be some way that the school could prevent him from removing the children from the school. I'm assuming that when you say 'can put in a prohibitive steps order that same day' the implication is that he would have already removed them from the school and I would be battling for their return to me?? Or do you mean that the school could call the police and they intervene?
I'm sorry to keep on but I HAVE to be clear on this and the information you have given so far is not completely clear to me. Thankyou
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
also can you clarify exactly how legally I can 'make sure he is not being manipulative' when on a phone call with the children? Should I pre agree what topics he must not raise with them? Am I allowed to monitor the conversations or record them? If so, am I allowed to end the call if I feel it is not going well?
I really needs to be very clear on what I can and can't do. Thankyou
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 2 months ago.

Hello Kerry

Please accept my apologies for my delay in responding as I was not available at the weekend.

I agree that you are in a difficult position but I can only tell you the law as it is in relation to parental responsibility. It social services are supporting a change of schools and the father wont agree, then as long as social services hold thier position when an application is made to court then a Judge will hopefully see that this is in your childrens best interests and make such an order.

As previoulsy mentioned, if the father does seek to attend at school for the children then an urgent prohibited steps order could be obtained from a family court Judge. A Judge will only make such an order on an urgent basis if your ex did try to remove the children or attend at their school. If he doesnt then a Judge will not see the need to do this. You are the main carer and there are concerns about the father so a Judge will almost certanly make suh an order if your ex did try and take the children but this needs to be attempted or threatened or the Judge will not make such a serious order.

You need to work with school to make sure they contact you if the father attends.

In respect of the phone calls - you need to put this on loud speaker and monitor what is being said. You should terminate the call if he is inappropriate or manipulative. If you can prediscuss topics he should not raise then this may help.

let me know if I can assist you further.

kind regards

Caroline

Positive feedback is gratefully received

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Do you know if I am being charged for each follow-up question here or just the one order?
If it's ok to ask for further clairification without extra charge then I would still like clarification on exactly how such a school scenario would play out.. so would the school be able to detain him long enough to allow me time to contact an emergency judge? And then once it's issues does it mean we would then phone the police? Or would it still allow him time to take the children?
Thankyou
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 2 months ago.

Hello

thank you for your response.

You do have to leave positive feedback for me to be able to answer your follow up questions free. It is currently displaying a negative feedback but if you now rate positive I would be happy to continue to answer your follow up questions for free in this thread.

In relation to the school - it is really down to how helpful they are. This varies greatly in my experience as I have known some schools be really helpful and others not. In your case I would reccomend that you also ask the social worker to speak to the school and express their concerns as this should help the school understand the position.

Once you have a prohibited steps order or a child arrangements order to confirm the children live with you then the police will help you with return should the father try and take them.

kindest regards

Caroline

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