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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34105
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Customer Question

Hello, I've found myself needing some advice. My ex partner & I, came to a mutual agreement to have joint custody of our 6 year old daughter when our relationship broke down 5 years ago. However, I am growing increasingly concerned for her health and wellbeing in his property. It is fast becoming a major health hazard. There is mould growing on the outside of the oven, there is rabbit faeces all over the floor every time I go into the property. There is sticky brown residue on every surface due to years of neglect. There are trip hazards on the stairs, electrical hazards & security hazards. I have tried to mediate with him sensibly that this is not just a case of general uncleaniness or untidyness, but has reached a level where our daughters health & safety is being compromised. He will neither listen, take me seriously nor take action to make the property cleaner or safer. She comes home to me smelling of cannabis regularly. Its in her hair, her clothes etc. Her bagged items are returned smelling of rabbit faeces. He takes her to his dealers, she refers to the man as "uncle!" She is returned in 2 year olds clothing, unwashed and dishevelled. He legally has Parental Responsibility as he attended and signed her birth registration certificate with me in 2006. He will jump on his rights if i take any action against him having any custody of our daughter. But he is not fulfilling his "Parental Responsibilities". He wants to take her to theme parks and buy her pets and toys. When it comes to anything that she needs, like a bed for instance, he would rather buy himself an xbox. She is never wrapped up warm enough for the cold weather and is always picking up illnesses, and although I know he loves her, and I dont want to stop him seeing her, I do not want her staying at his house, I do not want her eating food that is out of date off of dirty plates. I do not want her sleeping on his bed with him while he smokes cannabis all night next to her, and I do not want her sitting in a drug dealers house with him while he and his dealers smoke drugs. I want her at home with me, warm and safe in her bed, eating good food in a clean and safe environment. I do not know whether to begin legal proceedings and apply for sole custody, or whether to report his actions as an act of neglect to my local social services. Or both. I dont know how to proceed with this but I know that doing nothing is not an option. What should my first move be??
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Hi
Thanks for using JustAnswer. My name isXXXXX will do whatever I can to answer your question.
What contact does he have with the child?
Claire
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


He normally has her after school on a wednesday until 7pm and he collects her from school on a friday and returns her to school on monday morning for me to collect her from there.

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Hi
Do you never have her for the weekend?
Claire
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


I usually pick her up for round 4 hours, every other saturday afternoon. I wouldnt normally have her at the weekends that is mostly him while i mostly have her throughout the week.

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Hi
Is that not difficult for you now she is at school?
Claire
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Yes im finding it extremely difficult. By the time she comes home from school its the same daily routine of dinner, homework, bath, story, bed. There is not a lot of quality time there except for the school holidays really. Like I say I would rather she be with me, the main reason i have been going along with this joint custody arrangement was purely so she could see me and her dad fairly, but it does not benefit me in the slightest.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Hi
My apologies for the delay.
Given that quite apart from your concerns about the level of care your ex gives the current arrangements give you no quality time with your daughter it is reasonable this point to say that you wish to renegotiate the current care arrangements,It is perfectly reasonable for you too to want weekend time with your daughter - time that isn't spent sorting things out for school.
Accordingly you should try and discuss matters with your ex using Family Mediation (www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk) and at the same time raise the issue of his standard of care.
If he will not discuss the matter then you can apply to the court for a Residence and defined contact order and at that point you can raise your very serious concerns about the standard of care.
This would be less confrontational than involving Social Services at the start
Claire