How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34275
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
13262538
Type Your Law Question Here...
Clare is online now

I am helping a friend who has limited resources and is in the

Resolved Question:

I am helping a friend who has limited resources and is in the process of sepaating from her male partner who is soon to move out, so he says., She has a daughter aged 10 and assumes she will have custody. The father insists on shared weekends of 1 day each. Whilst he is clearly fond of the daughter he has been highly abusive to his partner and there have been recent incidents of Domestic Violence so there needs to be a way to be precise about access times which the mother wishes but wants to avoid being bullied constantly on this important point.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Who owns the property?
What contact does your friend wish to offer?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Clare. The mother owns the house which is in her name though the father insists he should benefit from half of the value and refuses to negotiate on any point until she agrees to that which her lawyer has said she must not do. There is also a flat she owns outright with a buy to let mortgage and this purchase predates the relationship.She is " house rich and cash poor",

The mother wants her partner to continue seeing the daughter and to live sufficiently close to continue taking her to school if that is possible ( that is for purely practical reasons). He insists he will keep their car and a car is the only way to get the daughter to school.He seems to wants to see his daughter more or less as he pleases and his starting point which he says is nonnegotiable is for split weekends,

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
May I just check - I have assumed that they are not married.
Has he ever made a financial contribution to the structure of the property or any alterations to it?
Would your friend wish to offer alternate full weekends?
Whose name is ***** ***** in?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Clare, They are not married but began living together soon before their daughter was born in October 2004. I am sure he has made no financial contribution to the property nor to the structure of the property, His name is ***** ***** daughter's birth certificate as the father.

What he is seeking at the moment whilst he is still around and has no other home ( he does have a divorced girlfriend who has a son) is to set her agendas at weekends entirely independently of the mother yet require her to be around, to cook etc. like a live in housekeeper!

I hope this helps, francis

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
has your friend given him written notice to leave?
What contact does your friend wish to offer (not the same as what HE wants)
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi, she was advised to give him notice to leave but delayed doing so until after her birthday party this past Friday. I know she finds difficulty doing this partly because she fears about his reaction, understandable perhaps after the DV of August, He says he has not loved her for a long time and both accept they have had no intimacy for at least 6 years, Although both are capable of earning well ( he is a solicitor but not active though I know he has an up to date certificate) but neither come anywhere close to their earnings potential and there is little money between them and many unpaid bills, court summonses etc. It is so sad to watch their lives crumble.Anyway, access is what my question to you is about and the source of present acrimonious dispute. She does not see him as a suitable person to be having any independence with his daughter, Hope this is not overmuch ramble!

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
For clarity - exactly what contact DOES she wish to offer
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have asked her that this morning with no very useful response. I think this is because she just cannot get her mind around losing control of her daughter though I have explained that a father who she admits is very fond of his daughter ( even though we know he has lied to het about his whereabouts when he has been with his lady friend rather than with her) presumably can assert rights to access too. It is really on this aspect that I am seeking guidance, knowing with friends that access can an area for hot diputes. Are there any guidance points you might give based on your experience ? Thank you,

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
The law says that a child is entitled to contact with both parents and the court will enforce this if necessary.
Since there is no real problem with his care of the child your friend is going to have to accept that her daughter is entitled to have regular contact with her father - with alternate weekends, a night in the week and half of all school holidays a very likely option.
This does of course assume that he has suitable accommodation nearby.
If not then contact will have to be limited to day contact - in which case a day at the weekend (not in the house) and one or two evenings a week is a possibility.
She can read more on this website
http://theparentconnection.org.uk/
She should offer to try and discuss matters with her ex using Family Mediation
www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you. This will be most helpful. He does not have other accommodation and for financial reasons will have to rely on staying with fronds etc. In a small house it will be difficult to arrange days on his own with the daughter as he wants his partner out of the way when this happens or perhaps to take his daughter along to his girl friend and her son, How would this be viewed? The mother is "dead" against it, I am off for over 2 weeks but will have my Ipad if there any other follow up thoughts. The websites look very useful though in current circumstances mediation seems unlikely though the lawyer believes it is the right thing to do especially as funds are so limited. Once again many thanks Clare.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
She does not have to agree to vacate the property - it is up to him to find somewhere to take the child
Unless the new relationship is well established then it would not be appropriate for the child to meet the new partner immediately - but maybe in a few months time
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
0nce again thank you Clare. Now in France with an Ipad. I do have a further question. How should she go about getting approval for Access. Are there any formalities to observe. Can the issue be handled by negotiation ( not likely at the moment) or does a court have to ben involved. In view of the aggressive attitude of the father to this matter is it possible to obtain some formal agreed framework for access that he is bound to accept?
Thank you.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
There is no need to involve the court if agreement can be reached - and the starting point is for her to use Family mediation
Clare
Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Clare from France. thank you, ***** ***** had a good look at the mediation sites you listed plus Family Mediation Council and I am sure thgis is the way for her to go. Unfortunately he refuses to ho;d any discussions until agreement is reached that he can have half the value if the house to be funded by selling the flat. That is his starting point and he is bullying her to agree. So, there is an impasse which I assume can only be unblocked by going to law in some way. The mother cannot afford this and neither we believe can he,
I thought I had followed all your replies. The only one to whiich I may not have replied helpfully contains your question about what she will offer. As the daughter has many extras on Saturday ( ballet, piano etc) and gym on Sundays it is not so easy to divide up the time during term time. As I said the father has no other property and the house they occupy is small so it does not lend itself to shared occupation with their wone spaces!
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I am afraid that contact with her father comes before other activities
Unless he has made a financial contribution to the property then he has no financial claim on it and the way forward is for your friend to give him written notice to leave
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Rally, you have illuminated all the issues so far riased by the paties. Doubtless more questions will arise but you have referred to the key ones and now it will become a question of process with the father now giving the daighter a smart phone with interent access, something the mother has avoided so far with success. The school does not want phones either but I suppose the father sees this as another form of access. For the time being he refuses to negotiate on any issue at all until he is given some money although he has no legal claim to it.
Anyway, I hope you will not mind if I email in the future and sart a new email trail. In the meantime thank you so much for helping us at a ditressful time.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
You are most welcome- and do feel free to ask me further questions
Clare