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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34234
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My son is aged 10 and lives with his mother after we divorced

Resolved Question:

My son is aged 10 and lives with his mother after we divorced 4 years ago. He is now repeatedly saying he wants to live with me (his father). We live 30 miles apart but I see my every weekends an Wednesdays but have to always collect and return my son as his mother has a drink driving ban.
My son is becoming increasingly unhappy at his mothers she repeatedly lets him down including failing to collect him from school on several occasions, or making promises and never keeping them. My family live locally to where he lives and they frequently have to step in at the last minute to help out when his mother has let him down again.
I have remarried and now also have a step daughter, my son and step daughter get on very well and are the same age. My son is desperate to move home, is very unhappy but his mother is extremely stubborn, unreliable and will not let him move. I wish to seek advice on what I can do as I cannot watch my son get upset anymore, but I also cannot afford a lengthy court battle. Based on my sons feeling and how unreliable his mother has become I know I would have a good case in court. What's the best option?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 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.
How long does he spend with you at the weekend, and how often has his mother not collected him from school in the last term
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
One weekend he usually with me from Friday (I collect him at about 4.30) until Monday morning when I drop him to my mums who then takes him to school. Then the following weekend I may collect him the Saturday evening again until Monday morning. I also have him every Wednesday when I collect him and take him to my sister in law on a Thursday morning who takes him to school as my niece is at the same school.
She has failed to collect him from school at least 4 times last term, he had to use pocket money he had in his school bag to get the bus and on one occasion a stranger lent him the money to get the bus home!
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Just to check - I assume he would move schools if he came to live with you full time?
Have the school raised concern's about the care given by his mother?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes he would move schools but he is in a very good one in Andover. I live in Basingstoke and would forsee that he would finish his next year (year 6) which is the final year of primary if possible before moving to a secondary school in Basingstoke if he moved with me.
I often have him for a week at a time and commute to Andover to drop him at school so I don't want him to move schools yet.
The school have not raised any concerns as yet but that's because when his mother fails to turn up he rings me and is already at the bus stop. He knows his way home and around as his mother takes him to school via bus. In his school year the children are able to walk freely from class at the end of the day. I've told him I'm future he needs to go to the school office and report it.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
What explanation does she give for the failure to collect him - and what is the longest period of time he has spent with you to date
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
One explanation was she forgot what day it was and thought I was collecting him as it was a Wednesday (it was actually Thursday and is collected him the day before!), another was the bus broke down and was cancelled.
The longest period of time I've had my son is roughly 10 days maybe 12. During the holidays I'll often have him for extended periods and this week is one of those occasions. I also took him to Orlando in May for 10 days.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Just to check - at the moment the split of care appears to be 50/50 in terms of the fact that you have him seven nights out of 14 - is that correct?
Ideally how would you like the balance to change?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes I would say that is accurate but mainly because I make sure I see my son more. He officially resides with his mother but he doesn't enjoy staying there and if he lived with me he would see her less say 90/10. He's unhappy staying with her and he continuously wants to move full time with me and excepts he will change school but will do so anyway at the end of his primary years. I'm not suggesting he wouldn't see his mother but I feel he would be better with his father as he is resenting her continual broken promises and unreliability. She also drinks heavily and has been unable to take him to school and he often gets the bus to school by himself.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Has he said this to anyone other than you and your partner?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
To his mother who has said 'no', my mum and family who live nearby in Andover
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
At 10 your son is still a little young for his wishes to determine his living arrangements - he needs to be a little older for that
However there is no reason why you shoudl not try and adjust the arrangements a little further
Your starting point is to discuss matters with your ex using Family mediation and a mediator trained to work with young people and a mediator trained to work with young people.
If that fails it would be wiser to wait for a further six months at least before considering an application to the Court.
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What age can he be considered old enough to decide? Also would I. Red to go through a solicitor to use a family mediator, thanks
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Legally the age is 16 - but after the age of*****tries to abide by the wishes of the child if it is safe to do so.
Mediation is a compulsory first step I am afraid
Clare
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