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 Thomas Judge Your Own Question
Thomas Judge
Thomas Judge, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33039
Experience:  Over 25 years experience in law
27487359
Type Your Law Question Here...
Thomas Judge is online now

My partner and I have recently separated. No agreement regarding

Resolved Question:

My partner and I have recently separated. No agreement regarding the children has yet been reached. She allows me to see them on an ad-hoc basis (basically, when it suits her) but I've been told by my solicitor that I should not continue to treat it as me asking permission to see them.
This week, I was supposed to have the children on Tuesday night, but changed that plan as I was unwell and didn't want them to get ill. So I haven't seen them since last Sunday. Last weekend was split as it was our daughter's birthday. This week, she has taken the children to her mothers house on Wednesday (as it was her mother's birthday that day, which is fair enough) and also on Thursday too. I didn't know any of that was happening. On Friday, she dropped the children with a friend from 1pm onwards so she could see her mum all Friday afternoon and evening. I picked the children up at 7.30pm after I'd got back from work, took them to mine and put them straight to bed (no real quality time.) Today (Saturday, 17/10/2015) they had classes from 9am - 9.45 which I took them too, but couldn't watch (so no quality time there) and then further classes until 12pm. We had to leave at 3pm in order to go to my daughter's party. My ex had a shopping list of things for me to buy for the party, which I got between 12 and 3, so still no quality time.
After the party, she approached me in the car park and asks what was happening with the children. I said I'd like to take them back to mine as we'd not really spent any time together yet. She agreed, and asked what time I would bring them back.
I said they'd be back in time for bed, and she got nasty, saying that we hadn't agreed that (it's true, we hadn't agreed anything) and that she had arrangements to go out for another birthday dinner for her mum. The children have seen more of her mother than me of late, so I said that as nothing was agreed and I wasn't aware of the dinner, I didn't care about that, and that I would happily return the children at bedtime.
At that point, my ex got nasty, started hitting my car (while the children were in it) and saying that if they are not returned by midday tomorrow she will call the police.
I don't want to cause trouble for no reason, but at the same time, I just think the children deserve some quality time with me. I don't like that she threatens to call the police if I don't return them by the time she dictates. I also don't like that she caused a scene in front of the children in a public car park.
Where do I stand legally if I don't take the children back to their mother tomorrow at the time she has demanded? I state again, there is currently no agreement in place, either between us, via mediation or via court. I've never been unreasonable regarding the children and access but I'm getting tired of her allowing access when it suits her, and then demanding them back when she wants and threatening to call the police if she doesn't get her own way.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
Is there a court order in place and do you have parental responsibility?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have parental responsibility, yes. There is no court order in place, no residency agreement or anything like that yet.
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
Well from what you have stated I wold be minded to make an application to the court for a child arrangement order to formalise the position. This will give you the protection which you need. You would need to apply for mediation first (MIAM) but then you can apply to the court for contact to be regularised and if there are breaches then the court can enforce the contact. It can also ensure that it is clear and constant - the fact is that you both have the same rights and responsibilities. There are books which you can buy on amazon which show how to represent yourself in the family court - it is a straightforward process. Happy to discuss - please rate positive
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have already started the mediation process. I just want to know in the meantime what my best course of action for tomorrow is. I have no legal obligation to return them, but I guess if I don't, she will make it very difficult for me to see them until a court order is in place. Would her making things awkward after tomorrow reflect badly on her? Or am I being unreasonable about tomorrow?
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
I think it would simply escalate matters - I would be minded to start keeping a diary about such incidents and also keep her texts - ensure that you send sensible texts. I would comply for the moment - but I very much think this is a case where mediation will not work and you will need to take this to court - so it is about preparing yourself. Happy to discuss - please rate positive
Thomas Judge and 4 other Law Specialists are ready to help you