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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33323
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My 13 1/2 year old grandson is desperate to live with his father

Customer Question

My 13 1/2 year old grandson is desperate to live with his father (my son) as he is very unhappy with his mother and stepfather, who is Jehovah's Witness. We live near our son and his family but our grandson who we also miss desperately is about 200 miles away. My son does not have money for solicitors, but had a verbal arrangement to meet halfway every three weeks to have him for weekends and holidays. they now refuse to do this and he has to catch a train 150 miles away, (about which we all worry that he is not old enough) and travel for two hours then catch a bus to his mother's house. This is something my son would not put his son and ex-wife through if he had a residency order. He does well at school, and is a lovely lad, but does not have activities such as after school sports etc., so is missing out. What can my son do?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 7 months ago.
HiThank you for your questionMy name is ***** ***** do my best to help you but I need some further informtaion firstHow long have they lives this far apart?What contact does your son have with his child?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
They have lived apart for about four years, and at first the contact was supposed to be meeting halfway every other weekend, but that was changed almost immediately to three-weekly weekends and some of the school holidays. When my daughter-in-law refused to travel at all, we bought a touring caravan and pitched it in Dorset so that holidays can be closer to my grandson. But he so wants to be with his dad, and is so unhappy, it is breaking our hearts.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi, I'm not certain that I sent the last communication properly, hopefully I did and the answer to my query is being considered as there has been no further answers from yourself.
Regards
Expert:  Clare replied 7 months ago.
My apologies for the delayDo you believe that your grandson fully understands that the move is a major one - right away from friends etc?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Absolutely, he keeps in touch with friends when he's with his dad, but we have discussed this with him on the long journeys to and from his mother's home, and he is adamant that he wants to be with a dad who trains junior rugby, does kick boxing, and although he can no longer afford golf club membership, takes him to play golf. He no longer goes swimming, which he had done since a small child, and wants to learn to play piano, none of which is available to him at his mother's. Coupled with the fact that he knows his stepfather isn't interested in anything he does, he just plays games on his computer when he comes home from work....awful! His mother loves him but has had two children in a very short time and has no time or energy for anything else, so he has been missing out on what is left of his childhood.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
also when he gets home from school he goes straight to his room, sees to himself and is not encouraged to do any of the activities, which would be available at his dad's. He has said that he wishes to spend the years left before he goes to university or college, with his father.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Something I forgot is that his mother's family are completely estranged, and they miss him too. His other grandmother has said that he would be better off with his dad, and my son has taken him to see them, he so misses his aunts cousins and his Nan (his maternal grandmother) who refuses to visit my daughter-in-law and her other family, but misses her grandson. Sad all round.
Expert:  Clare replied 7 months ago.
Ok.The starting point is for your son to try and discuss matters with his ex using Family Mediation and a Mediator trained to work with young people so that your grandson's views can be heard.If (when) that fails your son will need to apply to the Court for a Child Arrangement Order stating that the child lives with him.At nearly 14 your grandson's wishes will be seen as being of the greatest importance - PROVIDED it is clear that the move has been properly thought through and your son can show that he has looked into local schools etc.This is the form he needshttp://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/c100-eng.pdfBut mediation comes first!Please ask if you need further detailsClare
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you so much for your advice and guidance, I will tell my son what you said and he can fill in the form after mediation.
Regards,
Pat
Expert:  Clare replied 7 months ago.
You are most welcome - I hope all goes well
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi Clare
Thank you for your help and advice so far.
My son is sat with me now and we would like to ask another couple of questions.
He has attempted on several occasions to speak to Jamie's mother about things but she simply refuses to talk.
Her response "He's not going anywhere"! Then hangs up!
He spoke to her last Friday, and told her once again that Jamie wants to live with his dad now and, after hanging up - again. She actually called jamie's school, pulled him out of class to tell him to "pack his bags and he might as well move this weekend"! etc. That's a typical reaction from her and tends to fly off the handle. It was just a reaction as, she is still adamant that he isn't moving.
Pulling him out of class is totally unacceptable so we have things like that to deal with also.
She is refusing mediation, so what is our next step with this in mind?
Also, I know legal aid is no longer available with family matters so, if my son does apply to the courts for Jamie, how can she fight the case? She will not spend a penny in legal costs, and her new husband certainly won't give her the money, so, is there something that the court will grant her, being the mother etc? She will not pay for court costs so, with this in mind, would it be fairly straight forward to get custody of Jamie?
Thank you
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Also, my son has now found a school place in a fantastic school so, we hopefully would like to push on to the next step.
Expert:  Clare replied 7 months ago.
Then he can apply to the Court.Your son need to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment meeting before applying to the Court - so he should arrange this as soon as possibleHis ex will have to act in person - but from all that your have said the outcome will be what you want!
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hello again,
What would be the timescale from mediation (which my ex-daughter-in-law will not attend) to getting (hopefully) a residency order for my grandson. As our questions get answers we're remembering salient points to which we should find the answers before my son continues with any action. 1) My grandson will begin GCSE's in September, importantly all actions need to be completed before then. 2) It should be noted that my grandson's maternal family, grandmother and aunts, would stand up in court in support of my son attaining custody.
Kind regards,
Pat
Expert:  Clare replied 7 months ago.
The sooner it is started the better as it could take up to six months - but it is posisble to conclude it in four months or so
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi Clare,
Just a couple more questions, thank you for your help so far. The forms ask if we have a solicitor?1) Should we appoint one, if not you? Is a solicitor needed at this stage?
2) Are you able to act as that solicitor, or do we need to appoint another?
3) Could you give us an indication of the costs involved to get this all sorted please, as we haven't a clue? If it's going to run into the thousands, we need to know what we are dealing with etc..Kind regards,
Pat
2) If the answer is yes,
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Please ignore the last line which I forgot to delete ie: '2) If the answer is yes'
Expert:  Clare replied 7 months ago.
You do not need a solicitor - your son can deal with this himself and save his money for his child!

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