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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34885
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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I have been divorced from my ex-wife for nine years during

Customer Question

I have been divorced from my ex-wife for nine years during which she has had parental responsibility for my three children (now 18, 15 & 13). I re-married six years ago. My ex-wife re-married two years ago. We have never disagreed over access or maintenance. My children lived with me for two nights / week and alternate weekends. However throughout the period since the divorce my ex-wife has drunk heavily and has recently placed the children in her car whilst intoxicated. My children have reported their concerns to their school and child services became involved. I have just been informed (by my children!) that without any agreement with me or my wife that the children are to be placed permanently in our care for a min. of three months and their mother must go on a `programme` (presumably for alcohol abuse). Whilst the safety, health and welfare of my children is paramount I must also consider my wife's wishes and also the need to review alternative options. I do not want my children to be placed in the care of the Local Authority. I am more than happy to continue with shared responsibility. Surely my ex-wife cannot simply negate all responsibility? What are my rights? What can I insist is done? Urgent help please. Thank you. Mr. S. Thomas.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question
I will do my best to assist you but I need some further information first.
Given that the younger children are not safe in the care of their mother what other options do you beleive should be considered?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The children (and I) require their mother to seek professional help for her alcohol issues. In addition, as has been suggested by child services, a responsible adult should be present at all times the children are with their mother. I feel it is their mother's responsibility to provide and arrange this not simply to get child services to remove the children from her care completely, without looking at any other options, and simply assume my wife and I will take over care and responsibility for an unknown time period going forward, without prior consultation, discussion or agreement.

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
I am afraid that the Local Authority will not view this as an acceptable option.
If the decision has been made that she is not capable of caring for the children - and her husband is not prepared to do so then so far as the youngest is concerned then it is likely that it is a case of either the child moving to live with you or care proceedings being issued and the child placed in Foster Care.
The position with the 15 year old will depend on when he or she is likely to turn 16 as at that point it is the choice of the child where he or she lives - unless they have already been admitted into care
However no decisions can be made at all without your being consulted by Social Services and I rather suspect that the proposals that you have had reported to you are no more than options that may need to be explored since social services cannot simply place the children with you without your consent.
Your starting point should be to contact Social Services and discover what is actually being contemplated
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details