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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35045
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 currently have residency of my two children although nothing

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I currently have residency of my two children although nothing has been agreed or legally documented since my husband and I officially separated in April this year; divorce proceedings have not yet begun. I have recently suffered a breakdown and am being treated for depression and anxiety, working closely with a community mental health team; engaging in various services and taking medication. There has been a few episodes where I have become suicidal and taken to A&E under the influence of alcohol (none of these times were the children with me - either staying with their father or at school). There has been an initial assessment completed by social services following hospital admissions in which no further action has been taken. The problem I am having now is that earlier this week, my ex husband on bringing the children home suspected I had been drinking; he then left the children in my care and returned about an hour later with my parents and a friend demanding that he be allowed to remove the children - I had NOT been drinking and naturally my parents and I resisted his demands; he then contacted the Police who came out and left the children with me under the provision my parents stayed. I asked the Police officers who attended to either breathalyze me or arrange for blood tests but was declined. The police then sent a report to social services which when reviewed Social services have closed the case with no further action. Since this incident I have received two phone calls from my ex husband where he has expressed anger at social services decision and has threatened to seek custody of the children and to contact social services. I am extremely concerned as to where I would stand
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 old are the children and what steps have you taken to ensure that there can be no repetition of the drinking incidents?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The children are aged 7 and 10. I am currently working with a community mental health team dealing with the underlying prproblems; this involves a cpn, pychiartist, psychologist as well as support from an alcohol services team. The general consensus from all of my medical professionals is that alcohol use had been a symptom of depression and anxiety. My medications have also been changed and I am recovering well, and returning to full time Employment on 24th feb

None of those professionals have had any concerns about your care of the children?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, the referrals to social services we're made by hospital, in fact my cpn is supporting me with this and had already said she would provide a glowing report it it goes that far

When is he next due to see the children?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Wednesday he will collect them from school

Has he threatened not to return them?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Only once in anger, he bullied me into allowing them to stay with him on night after police were called by using that tactic but when he was due to see them on Sunday I ensured I dropped them off and picked them up.

Given that he went and got your parents rather than simply taking the children away with him last time suggests that he will not act rashly which is a good point
As things stand if he does apply to the court for a Residence Order the court will certainly have concerns about your drinking.
Whilst it has not yet happened whilst the children are in your care there is always the risk that that of your condition deteriorates then this could happen.
However it appears that there is good evidence that you are in fact getting better and Social Services do not have concerns so at present it is likely that the court would find in your favour.
For the avoidance of doubt though please STP drinking - not restrict it - stop it as this is the strangest weapon your ex has to use against you
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX already stopped drinking and other than the crisis incidents I mentioned, I haven't since well before Christmas, I'm also regularly seeing an alcohol worker to help me maintain abstinence and would me more than happy to undertake any kind of testing to prove that. Once again thanks for the advice.

Then your only problem will be staying strong under the pressure of the application and your ex's attempts to unsettle you
However you have clearly fought hard to find your feet again so do not let him unsettle that
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you