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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34905
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 was divorced 5 years ago and an the natural father of my

Customer Question

I was divorced 5 years ago and I am the natural father of my 2 children, and thus hold parental responsibility without any restrictions placed by the courts

My ex has totally alienated my children against me.

My son is in primary school and last year, 2013 the school was unable to provide a report so sent home a journal of my sons work with my son. I asked for a copy but my ex refused to provide it, and refused to return it to the school for them to copy.. The school was very apologetic and said they didn't realise that she would not share the information. My ex told the school my son didn't want me to have it and it was against his interests. He was 10 at the time.

This year the school told my son they were intending to make a copy for me. He told his Mum and her new husband sneaked into the school and took the journal so I was unable to see it once again. The school was very apologetic but told me that according to their lawyers the journal of my sons was his personal work and as such I wasn't entitled to it. They apologised and stated that:

Regulation 6(4) Information to be included in the head teacher's annual report 1. Except where otherwise specified, the following information must be included in the annual report of every pupil - (a) brief particulars of achievements in all subjects and activities forming part of the school curriculum; (b) comments on general progress; (c) arrangements for discussing the report with the pupil's teacher; (d) attendance record, except where the pupil is in - (i) the reception year; or (ii) year 12 or 13 and is no longer of compulsory school age; (e) the results of any public examinations taken, by subject and grade; (f) details of any vocational qualifications or credits towards any such qualifications gained; and (g) the results of any NC tests taken during that year, by level.

My ex told the school my son wasn't sleeping and was wetting the bed at night with the fear and stress of me wanting to see the journal. Basically it is an ongoing campaign to get me out of my children's life.

As far as I was aware as a parent with parental responsibility the school under the LEA guidelines was supposed to treat me equally, and in this case they have not. They apologised but said there is nothing they can do except send the report as per the details above.

Could you please clarify and let me know where I stand, I live abroad and it is obviously harder for me to get UK legal advise and want to know where I would stand if I pursued this matter against my ex in court and tried to get my sons journal of work. Also bear in mind my son is 11 years old and as such is not gillick competent as far as I believe.

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Is there not as selection of other work that they could send you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have not asked them that, though I have a feeling they will say it is once again my sons personal work and it will then once again go through my ex with the same result.

I have battled this for years I just want to be able to keep up with how my kids do in school yet I am thwarted at every step so it seems and the power all seems to be with my ex to manipulate.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Are you able to help me with regard to where I stand legally? How would it be seen by the courts if I were to pursue my ex for the release of my son's school journal (s).

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Other.
There was no detail in the answer. The suggestion was valid but no legal opinion as asked plus when I asked for clarification it didn't come.
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
My apologies for the delay - I have been offline, and of course I have not yet given an answer as without assessing the full situation it is pointless to do so
Your son is too young to decide what you do or do not see and the work he does in school does NOT belong to him - it belongs to the school
Write a polite letter to the school and ask them to send you a sample of your son's work in the same way that they have sent a sample of his work to his mother
Say that you are aware that the work done in school does NOT belong to the child it belongs to the school - and also that your son is too young to decide whether or not his parents see the work that he has
If they feel that this is not legally the case then you wish then to quote the legislation that they are relying on
Remind them that the need to treat both parents equally. You understand that that they cannot reproduce the journal so you will settle for seeing copies of other work that he has done
You can apply to the court for a specific issue order relating to the Journal
This is done using the form here
and the fee is £215.
You will need to physically attend at least one of the hearings.
On the whole I would expect you to succeed in the application - for the same reasons as given above
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry if I rushed you, it wasn't my intention and thank you for the answer. Could you point me to the reference where it states that the work my son does in school belongs to the school and is not my son's. It would be very helpful....thank you once again.

Also would I be able to use a solicitor to attend for me in my place? I am in the UAE.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
It is more a matter of saying that there is no legislation that says that all a child's school work has to be returned at the end of the school year - it doesn't.
You can certainly use a solicitor but you will have to appear - either in person or via video link at the final hearing
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I need to be able to argue and quote that my sons school work belongs to the school, as you say. They say it was his work so it is his, if I just merely state that school work doesn't have to be returned to the child it doesn't necessarily infer that the ownership is the schools. I believe that in effect the schools solicitor is claiming its my sons intellectual property and as such thus his. His mother has him so alienated that he is supposedly wetting the bed if I see it (he is a good student and I don't believe there is any negative schoolwork that would make him even believe I was in any way annoyed or upset with him). The Headmaster is saying that their solicitors say it belong to my son and as such I am not entitled and all I am entitled to by way of a report is re. my original reference.

The other problem I then face is in taking it to court it adds yet more fuel to the alienation funeral pyre on which the remains of my relationship with my children rests. 'Your father is taking Mummy to court....' Damned if I do damned if I don't.

The Family Law side of things is so wrong in so many ways in the UK even with parental responsibility established the resident parent seems to be able to ride roughshod over the non resident parent. The needs of the child forgotten by the wayside :(