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Ask Clare Your Own Question
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 just been informed that the mother of my niece does

Customer Question

I have just been informed that the mother of my niece does not consent to her being in my sole care without my brother or my parents being present, or driving her around unaccompanied.
There is however recent precedent of her acceptance of my being in sole charge, when I picked my niece up from school and she stayed with me overnight. There has been no change in circumstances whatsoever since that precedent so a) can I ignore her comment as contradictory to her own action and invalid / unreasonable and b) are there any legal considerations i.e. can I legally see my niece or, can she legally stop me from seeing my niece?
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.
Do her parents live together?
How old is the child and how often does she spend time with you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare,

No, my brother and his ex-girlfriend (the mother) do not live together.

My niece is 6.

My brother is named on her birth certificate so has equal parental rights and responsibilities but she lives with the mother so she is therefore primary carer.

If while my niece is with my brother, (one evening per week, every other w/e and by arrangement during school holidays) and he wants me to look after my niece, as she is in his care at the time, can he determine this under his equal parental rights although the mother has said she doesn't consent?

And if that happened and the mother then stopped my brother's access to his daughter, would she be acting illegally in stopping his agreed access?

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Just to check - you generally see your niece when she spends time with her father?
What has caused her mother to object to you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Yes, I see my niece often enough when she's with my brother.

There has been no circumstance at all for her mother to now say that she doesn't consent to my taking care of my niece on occasion, she is simply being obtuse.

She has a history of making things as difficult as she can for my brother i.e. my not being able to look after my niece occasionally will be more awkward for him.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Whilst the child is in his care your brother is entitled to make whatever arrangements he considers appropriate for her care - including spending time with you
This is of course assuming that there is no reason why the child would not be safe with you (which clearly there is not)
If his ex then tries to stop contact your brother may have to apply to the court for a Child Arrangement Order protecting the time she spends with him.
However before this happens it would be sensible for him to try and discuss these issues with his ex using Family Mediation
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details