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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35215
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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Since Feb 2007 I have brought up my 2 daughters (now aged 8

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Since Feb 2007 I have brought up my 2 daughters (now aged 8 and 10) under an informal arrangement with their Mother. I have never sought any financial support from her and took self-employment to ensure I could always drop the girls to school and collect them again at the end of the day. Last week their mother said she never 'signed' the girls over to me and now wants them to go and live with her. My daughters do not want to live with their mum and are finding her comments upsetting. Although we were never married, my name is ***** ***** girls' birth certificates and I was present at the registration of their birth. I am looking for some reassurance please. Does the mother have any right to take them back or must she seek to dispute the current care arrangement under a residency order? This has come out of the blue and is causing a lot of anxiety. My girls are very settled, doing very well at school and have a good social network. Should I apply for a residency order or is it not necessary? Many thanks for any advice.

The reason their mother asked me to take care of the girls was because she went to court in 2006 over an alleged assault against a foster child in her care (she was found guilty).  The stress of the case sent her into a depressive state and she felt she could not cope with looking after children.

I think she is pursuing having the girls back because I recently refused to sign over any child tax credits for a 6 week period that would allow her to get a bigger property from the council! I told her it was fraudulent.

Before then she never made mention of wanting the girls back.

I own my property and I am able to offer the girls security.

Sorry if I rambled on a bit.

Lee Stevens

Thank you for your question.
My name is ***** ***** I will do my best to help you
Please do not worry.
Children are not toys to be picked up and put down whenever a parent wishes.
They need security and stability and that is clearly what you are giving them.
She did not have to "sign" them over - she did not object when you took over their care.
If she now simply removes then from your care then you can make an immediate and urgent application for their return - and it will be granted.
If she does wish to try and have the children spend more time with her then she first needs to discuss this with you using Family mediation - and if she is not content with that outcome she will need to apply for a Child Arrangement order so that the Court decides the matter
Please ask if you need further details
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