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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35052
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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My ex partner has asked me custody of our 3 children

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My ex partner has asked me for equal custody of our 3 children on the basis that he is unable to afford child maintenance payments anymore. He has also stated that he will be cutting down his shifts from work in order to do this. I have not as yet given him an answer as I wanted to seek advice to know what my options are. I am not happy to allow this to happen for many reasons, the arrangement at the moment is 2 nights a week which I already believe to be too much time away from their mother, especially the fact they are so young, their ages are 3, 2 and 6 months. I have concerns that he is not in a financial position to provide for them as I can. He is not very reliable with money and is in a lot of debt. I also believe it will upset the children's routine, I feel they need the stability of a base where they can call home, and I believe a child's home should be with their mother. I would like to know if I am obliged to agree to the equal shared custody.
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 you also work?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am employed part time 30 hours but am currently still on maternity leave until 12th of May.

How will you manage once you go back to work?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The children attend a private nursery, provided at a discounted rate by my work

You do NOT have to agree to this.
the latest research from Australia is clear that a 50/50 division of care is certainly not in the best interests of the under 5's except in the rarest of circumstances.
Your ex cannot force this on you - and if he applies to the court it is unlikely that it will be sen as being in the best interests of the children - which is the only reason for making any changes.
You should offer to discuss matters with your ex using Family mediation
You may also find this website helpful
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your reply it has helped although as you have said I do not have to agree to this, my concern would be if he were to go ahead and take the 3+ days without my permission by refusing to give the children back at the agreed arrangement. What course of action would I be within my rights to take?

If he does that you will need to make an Urgent application to the court for a Prohibited Steps Order to prevent him from removing the children from your care save for the agreed contact
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry I am not fully understanding your reply, could you please explain in a bit more detail, regarding the "to prevent him from removing the children from my care save".

You can apply for an Order which says that the children stay with you - except on contact nights - until the court makes the final decisions about how the children will spend their time between you
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you