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Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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What are my rights as a separated unmarried parent when a

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What are my rights as a separated unmarried parent when a child is in my care? Can my ex force me to give them back on demand if i and the child wanted to go somewhere else (after i was planning on returning them back to the other parent)?

Hi, thank you for your question. Just a bit more information required to fully assist you:

-Are you the mother or father? If the father, is your name on the birth certificate?

-How old is the child?

-What are the arrangements and are they in a court order?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Harris,
I am enquiring in behalf of the father (he is my brother) and his name is ***** ***** birth certificate. The child in question is 6 yrs old. At the moment there are no concrete arrangments, both parents were in the process of drawing up a childcare arrangement between them however the Mother appears unwilling to sign what they have nearly agreed (as she states she's too busy). There is no court order.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The Father has had the children (ages 6 and 3) at weekend's and occasionally for tea/overnight in the week. This has been working well. He was due to drop them back with the Mother after the weekend and he and the eldest child decided to go elsewhere for a short while (to drop some things back at the Dad's house which would have been a short trip). The Father informed the Mother that he and his son were going to to that (and that the child wanted to help his Dad take some stuff back to his house) and she said that's not happening. She and her family basically forced my brother to hand over his child. I just wanted to know who was in the right and who in the wrong in this situation please?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not sure you can see my responses to your questions actually as I haven't had a reply and can't see if you're typing as in a live chat?

Thank you for confirming and apologies for the delay in contacting you. Firstly, the children are entitled to a relationship with both parents which can only reasonably be restricted if there are child protection concerns. She could reasonably argue that it is a concern that he allowed a 6 year old to go back to the home alone.

In the circumstances I would suggest that you make a referral to an independent mediator (you can find local ones here: The mediator will assist you both in reaching an amicable agreement that is in the children's best interests. If mediation does not help, then you will be able to pursue an application to court under Form C100 together with a £215 court fee to your local family court for a child arrangement order and the court can make a decision regarding the matter. For your information the Court will take into consideration the following when making a decision regarding the application:

1.The wishes and feelings of the child concerned
2. The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs
3. The likely effect on the child if circumstances changed as a result of the courts decision
4. The child’s age, sex, backgrounds and any other characteristics which will be relevant to the court’s decision
5. Any harm the child has suffered or may be at risk of suffering
6. Capability of the child’s parents (or any other person the courts find relevant) at meeting the child’s needs
7. The powers available to the court in the given proceedings

If you have any further questions regarding this please let me know. In the meantime if you found this information helpful please provide a positive rating using the stars at the top of this page. I will not be credited for answering your question without a positive rating. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response and advice. Just to clarify the father did not "allow a 6 year old to go back to the home alone" and nor would he have ever done this. The father and the child were going to drop some things off at the Dad's house together, as i said this would have been a very short trip. Apologies if you misinterpreted what I said.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Please can you confirm acknwledgement of the above correction and then I will be able to rate your service and submit my rating.

Apologies for the confusion. In that case, as long as the father was with him and there are no other concerns, she has no grounds to attempt to restrict contact and I would suggest he follows the above procedure if she does not voluntarily agree to resume the arrangements.

My name is ***** ***** I have been a family lawyer for more than 30 years

Just to add to the above.

It is for both parents to agree how the children share their time between them - and it is helpful if they can agree a Parenting Plan.

However it is important then to respect the timings that have been agreed and not to "decide" to do something else when that time comes.

Neither parent did well on this occasion

Instead of "informing" Dad should have asked and made sure that the child understood that it was up to Mum whether the time was extended or not.

Equally mum could have been a little more flexible - but no doubt she was angry at the way it was approached.

Family Mediation is certainly the best way forward as a Court Order is even less flexible than the current arrangements.

They can both read more on this site

If you found my information provided helpful please could you rate my response positively using the stars at the top of this page as I will not be credited for my response without a positive rating.

Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience: Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
Harris and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Of course, thanks to you and your colleague for both your help, it was very useful and I have forwarded the guidance to my brother for his reference.
Many thanks for your thorough answers and suggestions.

Thank you - I hope it goes well. If you have any questions in the future you can ask for me directly by starting your question For Harris