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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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I am separated from my wife, divorce proceedings have

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I am separated from my wife, divorce proceedings have started but we haven't had the first court appointment yet. Our four year old son lives with his mum. We had a verbal agreement that I would collect him on Thursday just gone and he would stay me with me and my family until next Sunday, on Wednesday evening I received a letter from her solicitor stating that I couldn't have him for this period. I then suggested I have him for a shorter period. I have heard nothing back. I am his father and I am on the birth certificate, what are my legal rights regarding picking him up and having him for a few days before returning him to his mother?

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

-How old is your son?

-How long have these arrangements been in place?

-What is the reason for her cancelling this week's session?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My son is 4, he will be 5 in December.
I have been visiting my son every other weekend for about a year.
The reason she cancelled my arranged holiday was because she had concerns Isaac had only spent one night away with me, so 10 nights would be too much, so I compromised and shortened it to four nights away. The reason he has only spent one night away is because she has blocked me from having him on several occasions

Are there any child protection or welfare concerns about him staying with you? Have social services or the police ever been involved?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There are no welfare concerns. Social services have never been called. The police have been called once by my wife when I collected my car, the police were happy the car was in my name, insurance etc. All in my name and apologised for delaying my journey

Thanks for confirming. If the matter proceeded to court the court will need to ensure that there is a regular, consistent and gradual routine. It is correct that going from one overnight stay to 10 is a big step and it may not be comfortable or in his best interests, and it is likely a court would want there to be a gradual increase to overnight stays, for example one night a week and for this to gradually be reviewed to two nights a fortnight and then for longer periods during holidays.

Unfortunately, as there is no court order there is nothing you can enforce despite being his father and having parental responsibility - these do not give you automatic rights to take him and if no agreement can be reached it would be for the court to decide on the arrangements.

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 child'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

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