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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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My husband and I separated 12.5 years ago, and divorced 8

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Hello, good evening. My husband and I separated 12.5 years ago, and divorced 8 years ago. My daughter is now 12 (13 this year) and my son 15. They have always lived with me, with visiting their dad every Saturday to Sunday, and one day a week for tea (not staying over midweek). I have been financially responsible for my children throughout this time, including private school fees. My ex-husband now wants to seek full custody of the children. I have another 5 year old child, with my long term partner of 10 years. We all live together. Both my long term partner, who has raised all 3 children and I are 45 years old. My ex-husband is 65 years old. I left my ex-husband because of domestic abuse (although there is no police charge, but 2 non-molestation orders) and a series of visits to the house when we were married and one visit after we were married when he strangled me (but no charges). As I have lived with continuous verbal abuse from him, what are the chances that he could win the custody of my children? I am scared of him, and always have been. Kind thoughts
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I should also add that the two children are at boarding school, and wish to continue at their boarding school, and also want to continue living with me, their mother. They express that they like the current arrangement and don't want to change it. Also, they are both deaf and I look after their medical and educational needs.

Hi, thank you for your question. What are his reasons for seeking this and what steps has he taken?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He says that out of the blue I am a bully and so is my husband. That is all he has put.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
sorry, I should say my long term partner, but put husband - apologies
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He has written me an email to attend arbitration for joint custody or he will seek full custody if I don't agree
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I am going to log off now. Are you able to answer my question? Thank you. Debra

Thank you for confirming. Please do not be intimidated by his threats. As it appears that the current arrangement has been in place for quite some time he would need more grounds than you have stated in order to change the arrangements for the children, especially given their health issues. By all means arbitration and mediation can assist in reaching an amicable agreement, but if this fails (or if you do not agree for it to take place), and he pursues court proceedings for a child arrangement order for custody/residence, a CAFCASS officer will be appointed to assess the application and make recommendations to the court, and the court will make a decision that is in the interests of the children.

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

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