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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 15636
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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Hiya I'm split up with my children's dad. He is on both of

Customer Question

Hiya I'm split up with my children's dad . He is on both of their birth certificates. He has never provided or contributed anything towards their upbringing. When we've split up he goes months without seeing them and then all of a sudden has said he wants to have them for a few hours every Saturday again. The thing is he refuses to travel to see them it's I take them to him and pick them up or he's not having them. I don't think that is fair on me or the girls as I have to wait around for them. When he sees them he is horrible to me and brings up things not appropriate for the girls to hear. I've agreed to alternate weekends travel and he's refused and said he will show up every Saturday and record every Saturday I don't show up as it's me denying access. Even though I've stated in happy for him to have them but it should be a joint effort. He also can't have contact with them at his flat as it's inhabitable and has been for over 3 years since the girls were born. He's constantly threatening me with court, ringing social services and saying I'm a bad mother . I work part time and do everything for the girls. And he's not working and hasn't been for years. Just need to know where I stand with this. And any advice on what I should do ? I can't afford court but I need to know if there's anything I can do to get an arrangement in place. And also would it be me denying access if he's refusing to travel to see them. Thankyou .
Assistant: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: I haven't filled in any papers as I don't have the money for court. We went to mediation a year or so ago but the agreement wasn't stuck to.
Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer about this yet?
Customer: I haven't is there any free lawyers I can talk to ?
Assistant: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: He's also got an issue that I've taken the girls abroad to stay with my family without letting him know
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Also he's saying that I've denied access twice. Once was when my daughter was newborn and social services got involved because of the state of his flat and his mental health. I panicked and stopped contact for a couple of months until the case was assessed and closed. The second time was when I was pregnant with my second daughter and he put me under so much stress that I didn't want it to cause any complications in my pregnancy so I stopped contact again temporarily. He's also always been mentAlly abusive towards me.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 6 months ago.

Good morning. I will assist with your question - be aware this is an email not chat service therefore I maybe delayed in replying.

why does he not pay maintainence?

have you gone to the CSM? if not why not?

are you prepared to go to court to get contact sorted?

have you told social services of his mental abuse?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
He has never paid maintenance and I've not followed it up. But I'm going to contact them because it's been long enough without any help . It needs to go to court I just don't have the money too and I don't know if there's any other way to get a legal agreement in place. Social services are aware of everything that has happened and also of the fact there was a dv situation that happened a couple of months ago which got followed up and logged with the police.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 6 months ago.

The situation is relatively simple. If he won’t travel to collect them, then he doesn’t see them if you don’t want to do it.

The problem of course is that contact is not for his benefit it is for the benefit of the girls.

If however he is, for example, berating you in front of them, you clause make an application to court for a non-molestation order to prevent him doing that and to prevent him from doing that in front of children.

If he wants to take you to court, let him and deal with it. Tell him that. There is no legal aid and if he wants solicitors he is going to have to pay for it.

If you believe that he is harassing you by constantly ringing social services or doing anything else, then you can refer the matter to the police and ask them to warn him under the Protection from Harassment Act. That is in addition to a non-molestation order to prevent him coming within 100 metres of you.

Harassment is defined as a course of action (more than once) which is intended to harass, does harass, is reckless as to whether it harasses, or if the average bystander would look at the conduct and think that it was indeed harassment.

Harassment is both a civil matter and a criminal matter.

If you are being harassed. Go to the police and ask them to warn the ex-under the Protection from Harassment Act. Some police forces take that very seriously and others not so and therefore, you may need to speak to a senior officer or put a complaint in writing to the Chief Constable.

The constant threats are certainly harassment. He either has to issue court proceedings or leave you alone.

You are not getting child maintenance then you need to contact the Child Maintenance Service. Whether he has doesn’t have the children regardless of the reason, he is still obliged to pay child maintenance.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

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Best wishes.