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SASH_Law, Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 4318
Experience:  LLB (Hons)
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I’m currently in Cyprus with my 2 year old daughter and

Customer Question

Hi I’m currently in Cyprus with my 2 year old daughter and partner. I am in an emotionally abusive relationship and want to return with my child to the UK. Do I need written consent from the child’s father to do this?
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: no papers have been filed. I just want to return to the UK with my child but her father is refusing to let us go unless he comes back with us. He thinks I’m going to place a restraining order on him if we return to the family gone without him. The home is in his sole name
JA: Family Court normally sits in a local County and Magistrates' Court. Do you know the location of the court? If not, what county do you live in?
Customer: we live in Berkshire
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I think that’s everything
Submitted: 5 days ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  SASH_Law replied 5 days ago.

Hi, I’m Lea and I will be assisting you with your query today.

I am very sorry to hear about your dilemma, but will do my best to provide you with advice and guidance on what to do next. Are you habitually resident in Cyprus or there just for a holiday/short period of time/temporarily? How long have you been away?

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Customer: replied 5 days ago.
My partner applied for residency here for all of us and I’m now thinking that was so that I wouldn’t just be able to go back to the UK without his consent. I have been here with my daughter since October 2020. My partner has been back to the UK twice since on his own
Expert:  SASH_Law replied 5 days ago.

But when you moved there, was it with the intention of making it a permanent home or for a temporary visit? Do you still maintain a home in the UK?

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
We came just for a holiday initially. But stayed because of lockdown etc. We still have a home in the UK yes and I want to go back. My partner has told me I’m not going back without him. Do I need his permission to take my daughter home?
Expert:  SASH_Law replied 5 days ago.

You can return without his consent. You went for a holiday and your habitual residence is here in the UK, and therefore you are free to return to the UK as soon as travel is allowable from where you are - and bearing in mind any requirements for quarantine when you arrive back in the UK.

You don't need his consent to return home - you'd need his consent if you had become habitually resident in Cyprus, but nothing you state suggests that was the intention when you went there, and the pandemic does not change that intent. If you have a home in the UK it seems obvious that you intended to return.

If you need assistance you should approach the British Embassy.

Expert:  SASH_Law replied 5 days ago.

Oh, and when you are back in the UK I would strongly suggest you apply for a) a non molestation order so that he cannot abuse you any further and b) a prohibited steps order to prevent him taking the child out of your care or removing her from the UK with your consent or the leave of a court.

You can do so on form FL401 - free application - see for help with this application

And C100 - cost is £215, unless you are on benefits/low income in which case also complete form EX160.

You can get assistance from Women's Aid on your return if you need it. His actions at retaining you in Cyprus by force or threat are inappropriately abusive and controlling.

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Thank you so so much for your help. I just worry that he will use my mental state against me as I have become seriously depressed but it is as a result of how he has been with me. Would the courts recognise that? I’m scared incase he turns nasty and tries to take my child from me?
Expert:  SASH_Law replied 5 days ago.

The courts will recognise that depression is a facet of being forced to remain away from your home and country. He is being abusive.

Your first concern is to get back to the UK - then you can take further action to protect yourself. I would strongly suggest that if you can get flights and get away whilst he is away from the home that might be the better option for you, rather than trying to confront him before leaving. Deal with him when you are back on familiar territory with family and friends to support you.

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
I just spoke to the British embassy who said that I would not be able to leave Cyprus without his permission as it may be classed as child abduction if he reports me as leaving
Expert:  SASH_Law replied 5 days ago.

But you said you were not resident there - just there for a holiday?

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
We were on holiday initially. My partner owns a house here and whilst we were here he filled in all the paperwork for Cypriot residence for all 3 of us and I feel like now that was so that I wouldn’t be able to take my daughter back without his permission
Expert:  SASH_Law replied 5 days ago.

In other words he coerced you to leave the UK under false pretences and then applied to force you to stay. That is coercive control . You need to contact the embassy again and tell them that you need assistance with leaving the country that you did not consent to more than a holiday and that you and your child are being retained against your will.

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
originally we came on holiday. Then he spun me a yarn saying that we were going to live out here, our daughter started nursery here. He applied for Cypriot residency, granted I knew that because I had to give some documents as well but then says he’s got to go back now for work and I feel like he did it so that I couldn’t leave the country without his permission. I’ve told him I want to go back and he said I’m not going back without him
Expert:  SASH_Law replied 5 days ago.

in that case, ify ou have made steps (even if it is him, not you) to integrate into society, then you will need his consent to take the child back to the UK.

Of course, my view remains that you were coerced into this, so if you did get a flight back with the child and apply for a prohibited steps order on your return and an NMO as suggested above, it would leave him to have to make an application to the court to say you'd abducted'll then get the chance to explain why you left, i.e. because it had not been intended to be permanent.

The decision is obviously yours as to what you do. The last resort is to apply to the Cypriot courts - but you are then acknowledging that they have jurisdiction, so will then have to abide by their decisions. You may prefer to leave and take your chances with the English legal system. As I said, the choice is yours.

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
He’s basically coerced me and gained control without me knowing his full intentions then. He led me to believe something that wasn’t true and now I’m stuck and under his thumb as I cannot leave of my own free will without his permission. I can’t believe I have been so stupid
Expert:  SASH_Law replied 5 days ago.

You need to decide what you want to do and then do it. Nothing will change until you do something.