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SASH_Law, Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 4486
Experience:  LLB (Hons)
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I need to know if I am breaching an existing court order

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I need to know if I am breaching an existing court order please and would really appreciate some advice.
JA: What steps have been taken? Have any papers been filed in family court?
Customer: Yes
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 they live in?
Customer: Gloucestershire
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No thanks

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. Can you explain a bit more about why you think you are breaching the order and how?

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Customer: replied 11 days ago.
We have an order in place for 50/50 shared care. Handover day is a Monday. 2 weeks ago both children left school, evaded their father and came here. Police were involved but as I was not holding them against their will police advised after speaking to the children that they remained here. I took then to school Tuesday and their father picked them up after 1 child especially had a breakdown in school and initially put up quite a fight to leave. This morning, same again. Inset day so no school. Their father has arrived here and they have both refused to leave and again I have NOT kept them here against their will and same child again goes totally berserk and has a complete meltdown when his father began to blame and badmouth me on my doorstep and then tried to physically remove that child from my house. He ended up in such a state he vomited in the toilet and said there was blood in it. His father then amongst other things verbally expressed that he would not give up until I cease to exist. Apparently by that he meant until I hand over the children as he is now apparently going for full custody. He doesn't have any grounds to do so but he is a proven malignant narcissist who will stop at nothing to attempt to break me to get what he wants. I need to know where I stand here as I don't believe I have broken the order as I have not held them here against their will and whilst I respect and hear their voice and opinion, I tell them this is how it has to be. Short of physically throwing them out and locking the door I cannot make them go. My view is their emotional and psychological wellbeing is now at stake but I just cannot get school or children's services to help because of the court order. Help!

How old are the children?

When was the order made that put 50/50 care into place?

What reason is the child giving for refusing to go?

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
They are 10yr old twin boys, 11 in December. The order was made in August 2019.
The children used to enjoy going to their fathers a couple of days a week. When he returned from working away for 8 months he then moved his partner in and as she would be there when he wasn't (he worked 24hr shifts when home) then he went for a week at a time as he didn't like me telling him that's what the boys wanted. The children have never wanted the week at a time arrangement and finally after 2 years they have voted with thwir feet. We have even had him here to have a nice chat all together where they expressed their feelings. Nothing has changed since then and he still vows its all because of me. What they want is given absolutely no air time whatsoever and whilst they don't hate it down there, they are just fed up of never being given any say whatsoever. Seems its a crime to just want to be with mum. What he has said to me today in front of them now gives me cause for grave concern that he is not going to make my life any easier whatsoever and to feel that way for any longer than 2 years already endured isn't something I relish either. But it's not about how he makes me feel. But the kids certainly didn't take kindly to hearing him say he won't stop until I cease to exist and that he was going for full custody when all they want is to be here. Kind of makes sense to me when they are faced with that.

As there is an order you have to comply with it by making the boys available, as you have been doing, but making them available does not mean forcing them. And given that they are literally objecting to being taken to their father's home, it is quite clear that for whatever reason, the arrangement no longer suits them. As such, and especially given your concerns about the father's conduct in front of the children, it is inherent on you to apply to the court for a variation of the order.

I'd suggest that you ask for the children to live with you and to spend time with the father alternate weekends, from Friday after school to Monday return to school, and perhaps an overnight from school return to school in the alternate week - though it is clear you already have pick ups from school, and the boys are old enough to evade that of their own accord, so it may be something to raise in court. Perhaps involve the boys in a discussion about where they'd like to be collected from by their father. At 10, almost 11, CAFCASS will likely be ordered to speak to the boys to find out what their wishes and feelings are - and whilst not determinative to the court, the court will take their views into consideration.

I wouldn't suggest you wait until the father applies to court - you make the application now for the variation on form C100.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
That is brilliant, thank you. Where do i stand in the mean time though, they must go to school tomorrow and they will struggle if they think he is repeating what happened last time. I have a great relationship with school staff and they are fully aware of the situation. Where do i stand being able to look after their wellbeing tomorrow as he has told them he is 100% collecting them from school and they are already expressing concern.

The father has an order, so the school cannot intervene - but if you chose to collect them earlier, that would be between you and the court when it comes to explaining why.

I'd suggest, given their ages and distress, that you explain to them that you have to apply to court to change the order and that this can take some time - but that you are doing all you can to help them. Then make the application to court tomorrow.

You could try applying for an urgent prohibited steps order to prevent the father taking the children out of your care or the care of someone you put them in (e.g. school) until such time as the court has re-assessed the situation and found out what they boys' distress is stemming from. I am not sure this will work and it may just end up in the normal first hearing list, but it is a way of trying to get an urgent hearing within a few days. An ordinary variation to the existing order will take at least 6 weeks to get to a first hearing.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Ok brilliant. Thank you so much. I'm fried with all this again today I tell you! I can't afford to be getting a solicitor involved again but the last time this was going to court I had a prohibited steps order granted before the main hearing because he tried to get them from school so hopefully that could work. I have a 3 month old baby now too so having to go through all this again now is going to be hard work but I have no choice to be able to look after them. Thanks again so much for your help.
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
1 more thibg, would I do well to message him and attempt to suggest that the boys stay with me in the mean time as the last thing we need are issues with them going to school aswell.

Yes, it makes sense to try to let the father help make a decision in the children's best interests. It supports your case in court if he refuses to take their views into consideration.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Fab. Will do. Thank you again.

You're very welcome

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