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plclegal
plclegal, Barrister
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Barrister at law
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In the UK - For myself as the main parent whom the children

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In the UK - For myself as the main parent whom the children reside, do I have the legal right to see / visit where my children will be sleeping when they visit their father over- night on specified visitation periods?. I have requested supervised access to inspect sleeping arrangement changes he has promised to make ( ie move the children into a separated room and not have the children in the same bedroom as him -especially when his GF sleeps over - all 4 are sleeping in the same room. My girls have requested not to sleep in the same room as him anymore, which he must action as per our court order in place. My girls are both 9 and 6.5 years old . I do not want to put my children in an awkward position by asking them where and how they are sleeping, as my ex just lies and the children are manipulated to cover for his behaviours. This is a child welfare concern and my ex husband refuses to grant me access to view the sleeping arrangements hence I have no proof he has actioned changes.
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: Yes we have a court order which legally specifies that as and when the children request he must provide separate sleeping arrangements to him. I have proposed a simple solution . He sleeps in bedroom and both of my girls sleep in the Livingroom ( as it is a 1 bedroom flat ) .
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this yet?
Customer: My lawyer just says I have the right to inspect , but my ex is not agreeing to the simple request .
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 am new to this service ...so apologies if this is a silly question but does the lawyer charge any money for an answer ?

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OK, I'm not sure I agree 100% with your lawyer about you having the right to inspect his property. If it's a one bedroom flat, he doesn't have a separate room for them, so how would you visiting demonstrate this/ reassure you anyway?

He either sleeps in the same room as them, or he doesn't. Unless you stayed overnight you would not know whether this is the case or not, which is nonsense.

It would make more sense to me that the girls slept in the bedroom as then he has the rest of the flat to himself when they are asleep, given that they will go to bed a lot earlier than him.

The only way I can see that you can police this is to ask the girls to tell you where they slept. I appreciate you don't want to ask them, but I cannot see another way. You could even send them with sleeping bags and a blow up bed. You can get these for a few pounds online. If after the next time they don't sleep separately to him, then you have grounds to ask to suspend overnight stays given that he is in breach of the order.

But I don't see how you can police this personally, as you cannot be there all night.

I hope that this answers your question?

Thank you for your enquiry today. I am happy to answer follow-up questions - please do get in touch with requests for extra information or further queries and I will do my best to help you.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
This whole matter only arose when my eldest daughter advised me his GF was sleeping over when the children were visiting overnight. The children sleep on a fold out sofa bed in his bedroom , which when opened out the beds are 2 inches away. Ex husband advised his GF never stays over when he has the children for visits, which clearly he has been lying and manipulating the children to lie on his behalf. This is very distressing for my eldest who is now attending therapy sessions, as she is conflicted. I have challenged this sleeping arrangements many times as this is a child welfare concern having all 4 sleeping in the same room together especially the children are becoming older and see adult business. In the court " Child arrangement Order" order we have in place, it also confirms " The father agrees that the children shall sleep in a separate room for him as and when they wish to do so ". Yes I already offered that solution and even offered to provide a they can sleep in the living room on a blow up air bed ( which I have already offered to pay for ) , it only costs about £10. He has declined my offer. Overall he says now he will make changes next week - but refuses to let me inspect to see if he has carried out this action.
So overall you are saying I ned to continue to ask the children , even though by this method puts my eldest in uncomfortable position and conflicted
Thank you for the clarifications. If the court order says they can sleep elsewhere, then asking for evidence of where and how this is going to be managed is fair. It will help you prepare the children - I’m personally uncomfortable with the drafting of the order that puts the decision in the children’s hands “as and when they wish to do so” - this is very wushu what and he could just say they didn’t want to sleep in a different room. Asking for evidence or an explanation is different to having the right to go round and demanding to see this in person - I still think that is difficult to justify. He’s an adult. There is a court order in place and his word should be sufficient. The junky way then to know if he has lied has to be to check in with the children. I just don’t see another way.
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
This whole situation has become a he said she said case. Children advise me of sleeping arrangements , he denies what is happening and says children are lying , children become upset as they are telling the truth . So children are conflicted and put under pressure to lie on his behalf. So if I am unable to ask children whether the changes have been implemented (they burst into tears and lie) and unable to inspect , then will the courts look unfavourably to me if I notify him that I will be suspending over night visits until changes are demonstrated?. He has breached the court order and not provided proof of changes, hence I have demonstrated reasonable ask but been rejected.
I understand this, but the bigger issue from my perspective is that according to the court order wording the children get to decide where they sleep. So they will always feel conflicted even if alternative arrangements are in place. You need to discuss this with your solicitor, the wording doesn’t actually help.
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
thank you for your help !

Happy to help. Take care.

plclegal and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you again for visiting JustAnswer, please do let me know if you have any additional questions in the future. I am also happy to answer any new questions on other topics that you may have, you can request me by putting “for PLCLEGAL” at the start of the new thread. Best wishes, Peter