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plclegal
plclegal, Barrister
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Barrister at law
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I’m looking for advice. I split from my ex husband 7 years

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Hi, I’m looking for advice.
I split from my ex husband 7 years ago, since 2015 I’ve a court order to state both my daughters are to reside with me. Two years ago my eldest daughter had her weekend visit (as in the agreement order) but ended up staying and has never come back. At the age of 14 back then - my daughter had sexual activity with an overaged male. I wasn’t told for months after until my daughter very much upset rang and told me. My ex husband moved property and her school I had no contact till then. I rang the social services and the police - they stated she was in no immediate danger and said they were no obliged to bring her home. Over two years, I’ve contacted every authority imaginable! Even took my ex husband to court. Court has ended and now said as my daughter is nearly 16 it’s her decision to reside where she wants.
I’m still really concerned for her welfare as she is now drinking and taking drugs. I keep trying to be heard but no authority seems to care. I don’t understand how because my ex husband didn’t want to take things further regarding my daughters sexual activity when legally I am her primary carer?
I’m just asking any solicitor now if I should just give up because there is nothing I can do, or any advice on anything I can do.
Thank you. Marie

Good evening.

My name is ***** ***** I specialise in family law. I’m happy to assist you today and I appreciate that is is important that you find a resolution as soon as possible.

Please note that our discussions on this site are for general information purposes and do not create an lawyer-client relationship. It is always recommended that you consult with a local solicitor for specific legal information.

I'll do my best to resolve this for you, please give me time to review your question and I will revert back to you shortly.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I understand, that would be appreciated. Thank you so much.

I absolutely understand your concerns. They are very real concerns and it's an impossible situation you are in.

The reality though, is that as she is 16 unless she is engaging in behaviour that the local authority feel is dangerous (to the point where she could be placed in a residential placement against her wishes) then it is her choice as to where she lives and effectively what she does, even if these choices are highly questionable.

It's impossible, as I said.

You can't enforce the court order for her to return to you as the court simply won't do it - at 16 she can't be forced to live with one parent if she has chosen to live with the other.

I really do feel for you, and I don't want to say that you should give up, but in terms of a remedy through the family court, if the local authority aren't concerned enough to take action there really is nothing you can do I'm afraid.

I expect you were aware of this though.

Is there anything further I can clarify for you about this today? Again, I'm sorry it's not good news in terms of a legal remedy.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Thank you for that, I understand completely regarding her age now. Is there nothing I can do regarding the overaged male? She is still with him. She’s not turned 16 yet (in December she will) I really really can’t understand why this is has been allowed to happen since she was 14?

Happy to help.

I appreciate your position - it's something I would not be comfortable with either, for any of my children.

If your daughter has been in a relationship with him for coming up to 2 years, I'm not sure there is really anything you can do. You could make a complaint to the police, but she is not going to support this and that makes it pretty pointless if I'm honest, only serving to drive a wedge between you and her.

Other than making her aware that you are there for her and that you don't feel comfortable with the relationship but will support her choices, I'm really not sure there's much more you can do.

I'm sorry there are no straightforward answers here.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Don’t apologise, I understand what you’re saying. I didn’t word that correctly. They aren’t in a relationship. When she’s drunk every now and then they engage in sexual activity. When she was 14 should I not of been notified? Being her primary carer and to make the decision to take it further, as my girls dad my the decision.
I complained about the police and they’re response was because my daughter consented at 14 they can’t do anything about it. I was just wondering if this was true? I totally understand everything you’ve said and I really appreciate your answers. It’s sort of relieving the burden of thinking I was the only one that could see this was all very wrong - regardless of the outcome.

I am happy to help. I'm not a criminal lawyer though, so I can't comment on the views of the police, though consent is obviously a defence to such charges.

I do appreciate that you feel you should have been notified as you were on paper her primary carer. However, in reality, her dad was exercising that role given her choice to remain with him at the time.

I'm afraid it's a case of the court order not being worth the paper it is written on, if a young person decides to "vote with their feet" and chose to live with the other parent, and abide by their (lack of) rules.

I appreciate you feel powerless. But this is really a situation where there are no legal routes in the family court to remedy the situation, sadly.

Can I assist further today?

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
No, thank you so so much. It’s been very difficult and still is. I thank you for your answers they have helped, that I’m not going in sane. Hopefully one day she’ll see her senses as she grows. Thank you again.

Happy to have helped in whatever small way. The system is far from perfect, I completely acknowledge that.

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 if you have them and I will do my best to help you.

Best wishes, Peter

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