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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34902
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My son is 12 and has been attending a private school his entire

Customer Question

My son is 12 and has been attending a private school his entire school life. I live in London and his father lives in Nottingham and is trying for full custody as he feels that my son is old enough for the courts to take into account his wishes to live with his father. His father plans to send him to a state school in Nottingham and I feel this will be disastrous for his schooling. How much weight would the judge put on the fact that my son's private education would be terminated as the result of the transfer of custody?
Thanks Sasha.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
Hello, I am Law Denning and I am a practising solicitor in a High Street practice. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects. Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in minutes. Please bear with me in that case

It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me while I gather some further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully.

Unless I have all the facts that I need, my answer would not be accurate.

Does your son want to live with his father?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


My son loves staying with his dad 1 weekend every month and would like to spend more time with him as would any son. I think he may tell a judge on the day that yes, he does want to live with his dad without fully understanding the impact it would have on his life. So...yes.

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

I am
going to opt out of this for one of my colleagues. They will be along shortly I
am sure. The question is now open to all experts. Meanwhile please don't reply
or it comes back to me. Thanks

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question, I will try and assist.
Apart from the weekends once a month what other time does your son spend with his father?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
My son sees him for a week at Xmas and a week in Summer. Also, his father has refused to pay maintenance for 10 years, claiming poverty to the CSA. He has a bad relationship with his 15 year old son from another mother. Consequently the other son refuses to see him.
He already agreed to our moving to London but since then the CSA have become more proactive in chasing the maintenance arears and I believe this is the reason for his change of mind.
Can the courts force my son to decide who he wants to be with, or can he opt out of deciding, leaving it up to the court to decide what's in his interest. When he's with me he says he wants things to stay as they are and when he's with his dad and he's asked the question, he says he wants to live with his dad for fear of upsetting either of us who I feel he loves equally.

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Has your ex actually made an application - or just threatened to do so?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
He won't tell me, I know from my son mentioning after he last visit that his dad is visiting schools in his area and that he has contacted my sons school asking for a full report and attendance record. He has threatened to do this in the past. I have tried to keep all contact to email now as he is very changeable so I prefer everything to be written but since doing this he refuses to respond and has only used our don to relay messages which results in Seamus our son feeling awkward and confused. So I have just remained with emails.
Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Please try not to worry.
As you have already identified children do tend to tell the parent they are with whatever they think that parent wishes to hear.
The courts are well aware of this and accordingly are very careful when it comes to deciding what should happen with regard to Residence.
It is highly unlikely that the court will order a change of residence which will remove your son from his school and his friends as well as from you
One way to deal with this is to suggest to your son that he starts to spend more time with his father - maybe half of each school holiday so that he can see how he likes it up there for extended periods of time.
You could try and discuss this with your ex using a Family Mediator trained to work with children to help him understand how un realistic his expectations are
I hope that this is of assistance