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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 35059
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My family comprise of myself and my wife along with two step

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My family comprise of myself and my wife along with two step children aged 16 and 12, and two of my own children aged 7 and 2. We have had an ongoing battle (for the past year and a half) with the 16 year old who has an issue with cannabis. We have tried many different things including that of sending him to live with his father abroad (which he didn't enjoy). Nothing seems to work despite him making the same promise each time that 'it will not happen again'. Amongst my concerns are that have had visits from the police, that one of the other children come across the drug, and also what its doing to him (be it on a lesser scale due to the fact that he is activity and knowingly getting involved in it, and is fully aware of what its doing to the family). On return from his 6 week stay with his father, we threatened that he would have to go for good if it ever happened again. It has, but my wife is effectively refusing to go through with the threat. I understand her position as his mother and not wanting to turn her back on him. I am also very much in love with my wife and can see this situation destroying our marriage, but my concern and priority at this stage is the risk that he is putting the other children under. Where do I stand legally with either moving out and the other children coming with me (which isn't really fair on them i.e. removing them from their environment because of his selfishness), or getting him to leave the house.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Have Social Services been involved?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare,

Apologies if the response 'No' came across as being a bit abrupt. I was just on my way into a meeting and wanted to reply beforehand.

We haven't been in touch social services in order to 'protect' him, and because we didn't want the other kids affected by their intervention in any way.

I'm out the meeting now, so please let me know if you need any further information.



I am afraid that this is a matter that you are your wife are going to have to resolve together
You cannot force this young man to leave unless she agrees; and if your wife is the main carer of the younger children then if you move out the fact that her son has a problem with Cannabis will not necessarily be sufficient to ensure that the children live with you and not her
One way forward would be to seek assistance from a group such as this one
To find a way forward that keeps you together with your wife
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Thank you for your response, and apologies for the late reply. I have not had access to emails since Friday.

Just to clarify a few points:

1) 'You cannot force this young man to leave unless she agrees' - Does that mean that the law would put the other children at risk of living with someone who is involved with an illegal drug. He has also been involved in dealing with the drug. Please note that I am not suggesting he be kicked out onto the streets. He would move in with his father or grandparents. I just do not want the younger (innocent) children sharing a roof with someone who actively and selfishly is involved in drugs.

2)'if your wife is the main carer of the younger children' - We are equal carers of the two youngest children as we are both the biological parents. What would the laws view be on these two living with me.

Do you recommend getting social services involved as I am of the understanding that they would take this extremely seriously and would more than likely him into care in order to avoid putting the other children at risk, at least while he sorts himself out.

I need to stress that we have been dealing with this for the past 2 years and have tried everything we can think of. I do not wish to be in this position, but he does not show any compassion or consideration for others and is only interested in his selfish wants. I cannot sit by and allow him to continue putting the other children at risk.

I look forward to hearing from you.


If you try to exclude the young man from the property then your wife can simply invite him in - and as long as she is physically in the property you cannot force him to leave
This is basic property law which takes no account of behaviour I am afraid.
The issue of who is the main carer is not dependent on biology - it is about who has the day to day care
You work and accordingly it is your wife who handles the day to day care and is thus the main carer
Speak to action on addiction before you involve Social Services as they will have experience of dealing with such cases - and may help you persuade your wife of the necessity of "tough love"
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If property law is in the interest of the 16 year old, how would criminal law view this case? Also, does property law change when one becomes an adult I.e. 18?
My wife also works on a full time basis. She in fact runs her own business.
Who does the law deem as the main carer(s) on that basis, and does this change your response in relation to my children living with me?
The issue is that one joint owner of a property cannot exclude a guest of the other owner when that other owner is in the property.
So far as Criminal law is concerned unless your stepson is in fact a supplier it is unlikely that the police will be interested
If you do in fact share the practical care of the children on a daily basis then if the pair of you cannot agree then it is a matter for the court to decide
The fact that there is a 12 year old sibling involved is likely to predispose the court in terms of who remains in the house although the younger children may well share their time between you
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