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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12727
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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My husband intends on serving me papers to attend family

Customer Question

My husband intends on serving me papers to attend family court in England but I live in Scotland and would prefer to deal with kids divorce etc in Scotland. Do I have to go to England and as I’m a single parent on low income, what if I can’t afford to go. Thanks
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
As he intends on not giving me time to speak to a solicitor before the court date can I refuse to be served these papers. Since I have 3 young children and it’s the Easter holidays what am I meant to do with them to appear in England. Can a Scottish lawyer deal with this on my behalf
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Could I go and initiate divorce/family proceedings in Scotland and serve him papers first so the proceedings could take place locally for me. What else could I do to have the proceedings in Scotland not England
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I haven’t been served papers yet but have learned from a mutual friend that he intends serving them over the weekend for me to appear down south on Monday morning so that I have no time get legal advice and I have no time to make arrangements for childcare not to mention find money to get there etc
Expert:  JGM replied 5 months ago.

Thank you for your question. I am a solicitor in Scotland. The law is that either of you could instigate proceedings either in Scotland or England because one lives in Scotland and one in England. It is unlikely that he will serve over the weekend for a hearing on Monday in England. It isn’t legal for sheriff officers to serve papers at the weekend. Whoever raises their divorce action first will secure jurisdiction so if you can get a divorce action raised in Scotland and served on him. Thereafter the English court would have to decline jurisdiction because there are existing proceedings in Scotland. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I have been informed by my mother that someone tried to serve papers last night but as I was away for the weekend they couldn’t hand them to.me directly however the man returned this morning and posted them through her letterbox as we stay there but I’ve still not received them as I’m not back until tomorrow. They’re just in a plain brown envelope with only my name written across the front no address or anything else. What can I do
Expert:  JGM replied 5 months ago.

In the first instance ask your mother to open the envelope and find out what it is in it.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
If it is opened and is a family court date in England on Monday does that stop me being able to do things locally and do I have to attend.
Expert:  JGM replied 5 months ago.

What is the overall action in respect of and what is the purpose of the date on Monday.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
It is unopened at the moment but I expect the documents would be a first time family court hearing in Swindon regarding access to my two small sons who live in Scotland with me. He was seeng my children when I lived down there but is violent drinker who was taking them to the pub all the time and making them lie to me saying they had been bowling etc they are 5 & 7 and we’re both in anger management counselling but are confident happy relaxed kids since we’re home and have family support. As you can see it’ll be a few hearings before an agreement will be reached and England hearings would be extremely difficult for me to attend
Expert:  JGM replied 5 months ago.

I don’t think the court in England would necessary have jusrusdiction if the children are habitually resident in Scotland. However I can’t really help you unless you get the envelope opened.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
My mother has now opened the envelope to find a court hearing date for 11th April in Swindon along with a prohibited steps order saying that the boys should not be removed from their school in England between 3rd of April order and further order of the court. However, they have been attending school in Scotland since 28 March. I have no where to live in England any more and officially live in Scotland as do the kids
Expert:  JGM replied 5 months ago.

Who served the papers at your address? Was it a sheriff officer? When did you remove the children from England? What contact was the father getting at the time? I am going out just now but will come back to you later in the day.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I don’t know who served the papers he didn’t say. The envelope just states my name and nothing else. He posted it through my mother’s letterbox, I’ve still not seen it but mum has. We moved back to Scotland 23 March as my grand father died 20 March and I had finished my degree earlier which was the only reason I stayed down there. He hasn’t had contact since November 2017
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Can you please advise me on what I can do as I am extremely worried. Thankyou
Expert:  JGM replied 5 months ago.
Can you scan and email me ALL the papers that were in the envelope please as a PDF document to***@******.*** so that they remain private and I will look at them for you.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I have sent them through to you. Please can you let me know if they are received or not. Many thanks
Expert:  JGM replied 5 months ago.

Not so far no.

Expert:  JGM replied 5 months ago.

Got it now, thanks. Is there no papers to say who served them? If not then they will have a problem establishing service to the English court. In any event this is clearly a case of serving after the children have been removed from the jurisdiction of the English court. I suggest you see a Scots lawyer immediately and get a residence order in Scotland on the basis that the children are now resident here.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
There were no details of the server at all. Just what I’ve sent you. He didn’t identify himself at all. He tried to serve the papers on Friday night about 6pm but didn’t hand them over to my dad who answered the door. He then came back about 915 am on Sat morning and put them through the letterbox. There was no address on the A5 brown envelope just my handwritten name. The names on the paperwork are wrong too if it matters.
Expert:  JGM replied 5 months ago.

That doesn’t look like a valid service to me however see someone immediately.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi there, I have been in touch with a local solicitor today and she has informed me that I have no hope. And have to attend the hearing in England and that I may have to take the kids back to England and put them to school there again. Can you offer any further advice. I am so worried
Expert:  JGM replied 5 months ago.

Yes, I did say earlier that whichever proceedings were raised first would prevail. If the Scottish solicitor isn’t confident you will need to comtact an English solicitor and try to get the order overturned on the basis that this is not in the best interests of the children.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
It’s just so odd that we are all Scottish and English law prevails. He’s bought a house in Dundee yet wants to keep me in England at his whim. I have contacted several English solicitor but all appear to be off for the holidays.
Expert:  JGM replied 5 months ago.

Jurisdiction in child cases is where the children are habitually resident. The first argument you should make is that the children are no longer habitually resident in England. You will have to keep trying for an English solicitor. They won’t all be on holiday.