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SASH_Law
SASH_Law, Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  LLB (Hons)
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My 7 month old child was born in England and his current

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My 7 month old child was born in England and his current residence is in England. If his Northern Irish mother, attempts to take our child back to Northern Ireland without my permission, what is my first port of call or action?I’ve been informed that it’s breaking the law in regards ***** ***** abduction without my permission?The mother and myself are not married, but I am on the birth certificate and hold parental responsibility along with the mother. The mother recently lived at the same residence, but has decided to leave and attempt to travel back to Belfast, Northern Ireland with our son to take up residence. Where do I stand and what is the first legal action I can take to stop this happening?Thank you.

Hi, I'm Lea and I have reviewed your query.

To be clear, was the mother living in England permanently - or was she here for a visit?

Please bear in mind this is an email service and not a live chat so responses may not be instantaneous. I am not available for calls, but in all cases it is very likely you can be helped online.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
It depends what is legally classed as permanently? She has been at my address in England since April 2019 (baby born in June 2019 in England), and been living at my address since. She is registered with doctors, etc. at my address in England and all her maternity/hospital details are registered to this address.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Previous to my address, she was living in Belfast, Northern Ireland at her parents address.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
She moved over to England before it was too late for her to fly (being pregnant) so that she could have the baby here and stay here.

It's really whether it was her intention to remain in England and settle with the baby here (with you), or whether she always intended to return to Belfast. If she has a return address there, where she lived before, that could be used as evidence that she didn't intend to settle here permanently.

In any case, as they are currently here, you can apply for a prohibited steps order for her not to be able to travel with the baby without your consent or an order of the court. You can do so as a matter of urgency (since you don't know if she'll just pack up and go) and without notice to her until the order is in place, by filing a C100 application. You can find the form here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/734888/C100_eng_0818.pdf

The cost to file is £215, unless you are on a low income or benefits in which case you may qualify for fee remission. You will need to call your local family court for an appointment to file the paperwork. You can find the court here: https://courttribunalfinder.service.gov.uk/search/

You will need four copies of the C100 to take to the court. The court will decide whether to list the application that day or whether to list it after giving notice to the mother (unlikely if you are genuinely concerned that she will flee if given notice).

Does that assist?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I was under the assumption that family law only reaches to England and Wales (doesn’t include Northern Ireland), so as the child was born in England, I’m English, his residence is in England, and I have parental responsibility - the mother wouldn’t be allowed to take child out of the country without my approval? Am I misinformed?Surely she can say she never intended to permanently remain in England if it suits her argument, and trying to prove otherwise would be impossible?Her supposed return address would be her parents home, so surely in the benefit of the child that wouldn’t suit when he has a home here and was born here?If I have to apply for an order to stop it happening, what are my rights for having parental responsibility? As I thought leaving the country was one of them?

You're correct in that the child is in England and therefore falls under the jurisdiction of the courts here, and you have parental responsibility, hence you being able to make an application for a prohibited steps order - that is a right given to you by virtue of having PR - if you did not have PR there would be nothing you could do. But, my comment regarding whether she was here permanently or not, was because she is very likely to say that the move was not intended to be permanent.

You can prevent her leaving with the baby without your consent by applying for the PSO - if you wait until she's gone, you'll have a harder time convincing a court to make her come back. If you apply for the PSO, you will both have the opportunity to put your case across to the court, and the court will make a decision with the child's best interests as paramount.

Please accept and rate positively using the five stars at the top of your page as that is how I am paid for assisting you today. You will still be able to ask clarification questions on what I have written if you need to. Thank you.

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Customer: replied 6 months ago.
if she does leave suddenly, whether I get this order completed in time or not - what is my best action? Can I inform the police? Or do I just have to sit back and watch it happen until I wait for a letter to say otherwise?

You need to get the order in place as quickly as you can - which is why I suggested an urgent application, without notice to her. If you complete the form and take it to court tomorrow (call the court for an appointment first) then you might get a hearing before a judge the same day and get an interim order in place preventing her from leaving. If you do nothing and she leaves, you'd have to make an application for the child's return.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Is it illegal or breaking the law to withhold your child’s passport from the other parent?Both parents have parental responsibility, an urgent C100 form has already been submitted on Friday but no response has been received, yet the Mother is attempting to take my child from England to Northern Ireland without my permission tomorrow before the Courts reopen?

It's not illegal or breaking the law to withhold the passport. If that is the only way you can prevent the mother taking the child whilst you await the court hearing, then do so. It's a civil matter. Mother would have to apply to court to have the passport returned to her.

Please post any further queries as new questions.

All the best.