Hi, I’m Lea and I will be assisting you with your query today.
I am very sorry to hear about your dilemma, but will do my best to provide you with advice and guidance on what to do next.
If you and the other parent cannot agree you can try mediation as a first port of call; you will need to attend a MIAM at the very least before applying to court. If mediation is unsuccessful or the other parent won’t engage, the mediator will sign your form and you will be able to apply to court for a child arrangements order.
You do this on form C100, and the cost is £215 unless you are on a low income or benefits in which case you may be entitled to fee remission, see form EX160.
Find a mediator here: www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk
C100 form: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/946762/c100-eng.pdf
If you have safeguarding concerns about the child in her mother's care, then you can retain her, but you must make the above application, otherwise the moment the child is back in the mother's care, she'll retain her, and you will find you are both using your child as the rope in a tug of war each trying to keep the child whenever they have her. Getting the court involved will ensure that someone investigates properly and an order is made according to whatever is discovered.
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