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plclegal
plclegal, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8311
Experience:  Barrister at law
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I am looking for some legal advice on a 14 year old childs

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Hi I am looking for some legal advice on a 14 year old childs rights. My partner left me with my 3 children on saturday and took her 14 year old son with her. He didn't want to go and his siblings are distraught. he wants to return to his home and to his school which he started back at on Monday. He is currently living with his father because he cant stand to be around his mother. His father is great but he wants to be here with us. I have been his guardian since he was6 years old. with his dad he doesnt have his own room and doesnt want to go to a new school. Does he have any legal say?
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: no. I am not sure what steps to take. His father is currently signing him up to a new school. I have tried to make contact with his mother but she will not speak to me.
JA: Family Court normally sits in a local County and Magistrates' Court. Do you know the location of the court? If not, what county do you live in?
Customer: I live in Somerset.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: thankyou, I dont think there is anything else to add currently

Good morning.

My name is ***** ***** I specialise in family law. I’m happy to assist you today and I appreciate that is is important that you find a resolution as soon as possible.

Please note that our discussions on this site are for general information purposes and do not create an lawyer-client relationship. It is always recommended that you consult with a local solicitor for specific legal information.

I'll do my best to resolve this for you, please give me time to review your question and I will revert back to you shortly.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
thank you

Essentially, at 14, your step son would have a very strong 'voice' in deciding where he wants to live. But, at this point in time, only the people with parental responsibility for him can provide a roof over his head, unless they agree to let him live somewhere else.

As you don't have parental responsibility, you'd have to apply to court and you would need to ask for permission to make that application. In reality, of course you'll be granted permission, you have cared for him for years. But it's little hurdle that will add delay to the process.

The court would then look at his best interests and his views in making a decision about where he would live.

Have you spoken with his father and tried to see if you can come to some form of arrangement whereby he stays with you in the week, stays at his current school and goes to his dad's for the weekend?

You can apply to court of course, and with his view being that he very much wants to live back with you and his siblings, it is the likely outcome - it may just take time, that is all.

So a compromise in the meantime may be worth trying to explore.

You also have to go through the hurdle of mediation (or at least attending s mediation assessment appointment - MIAM) before applying to court - another hurdle and another delay I'm afraid.

To set up a MIAM, you can contact a mediator here: https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/

The c100 form for the court application is here, and the application costs £215: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-c100-application-under-the-children-act-1989-for-a-child-arrangements-prohibited-steps-specific-issue-section-8-order-or-to-vary-or-discharge

I hope that this assists and answers your questions? Can I clarify anything further for you today?

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Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thankyou. The situation as I understand it is that The boys mother is trying to keep him away from me to spite me. I have been speaking to the boys father who is trying to do the best he can to sort things out, but seems to give in to her wishes. would there still be a case if the boy wants to come home?

Yes if he is saying he wants to come home then there is absolutely a case. His welfare and wellbeing are the primary deciding factors in a case like this in the family court, if he wants to remain in his home of the last 8 years rather than be uprooted because of his mother's spite then a judge is likely to agree to him coming back. As I said though, the court process isn't quick, unless there is a risk of serious harm (and therefore an urgent court hearing can be convened). As he is safe at his dad's it won't be classed as urgent so it may take a few months to resolve - I have to be realistic about that. This is why working with his dad has to be the better option, if at all possible.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Ok, thankyou. so my next action would naturally trying to arrange something with his dad. then apply through the form you provided which will begin a court hearing?

Exactly, that would be my suggestions, in that order. Negotiation, mediation (naming both his dada and mum as interested parties and then a court application if needed.

I hope that clarifies things for you.

Thank you for your enquiry today. I am happy to answer follow-up questions - please do get in touch with requests for extra information or further queries and I will do my best to help you.

plclegal and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
thank you very much for your advice. is there such thing as financial support incase it did go to court?

I'm afraid it's very hard to come by legal aid, unless there are domestic abuse issues. The good news though is that apart from the application fee, you don't need to pay any more costs for the whole court process, and you can represent yourself (with guidance from sites such as ours) to avoid having to pay for solicitor.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
ok thankyou. If it came to court, would the boy have to stand up in front of everyone, or would he get to talk to someone privately so he didn't feel so pressured?

Actually it's pretty unusual for children to have to come to court, unless they want to. They would normally talk to a cafcass officer (court social worker) in private and before the court date to express their wishes. They could have a private appointment with the judge too, if needed. But to be clear, there would be absolutely no need for a 14 year old to stand up in front of parents to say what he wants to happen.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
That's great, thankyou for the info.

Very happy to help.