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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12180
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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HiMy partner is in hospital this weekend and arranged for

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Hi My partner is in hospital this weekend and arranged for the parents of friends of his children to look after his girls for the duration of the weekend. In the contact order that he pursued, this is his allocated alternate weekend with the children. We have since found out that the girls mother has removed the children from the friends' house and taken them home. We have not been notified of this and only found out because one of the girls posted on Instagram that they were with their mother. Is this proper conduct? Can she legally just take them away from the place of care their father placed them for the weekend without notifying him where they now are? I suppose what I am asking is, what is the protocol? Should his wife have notified him that she was now taking the girls? He is not aware that they are no longer at the friends house. Only I know.

Thank you for your question.

The normal protocol would have been to change the contact arrangements if the parents are capable of discussing such things. However, the mother has not acted properly. The courts have made it clear that when a parent has contact, unless the court imposes a restriction of some sort, the parent with contact is in charge and the parent with care can't interfere unless the child is at risk in some way or the the arrangement is not in the best interest of the child.

I presume the children were happy enough to be with their friends on this one occasion and they were safe there. The mother should not have interfered and your partner has cause for complaint although, as I say, he should perhaps have just tried to say to the mother that he was going to be in hospital and couldn't take the children.

I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your answer. To clarify the situation - both parties (my partner and his wife) have ceased all communication unless their is a medical emergency involving the girls ' health. Both parties will not deviate from the court order regarding alternate weekends. Therefore, my partner decided it would be better not to alert the mother as to his hospital stay. The children were picked up from their mother's house by the friends' parent,s o the mother was aware they were not going to be with their father. Their mother has said she is very protective of her time when she doesn't have the girls so my partner felt that the solution into involving his wife but arranging alternative, appropriate care would be the best option. I personally was shocked to see she had removed the children today and no one had notified their father. My partner is in hospital for an ECG and so I don't want to add to his stress as the divorce has just been a living hell.
If the mother passed the children to their friends parents, why did she then take them back?

Frankly, both parents have to communicate in the best interests of the children and it does neither of them any credit that they don't.

I can understand both points of view if there has been an acrimonious divorce but I think they are both at fault in different ways. He should have told her about his hospital stay and she should have offered to take the children or at least not grabbed them back after allowing them to go with their friends.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I agree to a large degree. However, his wife has refused to read any emails or texts from my partner and as a result there have been many problems. Her solicitor advised us that she would not read his emails etc. My partner looked into having a third party deal with communications between them but no organisation exists as far as we are aware. My solicitor has had to intervene due to defamatory statements she has sent to my partner about me, so communicating with the mother has become not only impossible but hazardous. At every turn it has been his wife who has made matters difficult. The contact order my partner pursued was because she prevented the children talking to their father (she stated they could only talk to him between 5-7pm but then when he called during those times they were always unavailable due to homework or tea etc).
My partner has been signed off work for one month due to the stress of the ongoing divorce. His priority had been to keep communication open. Mediation was suggested but as he was a victim of domestic violence for 17 years, he felt that mediation would not be appropriate and neither have his health professionals.
He has tried repeatedly to keep communications open and civil, but at every turn she has abused this and said she won't read his emails. Please note that his emails have purely been about arrangements for the children.
It is a dreadful situation to be in and I have seen it time and time again. You are also very frustrated because as a partner you are in the middle of it all but at the same time have a very limited right to get involved. My experience as a solicitor dealing with these cases is that things will eventually settle down but both parents do have to put their differences to one side in the best interests of their children.