Home > The Court Process > Applying for a Residence Order (Custody): Court Procedure

Applying for a Residence Order (Custody): Court Procedure

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 17 Jul 2018 |
 
Court Family Custody Residence Order

If you are seeking a residence order (formerly referred to as custody) of your children, you will need to use Children Act form C1 which is readily available from the HM Courts and Tribunal Service website. The order that you will be seeking from the court is a ‘residence order’. It is possible to share custody with your ex-partner, although the courts are sometimes unwilling to grant these types of orders on the basis that they generally mean upheaval for the child – in that the child has to live in two homes.

A residence order also gives the person with the order ‘parental responsibility’ for the lifetime of the order, which usually lasts until the child turns 16. If you are in any doubt as to the type of order you should be applying for, seek the advice of a solicitor.

What a Residence Order Means

A residence order enables a parent to take their child out of the country for a maximum period of one month without having to seek the other parent’s consent. If you are seeking to emigrate on a permanent basis with your child, you can only do this with your ex-partner’s consent, or by order of the court. Similarly, a residence order does not allow you to change the child’s surname without the written consent of your ex-partner. For more details on this, see Specific Issue Orders on this website.

It is worth noting that, if you get a residence order, this does not give you carte blanche to make unilateral decisions in respect of your child’s upbringing. Both parents still have Joint Responsibility in determining how your child should be brought up.

Who Can Apply For a Residence Order?

The parent or guardian of a child can apply for a residence order, as can the married step-parent of a child, as long as that child lived with the step-parent as ‘a child of the family’. It is also possible for someone who has lived with the child for at least three years to apply.

In making a residence order, the court will consider a number of issues:

  • What the child wants – although the court does not have to act on the child’s wishes, they must take it into account
  • The child’s emotional, educational and physical needs
  • The likely effect on any change in the child’s life
  • The child’s sex, age and background, as well as anything else that the court deems relevant in respect of the child
  • Any harm that the child has suffered or any risk of harm
  • The capability of each parent or other person of meeting the child’s needs. This includes work commitments of the person applying for the residence order, and whether their routine is conductive to caring for the child.
  • The domestic routine of the child up until the present time

Other Considerations

If the child’s parents are unmarried, the mother has sole parental responsibility until the father gains parental responsibility. This can be done either by agreement or through a court order. If a child is very young, the court generally assumes that the child will be better off with his or her mother unless the contrary can be proven. You should not let this dissuade you, however – all cases in the family court are decided on their own merits and just because you are the father does not mean that you won’t get a residence order.

Help Filling Out the Forms

There are numerous resources online that can assist you with filling out the forms to apply for residence orders. The HM Courts and Tribunal Service website publishes guides to assist with The Family Rights Group, which has a step-by-step procedure to help you through the application. There is a lot more information on the Cafcass website and Dad Info, among others.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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Azzicle - Your Question:
Hello,I am an (unmarried) step mum to a beautiful boy (7) and girl (2.5). Since my partner and his ex split 3 years ago there has been non stop issues. The ex (J) files for a no notice order in April 2016 for domestic violence and worry of child abduction. there was no evidence proving this but it still managed to get through to court. The daughter (B) wasn't born at point of the court order so it was hard for the judge to rule any definite contact between B and her dad. in the court order it states 'to be increased to the same hours as son (A) but at a child led pace' we have B every Sunday 10-6 currently but J is reluctant to increase time/have overnight stays. will it have to go back to court to get progress on this? J has used the excuse that we can't increase contact to weekdays with A because B's bedtime is 7pm. despite B being in the car when J is picking up A and we are told often be J that the kids have had a very late night so they will be tired.B is often filfthy on contact with us and is more often than not, not strapped into her car seat properly. when she is dropped at the meeting point she is halfway out of the car window without anyone unstrappi g her. Also J is now living with a new man who A really dislikes. J has got B to call the new man 'daddy' despite their break ups often for months at a time. We are looking at filing for residence of A But wondering what the judge will seem necessary (A has a very bad attendance at school, is often very upset and isn't told to bathe often. when he comes to us he stinks has dirt embedded in the cracks of his feet and hands and is generally unhappy. he has stated on multiple occasions that he wants to come and live with us but as he is only seven is his opinion going to stand for anything? He's starting presenting with anxiety (picking the skin from his fingerprints and has been diagnosed with a tick in which he is constantly smelling his hands) it upsets both me and my partner very much to see him so unhappy and we just want the best for him. I hope that wasn't to complicated to read. there is a lot more to it but I have tried to ask as concisely as possible. Thank you

Our Response:
In answer to your questions, if your partner's ex is not keeping to the order, then if she will not attend mediation then your partner will have to refer the matter back to court for an enforcement of the order. With regards to filing for residency of the child, it is highly unlikely a court would remove a child from their parents unless absolutely necessary. Plus, it would choose not to spilt siblings. Social services would have had to have been involved and it be deemed the mother cannot care for the children properly before such action would be taken to take the children from the primary carer.
SeparatedDads - 19-Jul-18 @ 2:54 PM
Hello, I am an (unmarried) step mum to a beautiful boy (7) and girl (2.5). Since my partner and his ex split 3 years ago there has been non stop issues. The ex (J) files for a no notice order in April 2016 for domestic violence and worry of child abduction .. there was no evidence proving this but it still managed to get through to court. The daughter (B) wasn't born at point of the court order so it was hard for the judge to rule any definite contact between B and her dad.. in the court order it states 'to be increased to the same hours as son (A) but at a child led pace' we have B every Sunday 10-6 currently but J is reluctant to increase time/have overnight stays.. will it have to go back to court to get progress on this? J has used the excuse that we can't increase contact to weekdays with A because B's bedtime is 7pm.. despite B being in the car when J is picking up A and we are told often be J that the kids have had a very late night so they will be tired. B is often filfthy on contact with us and is more often than not, not strapped into her car seat properly.. when she is dropped at the meeting point she is halfway out of the car window without anyone unstrappi g her. Also J is now living with a new man who A really dislikes. J has got B to call the new man 'daddy' despite their break ups often for months at a time. We are looking at filing for residence of A But wondering what the judge will seem necessary (A has a very bad attendance at school, is often very upset and isn't told to bathe often.. when he comes to us he stinks has dirt embedded in the cracks of his feet and hands and is generally unhappy.. he has stated on multiple occasions that he wants to come and live with us but as he is only seven is his opinion going to stand for anything? He's starting presenting with anxiety (picking the skin from his fingerprints and has been diagnosed with a tick in which he is constantly smelling his hands) it upsets both me and my partner very much to see him so unhappy and we just want the best for him. I hope that wasn't to complicated to read.. there is a lot more to it but I have tried to ask as concisely as possible. Thank you
Azzicle - 17-Jul-18 @ 9:46 AM
Barney - Your Question:
I split from my sons mother in 2015 and have had my now 8 year old son stay with me every weekend. In the last 3 years she has moved him from school to school without my consent. He is at school number 4 and is very unsettled, to the point of being disruptive every day in his class. I have done my best at giving him support to get him stable but he tells me that his Mother is telling him his teachers are bad and stupid. She has had an heated conversation already with the head teacher and I fear she may move my son again. Am I right in thinking that my only hope of stopping her succeed would be to go to the courts to apply for a residence order? I do have a meeting with the headteacher to discuss my concerns and to request my sons edgucation records. I was told that records are passed from one school to the next, my intentions are to use this in court to illustrate that his Mother is not thinking of our sons education and well being. What else could I obtain that would strengthen my case?

Our Response:
If you have parental responsibility of your son, your ex should request your permission. You would be able to apply to court for a Specific Issue Order, please see link here . It's highly unlikely a court would hand your child over to you (the non-resident parent) unless absolutely necessary. You may wish to seek legal advice to explore this further. Much also depends on the age of your son and his personal preferences, if older. A solicitor's letter reminding your ex of her PR obligations may help in the first instance. Court is always seen as a last resort, if any issue cannot be resolved mutually with the other parent or through mediation or solicitors directly.
SeparatedDads - 25-Jun-18 @ 10:32 AM
I split from my sons mother in 2015 and have had my now 8 year old son stay with me every weekend. In the last 3 years she has moved him from school to school without my consent. He is at school number 4 and is very unsettled, to the point of being disruptive every day in his class. I have done my best at giving him support to get him stable but he tells me that his Mother is telling him his teachers are bad and stupid... She has had an heated conversation already with the head teacher and I fear she may move my son again. Am I right in thinking that my only hope of stopping her succeed would be to go to the courts to apply for a residence order? I do have a meeting with the headteacher to discuss my concerns and to request my sons edgucation records. I was told that records are passed from one school to the next, my intentions are to use this in court to illustrate that his Mother is not thinking of our sons education and well being. What else could I obtain that would strengthen my case?
Barney - 24-Jun-18 @ 2:16 AM
@Stupidunicorn- can't you just organise a supervised visit? Social Services should be able to make sure it goes through court and not mediation, as mediation is non-binding.
PaulB - 21-Jun-18 @ 11:46 AM
My stepdaughter is currently living with us and has been since 18 May 18 following domestic violence at her mothers and her being placed on the child protection register for emotional abuse. We have got her enrolled in a school local to us and she is starting to be settled. Mum hasn’t seen her for 5 weeks,let her down three times in the last week re contact... the arrangement is supposed to be following a meeting on 8th June that she has her every fortnight. Our concern is we have found out she is moving out of the City and everyday since Saturday she’s asked to have her and we and her school believe she intends to take her and not bring her back. Monday we reiterated we must stick to the arrangement agreed in a social services meeting, she agreed but a day later was asking to have her. We therefore have completed a c100 form and wish to put in an emergency arrangement order but it says we have to have a mediator sign it first. Due to the urgency is there any way around this because she won’t agree to a mediator and time is of the essence and my husband needs me to sort this as he’s at work
Stupidunicorn - 20-Jun-18 @ 6:32 AM
Hello please can i have help!? My ex and i broke up 6 years ago the relationship was full of domestic abuse of all counts. We have two children together. Hes never been regular with contact or payments but in april this year my daughter broke her arm in his care, he refused to seek medical treatment ir administer pain relief, 3 days later she returned home to me and the instant i saw her we went to hospital. The social services have been involved and classed it as child negligence on fathers behalf then a couple if days after my daughter had a panick attacj saying she cant tell me stuff or he will hurt her and kill me and if she moves from her bed he will throw water over her. The police were involved and they and social told me to cease contact til our next court hearing. My daughter told cafcass all about it and revealed that he mentally and emotionally bullies her too (which shes never disclosed to me) anyway my ex applied for emergency court to get contact and the judge never read any authority reports or the email cafcass sent them and granted him reinstated access til we are back in our normal court case in june. They went to his this weekend and he left them with his partner all weekend and they tried bribing them with new toys to change their stories. Im so scared that he is going to be given more access and iv heard he is applying for residency too. Neither of my children want to see him they have told cafcass and authorities this but in the emergency hearing i was told it wil affect their residency if i dont send them. Im so scared and upset for them especially now my oldest is starting to go through what i did by her father. I feel like the courts are just ignoring everything Please help
Anxious parent - 6-Jun-18 @ 12:14 PM
happydad - Your Question:
I am a 29 year old single father of two and I am seeking advice.I have recently separated with the mother of my children which was a decision created by herself in August 2017. Mid September 2017 the mother, whom I will refer to as ‘T', had decided that she wanted to give me full custody of our children ‘R' 1 years old and 'M' 5 years old. This decision was made due to T's current situation accompanied by her mental state and attitude toward being a stay-at-home mother. I had asked ‘T’ to complete a written document and to sign this document confirming her endeavour to provide me with full custody to our children commencing January 2018. T happily provided me with the written and signed statement in Sept 2017. Within this time frame T had found a new partner and had planned to move in to a new home with this person around November 2017.I accepted T’s proposition, gave up my career and moved into the family Home where our children reside. This move was made as per to her written and signed document and I took custody and moved into the home around Jan/Feb 2018.Within this time frame I have maintained the welfare and needs in a healthy manner and maintained M schooling and also made arrangements with an excellent registered childcare for R which will allow me to move into a new flexible and rewarding career and maintain being the father to my children and more than sufficiently providing and meeting all needs. Recently it has become an increasing concern and based on T’s words, actions and behaviour I now have strong reason to believe that T plans to come and take M and R away indefinitely, to her new home where she lives with her now partner, which is 1 hour 20 drive away, without any consent from myself and acting against the statement of custody which she wrote and signed. I have not yet pursued the legal route for this as it has been my intention to keep the peace and remain amicable for the very best interest of the children as I believe and understand the importance of having both parents available for their upbringing. My question now is what protection can my children and I expect based on this situation and what can I have put in place to ensure their safety and welfare physically, emotionally and mentally during this unsettled and somewhat careless situation/potential situations?Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

Our Response:
Regardless of any written agreement, as your ex also has parental responsibility of your children then she has as equal rights to keep and care for the children, as do you. Any signed agreement is not valid unless it forms part of a court order. If you fear your ex may take the children without consent, please see the link here. However, should this happen and you have to apply to court, then the agreement, the fact you have cared for your children and they are in school in your area, means you have a good chance of having the children returned to you. The court always will decide upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your children and stability and consistency are considered most important. It is very rare another parent will take this route as it fosters distrust and it can backfire. Plus, it is not a long term solution and your ex must be aware of the issues this would create. Therefore, where you can, mutual agreement should continue. However, likewise, do not be afraid to seek legal advice and look into applying for a child arrangement order if you feel your ex poses a threat to your children's current stability.
SeparatedDads - 13-Mar-18 @ 12:15 PM
I am coming for what’s mine (b ).dont worry about legal smigle stuff.
Lester - 13-Mar-18 @ 4:27 AM
I am a 29 year old single father of two and I am seeking advice. I have recently separated with the mother of my children which was a decision created by herself in August 2017. Mid September 2017 the mother, whom I will refer to as ‘T', had decided that she wanted to give me full custody of our children ‘R' 1 years old and 'M' 5 years old. This decision was made due to T's current situation accompanied by her mental state and attitude toward being a stay-at-home mother. I had asked ‘T’ to complete a written document and to sign this document confirming her endeavour to provide me with full custody to our children commencing January 2018. T happily provided me with the written and signed statement in Sept 2017. Within this time frame T had found a new partner and had planned to move in to a new home with this person around November 2017. I accepted T’s proposition, gave up my career and moved into the family Home where our children reside. This move was made as per to her written and signed document and I took custody and moved into the home around Jan/Feb 2018. Within this time frame I have maintained the welfare and needs in a healthy manner and maintained M schooling and also made arrangements with an excellent registered childcare for R which will allow me to move into a new flexible and rewarding career and maintain being the father to my children and more than sufficiently providing and meeting all needs. Recently it has become an increasing concern and based on T’s words, actions and behaviour I now have strong reason to believe that T plans to come and take M and R away indefinitely, to her new home where she lives with her now partner, which is 1 hour 20 drive away, without any consent from myself and acting against the statement of custody which she wrote and signed. I have not yet pursued the legal route for this as it has been my intention to keep the peace and remain amicable for the very best interest of the children as I believe and understand the importance of having both parents available for their upbringing. My question now is what protection can my children and I expect based on this situation and what can I have put in place to ensure their safety and welfare physically, emotionally and mentally during this unsettled and somewhat careless situation/potential situations? Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
happydad - 12-Mar-18 @ 11:03 PM
I am a 29 year old single father of two and I am seeking advice. I have recently separated with the mother of my children which was a decision created by herself in August 2017. Mid September 2017 the mother, whom I will refer to as ‘T', had decided that she wanted to give me full custody of our children ‘R' 1 years old and 'M' 5 years old. This decision was made due to T's current situation accompanied by her mental state and attitude toward being a stay-at-home mother. I had asked ‘T’ to complete a written document and to sign this document confirming her endeavour to provide me with full custody to our children commencing January 2018. T happily provided me with the written and signed statement in Sept 2017. Within this time frame T had found a new partner and had planned to move in to a new home with this person around November 2017. I accepted T’s proposition, gave up my career and moved into the family Home where our children reside. This move was made as per to her written and signed document and I took custody and moved into the home around Jan/Feb 2018. Within this time frame I have maintained the welfare and needs in a healthy manner and maintained M schooling and also made arrangements with an excellent registered childcare for R which will allow me to move into a new flexible and rewarding career and maintain being the father to my children and more than sufficiently providing and meeting all needs. Recently it has become an increasing concern and based on T’s words, actions and behaviour I now have strong reason to believe that T plans to come and take M and R away indefinitely, to her new home where she lives with her now partner, which is 1 hour 20 drive away, without any consent from myself and acting against the statement of custody which she wrote and signed. I have not yet pursued the legal route for this as it has been my intention to keep the peace and remain amicable for the very best interest of the children as I believe and understand the importance of having both parents available for their upbringing. My question now is what protection can my children and I expect based on this situation and what can I have put in place to ensure their safety and welfare physically, emotionally and mentally during this unsettled and somewhat careless situation/potential situations? Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
happydad - 12-Mar-18 @ 9:26 PM
Robert81 - Your Question:
I have many questions but just wanted to ask, I was used by a woman as a sperm donor she lived with mother and sister on bunk bed and as soon as we met she started asking for the baby when she got pregnant she simply left me saying she got what she wanted so I should go.i decided to stay in my child's life from the birth I see him 5 times a week sometimes 7 also 1-2 overnight stays, I'm not allowed around her place she brings him outside her block so I can pick him up I also don't know the address as she never told me for the past 3 yrs as my son is 3now I made all the journeys to pick him up she never agreed to meet half way ( 5 miles from her home to mine) I also picked him up from childminder for 2 yrs twice a week she did once as he was there 3 times a week, from this year January she took him to different childminder refusing to tell me where if I wanted to see him then she picks him up and hand him over to me then goes home so basically I have to wait outside for her to bring him from childminder ( 200 metres away) not sure wich building I only know the spot where to wait, I also wanted to mention she is malignant narcississt she doesn't validate noones feelings including my son she uses him as a bargain chip always manipulating plus threatening me to stop seeing my son also she is very nasty as soon as I ask something or point a mistake she gets tantrums flipping middle finger at me on the road screaming names and my son is watching this. I was always scared of courts as I know judges have no balls even though they see alot of hurt going on and descent people fighting for their kids the court system still doesn't really help. I wanted to ask if something like status quo matters because I'm tired of her being disrespectful and at the same time I'm afraid if I go court for shared,full custody I ll be only granted 1 visit a week when now when I take abuse and disrespect Im allowed to see him 5 times a week. Please advise me what to do. I have evidence from her family members that she was always depressed locking herself in not speaking to anyone and once they were done with her she was trying to get pregnant by anyone basically to get out of the house and then unfortunately I came along and fell into trap.

Our Response:
If you did not use contraception, then you cannot accuse another person of tricking you into pregnancy. Every individual has the means to prevent a pregnancy from taking place, if they choose to take the responsibility for their own actions, as well as the other persons. Likewise, you have good access to your child. Your ex does not have to divulge where she is living. If she wishes to keep that part of her life private - that is her prerogative. Judges, also do wish to allow non-resident parents to have contact with their children and will do all they can to make this happen, if they feel it is in the best interests of their children. The fact you have good access to your child, means you do not really have much to complain about. Working on this access and trying to compromise will help here. There are two people in every relationship and a court will not take a child away from a resident parent and hand them over to another parent unless it is absolutely necessary. Likewise, you would not be allowed to apply to court without suggesting mediation first in order to try to amicably resolve the issues you have. The links here and here , may help you further and perhaps look at things from a different perspective. Perhaps being the bigger person and trying to change the dynamics of the relationship you currently have with your ex might help. Remember, looking after and bringing up a child is not about one upmanship and getting one over on the other person, it is about trying to work together for the good of your child.
SeparatedDads - 8-Feb-18 @ 12:24 PM
I have many questions but just wanted to ask, I was used by a woman as a sperm donor she lived with mother and sister on bunk bed and as soon as we met she started asking for the baby when she got pregnant she simply left me saying she got what she wanted so I should go.i decided to stay in my child's life from the birth I see him 5 times a week sometimes 7also 1-2 overnight stays, I'm not allowed around her place she brings him outside her block so I can pick him up I also don't know the address as she never told me for the past 3 yrs as my son is 3now I made all the journeys to pick him up she never agreed to meet half way ( 5 miles from her home to mine)I also picked him up from childminder for 2 yrs twice a week she did once as he was there 3 times a week, from this year January she took him to different childminder refusing to tell me where if I wanted to see him then she picks him up and hand him over to me then goes home so basically I have to wait outside for her to bring him from childminder ( 200 metres away)not sure wich building I only know the spot where to wait, I also wanted to mention she is malignant narcississt she doesn't validate noones feelings including my son she uses him as a bargain chip always manipulating plus threatening me to stop seeing my son also she is very nasty as soon as I ask something or point a mistake she gets tantrums flipping middle finger at me on the road screaming names and my son is watching this. I was always scared of courts as I know judges have no balls even though they see alot of hurt going on and descent people fighting for their kids the court system still doesn't really help. I wanted to ask if something like status quo matters because I'm tired of her being disrespectful and at the same time I'm afraid if I go court for shared,full custody I ll be only granted 1 visit a week when now when I take abuse and disrespect Im allowed to see him 5 times a week. Please advise me what to do. I have evidence from her family members that she was always depressed locking herself in not speaking to anyone and once they were done with her she was trying to get pregnant by anyone basically to get out of the house and then unfortunately I came along and fell into trap.
Robert81 - 7-Feb-18 @ 8:32 PM
Mark B - Your Question:
Hi I wonder if anyone could help. I separated from my daughters birth mother 8 years ago, since then we have both met other partners and both had another child with said partners. I left the family home due to the constant arguing infront of our daughter and many other reasons non violent etc. In the 8 years we have been separated I have religiously maintained contact with my daughter having her every weekend, I've paid my maintenance on time every month, increased it when I have had pay rises and in general never caused any real issues for my ex. Her on the other hand has constantly changed arrangements, slagged me off to my daughter and generally been an absolute pain in the a**e for 8 years. I have had too many to count messages from her saying "don't bother picking her up" if she didn't like what I was saying and just generally being difficult. My daughter is now 11 and last weekend I sat outside her mum's house for 35min whilst she cried saying she didn't want to go in, she wants to live with me and my partner (soon to be wife). She has said this for a long time and I have said to her mum many of times I would happily have her live with me it's all I have ever wanted but because I'm a cash cow for her she won't have it. My daughter is upset every weekend about her home life though the week and it breaks my heart taking her home every weekend. I know all cases are different but I'm at my wit's end and think court is now the only option.

Our Response:
Mediation is the first port of call when you cannot agree on an issue. Court is always seen as the last resort. If you take the matter of residency to court. The court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order. However, it is unlikely the court will remove your daughter from her mother's care unless absolutely necessary. Much depends upon whether your daughter is being badly treated or neglected, only then if proof can be given would the courts rule to change your daughter's place of residence.
SeparatedDads - 4-Dec-17 @ 3:51 PM
Hi I wonder if anyone could help. I separated from my daughters birth mother 8 years ago, since then we have both met other partners and both had another child with said partners. I left the family home due to the constant arguing infront of our daughter and many other reasons non violent etc. In the 8 years we have been separated I have religiously maintained contact with my daughter having her every weekend, I've paid my maintenance on time every month, increased it when I have had pay rises and in general never caused any real issues for my ex. Her on the other hand has constantly changed arrangements, slagged me off to my daughter and generally been an absolute pain in the a**e for 8 years. I have had too many to count messages from her saying "don't bother picking her up" if she didn't like what I was saying and just generally being difficult. My daughter is now 11 and last weekend i sat outside her mum's house for 35min whilst she cried saying she didn't want to go in, she wants to live with me and my partner (soon to be wife). She has said this for a long time and I have said to her mum many of times I would happily have her live with me it's all I have ever wanted but because I'm a cash cow for her she won't have it. My daughter is upset every weekend about her home life though the week and it breaks my heart taking her home every weekend. I know all cases are different but I'm at my wit's end and think court is now the only option.
Mark B - 4-Dec-17 @ 9:25 AM
My wife and son are British and are based in the uk. Im Pakistani and I'm based in Dubai. UAE. I have not seen my son from the past three years. I have applied for visa several times but it got rejected. I want to legally proceed to get visitation rights to see my son. My wife is not willing to send him to Dubai. Can you assist me in this case?
Shoaib - 25-Oct-17 @ 12:46 AM
Hayz10o8 - Your Question:
Hi me and my partner have been together 7 years and are not married I have been in contact with womens aid and gdas as he is mentally abusive and I am looking to leave but he always says that if I leave he will take custody of our 19month old daughter and I would never see her I want out but I am scared he will do this. He is the main earner yet he don't provide for her at all he has never bought clothes food or toiletries for her I have, he never takes her out its always me and my mum she cant play with toys as she has to sit infront of tv and not move he has even started taking toys off her when she is playing if they make noise its getting awful I have been told by him not to buy her clothes toys shoes as she has enough and its taking over our space. she has one small corner in living room for her toys and 3 draws of clothes thats it. I fear if I leave and he takes me to court he will win. I dont think he will but I am scared any advise would be great Thanks x

Our Response:
I can only suggest you continue to keep in contact with Women's Aid for help and advice. If you leave with your child (there are shelters). You can find out about women's refuges if you've experienced domestic violence - how to get a place and what they're like, please see Shelter link here. If you take your child with you if/when you leave, it is highly unlikely a court will take your child from you. However, if your leave you child with your partner, then you will find it more difficult to get your child back.
SeparatedDads - 6-Oct-17 @ 10:45 AM
Hi me and my partner have been together 7 years and are not married i have been in contact with womens aid and gdas as he is mentally abusive and i am looking to leave but he always says that if i leave he will take custody of our 19month old daughter and i would never see her i want out but i am scared he will do this. He is the main earner yet he don't provide for her at all he has never bought clothes food or toiletries for her i have, he never takes her out its always me and my mum she cant play with toys as she has to sit infront of tv and not move he has even started taking toys off her when she is playing if they make noise its getting awful i have been told by him not to buy her clothes toys shoes as she has enough and its taking over our space..... she has one small corner in living room for her toys and 3 draws of clothes thats it.... i fear if i leave and he takes me to court he will win... i dont think he will but i am scared any advise would be great Thanks x
Hayz10o8 - 5-Oct-17 @ 5:06 AM
loguey1976 - Your Question:
I have been split from my ex now for the last 8 years and have had regular access to our two children. She has recently started asking for more money, even though I pay more than the recommended amount through the CSA. I have missed the last weekend to have them due to an injury which has prevented me to drive and I live a fair distance from them. I have asked her to drop them off but she has refused. She has now told me that I can't have them and if I want to I need to go to court. As I know her too well I believe she is doing this to gain more money as the payments would increase if I don't have them as often.Please can you give me some advice??

Our Response:
If your ex does not change her mind, then please see link here , which explains the process you need to go through. I hope the situation manages to resolve itself soon.
SeparatedDads - 19-Sep-17 @ 4:13 PM
Doesn't Matter - Your Question:
My friend had a daughter with a girl back in Portugal. The mother abandoned the child and he became the sole parent. He then moved to the UK and put his daughter into school she is currently in year 4 in the UK.The mother then came to the UK and 3 weeks later she left again without a word. The mother is a known drug user and prostitute and has had her second child from a client (child protective services has taken her son into care).The mother in Portugal has no means to care for neither her son nor her daughter however she refuses to sign custody over to the father of the daughter. (His name is also on the birth certificate.)The father does not want to take his daughter to Portugal and sue for custody as he is afraid the authorities will not let him return with his daughter to the UK without the mothers consent.She has made it clear that all she "wants is to make his life hell by not facilitating custody."As neither the father or daughter are British can the father of the child apply for full custody in the UK or can the UK court do anything about this matter?

Our Response:
Your friend would have to seek legal advice regarding whether he can take the matter to court in the UK. This is beyond our remit to advise, as we can only advise on non-specific UK-based questions.
SeparatedDads - 19-Sep-17 @ 11:52 AM
My friend had a daughter with a girl back in Portugal. The mother abandoned the child and he became the sole parent. He then moved to the UK and put his daughter into school she is currently in year 4 in the UK. The mother then came to the UK and 3 weeks later she left again without a word. The mother is a known drug user and prostitute and has had her second child from a client (child protective services has taken her son into care). The mother in Portugal has no means to care for neither her son nor her daughter however she refuses to sign custody over to the father of the daughter. (His name is also on the birth certificate.) The father does not want to take his daughter to Portugal and sue for custody as he is afraid the authorities will not let him return with his daughter to the UK without the mothers consent. She has made it clear that all she "wants is to make his life hell by not facilitating custody." As neither the father or daughter are British can the father of the child apply for full custody in the UK or can the UK court do anything about this matter?
Doesn't Matter - 18-Sep-17 @ 7:54 PM
I have been split from my ex now for the last 8 years and have had regular access to our two children. She has recently started asking for more money, even though i pay more than the recommended amount through the CSA. I have missed the last weekend to have them due to an injury which has prevented me to drive and i live a fair distance from them. I have asked her to drop them off but she has refused. She has now told me that i can't have them and if i want to i need to go to court. As i know her too well i believe she is doing this to gain more money as the payments would increase if i don't have them as often. Please can you give me some advice??
loguey1976 - 16-Sep-17 @ 6:15 PM
jake 18 - Your Question:
I have been looking after my child full time since the age of 7 months after his mother turned her back on him, there has been no contact from her what so ever ,no presents gifts etc there has been no payments from his mother for our son as was promised, I am wondering whether to make an application for a residency order or just to leave it well alone just incase his mother starts being awkward ,my son is a month or so short of his 3rd birthday now, any advise would be gratefully appreciated ,she still works full time and I am not working

Our Response:
If you are the main primary carer of your child, then there is little your ex can do to gain residency if she has never had contact with your child previously. A court would not rule to take your child from you and hand him over to a parent he does not know. The most she would be allowed through a court would be access and if she applied, then it would be time to apply for a child arrangement order which would officially determine where your child should live. However, you are eligible to claim child maintenance from her. You may wish to seek some legal advice in order to explore your options fully. The Citizens Advice Bureau can help if you cannot afford paid legal advice.
SeparatedDads - 15-Sep-17 @ 4:15 PM
I have been looking after my child full timesince the age of 7 months after his mother turned her back on him, there has been no contact from her what so ever ,no presents gifts etcthere has been no payments from his mother for our son as was promised,I am wondering whether to make an application for a residency order or just to leave it well alone just incase his mother starts being awkward ,my son is a month or so short of his 3rd birthday now, any advise would be gratefully appreciated ,she still works full time and I am not working
jake 18 - 15-Sep-17 @ 3:05 PM
Sad Dad - Your Question:
Can anyone advise? I separated from my ex Feb-16 and have a new partner now (who is expecting). I have 2 boys with my ex (2 & 7) and she is controlling to say the least, she has been a drinker for over 3 years and daily smokes (pot, weed or whatever other slang), she has also been arrested for diving through my car window and staling my phone, it was on CCTV but I never pressed charges. Since splitting I stayed with my boys a few times and one night her eldest son (19) and he were drunk and decided to take things out on me (whilst I was sat holding my 2 boys) since then my visits have all been pick-up and drop off. She has now decided that I am no longer allowed to see them at weekends and only after I finish work at 6:30pm till their bedtime at 8pm, Monday to Friday. they are not allowed near my home, my partner or her daughters or my family (the boys grandparents, aunties, uncles) they aren't even allowed out of the town they live in. I can only take them for tea (usually McDonald's) and if the weather is OK, we can play in the park for 40 mins. She believes this to be enough so that, if I take her to court, she can tell them she lets me see them and its tough luck on them and me. Also, I have paid her CSA every 4 weeks on time everytime at the maximum the CSA website says. Now she wants more and is trying to "squeeze me" for every penny I have. Please can someone just tell me what rights I have, and where you think I will get. Not seeing them is awful for me and the boys. I can't have a proper relationship with them.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Your only options are to apply for mediation, please see link here and if she refuses apply to court. I think the point you can make here is; why would you be taking the matter to court if your ex allows you see your children? I think your ex has more to be concerned about as if a court order is awarded, then she will have to stick to it (as the order will come with a warning) and if she doesn't she will be in contempt of court. Please also see link here .You do not have to pay any more child maintenance than advised.
SeparatedDads - 21-Aug-17 @ 3:46 PM
Can anyone advise? I separated from my ex Feb-16 and have a new partner now (who is expecting). I have 2 boys with my ex (2 & 7) and she is controlling to say the least, she has been a drinker for over 3 years and daily smokes (pot, weed or whatever other slang), she has also been arrested for diving through my car window and staling my phone, it was on CCTV but I never pressed charges. Since splitting I stayed with my boys a few times and one night her eldest son (19) and he were drunk and decided to take things out on me (whilst i was sat holding my 2 boys) since then my visits have all been pick-up and drop off. She has now decided that I am no longer allowed to see them at weekends and only after I finish work at 6:30pm till their bedtime at 8pm, Monday to Friday. they are not allowed near my home, my partner or her daughters or my family (the boys grandparents, aunties, uncles) they aren't even allowed out of the town they live in. I can only take them for tea (usually McDonald's) and if the weather is OK, we can play in the park for 40 mins. She believes this to be enough so that, if I take her to court, she can tell them she lets me see them and its tough luck on them and me. Also, i have paid her CSA every 4 weeks on time everytime at the maximum the CSA website says. Now she wants more and is trying to "squeeze me" for every penny I have. Please can someone just tell me what rights I have, and where you think I will get. Not seeing them is awful for me and the boys. I can't have a proper relationship with them.
Sad Dad - 18-Aug-17 @ 12:22 AM
Sean - Your Question:
Hi, I decided to share my story in brief so I could get some guidance from what looks like a great community. I am a British Father in a toxic relationship with a woman from Poland. We are unmarried and have a baby boy who is 11months now. Throughout the pregnancy my partner stayed with me and my parents in the UK at our house but not long after the birth she travelled to Norway with our son. I did not give consent to go for over a month which she did. I mean is that allowed? My son is British and had commitments with the gp for regular checks as for every baby after being born. In this time she made it hard for me to have any form of relation with my son by constantly arguing or complaining about something. She practically treats my family as strangers now and I had a lot of stress and she gave me an ultimatum that I would have to be in Norway to be with my son. Again is this allowed? I leftt a really good job because of her, I left my family, friends and everything I know for the sake of being with my son. I'm now in Norway and have been trying to make the relationship work and fix things fot tge sake of our sons futytr but it's just not the same and on top of that I do not speak the language and at home I cannot speak Polish. Her parents are lovely but I just don't feel like a father here anymore in terms of decision making or financially etc, I'm struggling to find work because of language and I just can't do this anymore. I cant count the number of problems in our relationship. It needs to end. What would happen when I return to the UK? What are my rights because she uses our son as a weapon against me or anyone that loves him. Any help or guidance would be really appreciated. Thanks

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. However, we cannot speculate what may happen when and if you return to the UK. Much depends upon what the relationship with your child's mother is like and whether the courts would have to be involved in trying to determine access/contact. If you cannot come to a mutual arrangement with the mother, then it will cost to take the matter to court, especially if it is an international case. If you left the UK with your partner and child willingly (regardless of whether your partner issued an ultimatum) then you have little legal recourse. If you leave Norway and return to the UK, that is your prerogative and you would have to either negotiate access with your child's mother, or if you can't agree take the matter to court. It is unlikely you would be granted custody of your child, if your child is deemed to be settled in another country. If you bring your child to the UK without the mother's consent, you could be charged with abduction.
SeparatedDads - 6-Jul-17 @ 12:24 PM
Hi, I decided to share my story in brief so I could get some guidance from what looks like a great community. I am a British Father in a toxic relationship with a woman from Poland. We are unmarried and have a baby boy who is 11months now. Throughout the pregnancy my partner stayed with me and my parents in the UK at our house but not long after the birth she travelled to Norway with our son. I did not give consent to go for over a month which she did. I mean is that allowed? My son is British and had commitments with the gp for regular checks as for every baby after being born. In this time she made it hard for me to have any form of relation with my son by constantly arguing or complaining about something. She practically treats my family as strangers now and I had a lot of stress and she gave me an ultimatum that I would have to be in Norway to be with my son. Again is this allowed? I leftt a really good job because of her, I left my family, friends and everything I know for the sake of being with my son. I'm now in Norway and have been trying to make the relationship work and fix things fot tge sake of our sons futytr but it's just not the same and on top of that I do not speak the language and at home i cannot speak Polish. Her parents are lovely but I just don't feel like a father here anymore in terms of decision making or financially etc, I'm struggling to find work because of language and I just can't do this anymore. I cant count the number of problems in our relationship. It needs to end. What would happen when I return to the UK? What are my rights because she uses our son as a weapon against me or anyone that loves him. Any help or guidance would be really appreciated. Thanks
Sean - 5-Jul-17 @ 3:44 AM
Hi I am a grandmother and my son who still lives with me has a son who is 18 months old.He had a very brief fling with the mother (saw her 5/6 times) in early 2015 and didn't carry on the relationship.He hears via text some 28 weeks later that she is pregnant and that the child is his.Shocked to say the least, I wanted to meet the mother and see what was going on.She told my son that she was divorced and had two children who were 4 and 12 - no mention that they lived with their father.Anyway to cut a long story short, the mother didn't inform my son that she had her children taken away from her due to her alcoholism or the fact that she was still drinking at 28 weeks 2 bottles of wine a day, she had been a long term drinker for over 12 years. I ultimately met with the MGM who informed me of this and the fact that SS were involved and wanted to see my son about this.She mentioned that adoption proceedings were underway.When I told my son about this he was taken aback, said he knew nothing of this, the mother had not told him any of this and so he contacted SS the next day to see what was going on.Since his son was born, he has been in his life every single day, SS have downgraded and bowed out and there is no adoption going ahead, but have said that mother is to attend TAF - what ever that is.SS have been terrible in all of this, not doing reports, missing appointments and generally messing about the whole time.When my son had approached SS regarding the mother's negligence of his son (she has stopped drinking and has been dry for 20 months now) but everything the health visitor and social worker put into brief reports were that they attributed all of her bad behaviour, neglect, filthy living conditions to her drinking.She still has these qualities but is not drinking and when he has brought up concerns with ss about her they immediately have gone to her telling her what he has said, which has made for a very difficult time as she keeps holding him to ransom that she is the parent who has residence and not him and kept threatening to stop his contact. Anyway, the upshot is that things came to a head last month and my son took my grandson because the mother was in bed and had leftmy grandson in the lounge to dismantle the sky tv (again) and when my son went into the lounge having let himself into the property, go to the bathroom and wash up and change his clothes (10-15 minutes) his son was in a filthy state and about to place the sky power cable into his mouth.He made application to the court for residence and was granted it temporarily as the Judge said that the SS needed to do a report as she could not say one way or the other whom the child should reside with. Upshot is adjourned hearing and the second Judge said status quo to be reinstated and CAFCASS to do a report.They have spoken on the telephone to my son and the mother this week and have now said that she will do report to the Court (section 37
Mimmins - 15-Jun-17 @ 11:28 AM
Bruce - Your Question:
What agency or court do I have to contact in order to gain joint custody of my children. I am unsure how to go about it

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which should help answer your question.
SeparatedDads - 22-May-17 @ 2:09 PM
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