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CAO in place but can I keep my daughter?
#1
I went to court three years ago and got monthly contact (5×hours on a sunday) I went back two years ago and had it increased to overnight (Saturday am to Sunday pm)

Since Then, my ex has broken up with her partner & needs me more. We now have a mutual agreement of fortnightly & shared holidays (I arranged this)

I'm concerned about the lack of stability for my daughter; she's hardly at home (cared for by various people & in breakfast/after school club), she's missing out on opportunities at school, the school are concerned about her & think she would be better with me. I can offer her a lot more.

Question is; could I keep my daughter & not return her to her mother? Would she have to apply for residence instead as this is not yet court ordered? Am I in breach of anything? Do i have this right?

Obviously I've thought long and hard about this & tried to work with my ex to better things (texts, letters, reminders) but nothing has changed. I don't want to rock the boat and cause stress to anyone but my daughter is my priority

Many thanks

Sorry I should add that I'm considering keeping my daughter because it would mean;

1. She wouldn't need to go to breakfast club
2. She wouldn't go to after school club
3. She would be collected from school every day
4. She would get home, do homework & reading & eat a substantial meal
5. She's be with me every weekend
6. She'd see her cousins more (who are important to her)
7. She'd have a routine
8. Her basic care needs would be met
9. She'd have consistency

All of which are not being done at present

I would of course support regular contact with her mum
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#2
I dont think you can do this when a CAO names a resident parent, you would have to go back to court to adjust the order
The opinions here are not that of Separated Dads, but merely a loving father who has been through the process and has come out the other side.
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#3
(06-08-2017, 06:35 AM)paynescott16 Wrote: I went to court three years ago and got monthly contact (5×hours on a sunday) I went back two years ago and had it increased to overnight (Saturday am to Sunday pm)

Since Then, my ex has broken up with her partner & needs me more. We now have a mutual agreement of fortnightly & shared holidays (I arranged this)

I'm concerned about the lack of stability for my daughter; she's hardly at home (cared for by various people & in breakfast/after school club), she's missing out on opportunities at school, the school are concerned about her & think she would be better with me. I can offer her a lot more.

Question is; could I keep my daughter & not return her to her mother? Would she have to apply for residence instead as this is not yet court ordered? Am I in breach of anything? Do i have this right?

Obviously I've thought long and hard about this & tried to work with my ex to better things (texts, letters, reminders) but nothing has changed. I don't want to rock the boat and cause stress to anyone but my daughter is my priority

Many thanks

Sorry I should add that I'm considering keeping my daughter because it would mean;

1. She wouldn't need to go to breakfast club
2. She wouldn't go to after school club
3. She would be collected from school every day
4. She would get home, do homework & reading & eat a substantial meal
5. She's be with me every weekend
6. She'd see her cousins more (who are important to her)
7. She'd have a routine
8. Her basic care needs would be met
9. She'd have consistency

All of which are not being done at present

I would of course support regular contact with her mum

You might have grounds to go back to Court, but I need to check some of the detail.

What do you mean by hardly at home, is this due to just Breakfast and Afterschool Clubs?
What concerns do the school have?
How old is your child, and can you confirm if you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#4
(06-08-2017, 10:51 AM)Hi Mark,Thanks for your response.1. During the week, she is at breakfast and after school club. She gets collected about 18:30pm. Goes home, has a basic meal and goes to bed at 19:3o. At the weekends, she is either with me, or being cared for by her Nan, Aunt or Uncles (all a two hour drive away)2. They keep writing in her Reading book that she is not reading enough (she reads with me at every opportunity, I write in her book and we have designed a poster to put on her bedroom door at her mums to remind her to read), they said during parents evening that she is vacant in class, performed lower at a recent test than she did in Year 2, they have had no communication with her mum, she doesn\t contact the school, or attend for important events (such as parents evening)3. She will be 8 this month and we live in EnglandT hanks in advance Wrote:
(06-08-2017, 06:35 AM)paynescott16 Wrote: I went to court three years ago and got monthly contact (5×hours on a sunday) I went back two years ago and had it increased to overnight (Saturday am to Sunday pm)

Since Then, my ex has broken up with her partner & needs me more. We now have a mutual agreement of fortnightly & shared holidays (I arranged this)

I'm concerned about the lack of stability for my daughter; she's hardly at home (cared for by various people & in breakfast/after school club), she's missing out on opportunities at school, the school are concerned about her & think she would be better with me. I can offer her a lot more.

Question is; could I keep my daughter & not return her to her mother? Would she have to apply for residence instead as this is not yet court ordered? Am I in breach of anything? Do i have this right?

Obviously I've thought long and hard about this & tried to work with my ex to better things (texts, letters, reminders) but nothing has changed. I don't want to rock the boat and cause stress to anyone but my daughter is my priority

Many thanks

Sorry I should add that I'm considering keeping my daughter because it would mean;

1. She wouldn't need to go to breakfast club
2. She wouldn't go to after school club
3. She would be collected from school every day
4. She would get home, do homework & reading & eat a substantial meal
5. She's be with me every weekend
6. She'd see her cousins more (who are important to her)
7. She'd have a routine
8. Her basic care needs would be met
9. She'd have consistency

All of which are not being done at present

I would of course support regular contact with her mum

You might have grounds to go back to Court, but I need to check some of the detail.

What do you mean by hardly at home, is this due to just Breakfast and Afterschool Clubs?
What concerns do the school have?
How old is your child, and can you confirm if you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland.
Reply
#5
(06-08-2017, 02:34 PM)paynescott16 Wrote:
(06-08-2017, 10:51 AM)Hi Mark,Thanks for your response.1. During the week, she is at breakfast and after school club. She gets collected about 18:30pm. Goes home, has a basic meal and goes to bed at 19:3o. At the weekends, she is either with me, or being cared for by her Nan, Aunt or Uncles (all a two hour drive away)2. They keep writing in her Reading book that she is not reading enough (she reads with me at every opportunity, I write in her book and we have designed a poster to put on her bedroom door at her mums to remind her to read), they said during parents evening that she is vacant in class, performed lower at a recent test than she did in Year 2, they have had no communication with her mum, she doesn\t contact the school, or attend for important events (such as parents evening)3. She will be 8 this month and we live in EnglandT hanks in advance Wrote:
(06-08-2017, 06:35 AM)paynescott16 Wrote: I went to court three years ago and got monthly contact (5×hours on a sunday) I went back two years ago and had it increased to overnight (Saturday am to Sunday pm)

Since Then, my ex has broken up with her partner & needs me more. We now have a mutual agreement of fortnightly & shared holidays (I arranged this)

I'm concerned about the lack of stability for my daughter; she's hardly at home (cared for by various people & in breakfast/after school club), she's missing out on opportunities at school, the school are concerned about her & think she would be better with me. I can offer her a lot more.

Question is; could I keep my daughter & not return her to her mother? Would she have to apply for residence instead as this is not yet court ordered? Am I in breach of anything? Do i have this right?

Obviously I've thought long and hard about this & tried to work with my ex to better things (texts, letters, reminders) but nothing has changed. I don't want to rock the boat and cause stress to anyone but my daughter is my priority

Many thanks

Sorry I should add that I'm considering keeping my daughter because it would mean;

1. She wouldn't need to go to breakfast club
2. She wouldn't go to after school club
3. She would be collected from school every day
4. She would get home, do homework & reading & eat a substantial meal
5. She's be with me every weekend
6. She'd see her cousins more (who are important to her)
7. She'd have a routine
8. Her basic care needs would be met
9. She'd have consistency

All of which are not being done at present

I would of course support regular contact with her mum

You might have grounds to go back to Court, but I need to check some of the detail.

What do you mean by hardly at home, is this due to just Breakfast and Afterschool Clubs?
What concerns do the school have?
How old is your child, and can you confirm if you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland.

You do have some valid points, but not all of them would help you case.

What I do agree with you 100%, is it needs looking at, and only a Court can do this. I would be putting in a C100 Application to Vary, stating some of your issues what I will cover later, but also asking the Court to put Cafcass in as a Guardian. At the very least you want to move this to shared care, and in light of her avaliablity with you taking the lead, to perhaps a reveral of the current situation. An expert taking a look at the current situation has to be the way forward.

Courts break it down to Care Time, Mondays - Thursdays and Quality Time, Weekend and School Holidays.

The child having breakfast in school I do not see an issue with.
The school meal, if provided via school again would be fine. If its a packed lunch being provided by your ex, then I would ask for feedback from school about it.
I agree 630pm home every night is to late.

Your ex will say she is working to provided for the child, but there needs to be a lot more contact with a parent. As the Resident Parent, she should be doing a lot more, or allowing you to be more invovled than you are. She also needs to have provision for homework to be done, what is not happening.

The fact she is not having Quality Time is of concern.

My suggestions are

a, the child lives with you, with your ex offered Friday till Sunday where they child is with your ex (not anyone else), and half school holidays (where some overnight stays with her family would be fine).

b, week 1, you have the child for 2 nights in the week
week 2, you have Friday till Sunday
also half school holidays.

c, you could offer to have the child from school 2 or 3 nights and drop her to your ex afterwards, but for Child Support in a CMS case its only overnight what counts.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#6
Thanks for getting back to me Mark. Your advice has been very informative. Ideally, I would like to avoid this as i don't want to disrupt my daughter's life but I have to do what's right for her & at the moment, she's spending very little time with her mother.

I fully appreciate that she is single & working full time to make ends meet but I have sent her various letters outlining my concerns & that I would be more than happy to care for her full time as I am in the position to do so. She informed me that things would change but I do not yet see this.

My ex left the county we lived in 4 years ago, without telling me. It took me a year to find her, then I took her straight to court for contact. My daughter lived two hours away. I have since moved closer to her but I am still an hour away so shared care would be difficult. If I lived closer, this would be a more suitable option as it's less disruptive.

In terms of applying for my daughter to live with me. Would I need to identify & have a placement for a school local to me? Ideally, I would like to apply for Residency once she has finished school for the year (July) as I would not want to pull her out of school mid term. Obviously applying to court & a new school takes time. I don't k ow how the judge would view that? Is it an expectation that you have a school placement? Difficult when you don't know if you'll win your case!
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#7
(06-08-2017, 08:29 PM)paynescott16 Wrote: Thanks for getting back to me Mark. Your advice has been very informative. Ideally, I would like to avoid this as i don't want to disrupt my daughter's life but I have to do what's right for her & at the moment, she's spending very little time with her mother.

I fully appreciate that she is single & working full time to make ends meet but I have sent her various letters outlining my concerns & that I would be more than happy to care for her full time as I am in the position to do so. She informed me that things would change but I do not yet see this.

My ex left the county we lived in 4 years ago, without telling me. It took me a year to find her, then I took her straight to court for contact. My daughter lived two hours away. I have since moved closer to her but I am still an hour away so shared care would be difficult. If I lived closer, this would be a more suitable option as it's less disruptive.

In terms of applying for my daughter to live with me. Would I need to identify & have a placement for a school local to me? Ideally, I would like to apply for Residency once she has finished school for the year (July) as I would not want to pull her out of school mid term. Obviously applying to court & a new school takes time. I don't k ow how the judge would view that? Is it an expectation that you have a school placement? Difficult when you don't know if you'll win your case!

You can not apply for a school in your area, until you have a Residancy Order. I would start the legal process now, as you will not be in Court for 1 month at least.

The fact that your ex is doing very little in the week, and nothing at weekends suggests to me she is only interested in Child Benefit, Tax Credits and Child Support.

Residancy is about taking the lead on care, not who has the right to arrange a babysitter.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#8
Mark, can I ask how you know so much? What is your background? Law? CAFCASS?

The information you have given me has given me hope! I have been thinking about this for a long time but I don't want to look like I have a personal vendetta against my ex and ultimately, I don't want to disrupt my daughter's life but I HAVE to be honest and proactive.

I have given her two years to make the necessary changes and I have tried to communicate with her at every opportunity but nothing has changed and my daughter is the one who is suffering. She loves coming to stay with me and my partner. She has a normal, happy routine here. Me and my partner have discussed this at great length and between us, we can ensure that she is at School when she needs to be and not in Breakfast Club, I will collect her from School (do her homework and reading), she'll sit down with us and eat a proper meal and be with us, or our family at the weekends. My partner works for the Local Authority so has all bank holidays off. My ex works in a phone shop and therefore works weekends and bank holidays.

I had thought that in order to look like a viable option in Court, I needed to identify and apply for a School but what you have said makes complete sense. I just don't want my daughter being left in limbo
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#9
(06-09-2017, 08:20 AM)paynescott16 Wrote: Mark, can I ask how you know so much? What is your background? Law? CAFCASS?

The information you have given me has given me hope! I have been thinking about this for a long time but I don't want to look like I have a personal vendetta against my ex and ultimately, I don't want to disrupt my daughter's life but I HAVE to be honest and proactive.

I have given her two years to make the necessary changes and I have tried to communicate with her at every opportunity but nothing has changed and my daughter is the one who is suffering. She loves coming to stay with me and my partner. She has a normal, happy routine here. Me and my partner have discussed this at great length and between us, we can ensure that she is at School when she needs to be and not in Breakfast Club, I will collect her from School (do her homework and reading), she'll sit down with us and eat a proper meal and be with us, or our family at the weekends. My partner works for the Local Authority so has all bank holidays off. My ex works in a phone shop and therefore works weekends and bank holidays.

I had thought that in order to look like a viable option in Court, I needed to identify and apply for a School but what you have said makes complete sense. I just don't want my daughter being left in limbo

My own case started 4 years ago, and is still ongoing. Due to the many issues in my case, I had to learn all the regulations myself.

How things work, is the Resident Parent needs to have childcare in place for when they are not about, except for Contact Time.

When a Court is looking at a case, if excessive Child Care is in place, and the other parent is avalaible they would get this time in most situations.

While the normal starting point for contact is Friday till Sunday every 2 weeks, it depends on the Non Resident Parents avalaiblity. To be clear on this, the Resident Parents prefered days and times do not come into it, as long as they still are getting at least half the Quality Time.

What might be best in your case, due to her work hours, is you asking for the child to live with you, offering contact of
1, the child can be collected from school (or you) and returned to school the next day (or back to you), on her days off work.
2, that if its the childs wish to visit/stay over with her family members, that you are happy for that to happen now and then if they are in agreement.
3, when your ex is on holdiay from work (5.5 weeks a year), the child can spend time with her, as long as it does not clash with any trips you want to take the child on.
4, Consideration given to allowing some visits to her relatives in school holidays, if the child wants to.

Just for info, in England, once the child is 10, their Wishes and Desires can come more into a case. Until then, assumtions are made in law that they need both parents, unless there is Child Welfare/Protection Issues.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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#10
We would not need much childcare. My partner can take her to School in the morning. I will collect her from School. I work alternate Saturday's for 4 hours and my partner does not. My partner has all public holidays off and she gets more annual leave than most of us, as she has what is considered a 'stressful' job.

Currently; her mother takes her to breakfast club at 7 am and collects her from after school club about 18:30. She has a Tuesday off work and takes her to and from School. At the weekends, she works and during School holidays, she also works. Therefore, my daughter is either with me, or the extended maternal family and not at home. I don't have any evidence of this, except for my daughter's word and mine but that is the way it is.

I would be as flexible as possible regarding contact, as I know that this is important for my daughter and I would have proposed exactly the same contact as I have; fortnightly (Fri-Sun) and shared school holidays. I have yet to share special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas yet but I would propose this as I think it is fair.

Your point about her being taken to and collected from school on her mother's day off is a valid point and I would also advocate for that, to be seen to be fair and supportive of the relationship.
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