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Child care court
#1
Dear all
I am taking my ex to family court to prevent her moving my son away and maintain my access. I have just received notice that a solicitor will be acting on her behalf. Do I need to get legal representation or can I represent myself? Is it a mistake to speak for yourself if you have no legal experience? Any advice would be greatly appreciated
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#2
(02-08-2019, 07:38 PM)mmacleod73 Wrote: Dear all
I am taking my ex to family court to prevent her moving my son away and maintain my access. I have just received notice that a solicitor will be acting on her behalf. Do I need to get legal representation or can I represent myself? Is it a mistake to speak for yourself if you have no legal experience? Any advice would be greatly appreciated

You can not get Legal Aid for this, so it comes down to if you can afford to pay for one or not.
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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#3
Hi. Where are you at with this, because if she is planning to move away you need to be acting fast with an urgent 24 hour application. Or it can happen extremely quickly.

First stage is an urgent prohibited steps application. This could be ex parte, as urgent, or the Judge may say come back in a week and serve notice on the other party (is this what has happened?). At that hearing the Judge may issue a temporary prohibited steps order, which prevents her moving away for a period of time until there is a full hearing - maybe a few weeks later.

If you can give more details it will help us advise. How far is she planning to move? What are her reasons? Is there a history of her trying to prevent contact or has it all been going fine until now?

The upshot of this is - that 99.9% of the time an ex will be allowed to move. Because it is her human right to choose where to live. And if she has a new job or is moving closer to her family or in with a new partner, those are all considered valid reasons. However if it can be shown that this is a deliberate attempt to try and restrict contact time, then in some cases a court has, rather than prevent the move, allow it but say the ex has to do all the pickups and drop offs (that was one case I read about and when presented with that, the ex decided not to move after all).

A lot depends on the circumstances right now. I had to do prohibited steps last year. The move wasn't yet definite and organised, just "proposed". My hearing didn't go well because she claimed distress. But the outcome was she was expected to make a court undertaking not to move without giving me adequate notice for mediation to agree child arrangements. So it couldn't be a moonlight flit. Then if reasonable child arrangements weren't agreed it would be back to court.

You need to think carefully about what you want out of this, if she is given permission to move, and what to apply for.

So to answer the question - I think you need some legal advice - you can get a half hour's free legal advice. Personally I would want legal representation for a prohibited steps application.

For a standard C100 application for a Child Arrangements order, many Dads have done it themselves - because the law is on your side basically - it is the child's right to have regular and significant contact with both parents - barring any serious welfare issues.

In a relocation case though, the child's rights conflict with the Mother's human rights. And if the child lives with the Mother and spends most of the time with her.

Please let us know if you have an application in yet and what for. I was advised to apply for urgent prohibited steps and a child arrangements order saying that if she did move I wished to apply for residency. But I already have a "lives with both parents" order. I would suggest something similar. C100 for urgent prohibited steps application (48 hours) and also for Child Arrangements, asking for 50/50 shared care "lives with both parents" if the Mother decides to move. And set out how that would work. It would need to be something like less time in term time and more time in holidays:

eg 3 week-ends in four (if that's not possible then every other week-end) plus all the half term periods, four weeks in the summer, half of Easter and Christmas.

Do you have an order at the moment?

If she is moving no more than an hour away then you are highly unlikely to be able to prevent it. The key thing now is evidence. Get together anything you have on paper to support a case. Any emails from her or from you, relating to discussion of a move, any other documents. Any emails showing evidence of her trying to restrict or prevent contact etc.
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