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Mediation as a Solution for Child Custody and Visitation

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 26 Jun 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Separated Dads Mediation Divorce

No one’s going to try to say that separating is easy. Even at its smoothest, it’s a dizzying, horrible experience. In court it can lead to a lot of acrimony, and where issues are contested, legal bills can easily soar into the thousands, something neither you nor you former partner need at this stage.

Before you head into a costly court battle, there is an alternative, and it’s one suggested surprisingly often by solicitors or courts. Mediation is a lot less divisive than court wrangling, and statistics have show that for both parents the results have proved to be more satisfying than drawn-out legal procedures. Additionally, it’s a great deal less expensive.

How It Works

Mediation is a series of sessions with a trained, neutral mediator to sort out the issues around splitting up – note that this isn’t an attempt to reconcile the two of you. These involve child residence and contact (always putting the welfare of the children first), but also cover legal and Financial Issues. If you’re married, it’s not a substitute for Divorce; you’ll still need to go through that, but with everything else taken care of in a written mediation agreement, it can prove to be a much faster, simpler, and cheaper procedure as you’ll have a consent order.

You attend a series of mediation sessions, each lasting between one and two hours; rarely are more than six sessions necessary. The initial meeting can be the with you and your ex or individually, discussing the issues and whether the two of you can meet face to face. At no time does the mediator attempt to make decisions for you or take either side in the discussion. They’re simply facilitators in the proceedings.

Both parties will need to give honest, signed information about their finances for mediation to work. Be aware, though, that mediation doesn’t work for everyone, although it’s successful in the vast majority of cases. Once you start, you’re still free to stop if you wish. Everything you say is confidential, with the exception of your financial information and anything that might come to light about the potential of harm to anyone, most particularly your children. Note, too, that you have to at least find out about mediation before you can qualify for legal aid for any court settlement.

What It Costs

It’s possible to get legal aid to cover the costs of mediation, but for most people, you’ll be paying the bill yourself. Depending on the number of sessions involved, this can run between £100 and £1000; a lot depends on the complexity of the cases and the number of issues involved.

The Sessions

Obviously, it’s simplest if the sessions involve you and your ex-partner together. If so, ground rules will be established regarding no interruptions, shouting and so on. You might need separate rooms with the mediator going between the two of you.

You’ll need to be prepared for give and take. When it comes to residence and Contact Orders, the two of you want the same thing, which is whatever’s best for the kids, and the mediator can help you work out the most viable, practical solutions. But that also includes financial issues, such as mortgages – the kids need somewhere to live, after all. It’s not easy, but the mediator works with the pair of you to establish a solution that’s satisfactory to you both (and to the children).

It culminates in an agreement, called a Memorandum of Understanding or Statement of Outcome. You’ll probably want to have your solicitor review the agreement before you sign it, and once signed the two of you can also have your solicitors sign it to make everything legally binding. It might also be that you only reach agreement on some issues. If so, the mediator will record these, and the others can be resolved in court.

If your children are older, many mediators will suggest involving them in the sessions. It makes sense, since, in essence, you’re discussing their welfare.

Finding a Mediator

The Family Mediation Helpline (www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk) or National Family Mediation (www.nfm.org.uk) can help connect you to a mediator, visit their website to find your nearest service and contact details. It’s not a solution that’s going to work in every single case, but it’s often proved a value solution for separating families. More about mediation can be found here.

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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nursey - Your Question:
After receiving the letter for mediation they have told me that it is about contact. When we split my ex was offered contact but never followed this through. So my ex has not seen my son for 11 years, he has always known where we lived but never sent a letter or card even. I have always told my son the truth about my husband not being his biological parent. I spoke with my son and have done over the years and he has no interest in meeting my ex. 11 years of no contact is a long time, my son has his own opinions and is currently a happy boy with lots of family, friends and has his routines. I have emailed the mediator back to explain the length of time with no contact and what my sons wishes are. Part of me feels my ex has a lot of explaining to do and why get in touch now? why leave it so long? surely the child being older if more difficult? I'm not sure what the next step will be?

Our Response:
If your child's father wishes to pursue the issue, then if you refuse to attend mediation he would have to apply to court. I cannot speculate on why your ex wishes to contact his son now, there could be a variety of reasons. However, if the matter does go to court your son's opinion will be asked.
SeparatedDads - 26-Jun-18 @ 3:06 PM
Clbella - Your Question:
I got together with my now husband when his daughter was 18months old , we had contact on a regular basis although things were never perfect we all did ok and I had a good relationship with her mother , When my stepdaughter was 8 we all had a massive argument a few weeks past with no contact when we tried to resume contact she had moved changed phone numbers my stepdaughter is now 11 and we think we know where she lives and her school what should our next steps be ? Dad is on birth cert and pays matenice

Our Response:
Your husband would have to go back to the beginning and either contact his ex directly, or contact her through a solicitor and suggest mediation, please see link here. If his ex refuses, then your husband would have to apply to court.
SeparatedDads - 26-Jun-18 @ 12:30 PM
After receiving the letter for mediation they have told me that it is about contact. When we split my ex was offered contact but never followed this through. So my ex has not seen my son for 11 years, he has always known where we lived but never sent a letter or card even. I have always told my son the truth about my husband not being his biological parent. I spoke with my son and have done over the years and he has no interest in meeting my ex. 11 years of no contact is a long time, my son has his own opinions and is currently a happy boy with lots of family, friends and has his routines. I have emailed the mediator back to explain the length of time with no contact and what my sons wishes are. Part of me feels my ex has a lot of explaining to do and why get in touch now? why leave it so long? surely the child being older if more difficult? I'm not sure what the next step will be?
nursey - 26-Jun-18 @ 4:56 AM
I got together with my now husband when his daughter was 18months old , we had contact on a regular basis although things were never perfect we all did ok and I had a good relationship with her mother , When my stepdaughter was 8 we all had a massive argument a few weeks past with no contact when we tried to resume contact she had moved changed phone numbers my stepdaughter is now 11 and we think we know where she lives and her school what should our next steps be ? Dad is on birth cert and pays matenice
Clbella - 25-Jun-18 @ 7:24 PM
Nursey - Your Question:
I have a 12 year old son. My ex partner and I were never married and never lived together properly. He has another son who is 9 years older than mine. I split with my partner a few months after the birth. We agreed on a maintenance amount and then he stopped. I then when through the csa and now we are part of the child maintenance system. My ex has not seen my son for over 11 years, no contact at all. I met my husband just before my sons first birthday so he considers him to be his dad but he does know the truth. I have just received a referral for mediation, I was quite taken aback as I cannot possibly think what I have to mediate after no contact for 11 years. Do they discuss finances? My ex is now a Capatin in the navy and I'm not sure he declared this promotion and I also know his elder son ho is 20 this year started university last year so I guess payments would change. I'm thinking he wants to negotiate a new payment, I've found getting this letter unsettling and have emailed to ask what is there to mediate, will they tell me the reason?

Our Response:
If your ex and you go through CMS, then there is little that needs to be discussed here. CMS take its figures from the amount of tax your ex would pay via HMRC, regardless of whether he declared his earnings or not. Changes that need to be reported can be seen via the link here. I can only speculate it may be for contact to your son. Much depends upon whether the split was traumatic and access issues were difficult at the time. Some parents decide to leave contact until the child is at an age where they are more mature and can understand more, particularly if previous negotiations have proved unsuccessful. Although, as stated this is pure speculation. The mediator should tell you the reason.
SeparatedDads - 25-Jun-18 @ 11:02 AM
I have a 12 year old son. My ex partner and I were never married and never lived together properly. He has another son who is 9 years older than mine. I split with my partner a few months after the birth. We agreed on a maintenance amount and then he stopped. I then when through the csa and now we are part of the child maintenance system. My ex has not seen my son for over 11 years, no contact at all. I met my husband just before my sons first birthday so he considers him to be his dad but he does know the truth. I have just received a referral for mediation, I was quite taken aback as I cannot possibly think what I have to mediate after no contact for 11 years. Do they discuss finances? My ex is now a Capatin in the navy and I'm not sure he declared this promotion and I also know his elder son ho is 20 this year started university last year so I guess payments would change. I'm thinking he wants to negotiate a new payment, I've found getting this letter unsettling and have emailed to ask what is there to mediate, will they tell me the reason?
Nursey - 24-Jun-18 @ 8:30 AM
dinger - Your Question:
I have a 20 month son, from a 2 night stand. His mum did not tell me until he was 9months. since then I've had a DNA done to confirm it was me, my name is now on his birth certificate, so I have P.R. It has been to court and I have a visitation order of 6 hours a day on 2 seperate days, but my circumstances have changed dramitically since this. I have married and want to be more involved with him. At present I'm 'allowed' 2 overnights twice a month. When he is with me he has his own room, which he doesn't at home, (still in room with mum and step dad). She keeps throwing the order in my face saying I get more than I should. It's back in court but seems to be getting nowhere fast. I'm trying to get a 50-50% split of his time. What more can I do to stop her from disagreeing with me

Our Response:
You cannot stop your ex from disagreeing with you. As in all cases, 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.
SeparatedDads - 11-Jun-18 @ 11:10 AM
Lee - Your Question:
I split from my partner in Jan and have not seen my children since 11 March, she tells me to go court to see children and won't do mediation. she has a new fella and goes away overnight with her boyfriend and leaves with baby sister. I'm frustrated as would love to have the kids. what can I do. she ignored all email regarding my children and just tells the children you ain't seeing Dad unless he takes me to court!!Help!!! Any advise

Our Response:
If your ex refuses to attend mediation, then court is your only option, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 11-Jun-18 @ 10:24 AM
I have a 20 month son, from a 2 night stand. His mum did not tell me until he was 9months. since then I've had a DNA done to confirm it was me, my name is now on his birth certificate, so I have P.R. It has been to court and I have a visitation order of 6 hours a day on 2 seperate days, but my circumstances have changed dramitically since this. I have married and want to be more involved with him. At present I'm 'allowed' 2 overnights twice a month. When he is with me he has his own room, which he doesn't at home, (still in room with mum and step dad). She keeps throwing the order in my face saying I get more than I should. It's back in court but seems to be getting nowhere fast. I'm trying to get a 50-50% split of his time. What more can I do to stop her from disagreeing with me
dinger - 10-Jun-18 @ 9:24 PM
I split from my partner in Jan and have not seen my children since 11 March, she tells me to go court to see children and won't do mediation.. she has a new fella and goes away overnight with her boyfriend and leaves with baby sister .. I'm frustrated as would love to have the kids.. what can I do.. she ignored all email regarding my children and just tells the children you ain't seeing Dad unless he takes me to court!! Help!!! Any advise
Lee - 10-Jun-18 @ 6:07 AM
Hi hoping for advise. My partner has been divorced 2.5 years they have 2 children. He has paid CMS evey month without fail he also pays an extra £80 for clubs. We have the children every weekend overnight for 1 night and in holidays. This was arranged way before I met him and has never changed. The divorce and settlement of debts was very unfair and she left him with debts and refused to give him any money from the sale of their house. The CMS renewal came through this year, since January we moved in together and so my two children are taken into account which has reduced her CMS by £45 a month. She has threatened him with comments via text such as if he doesn’t pay more then his children will suffer. He is so concerned that she will minimise contact he is thinking of giving her more than the CMS plus clubs plus the debt he is still paying.My question is can she stop him having the children so her CMS payments go up?
Marnie - 7-Jun-18 @ 9:06 AM
Cost - Your Question:
At present myself and my ex are awaiting mediation.My ex had been paying Maintenance payments direct to me using the guidlines of the government calculator.I qualify to receive legal aid, he doesn't.He has told me that by law he can stop the maintenance payments direct to me for the children in order to pay his costs for mediation, is this true?

Our Response:
Child maintenance and child mediation are different areas. Your children's father is responsible for paying child maintenance regardless of whether you are having mediation counselling or not.
SeparatedDads - 4-Jun-18 @ 2:15 PM
At present myself and my ex are awaiting mediation. My ex had been paying Maintenance payments direct to me using the guidlines of the government calculator. I qualify to receive legal aid, he doesn't. He has told me that by law he can stop the maintenance payments direct to me for the children in order to pay his costs for mediation, is this true?
Cost - 2-Jun-18 @ 8:08 AM
Hi,I haven't seen my kids for 3 months now,i have a 2 year old and a 3 year old,I attended MIAM first session 2 months ago but the mediator told me my ex didn't want to mediate and wanted to apply for her own residency order,how does she apply if she hasn't got the signed form from mediation? Or will the mediator have still given her the order form? Thanks
daddy - 8-May-18 @ 9:33 PM
blueeye - Your Question:
I am in a tricky one, I split from my ex of 13 years 18months ago we have 4 children, my problem is not seeing them it is that the ex does not take them back or meet at agreed times, playing havoc with my work. I would be willing to try mediation but cannot imagine she would be amenable to a mutually beneficial agreement. Is there any official way of structuring visitation? I would seek shared custody, allowing me to continue working the half of the week that they are with their mother if I could guarantee she would go along with the arrangement. Any ideas?

Our Response:
Please see the link here, which will tell you all you need to know. Also, the link here shows you the official route you would need to take.
SeparatedDads - 3-May-18 @ 2:20 PM
i am in a tricky one, i split from my ex of 13 years 18months ago we have 4 children, my problem is not seeing them it is that the ex does not take them back or meet at agreed times, playing havoc with my work. I would be willing to try mediation but cannot imagine she would be amenable to a mutually beneficial agreement. Is there any official way of structuring visitation? I would seek shared custody, allowing me to continue working the half of the week that they are with their mother if I could guarantee she would go along with the arrangement. Any ideas?
blueeye - 2-May-18 @ 3:15 PM
Nicola - Your Question:
My cousin ex is denying him from seeing his son what is the next step

Our Response:
The article, When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access here and the gov.uk link here, should help answer your question.
SeparatedDads - 29-Mar-18 @ 2:21 PM
My cousin ex is denying him from seeing his son what is the next step
Nicola - 29-Mar-18 @ 12:14 PM
Seb - Your Question:
Me and my ex partner have been separated for about 3 years, I have always been able to see my son every weekend. Last year she moved 120 miles away, I still travelled the distance so that I could still see my son. Since Christmas she has now said that she won't let me see my son unless there is a court order in place or we go through mediation. What is the best route to take?

Our Response:
You would have to go through mediation and if you are not satisfied with any agreement reached, then you would have the option to apply to court. Please see link, here for more information.
SeparatedDads - 23-Mar-18 @ 12:18 PM
Me and my ex partner have been separated for about 3 years, I have always been able to see my son every weekend. Last year she moved 120 miles away, I still travelled the distance so that I could still see my son. Since Christmas she has now said that she won't let me see my son unless there is a court order in place or we go through mediation. What is the best route to take?
Seb - 22-Mar-18 @ 7:18 PM
Will - Your Question:
Hi thereMe and my ex partner have been split for just over 2 years.We used to live together in the Swindon area and between us we have a four year old son.When we split I moved an hour away to the Worcestershire area to rebuild my life.The arrangements was that I see once a day every week.It worked for a while but she soon put a stop to it.Me and my new partner then decided to apply for a court order for routine access to it which needed to go through mediation first which we did but my ex never showed up to it.The court agreed that I have him every other weekend and alternative Mondays and to be collected and dropped off to and from his home address.She got together with a new partner and then moved from Wiltshire to the Surrey area of Guildford which from my home address is over 3 hours away.We agreed to meet halfway for my access but now she is refusing this and says we have to revert back to the court agreement and for me to collect him from his “home address” in Guildford.The court order was put in place in the Wiltshire area but doesn’t actually state an address for me to collect him so does she have any rights to use the court order in the way she is or not!It’s a very long journey for me to collect him and bring him back and I’m wondering if there is anything I can do about this?

Our Response:
Your only recourse would be to refer the matter back to court for a variation to the order, due to the change in circumstances. If you have parental responsibility, your ex should have requested permission from you to move from the area. Any changes to a contact order must be agreed by both parties. One party cannot unilaterally decide to change the order or apply additional terms. If they wish to do so, they should refer the matter back to the courts. In the first instance, you may wish to suggest mediation again, or a solicitor's letter stating your mutual agreement to share the journey (because of her decision to make changes to the order by moving from the area) and if the shared pick-up and drop-off is not reinstated you intend to refer the matter back to court. It doesn't matter that the address was not stated, your ex is not going to lie in court about having moved. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put your child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
SeparatedDads - 23-Jan-18 @ 9:32 AM
Hi there Me and my ex partner have been split for just over 2 years. We used to live together in the Swindon area and between us we have a four year old son. When we split I moved an hour away to the Worcestershire area to rebuild my life. The arrangements was that I see once a day every week. It worked for a while but she soon put a stop to it. Me and my new partner then decided to apply for a court order for routine access to it which needed to go through mediation first which we did but my ex never showed up to it. The court agreed that I have him every other weekend and alternative Mondays and to be collected and dropped off to and from his home address. She got together with a new partner and then moved from Wiltshire to the Surrey area of Guildford which from my home address is over 3 hours away. We agreed to meet halfway for my access but now she is refusing this and says we have to revert back to the court agreement and for me to collect him from his “home address” in Guildford. The court order was put in place in the Wiltshire area but doesn’t actually state an address for me to collect him so does she have any rights to use the court order in the way she is or not! It’s a very long journey for me to collect him and bring him back and I’m wondering if there is anything I can do about this?
Will - 22-Jan-18 @ 3:16 PM
Sean - Your Question:
I split up from my partner March this year, which she ended the relationship as it was my fault gambling behind her back which I shouldn’t of done an should of got help. We have 3 beautiful daughters and I’ve been seeing them every fortnight an having them that weekend. But now it’s got worse I think my ex is still using it against me that I ruined everything, she currently has a boyfriend an says she’s happy in her life but now has stopped me seeing the girls just before Christmas and said I have to go through court to have them and if the courts agree to me seeing them then she’s gonna go through social services an say I’m not a fit parent to my girls and basically ruin any chance I have with them. She knows the girls are my life and at the moment I’m holding strong but if this did go to court an she made me out to be this monster that I’m not I’m scared I’ll lose them for good, she also knows it will be hard for me to pay for all this. All I think about is the girls not having a relationship with me an there faces when I’m not there to pick them up. When we had our divorce come through we both agreed the past is the past an the girls are what matter but all of a sudden I’m getting blamed that I’m feeding my daughters heads with lies that she is to blame for the break up, I don’t discuss anything with the girls about that and it was me to blame anyway through gambling. I’m thinking about mediation but with us both in same room she won’t let that work without kicking off

Our Response:
Firstly, you and your ex would both have to attend mediation before any court application could be made. Regardless of your gambling habit, it does not make you a bad person or a bad dad. Unless of course your gambling habit makes you unreliable as a father and your ex may have recourse to complain if you were consistently letting your children down. Trying to develop an amicable relationship with your ex is always a good idea, please see link here and here. If this fails, then mediation is the next step, and court as a last resort. However, many non-resident parents take the matter to court. The courts do want NRP's to have a good relationship with their children, so unless there is a very good reason why you shouldn't, then access will be put back into place.
SeparatedDads - 18-Dec-17 @ 1:44 PM
I split up from my partner March this year, which she ended the relationship as it was my fault gambling behind her back which I shouldn’t of done an should of got help. We have 3 beautiful daughters and I’ve been seeing them every fortnight an having them that weekend. But now it’s got worse I think my ex is still using it against me that I ruined everything, she currently has a boyfriend an says she’s happy in her life but now has stopped me seeing the girls just before Christmas and said I have to go through court to have them and if the courts agree to me seeing them then she’s gonna go through social services an say I’m not a fit parent to my girls and basically ruin any chance I have with them. She knows the girls are my life and at the moment I’m holding strong but if this did go to court an she made me out to be this monster that I’m not I’m scared I’ll lose them for good, she also knows it will be hard for me to pay for all this. All I think about is the girls not having a relationship with me an there faces when I’m not there to pick them up. When we had our divorce come through we both agreed the past is the past an the girls are what matter but all of a sudden I’m getting blamed that I’m feeding my daughters heads with lies that she is to blame for the break up, I don’t discuss anything with the girls about that and it was me to blame anyway through gambling. I’m thinking about mediation but with us both in same room she won’t let that work without kicking off
Sean - 17-Dec-17 @ 8:52 AM
Soph- Your Question:
My son is 2 and a half lives full time with me but has contact with his dad one day every weekend he has been with his new partner for 4 months and now wants more access and for him to sleep over I don't want this to happen because relationship hasn't been long enough am I well within my rights am only thinking about my son he gets upset when daddy leaves or just doesn't turn up my ex wants us to go to meadation but I won't change my mind on sleeping him over until he can say he wants to himself , he doesn't sleep very well at all even at home in his own bed.

Our Response:
It may be worth consenting to mediation so that you can both attempt to resolve the issue through agreement. As both of you are parents, you both (in theory) have an equal say on the upbringing of your child. If you do not agree to trying to come to a workable arrangement via mediation, your ex will have the opportunity to apply to court, which will take the matter out of your hands. As in all cases, 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. If your ex chooses to take the matter to court for consideration and a court order is put in place, you will then have to abide by this order whether you agree to it or not.
SeparatedDads - 13-Nov-17 @ 2:00 PM
My son is 2 and a half lives full time with me but has contact with his dad one day every weekend he has been with his new partner for 4 months and now wants more access and for him to sleep over I don't want this to happen because relationship hasn't been long enough am I well within my rights am only thinking about my son he gets upset when daddy leaves or just doesn't turn up my ex wants us to go to meadation but I won't change my mind on sleeping him over until he can say he wants to himself , he doesn't sleep very well at all even at home in his own bed .
Soph - 11-Nov-17 @ 11:16 AM
Charlie - Your Question:
I have a 10 month old son who my ex controls all contact. I am a smoker and was when we met. I have been reducing my smoking by using patches. Since my son was born my ex has had her parents take him to their place through the day till late evening even if I’m off work. She says that I have to work upto having him all day and that I can’t have him over night because she is breast feeding. She also says she will be Breast feeding till he is 2. However she only breast feeds in the morning and at night on days that she works. On these days he gets formula and solids. So I said I could give him formula and solids on my days off and have my son. My ex refuses and only lets me see him a couple hours here and there at her discretion. This situation is tearing me apart. My ex refuses to let me have him all day despite me using patches and never smoking anywhere near him. Additionally after smoking I change my outer clothes wash and don’t pick him up for an hour (ex partners rules). Her parents go along with everything she says and encourage it. This situation has resulted in me being signed off work for the first time ever. What really hurts is knowing that not seeing my son regularly is having an effect on our bond and my ex doesn’t care at all. It appears that it’s about control, she has even started lying about everything to paint herself in a good light and accused me of having an affair. Any advice would be welcome as I feel like I’m banging my head off a wall constantly

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Mediation would be the first option, as would legal advice if you can afford it (sometimes a solicitor's letter to a resident parent can put things into context). Court is the next option if you cannot agree to a resolution. If you cannot afford legal representation in court, you can self-litigate, please see link here . Our Separated Dads forum may help you, as dads who have been through this before can give you some helpful advice. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 28-Sep-17 @ 2:09 PM
I have a 10 month old son who my ex controls all contact. I am a smoker and was when we met. I have been reducing my smoking by using patches. Since my son was born my ex has had her parents take him to their place through the day till late evening even if I’m off work. She says that I have to work upto having him all day and that I can’t have him over night because she is breast feeding. She also says she will be Breast feeding till he is 2. However she only breast feeds in the morning and at night on days that she works. On these days he gets formula and solids. So I said I could give him formula and solids on my days off and have my son. My ex refuses and only lets me see him a couple hours here and there at her discretion. This situation is tearing me apart. My ex refuses to let me have him all day despite me using patches and never smoking anywhere near him. Additionally after smoking I change my outer clothes wash and don’t pick him up for an hour (ex partners rules). Her parents go along with everything she says and encourage it. This situation has resulted in me being signed off work for the first time ever. What really hurts is knowing that not seeing my son regularly is having an effect on our bond and my ex doesn’t care at all. It appears that it’s about control, she has even started lying about everything to paint herself in a good light and accused me of having an affair. Any advice would be welcome as I feel like I’m banging my head off a wall constantly
Charlie - 26-Sep-17 @ 6:05 AM
Dave - Your Question:
Over the last 2 years my 5yo has had spells of coming to live with me due to the mother not being able to cope mentally.She recently had a spell of 4 months living with me full time and me juggling my job around the school run, while this was going on fsp meetings have been held with health care workers, a mental health team and school teachers where we agreed that we would slowly try introduce my child back to her mother who also has a new born and another girl while was spending time with her dad for the same situation.As agreed we weened them back in only to find the mother wasn't coping, house was a mess, volatile new relationship and one incident where my daughter wasn't collected from school.The health visitor then alerted the social services who attended the next meeting after visiting me and visiting my ex's house and seeing that she wasn't coping. In this meeting it was recommended that the mother should agree for my daughter to come and live with me which she did. The social worker said this would be on a temp to perm basis and I would be looking at 6-12 months before she could potentially be better.In this time I had to leave my job to make sure that I could make the school runs due to work not being able to provide flexible working hours as I drove for a living. I managed to juggle work while I worked my notice and getting my child to school.Now my daughter is currently going to a school near her mums which in a day is A 90 mile round trip which obviously isn't sustainable with me not in full time work.My worries are that if in 12 months time she decides she is better and the social agree that my girl will be placed back with her mother and that I will have no leg to stand on about it. I've made it clear that I plan on changing my daughters school and Doctors and the child benifit has been put in my name.Are they able to do this without my consent now that I'm her primary carer, and could she object to me changing my daughters schools? Or would it be better to seek legal advise to be doubly sure?I've tried to compress it down as much as possible but any advice would be well received.Thanks in advance

Our Response:
You would be advised to seek legal advice with the objective of challenging the decision of Social Services through court. As you are now the primary carer of your child, in theory you should be allowed to make decisions based upon what you think is in the best interests of your child. However, in practice and as Social Services is involved you may be best served to apply to request permission from a judge.
SeparatedDads - 22-Sep-17 @ 2:22 PM
Over the last 2 years my 5yo has had spells of coming to live with me due to the mother not being able to cope mentally. She recently had a spell of 4 months living with me full time and me juggling my job around the school run, while this was going on fsp meetings have been held with health care workers, a mental health team and school teachers where we agreed that we would slowly try introduce my child back to her mother who also has a new born and another girl while was spending time with her dad for the same situation. As agreed we weened them back in only to find the mother wasn't coping, house was a mess, volatile new relationship and one incident where my daughter wasn't collected from school. The health visitor then alerted the social services who attended the next meeting after visiting me and visiting my ex's house and seeing that she wasn't coping. In this meeting it was recommended that the mother should agree for my daughter to come and live with me which she did. The social worker said this would be on a temp to perm basis and I would be looking at 6-12 months before she could potentially be better. In this time I had to leave my job to make sure that I could make the school runs due to work not being able to provide flexible working hours as I drove for a living. I managed to juggle work while I worked my notice and getting my child to school. Now my daughter is currently going to a school near her mums which in a day is A 90 mile round trip which obviously isn't sustainable with me not in full time work. My worries are that if in 12 months time she decides she is better and the social agree that my girl will be placed back with her mother and that I will have no leg to stand on about it. I've made it clear that I plan on changing my daughters school and Doctors and the child benifit has been put in my name. Are they able to do this without my consent now that I'm her primary carer, and could she object to me changing my daughters schools? Or would it be better to seek legal advise to be doubly sure? I've tried to compress it down as much as possible but any advice would be well received. Thanks in advance
Dave - 21-Sep-17 @ 10:58 PM
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