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What Happens If My Ex Keeps the Children Without My Consent?

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 14 Mar 2021 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Abduction Parental Responsibility

The thought of your ex partner taking your children is the worst nightmare of many parents, and so if it happens, understandably it is a very emotional and stressful time. Many people turn to the police for help to return their children, but how much the police can help is very dependent upon your personal situation. If both parents have Parental Responsibility and one parent is keeping the children against the other's wishes, the police CANNOT help, even if the children do not normally live with them. However, if the parent does not have Parental Responsibility, the police will be able to intervene.

So what is Parental Responsibility?

The Children Act 1989 defines 'Parental Responsibility' as 'all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child'.In plain English, this means that you have responsibility to:

  • house the child
  • protect and maintain the child
  • make decisions about their education
  • name the child
  • consent to any medical treatment for the child

Mothers automatically have Parental Responsibility as they are listed on the child's birth certificate. A father will automatically have Parental Responsibility if he was married to the mother at the time of the birth or was listed on the birth certificate. Alternatively, both parents can sign a Parental Responsibility Agreement and register it with the courts, or more commonly, a father can apply to the courts for Parental Responsibility.

To apply to the courts, you will need to fill in form C1 found at Gov.UK - Forms and Guidance. A court fee of £215 is also payable though you may be able to get assistance with this if you receive benefits or have a low income.

But what if both parents have Parental Responsibility?

The father of my son has decided not to return my child. He has access every week, but we had an argument about what time he should return my child and he said he wasn't going to return him as he has parental responsibility and he has found out he can legally keep our son. I called the police, but they said they can do nothing about it as he is named on the birth certificate and therefore has PR. I am beside myself with worry. It has been four days now and my ex is still refusing to return him. My son is only four and has never been away from me longer than a day. I can't eat or sleep and I am beside myself with worry. I just want my little boy back.

If both parents have Parental Responsibility then the police cannot intervene to take the child off one parent and give them to the other; the police cannot choose between parents, that is the remit of the courts.

In this situation, if you are concerned about being able to see the children, or, if you think that the children should live with you, you can apply for a Child Arrangement Order.

Note: You may have heard about Contact Orders or Residence Orders. A Child Arrangement Order replaces these older orders but those with Contact or Residence Orders need not re-apply. Also confusingly often those in practice will still refer to (for example) obtaining a Residence Order when applying for a Child Arrangement Order.]

What is a Child Arrangement Order?

This court order determines where your child lives, which relatives they have contact with, and what type of contact (e.g. in person, phone calls, or letters). Anyone with Parental Responsibility can apply for an Order.

To apply to the courts, you will need to fill in form C100 found at Gov.UK - Forms and Guidance. A court fee of £215 is also payable though you may be able to get assistance with this if you receive benefits or have a low income.

I am a father of two children six and three. When I went round to pick them up last week I found my ex collapsed on the sofa through drink and drugs and her ex partner also high on drugs. My daughter and son were not dressed and my daughter's nappy had not been changed for hours and she was playing with food in the dog's bowl. I have heard they are not being fed or looked after properly and the Social Services are looking into this.

Ordinarily, the court will give notice of the hearing to both parties so that they can attend and give their side of the story. However if you think that your child / children may be in danger, then you may be able to apply for an emergency without notice hearing which will be much quicker than a full "with notice hearing". However be aware that this will only be a temporary solution and that any without notice hearing will be followed shortly after by a full "with notice" hearing in which the court order may be changed. If you are considering this option, seek professional advice or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for some free assistance.

If you can show that your former partner is not able or appropriate to look after your child / children, you may be able to get an order stating that the children should live with you. However you will need to evidence this.

Below are easy ways to obtain this evidence:

  • Take photographs of the condition of your children when you see them (e.g. unwashed / dirty clothes / dirty nappy)
  • Video or photograph your interaction with your former partner when going to collect your children, including any condition of their house as you can see it from areas into which you are invited / the doorway. However remember that you must not trespass into the property.
  • Take a witness with you when you go to try to collect the children (e.g. a family friend or if possible an independent person such as a local church minister).

Note that the courts are very unlikely to not award at least contact to a parent, even if they are inappropriate to look after a child. However this contact may be indirect, such as by letter, or supervised at a contact centre.

Remember that whilst the police cannot take a child away from a parent with Parental Responsibility, they are able to intervene and remove a child if there is a real risk to life. If you are concerned about a real and immediate threat to your child's safety, speak to your local police force and social services.

If you are unsure about your rights, speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau who will be able to provide you with free assistance. The courts may be able to help, but this can be a lengthy process and you will need to evidence any concerns. It is therefore important to know your options before seeking a court order.

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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Hello I let my daughter go to her father on the 25th January for one week, she wanted to stay for another week so I let her. Before she went she had asked for loads of things but because she had just got lots for Christmas I said it was too soon and she she needed to wait for quite a while. When she went to her fathers he bought her everything she wanted. She was waiting for an online delivery that would have arrived when she would be back with me and rather then asking to stay for anotherweek with her father she broke down in tears to him and made lots of horrible things up. I am now facing family law court with fees I can’t afford while he manipulates and keeps my daughter and buys her what she wants. All the time making out very serious allegations about me. It appears that I am guilty until proving innocent. I haven’t seen my daughter in 6.5 weeks ( we have never been apart for more that 2 weeks before). He lies are getting bigger. Everyone is listening to her as she is 13. I love my daughter but I know the massive lies she has fabricated during lock down and I feel social media ) tick tick and Instagram) have played a huge part in this. No one has listened to my side yet even though she has lived with me her whole life. Last Mother’s Day she told me I was her best friend and mum rolled into one. This year they have encouraged her to not see me o. Mother’s Day. I am desperate and now broken. I feel no one is listening to me because of the serious allegations that are not true!!!! Any help please
Billie - 14-Mar-21 @ 4:40 AM
Hello I let my daughter go to her father on the 25th January for one week, she wanted to stay for another week so I let her. Before she went she had asked for loads of things but because she had just got lots for Christmas I said it was too soon and she she needed to wait for quite a while. When she went to her fathers he bought her everything she wanted. She was waiting for an online delivery that would have arrived when she would be back with me and rather then asking to stay for anotherweek with her father she broke down in tears to him and made lots of horrible things up. I am now facing family law court with fees I can’t afford while he manipulates and keeps my daughter and buys her what she wants. All the time making out very serious allegations about me. It appears that I am guilty until proving innocent. I haven’t seen my daughter in 6.5 weeks ( we have never been apart for more that 2 weeks before). He lies are getting bigger. Everyone is listening to her as she is 13. I love my daughter but I know the massive lies she has fabricated during lock down and I feel social media ) tick tick and Instagram) have played a huge part in this. No one has listened to my side yet even though she has lived with me her whole life. Last Mother’s Day she told me I was her best friend and mum rolled into one. This year they have encouraged her to not see me o. Mother’s Day. I am desperate and now broken. I feel no one is listening to me because of the serious allegations that are not true!!!! Any help please
Billie - 10-Mar-21 @ 12:24 AM
I need some advice on steps to take as my ex partner ha stopped contact with me & my son over an argument I had with me & ex partner father now since then it’s been nothing but hell trying to see my son who lives with my ex partner & her parents I can’t come to the house when arrangements was made now they change so that he could come with me have visits at my house now she has stopped that & stop full contact I can’t even get a reply back to a simple message welfare of my son so when she doesn’t reply I get police at my door for a harassment which isn’t right when concerns my son now I just neeed to know where I stand?
Ant - 2-Mar-21 @ 10:50 AM
SAM you got social services involved in your life you got siblings raping each other you and hubby telling your daughter its normal behaviour .your whole family needs help you have crisis in your life .stuff the blogs fix your broken family. It's not normal behaviour brother and sister should not have relations .they will end up breeding inbred children together bye the sound off things you and hubby proud .well you won't be when the child comes out retarted .
C laurie - 10-Jan-21 @ 3:10 AM
Sam instead off writing in blogs .you should work on your family bye the sound off things you really need to (I have never meet anyone who has had social services called on them) .I see now we run in different circles.good luck with your life
C laurie - 10-Jan-21 @ 12:01 AM
Sam I see you will keep posting .(post away your games will never work with a guy like me ).I know excaltly the kind off women you are and I have zero respect for.in reality I will never speak to you again thats the gods truth .
C laurie - 9-Jan-21 @ 8:59 PM
Hi I would like some information surrounding my rights and what to do. My youngest daughter (16) has told me recently that she was raped by her step brother about a year and half ago. Her mum and step dad covered this up and told her that it would be best to say it was consensual. I have contacted the police and an investigation is in process. Since then I have refused to allow my daughter or Son (12) to go to her house for their own safety (if she can keep this quiet and lie then what else is she keeping quiet about) the step brother also could be there. Social services are involved, and have stated they feel it is for the best for both to be at mine. The children’s mum has been in contact asking for her son to return to hers, I’ve told her I don’t think it’s safe for him so won’t be returning. My question is am I allowed to keep them from going back to the house with their mum? I know with my daughter she doesn’t want to return. My son is mixed, he would like to see his mum. Please help.
Mick - 9-Jan-21 @ 1:14 PM
This is to old suzi.( Even if your child past away I wouldn't even attend the funeral )so please stop posting( i dont want your help in seeing this child )so there is no need for you to be on these sites .its a new year get your partner to (legally adopt her if she looking for a father figure ).suzi I am like timmy you should off thought harder about the person I am before falling pregnant so it's your own fault .stop posting and get on with your own life (.Because I am never coming to see bree ever or taking you to court )I dont think I can make it any clearer.
C laurie - 3-Jan-21 @ 11:31 PM
This is to old suzi .even if this (child was mine) I never would have taking you to court thats the gods truth .(I want nothing to do with your child )so please stop posting its a new year so put your time and energy into your family .
C laurie - 3-Jan-21 @ 11:07 PM
This is to old suzi j Barnes . Stop (posting loser) I dont want your child never did .(in reality I would off taking you to court 11 years ago if I wanted to see your child )so must realise that???.you should off had a child to (Gordon or Dave or Jason or Dan or Travis)if you wanted someone to take you to court thats( gods truth ).I am like Jamie and Timmy us blokes dont want children we to busy doing other activities and fooling around with hotter younger women .that's the gods truth .
C laurie - 3-Jan-21 @ 10:46 PM
Hi, i have an issue. My wife went in romania in holiday to her parents and after a week she told me she will not going to come back in uk and she will go in italy to her sister. I do not agree at all with this decision because my son is at school in uk and he was here for the last 4 years. We are not divorced and she had a document from me wich expired seccond day she arrived in italy.What can i do to bring my son back in uk ? How can i do it? Thank you
Sorin - 3-Jan-21 @ 9:19 PM
hi im trying to seek some legal advice or any other advice reguarding my equal rights as a parent both myself and mother signed birth certificate and were both presant . ive had the child nearly every day for 7 years taking her to school picking her up . doing sports days . fun days etc. me and my partner were together for those years . now due to an alledged domestic which me or my partner never phoned police it was someone else.i was arrested and released next day no charges even got an appoligy .there has never been any court orders nothing . now one parent has decided to keep the childand says i can now only see my child a couple hours a week . which i think is discusting ive heard the child on the phone pleading to go out with me .which is upseting . .am i right in thinking and also reading on certain posts when the child comes to my housei can legally keep her . my ex is using the child as a weapon . i would never stop a child seeing the other parent as i belive it discusting . pablo - 17-Dec-20 @ 10:45 PM
pablo - 17-Dec-20 @ 11:38 PM
hi im trying to seek some legal advice or any other advice reguarding my equal rights as a parent both myself and mother signed birth certificate and were both presant . ive had the child nearly every day for 7 years taking her to school picking her up . doing sports days . fun days etc. me and my partner were together for those years . now due to an alledged domestic which me or my partner never phoned police it was someone else.i was arrested and released next day no charges even got an appoligy .there has never been any court orders nothing . now one parent has decided to keep the childand says i can now only see my child a couple hours a week . which i think is discusting ive heard the child on the phone pleading to go out with me .which is upseting . .am i right in thinking and also reading on certain posts when the child comes to my housei can legally keep her . my ex is using the child as a weapon . i would never stop a child seeing the other parent as i belive it discusting . pablo - 17-Dec-20 @ 10:45 PM
pablo - 17-Dec-20 @ 10:55 PM
hi im trying to seek some legal advice or any other advice reguarding my equal rights as a parent both myself and mother signed birth certificate and were both presant . ive had the child nearly every day for 7 years taking her to school picking her up . doing sports days . fun days etc. me and my partner were together for those years . now due to an alledged domestic which me or my partner never phoned police it was someone else.i was arrested and released next day no charges even got an appoligy .there has never been any court orders nothing . now one parent has decided to keep the childand says i can now only see my child a couple hours a week . which i think is discusting ive heard the child on the phone pleading to go out with me .which is upseting . .am i right in thinking and also reading on certain posts when the child comes to my housei can legally keep her . my ex is using the child as a weapon . i would never stop a child seeing the other parent as i belive it discusting . pablo - 17-Dec-20 @ 10:45 PM
pablo - 17-Dec-20 @ 10:55 PM
hi im trying to seek some legal advice reguarding my equal rights as a parent both myself and mother signed birth certificate and were both presant . ive had the child nearly every day for 7 years taking her to school picking her up . doing sports days . fun days etc. me and my partner were together for those years . now due to an alledgeddomesticwhich me or my partner never phoned police it was someone else.i was arrested and released next day no charges even got an appoligy .there has never been any court orders nothing . now one parent has decided to keep the childand says i can now only see my child a couple hours a week . which i think is discustingive heard the child on the phone pleading to go out with me .which is upseting . .am i right in thinking and also reading on certain posts when the child comes to my housei can legally keep her . my ex is using the child as a weapon . i would never stop a child seeing the other parent as i belive it discusting .
pablo - 17-Dec-20 @ 10:45 PM
Hi, I am separated from my wife and two children. I have moved back to the home town where my children are and have been paying maintenance since the separation. I am now in a position to have my children overnight for up to four nights in ten, so essentially a 60/40 split. My ex partner is refusing to allow me to have the children for that amount of time for her own emotional well-being. If she is denying me access and I and wanting to have more access. Will that be taken into account by CMS?
Coley - 2-Dec-20 @ 8:12 PM
Hi I'm writing here today for help as the mother of my child threatens me all the time to take my daughter away from me if she doesn't get her own way, I don't know what legal right I have to see her if I leave the relationship I don't want to lose my child, she's my everything can someone please help me, I work full time and I do everything for her, I try so hard ??
Dan - 28-Nov-20 @ 1:41 PM
@kit.if that was the case in my situation I wouldn't take the child .even if she was getting beating from partner its( none off my business). I am not like dan or Darryl who would take there children and put them in school.i would say to the mother give her daughter to (her family) to look after if they cantjust put the kid into the care off the state .once her mother said once her daughters been raped in my head i was like wtf do you want me to do about it .her mother never had any issues calling the police on me back in the day .her daughter she get over it not that big off deal its not like she was murdered.
Christopher - 18-Nov-20 @ 1:06 AM
Hi....my ex cannot cope any more with our children I have PR and I told her I would take care of them as she had a ex who wS beating her etc. She then wrote a letter of consent stating I could have custody and put them in a school in my area. Where do I start for custody. I've applied for schools ive notified third parties yet I fear she will try and take them back and place them in danger as the ex keeps coming back with more threats. I am happily married and my wife excepts my children whole heartedly. Please advice thank you Kit
Kit - 14-Nov-20 @ 10:40 PM
My partner and I got a dog 6 months ago that bit his child (completely our fault he left the room when he shouldn't have with the kid eating) but now eventhough we are willing to muzzle the dog and keep her in the garden for the weekend every week totally away from the child mind you she still won't let him see his kid until the dog gets rehomed. does the father have any rights?? Is it ok to keep him from seeing his son even though he's taken precautions so it never happens again? We really want to keep the dog but she won't allow it with her son there
C.S98 - 14-Nov-20 @ 4:35 PM
So for the second time in 6 months this women has had 2 covid scares. The first she didn't even tell me about until after she got the results, so I dropped my daughter back with her knowing she might have it. So you would think thats a wake up call. Oh no she then proceeds to have people round, go round other peoples homes and travel across the country to another friends. 3 of these work within the NHS may I add. And has managed to start a new relationship ????? Bare in mind my daughter has asthma. So I get dogs abuse for wanting her here until she gets the all clear. Am I missing something?
Faze - 3-Nov-20 @ 12:08 AM
I reported my ex for domestic abuse never made a statement my mum has forced me to set a protection plan up against me having no parental rights for the time being, does my ex have any rights to my child she won’t allow phone calls to him regarding my son or anything. He has previous ss involvement but never any charges where does he stand pls. I seriously don’t want my mum in full care of my son as she is toxic and only wants my son for finacial gain.
Kay - 21-Oct-20 @ 3:10 PM
My daughter ex boyfriend took four children frm my daughter made false allegation to police which wozent true it been 12 weeks Ishe ad contact twice now he stoppin us see children durin 12 weeks I knew it just get house now been told he got house while this woz a goin wiv police it been prove he a liar now it ova we can't get them back he leavin children wiv childminder a while he works apply for court but it gonna take few weeks my daughter suffers 15 years of domestic abuse now she got rid of ex he took children there no section 47 or anything so sad I worry bout my daughter depress cryin all time she good mother the ex is just out to hurt her make sure she loses everything he controlinI blame police as it woz I goin investigation we follow the rules and police advice but now it ova we. Ant seem to get them back
Ka - 20-Oct-20 @ 9:58 AM
@Clark.with the amount of guys this women was sleeping with at the time she fell pregnant. It is only fair for the child and myself that we take the DNA test .then I would off been involved with the child and done it all legally with court orders and paid support.but her mother wouldn't play ball .there loss not mine now I don't even pay support or have any worries of looking after children . I gave them the option few years ago .
Christopher - 5-Oct-20 @ 2:44 PM
@Clark.years ago I ask for a (DNA test) never got a reply .if it turned out I was the father I would of steppedup and went and got a court order and been involved with the child as much as I could anyway with court order .but I have serous doubts about been the bio father .(i don'tbelieve the mother one bit) .but they never replied. So yeah though my eyes I gave them the change all we had to do was take the DNA test .i would of paid support and got court order .but that ship has sailed now.
Christopher - 5-Oct-20 @ 2:28 PM
@Clark.sounds like my story ,but for myself I am done there will be no court battle ,because of the child's age and for the fact we don't know each other from a bar of soap .and for the fact I don't know if I am the(bio father ).i don't care if they blocked on fb I don't even use it .and I never contact the mother because I learnt from that and I don't want to be in front of the( courts) again .and I do not have any contaçt with her family or want any .and if the mother is pregnant good for them .i think that would be 3 kids to 3 diffent father's (classy ).
Christopher - 5-Oct-20 @ 2:02 PM
I am a father that always thinking my daughter . Its been 2years that I've not seen my daughter coz my EX dont want to show it to me. 2 years since we were speak on my EX that she will make a move to go to our house to show my daughter to me and my parents but she didnt do what she says , rather that she moved far away from there village and i dont know where to find . Aand she blocked me in the social media (FB) and i never cantact her, i ask her friends , aunt where they go but rather saying where they are they say "they dont know". One of my good friend tell me where they are and give me the number of the mother of myEXso ill contact them and ask them why they didnt do what they say and She didnt reply, and knowing that my EX have a Livein partner and my EX is pregnant. Now im a pursuing a Joint custody so i can visit or have a little months to spend my daugher even though my daughter dont know me anymore , but when I win this battle of Custody my daughter and I have time to get to know each other.
clark - 5-Oct-20 @ 5:36 AM
Hi just wanted to share my issue and looking for some information. 6 weeks ago I was thrown out of my house through manipulative control by my ex partner. He told me to go and sort my head out spend some time away from the kids and sort a place to live. Through the relationship of 8years he had trust issues he's cheated on me physically abused me, came back to me treated me like a child when it came to money it was like asking for pocket money. He's always thought I was cheating on him when I never did and he's done it to me again with a ex friend of mine. He's with-held money from me, he's stopping my children from talking to me alone by leaving me on loudspeaker so he can listen in also he's telling them that they don't have to talk to me if they don't want to. Never has he said he'll never let them see/talk to me but it's more my children's mental well-being that I care about and he's not doing anything to help them.
Breeze - 24-Sep-20 @ 4:51 PM
Guys.... Really need some accurate advice/information please. So....... long story short....... My partner (fiancee) of 15 years has informed me that our relationship is over, & that she is in love with another guy. She will be moving out to rented accommodation soon approx 5 miles away. (we are in housing association property at present, so no mortgage). She wants to take our son aged 14 with her, but he has told me that he does not want to go with her. He does not want to be away from his friends in the evenings, & does not want to catch the bus to & from school. She has not told him about the new boyfriend, but he has overhead phone conversations & seen txt messages from him. He has not told her he knows, but regardless of that, does not want to move. Can she force him to live with her ?. Is he legally allowed to decide for himself where he wants to live ?
P J - 4-Sep-20 @ 11:02 AM
I have a grandson..his mom is my daughter. When she needs to go back work in the city,she left her son in my custody. When her ex live in partner took my grandson,he didn't return it. When my daughter pay a visit,she tried to go to his ex to visit her child. But they never let her see the child until she needs to go back to her work again. As a mother,she's sending allowance for her child. When we had the chance to get the child...the ex come to visit his son and that's okay. But then, one night,he came again,entered inside my house and pull out his bolo and break the tv while his son is watching. so the boy run to his auntie shaking. When my worried daughter learned about this,she decided not to give her son back to her ex. The child to doesn't want to go back to his father's custody. Mt grandson started to share his experience to his father especially when he is drunk. As a grandma,should I return my grandson or follow my daughter's plead not to. Please help us!
Melirene - 1-Sep-20 @ 2:46 PM
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