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

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 29 Oct 2018 | 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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[Add a Comment]
@gooddad123.keep your narrow minded opinions to yourself mate .i bet your children don’t even (like you )and view you as a (inferior man )more like a creepy uncle .
Chris laurie - 29-Oct-18 @ 8:27 PM
Omg read that Chris Laurie’s comments what a sick mf
GoodDad123 - 29-Oct-18 @ 10:46 AM
broke up with my baby daddy febuary 2018 he left me for another women so i went back home suffered with my 2year old he never surported her ....now on the 14th october 2018 he called asking if i could please bring the baby to him for a short while ..he told me tht hes nolonger with tht women so i agreed on the 19th we left ...when i got there he still told me the same story so i came back home same morning as i got home i recieved a call from a friend telling me tht hes staying with the same women he said he broke up with and my baby ...somehow i dont trust this women and i dont want her to stay with my baby ...would i be wrong if i went to fetch my baby ?
soso - 26-Oct-18 @ 11:27 AM
I give my ex permission to move anywhere she wants with her children .i understand she wants me to have no contact I am ok with that gods truth .i want to be left alone this hacking and stalking thing got me worried .i don’t want contact because there is no room in my life for children hey go with a guy like Gordon or Jason they love kids me not so much ok I give it I am Timmy and bloody proud sorry ex I don’t suppress myself any more I tell it how it is and how I see it .you are right about one thing your biggest mistake was to think you ever had me or that was a family man I was never cut out for that kind off life gods truth .and bree needs to be with you and your partner I could never cope with her gods truth I work away and share house and quiet frankly I am not going to change that i love my lifestyle.so all the best to you and your children .hey I want a truce no hacking or stalking please .
Chris laurie - 24-Oct-18 @ 7:07 AM
I don"t feel like i was getting enough attention My fiance signed up for dating sites. He is always on his phone sending and receiving texts. I ask who it is and he gives the name of someone that we both know, but he gets out of whatever he is looking at when I get close to him. i started feeling skeptical about him if he is cheating on me or not, until i meet a friend who referred me to DAVIDMARK8929@gmail . comthis man has revealed to me all hidingstuff on my spouse phone without any physical access to it . you can also get rid of your doubt by contacting him via gmail or text +1 317 520 9486. They are reliable andgood technically ..
tamyveg - 23-Oct-18 @ 3:27 PM
Hi there, it is almost 16 months. My ex wife took my son away from and now she doesnot let me see him.It was on june 2017, when my exwife called my son and told him, she will pick him and drop him back next day which wad his birthday.Next morning when I text him to ask what time he will be back.I got a message from him saying his mum as found a better school for him and he will stay with her and he will not come to my place anymore.After that i tried to call him, he didt response one day i got a call from him and got the same answer saying he is happy staying with his mum and will stay there.Aftet i tried to contact his school after finding out from his previous school as my exwife didnt tell me which school he joined.School kept telling me the foem tutor will contact me and all of a sudden i get a message from my son's phone saying he doesnot want to know me anymore.He is happy with his mum and he has new family.I am dead for him and do not bother to contact his school.So can you please tell me what is the best way for me to see my son.As i do not know the messages i am receiving is from him or ex wife. Now his phone number is changed as well so i have no contact what so ever.I will really appreciate your help.I really miss himbut do not want to go my exwifes place and create a scene.Many thanks.
Raj - 20-Oct-18 @ 1:50 PM
My ex keeps saying nasty tnings about me and my partner in front of my son he is trying to turn my son against us he also started keeping my son over the contact days how. Am I stop this can the police bring my son back
Shez - 15-Oct-18 @ 9:33 PM
My husband has 13yr old son. He is being neglected by his mum who he lives with.My husband's name is on his birth certificate.What would happen if he collected him from school and brought him back to ours to live and registered him to start at our local school (my son the year above him already goes to our local school).
Rebecca2018 - 2-Oct-18 @ 12:50 PM
@wahlberg87.you need a solicitor mate .as for myself I walked away because I am morally ashamed to have kid to my x gods truth .they will say I am like Timmy well good for them I don’t even like any of my family or talk to them .gods truth even if my daughter turn up on my doorstep I would slam the door in her face .my x is in danger if I ever run into her( gods truth ).as for my daughter I don’t care that she got raped or picked on gods truth .my stubid family think there is something wrong there is not i just don’t care about the welfare of my daughter .i only want vengeance on my x and will get it because I don’t forget .her (mistakes will Never be forgiven) I want payback and I will( get it )gods truth even if I am 60 .ps don’t slip up x gods truth .
Chris laurie - 23-Sep-18 @ 3:59 AM
My ex has take my lil girl what can I do about it and the best way of doin
Wahlberg87 - 22-Sep-18 @ 11:18 PM
Hello can ypu advise me as to how tp deal woth my ex wofe when it comes to taking my son abroad. I have never been allowed tooa L yet ahe goes away with him as do her grandparents to long haul trips for weeks at a time but its a whole load of excuses why I cant and its always not yet or one day and then an excuse comes when the time comes. I feel its not fair as she goes away always in his holidays and I dont yet there is no reason why I cant. We both.live in Devon about1 hour apart andI always follow rules and always pick him up and drop him off and she never does.i follow all the rules yet she controls everything. Is this right? What can I do aa Ive asked but now i want to get my legal rights addressed at court. Advice PLEASE
Salvatore - 21-Sep-18 @ 3:01 PM
I see my son alternate weekends and always pay the correction child suppport to my ex wife. However at times she doesnt always let me see him on my weekends due to her taking him abroad etc. Sometimes when I see him on my weekends * every 2nd week) she can also book in football club or a kids party sometimes both and it cuts down my time with him. This is a regular occurance. Is this fair? Also she has never dropped him off to me and I do all the journeys. What are my rights?
Bazza - 21-Sep-18 @ 2:49 PM
Hi there, i need an advise, please. I'm living with a man who has a child with another woman, they haven't been married, she just slept with him for a baby. She didn't want to register him on the birth certificate, and she didn't want him at all until she found out that he is in a relationship and he has another baby. She started to threaten him, saying that if he will stop paying maintenance for the child she will take him to the court, he is paying but doesn't want any contact with her as she wants to make the rules always. My question is: can my partner can be call in the Court if he stops paying child maintenance? The child is born in April 2017. He is not on the birth certificate, he is not asked about anything regarding his child,she wants him to see the baby at her place only and at certain time. Val - 17-Sep-18 @ 7:36 PM I'm based in uk, London, my baby is born here His boy is born here.
Val - 18-Sep-18 @ 1:40 PM
Val - Your Question:
Hi there, I need an advise, please.I'm living with a man who has a child with another woman, they haven't been married, she just slept with him for a baby.She didn't want to register him on the birth certificate, and she didn't want him at all until she found out that he is in a relationship and he has another baby.She started to threaten him, saying that if he will stop paying maintenance for the child she will take him to the court, he is paying but doesn't want any contact with her as she wants to make the rules always.My question is: can my partner can be call in the Court if he stops paying child maintenance? The child is born in April 2017.He is not on the birth certificate, he is not asked about anything regarding his child, she wants him to see the baby at her place only and at certain time.

Our Response:
Unfortunately, we can only answer questions in UK-based child maintenance questions. You would have to seek advice in your own country as the laws are likely to be different.
SeparatedDads - 18-Sep-18 @ 12:28 PM
@val.when i called my x she said i could drive down and see her at her place .i didn't feel comtable with that we ended bad and she had me on orders before plus it had been years sense i seen my daughter and i only wanted to see my daughter not her mother .i sent a message saying i would meet my daughter at cafe and have lunch never got a reply .i think i will leave it my daughters hands how and meet her at 18 .
tommy - 17-Sep-18 @ 9:18 PM
Hi there, i need an advise, please. I'm living with a man who has a child with another woman, they haven't been married, she just slept with him for a baby. She didn't want to register him on the birth certificate, and she didn't want him at all until she found out that he is in a relationship and he has another baby. She started to threaten him, saying that if he will stop paying maintenance for the child she will take him to the court, he is paying but doesn't want any contact with her as she wants to make the rules always. My question is: can my partner can be call in the Court if he stops paying child maintenance? The child is born in April 2017. He is not on the birth certificate, he is not asked about anything regarding his child,she wants him to see the baby at her place only and at certain time.
Val - 17-Sep-18 @ 7:36 PM
Good afternoon. My estranged Wife prevented me from seeing my son for my scheduled visit last week. No explanation was given as to why. I'm schedule to see my son again 21 September. I have asked my ex partner for confirmation to see my son but she hasn't responded. How many visits doeshave to miss before I can go to court and force a child arrangement order one or two? In the meantime she has asked to change the existing child order going back to contact center for a minimum and in future then my elderly parents collect in my stead which isn't sustainable plus she opposed to me having my seven days holiday with my son. I have reported incidents that my son has said of alleged abuseto him my ex partner current partner but I've been seen as being maliciouswhich I'm not. Last if we both have parental responsibility she will breaking the law of she doesn't allow me to see him or takes him abroad. Yes?
Wkey1 - 14-Sep-18 @ 4:26 PM
MT - Your Question:
Please help- my husbands ex has abducted their daughter to Poland. We have made all the applications to The Hague convention and so on and we also have a court order prohibiting her from moving to Poland permanently. She’s not contacted my husband and not let him have any access to his daughter and he’s besides himself. What we researched shows very little hope in having her returned! Can we apply for full custody whilst this is going through? Does anyone have any advice or experience? His daughter is just four and loves her dad very much. She spends Friday after school to Monday drop off at school and half of all holidays with us (another court order) there’s also a court order demanding her immediate return to which she’s ignored. She’s a spiteful human being who will do anything to stop him seeing her and thinks she’s above the law. Do the really get away with it? It’s a mockery to the £25k we spent fighting to see her. She has no reason at all to this. The daughter also speaks no polish and is surrounded by people who speak no English other than her Mum so my guess is she can’t tell anyone she wants to come home. She made it very clear she didn’t want to go there for a holiday as it was.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this - and really do empathise with your husband's situation. However, unfortunately, I can offer no concrete words to say that your husband will have his daughter returned. However, this is what the Hague Convention is specifically set up to do and the EU does have its own rules pertaining to this. I can only say, the quicker the matter is dealt with, the better. Due to the complexities of such issues, your current legal representatives are more qualified to advise.
SeparatedDads - 10-Sep-18 @ 3:08 PM
Please help- my husbands ex has abducted their daughter to Poland. We have made all the applications to The Hague convention and so on and we also have a court order prohibiting her from moving to Poland permanently. She’s not contacted my husband and not let him have any access to his daughter and he’s besides himself. What we researched shows very little hope in having her returned! Can we apply for full custody whilst this is going through? Does anyone have any advice or experience? His daughter is just four and loves her dad very much. She spends Friday after school to Monday drop off at school and half of all holidays with us (another court order) there’s also a court order demanding her immediate return to which she’s ignored. She’s a spiteful human being who will do anything to stop him seeing her and thinks she’s above the law. Do the really get away with it? It’s a mockery to the £25k we spent fighting to see her. She has no reason at all to this. The daughter also speaks no polish and is surrounded by people who speak no English other than her Mum so my guess is she can’t tell anyone she wants to come home. She made it very clear she didn’t want to go there for a holiday as it was.
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remysams - 24-Aug-18 @ 8:10 AM
My ex has now tried dictating when I can and can’t see my son after 6months of a solid routine that’s worked. Now she’s telling me on the days that I was meant to have him she’ll find a babysitter, now she refused me to have a baby sitter when I had no options available due to my family being busy and her. Am I entitled to say the same, so I have a right? I’m certain she’ll leave our son with her partner, he doesn’t live with her and according to her he isn’t over often? Do I still have a say in that?? My name is on the birth Certificate, etc.
Steed19 - 23-Aug-18 @ 3:18 PM
I have two boys with ex husband they are 7 and 10 we have been split up for 2 years and he now has a new partner getting married and a baby themselves. We had shared care of children them being at mine more. For a while the boys have been asking to live with his dad. Suddenly 5 weeks ago the boys didn't want to come home to me and have been living with their dad ever since telling me they want to live with him over text. I got sent a new Rota give us 50/50 Which I didn't agree to and then the father told me the boys will see me but if he is there just so they're more comfortable and so they don't think their in trouble I turned that down. Now it's 5 weeks since I've seen my children I have applied to court but had no hearing date yet. Is it possible I could win full custody having not seen them for 5 weeks and them wanting to live at their dads
Had3two - 22-Aug-18 @ 7:43 AM
my ex partner has had my youngest who is 3 and half (my eldest (6 years) has a different dad) full time for a year now. He agreed to have him full time for a short period of time to help me out as my eldest has mental health problems and health problems and I was struggling to be single mum full time to both. The past 9 months, he has made contact increasingly difficult and stopped contact at the last moment and in the past 2 months he has stopped all contact with my son and has not replied to any of my emails, texts etc. I want my son back full time with me and his brother. We both have parental responsibility. I would like to add that during this time he moved three hours away without consulting me. Some advice I have been given is to just go and pick my son up from nursery and bring him home with me. I am in a desperate situation here. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Lulu - 20-Aug-18 @ 3:57 PM
I caught my step son touching my little girl who is 5 and he is 10. I have kept my younger son 3 away and I believe that I'm protecting him by doing this. I Have not said his mother can't see him but can come and bath him and put him to bed. I was a stay at home dad for the first year and a bit. Both my step kids have mental health issues. And the boy in question has tendencies to hurt and manipulate the younger ones. Where do I stand in this situation? My daughter is with my ex partner so is safe, but my youngest son wouldnt be if he is with this boy. Please help. Regards.
Timmy - 17-Aug-18 @ 3:00 PM
rollinstone16 - Your Question:
Myself and my ex partner are separated. My ex has residential care of our daughter but my daughter wants to live with me. We both have parental responsibility as I was named on the birth certificate with the mother after Dec 2003. Can I keep my daughter and have her living with me without going to court

Our Response:
You do not say how old your daughter is, as this would make a difference. However, if your ex does not agree to this arrangement and you cannot agree between yourselves, then as stated in the article your ex would have the option to take the matter to court if you kept your child without her consent.
SeparatedDads - 13-Aug-18 @ 2:56 PM
Myself and my ex partner are separated. My ex has residential care of our daughter but my daughter wants to live with me. We both have parental responsibility as I was named on the birth certificate with the mother after Dec 2003. Can I keep my daughter and have her living with me without going to court
rollinstone16 - 12-Aug-18 @ 5:32 PM
Tim- Your Question:
My daughter is been taken to Austria and I can not see her since she was less than a year old

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Your only option is to get legal advice regarding taking the matter to court for access (if your child's mother will not allow it). If you are named on the birth certificate, it may be considered abduction, please see the link here .
SeparatedDads - 7-Aug-18 @ 3:29 PM
RandomPixel - Your Question:
Met a girl things moved quick within 2-3 months she was pregnant and now we got my beautiful daughter, However the relationship has been turbulent and prone to alot of outside interfering (keep it short), she has always dictated everything about our daughter I have zero say in any aspect her family are right behind her against me, pushing me away, christmas was spent alone as my bday and fathers day, We had an argument like we usually do however this time I gave her space (thought she was at her mothers as she led me believe) turns out she took my daughter and moved away, 3 months later got in contact and things started to look well, Arguments ensued I dont feel I can trust her due to alot of her actions and sneakiness, now she has social services involved and police everytime I try to even ask or txt how my daughter is (thats if I aint blocked that week to be able to get through)Now given I have no say or control in any aspect of my daughters life and she has manipulated everyone around me including my family (who she takes her round to see and slag me off too) but stops me having any form of contact with my daughter, now social services are involved and want me to contact then but im scared im gonna end up worse off than I already amI dont know what to doI feel like a sperm doner who has no rights and no say whatsoever and im at my end I cant cope.What can i/need to do?

Our Response:
If your ex has made allegations about you via social services, it is best to contact social services in order to have the allegations quashed if they are false. It does happen quite frequently, so social services are wise to such situations. If social services drop the allegations, then you can apply to court for contact to your child. Do not harass your ex by phone, mediation or court are the next options to consider. If you continue to harass your ex, you may have a injuction brought against you which will make it more difficult for you to gain contact to your child through the courts.
SeparatedDads - 7-Aug-18 @ 3:13 PM
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