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

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 21 May 2022 | 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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I had been this very similar situation and I can tell you it's very bias. The police can and will remove the children from a fathers custody. No matter what people tell you as a father you have less rights even if your trying to protect you kids from abuse a neglect. My children flagged down a officer and showed him drugs there mom had while home alone underage babysitting the younger sister. I ended up getting in trouble because there mother told DHS that I had planted the drugs or have them to my children to get her in trouble. You see DHS is mostly females that are 100% bias towards men and will give the mother always the benefit of the doubt. All the mother has to do and will is to fire back and turn it on you. DHS will come to your house check it out ask you a few questions and simply determine if the house is safe and there is food. If so unless your willing to go to court over and over and will not change anything the father can't not win unless your child ends up close to death. And then the mother can blame you and you will probably be at fault. I know it sounds crazy but you have not seen or been through what I have. I have even rescued my children from the mom's bf abuse and I the father got in more trouble lost my visitation. All she will do is paint you as a crazy jealous ex and that's all they need is doubt and you will get the raw end of the deal. She can use federal law to surpass court order when filling tax because federal doesn't go by state laws....40k in taxes money she stole over the years. There is a lot more but I think you get my point. Sorry.. It's crazy how people think men have it so much better when women have this power over a man. The one thing that means more than anything in your life and the damage they can do to destroy your life.
me - 21-May-22 @ 5:59 AM
My daughter is 18 this month she is entering adulthood, I have never been allowed contact every time I have ever tried to see her ,her mother bangs me up orders and I'm in front off the magistrate. The last time was the icing on the cake for me .(I decided to walk away )prison was hard enough when I was in my prime and I really don't want to go back to prison in my 40s .who knows maybe now my daughter is adult she might want to meet me time will tell I guess .but yeah it's up to her now .
C laurie - 2-May-22 @ 9:34 PM
Please help. The relationship between my partner and I has broken down and it has become impossible to live together. We cannot agree what is in my sons best interest and im corncerned because she has decided to run off and stay at a friends house and take my boy with her. He is only 4 months old but she is not financially independent and is not eligibile to receive any benefits as she currently has no visa to live and work in the UK. All benefits that my son receives will be lost as he's only eligible for them when he lives with me. I have a large and supportive family locally but my boy will be taken many miles from here, away from his nanny, aunties, cousins, great aunties and great uncles, second cousins etc. She is also not a particularly responsible person and has often not followed safe sleep guidance or general safety advice provided to us. I have contacted social services but she will have already run off with my boy by the time im expecting they make contact with me. Can anyone offer any advice to me or what my expectations could be please. My understanding is that the mother has main responsibility but this is a unique situation. Thank you Chris
Chris - 2-May-22 @ 1:41 PM
I personally think it's best if you terminate my rights like you where going to do back in 2015 .it was a complete waste off my time even trying with a person like you I must be retarted for even trying. You are the most cold heart selfish women I have meet in my entire life .I will not waste another single second off my life I give up you win .rasie your daughter myself super hero .
C laurie - 30-Apr-22 @ 1:13 AM
You win Sam I give up on trying to meet my own daughter,have a good life .I refuse to play this game anymore you want me out the picture for good well wish granted. Injoy your life as a single mum all the best to you .I'm closing this chapter for good with the time frame and the circumstances I think its best if you do change your daughter surname because there is no emotional connection between your daughter and myself you made damn sure off that .my biggest mistake in life was meeting you in reality it never should off happened .
C laurie - 30-Apr-22 @ 1:00 AM
Iv brought my daughter up for 7 years alone iv never stopped her dad seeing her or her brother. He's been to all their parties his girlfriend and her kids too. 15th he took her for weekend and didn't bring her back but dropped my son off iv not seen my baby girl for 2 weeks. He let me speak to her on the phone she was crying saying she just wants to come home. No one will help me and courts could take weeks my baby girl wants to be home and he is hurting her by not letting her this is wrong. I dont believe with out good reason no parent should stop a child seeing the other. I cant sleep can't eat keep been sick iv got other children to look after I'm trying to be strong and putting on a brave face but it's wrong a child can be take from all she has know and no one can help. If I kept him from seeing her I could get done but he can do what he wants. He not got her best interests at heart.
Surviver - 28-Apr-22 @ 8:15 PM
The mother of 3 children got me arrested at the childrens school with unbelievable allegation as i was been released from custody after 24hrs she ran off with me kids. I feel it disgusting how the police or social services cant help as we both had parental responsibility for all 3 childrens. So were the justice for daddy is it we dont mean anything too the law and our parental responsibility gets thrown ot the window. I totally believe dads need morehelp with their children and suport from the law its not fair. Anyone out there got any advice could do with some right now.
4DadsRights - 22-Apr-22 @ 11:22 PM
My partner and I were together for 11 years andand broke up on June 2021have 2 kids aged 10 and 5 we broke up and things got messy and we were constantly arguing any time we seen each other.so long story short she told me I wasn't to get them one wkend as she had plans with them witch was fine.that was at the beginning of December2021 and I haven seen or heard from them since she took them out of school and ran off with another guy she met through work while i was in hospital after a very serious operation.and is not answer any call or txt.im besidemyself as my kids are my world what do I do???
Muzz - 1-Apr-22 @ 4:18 PM
This women is going to end up dead I will injoy killing this c #nt .I found my focus now I track them down in Geelong wink wink .
Truth - 23-Mar-22 @ 9:18 PM
(No im not stuck for the first time in my life I see crystal clear) ,my only regret in life was not takingmy daughter (full-time) when she was 5 thats gods truth .I personally believe her mother is (unfit) .I swear that on the bible. That's my only issue and drives me f ing crazy .she couldn't even look after her first son her parents did .why she was out in nightclubs getting gangbanged in pub toilets. I can't believe I ever dated someone like her thats gods truth I was young and dumb.
Truth - 23-Mar-22 @ 8:33 PM
My partner has run 600 mike's away with my 10 month old baby girl Ruby. She blocked me on all social media and has changed her number. She suffers with Bi Polar badly and last time we spoke a week ago she was saying she felt like ending it all. I'm stuck
Mart - 23-Mar-22 @ 6:26 PM
Need help with ex partner trying to stop me seeing and picking up my children with no reason why I can not.
Dave - 29-Dec-21 @ 6:50 PM
I really need help, my husband has my children in our house when I went to collect them with my father he called the police and said me and my dad had come to hit him, false allegation. I was told to leave and SW decided we both have equal rights but my ex husband has not been co oprative I am still waiting on the lawyers to get back to me. This is hurting me so much I am worried sick for my children. Idk how long I’ll have to wait to see my kids. It’s unfair that his done this to me. Police and SW ain’t much help either.
Sara - 7-Aug-21 @ 9:56 PM
Hello I left my ex partner and ended up with a girl who lived over the road in the same estate. Wasn't very nice I know but I was in a bad relationship and things just happened. It's been over a year now and we're looking on moving house but very hard at the moment. My ex has told me I can't take my 2 kids to my partners house cause it's stressful for her and if I do then I'll never see them again until I pay for court and a judge tells her otherwise. What are my options cause shes starting to work my head bad. She's constantly texting me. Plus she's got a new boyfriend and he's there in her house playing with my kids. Thanks
Danny1986 - 7-May-21 @ 2:21 PM
Heey I was with mmy ex partner for nearly 2 years off and an I have a baaby. With him and I have to other kids previously and our relationship broke down becausee he was voillent and I had to get up andd go as I had to put my three children first. Since I've moved he's tried to control my life he's also taken my baby girl from me on the 8th of March outt of jelousy aandd controllingness I've never halmed my children still have 2 in my Care now hess just usijgg my baby as a weapon because I won't get bback with him witch I find it discuting, I'm just heartbroken it's been 2months now and my little girl iss only 8 months old I've taken it to court and hopefully she will be home soon
Amyloo - 6-May-21 @ 8:40 PM
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
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
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
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
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