Advice needed (re: kids & custody)

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Trogg

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Hi All

Not the best place to ask i know but i really need some help with this one

Today is my youngest lads birthday & Dian, the girls & myself have all gone over to see them.

When we got to my ex-wifes we found the house empty as in moved away, so i went to her sisters & she told me the kids didn't want to see me & sarah (ex-wife) didn't want me near them again, i knew the bit about the kids not wanting to see me was rubbish because as we walked back to the car they were in the bedroom window waving & smiling, until they realised we were leaving then they started to cry.

In the car Cheyenne was crying her heart out because she hadn't got to see "her boys" as she calls them & that makes the hurt even worse.

I can't explain how i feel but i think some of you can guess.

What i want advice on is
1) what can i do about seeing the lads.

2) can i go for custody as it was never "set" at court when we divorced.

3) is there anyway i can stop her moving again without my knowledge?

4) Gary the eldest isn't biologically mine (i met Sarah when he was 2 months old, he's 12yrs old now) but he's always called me dad, so do i have any rights where Gary is concerned?

Any help you guys can give would be much appreciated.

I know i can't get legal aid as i am earning a wage so i need to get it sorted out as quickly as possible, although i don't really care how much it costs so long as i get to see my sons again.

Thanks in advance

Alan
 

Dave

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Hi Alan,

In short:

1) You need to get a solicitor involved and seek access to them through the courts

2) Yes but very hard to gain unless you can proove that they are at risk

3) Nope

4) None

If you can't get legal aid (check with the Citizens Advice Bureau as it is Means tested so depends on your situation re wages etc) your best bet is to contact a solicitor who can give you 1/2 hour of Free advice and fire your questions at him.
This sort of thing can be very expensive and if she can claim Legal Aid and you not then unfortunately you will have to consider the cost element.

Sounds a bit short but I didn't think you'd appreciate soft soaping on this one icon_smile.gif

Dave
 

Peter

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Not my line mate,
But if i was you i'd get straight down to Citizens Advice ,first thing on Monday morning,
they should be able to put you in the picture as to where you stand.
Good luck mate.

Peter.

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Dai Fish

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Hi Trogg, I am sorry I cant help with the legal stuff but I know how you feel, when I was haveing problems with my ex wife re seeing the kids I went to the CAB and thay gave my the info needed to sort it out (I cant remember what advice thay gave as it was getting on for twenty years ago).

Good luck mate

Dai Fish
 

Trogg

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Thanks for the replies fellas,
Newts just given me some links to look at so i'm gonna be busy for a while.



Alan

I'll have a fiver on the black un
 

Geoff P

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Don't give up on the legal aid, I know people who are better off than you who claim it.

All I can say is FIGHT

Geoff

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darryl

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it is now called a residence order,as you was married you allready have perental rights and the new childrens act give`s them right`s to have a say in the out come a child welfare officer can do a report on this and yes it is possible for the father to get the kids my two eldest are mine from a previous





Edited by - darryl on 04 August 2002 07:00:41 AM
 

dbarri

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Trog, hope this helps.

I am a qualified social worker (Children and Families pathway).
Get in touch with your local social services department. Under section one of the Children Act 1989, "the child's welfare is the paramount consideration", so in theory, contact with your kids is to be welcomed because it should promote their welfare.

My speciality is with young offenders, but I am sure there is a case for access. My advice would be via a social worker. A good friend of mine had an acrimonious separation with his common law wife (they were not married), and spent literally thousands in solicitors' fees. A former school friend (a social worker specialising in work with children) came up to him some time later and declared "didn't you do it the expensive way!?", implying that involving social services meant that he could have avoided all the hassle and expense.

I recently worked with a young offender where he lived with his father, and his brother and sister lived with his mother. I believed that re-establishing contact would be in all interests, so did not hesitate to get the social worker involved in the case. A social worker can act as a mediator between warring parties, and sometimes it helps to get someone else involved who is not biased (except in the children's favour).

Let me know how you get on, and I wish you and your kids the best of luck.
 

dbarri

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In addition to the above, do you have parental responsibility for Gary?

Social services may be able to help you apply to the court for a section 8 (contact) order (Children Act 1989) which will determine a legal contract outlining any decisions relating to contact between you and your children made by the court. Because you were married, you automatically have parental responsibility for your children (except possibly Gary, whose biological father may have responsibility).
 

Trogg

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Thanks again to you all.

Darryl

I have been told it can take years for the case to be "sorted" by the courts please tell me this ain't so!!!

dbarri

That helps a lot , i never thought of contacting social services.

I never adopted Gary as i was never expecting to go through stuff like this, his real father always denied being his dad until the ex made him go through DNA tests but he's never tried any form of contact or anything with Gary.

When the ex first left me i tried to get her to let me see the kids through the courts & my soliciter tried a "supervised visits" order, the courts said as there was no risk to the children there was no need for it to be made.

They didn't understand i wanted it that way so she couldn't say i'd done something i hadn't.

With all the infomation i'm getting through the forums & via e-mail i'm actually begining to think it will be worth the hassle of going through the courts.

One piece of infomation i've recieved is about a group called "families need fathers" & after reading some of their stuff, i think contacting them will definately be on the list.

Thanks again to you all



Alan

I'll have a fiver on the black un
 

flick

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Trogg, I have had the same troubles as yourself but as i live in New Zealand i cannot offer you any legal advice. Looking back on my own case and being involved with social welfare dealing with broken marriages , what your ex wife is doing in trying to bar you from seeing your children , in many cases that i have seen including my own, can become their biggest mistake, Never, never use children as a weapon. As young as they are they have minds of their own and there will come a time in their lives when they decide, not you or your ex wife, whom they will see or decide to live with. I loved my four children in their younger years when my marriage went bust. My ex wife gained custody of the children and made it extremely difficult for me to see them. But at the age of sixteen three of them returned to me. All four children have a good relationship with both of us
Trogg if you have loved your children remember no court in the land can take them away from you indefinately. Trogg, keep your chin up, keep loving them and one day like me you will get a knock on the door. Flick.





.
 

dbarri

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Trogg,

Some further information.

"Families Need Fathers" has its own website. Find them on www.fnf.org.uk.

With regards to the section 8 (contact) order I mentioned above, Vernon, S., 1998. Social Work and the Law, London:Butterworths, says on pages 44-45:

"The basic legal principle...[of contact orders]...is that a child has a right of contact with his or her parent(s) and that no child should be deprived of this contact unless the court is satisfied that it is in the child's interests that there should be no contact."

The essence of this is that access to your children can only be denied by by the courts (NOT the mother), and only if they decide that this is in the best interests of the children. Even when children are subject to care orders, contact with parents is encouraged, if this is found to be appropriate. It sounds as if your ex is keeping you from seeing the children because it suits her and not necessarily the children (and could arguably be using denied access as a way of getting back at you). At the end of the day, access/contact should only be declined (by the courts) if it suits the children. Because children have a right to see their parents, it seems that if your ex moves house without informing you of their whereabouts is a deliberate obstruction of these rights. In the example I gave above about my young offender, the mother moved miles away. I think that social services were able to help the father financially with travel costs to enable him and his son to see the rest of the children (this may not be the same in your case as you are not on benefits).

This is a messy area of law, but if you have a look at this example of case law, it may help. The reference is:

Re H (minors)(access) [1992] 1 FLR 148.

This probably won't make a lot of sense. A lot of law decisions are made on the outcome of previous similar court cases, as Acts do not set everything out in minute detail. If you go to your local library and ask the librarian for volume 1 of the 1992 Family Law Reporter and find page 148, you will be able to read details of this case, and possibly apply this to your own situation. If you have difficulties in locating this, e-mail me and I will use my old university library, copy the case and send it to you.

The issue of delay is an area that the courts and social workers are aware of. Within the children Act 1989, there is something called the "non delay" principle. The idea is that delays in decisions and action can compromise the welfare of the child. Specific reference to this can be found in section 1(2) of the Children Act 1989. It puts a responsibility on the courts to get the matter of contact sorted out with a minimum of fuss and waiting.

The question of 'custody' raises different issues. The word 'residence' is now used instead. You can apply for a section 8 (residence) order in the same way as a section 8 (contact) order. Again, get a social worker involved before spending any money on solicitors' fees. However, my own view would be that any court decision about residence would be made in favour of the mother. It would be difficult to convince a court that the children would be better off living with you. Only if they are at "risk of significant harm" will consideration be given to residence at the father's address. This is a separate issue to contact, and would not affect you being able to maintain contact with your kids.

Best of luck, and keep in touch,

Dave
 

Trogg

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Dave

Thanks again for yet more interesting infomation, i'll get down the libary tomorrow.

Darryl

Thanks for letting me know how long it took you, i was dreading the thought of a long wait to see my kids again, six months is a lot better than a time span of years.

Alan

I'll have a fiver on the black un
 

martin.

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hi trogg
sorry i cant give any advice on this one
but i can & do wish you a spee6dy solution to your problem
god luck mate

tight lines.
martin.
talk fishing flip football
 
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