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Rights of non residential parent

(18 Posts)
KitKat84 Thu 25-Apr-13 11:21:06

I don't want to get into this too much online but I need some quick advice.
My ex (the non redisential parent) has parental responsibility over our 7 year old son. He is behaving very unreasonably, has let himself into my house and gone through my stuff (I didn't know he had a key cut) and is generally worrying me.
I have nothing concrete to go to the police with as he hasn't "done" anything.
The only thing is, until this blows over I don't feel particularly comfortable with him having my son. He isn't working at the moment and has a tendancy to suddenly appear and start demanding things.
I have been more than reasonable with contact but he didn;t want it. Now he is acting erratically (nothing I can "prove").

The crux of the issue is, until this blows over (which I am sure it will soon) can I ask the school not to let him pick ym son up? Or has he still got rights to do this as he has parental responsibility? Can the school say no without any kind of legal/police backing?

I'm thinking I can't ask the school this as my ex has the rights to pick up his son whenever he wants :/

AudreyParker Thu 25-Apr-13 11:23:46

Do you have residency? Court ordered access? If you do, he can't just pick him up on a whim.

It's worth talking to school just so they know what's going on.

Have you changed the locks? Do that now.

Mumplus1234 Thu 25-Apr-13 11:28:51

HI, I'm not a legal person but have some experience with the house thing...

He got a copy of your house key without you knowing then let himself into your house and went through your stuff. That is more than enough to go to the Police about, seriously, call them on 101 and report it.

Or is the house jointly owned?

I think you need to try and separate your feelings about this incident, him not working, his tendency to start demanding things etc from your feelings about his contact with your son as none of the above reasons are valid reasons for stopping contact.

When you say he is acting erratically - do you think your son would be at risk of harm in his care? If not then again it's not a reason to stop contact. You say "until this blows over (which I am sure it will soon)" implying that you do not have a strong and valid reason for stopping contact - or am I incorrect?

What would you be asking the school to do exactly? You will be putting the school in a very difficult situation asking them to ensure your son's father is not allowed to collect his son who he has PR for, they may or may not agree.

Is there is a residency order in place or do you just have an informal agreement?

KitKat84 Thu 25-Apr-13 11:29:11

Nothing's been through courts, his contact with the child is erratic but I have residency. There's no court ordered access. I am waiting for someone to change the locks now. thanks

KitKat84 Thu 25-Apr-13 11:37:26

X posted. I know it doesn't sound good and I don't have rights to do this. I do not want to stop long term contact at all, not by any means. I have been pushign for ex to have DS more as DS needs his dad. I don't think his mental health is good at the moment (my ex's). He's all over the place but nothing I can prove. He said he was going to go to the GP but didn't bother.
The house is rented but he has never lived here, I moved after we separated. I don't think my DS is at risk, or I don't think my ex would deliberately put him at risk....

You confirmed my thoughts about not mentioning it to the school. I doubt ex would turn up and collect but it's just worrying me a bit. I don't want to put the school in a difficult situation.

I will contact police about the key ... will they just log it. I'm worried if they go to ex it will exacerbate the situation.

ValentineWiggins Thu 25-Apr-13 11:46:43

And obviously change the locks immediately!

KitKat84 Thu 25-Apr-13 11:49:15

Locks being changed as I type!

I don't think he would harm DS but his mental state isn't helping my confidence in his parenting and I am worried it will impact on DS negatively. Maybe I am worrying too much...

Mumplus1234 Thu 25-Apr-13 11:57:58

Well as it's a rented house, not jointly owned and he has never lived there and it's your home then he has absolutely no "reason" to be there. The Police won't just "log" it, they will treat it as a crime (which it is!) and he will be arrested. He may claim you gave him the key to copy though and he had permission to have a key cut and to use it. How did he get your key to copy it by the way?

How horrible and controlling of you EX to do this to you, how can he invade your privacy like that, I bet you are livid!

KitKat84 Thu 25-Apr-13 12:06:17

I gave him a key when I first moved in years ago after I stupidly locked myself out and had to get locks changed. We recently started trying again although he never moved in, after that went sour and we separated for good, I asked for my key back. He gave it back to me the next day. I thought he handed it over all too easily. I assume that changes things as I gave him the key originally although I did ask for it back.
I'm not sure it is worth the hassle and don't want to exacerbate the situation especially when my ex is erratic enough.
I was livid last night, now I'm just a bit hurt and worried about the effect of this on my little boy.

Mumplus1234 Thu 25-Apr-13 14:01:54

Yeah, that will change things I'm afraid. You'd have a tough job proving he even entered if he didn't actually do any damage or steal anything and what with you having given him a key originally it's would be very easy for him to claim he believed he had permission to enter with his key. At least the locks are changed now though so it won't happen again!

3xcookedchips Thu 25-Apr-13 15:31:59

In short:

he's probably breaking the law entering your property.

Without a court order he can pick his son up from school. afterall he is the boys father and is an equal parent.

Like a previous poster indicated, involving the school will only inflame the situation. They themselves wouldnt, nor should they be entitled to withold your son from him without said court order.

Ask him to agree to a more structured schedule.

kittycat68 Thu 25-Apr-13 16:40:12

you should however make the school aware that you are separated and that your son is living with you and ask them to call you if he collects son without you notifing them before hand. which is quite a reasonable request with the school.

lostdad Thu 02-May-13 12:42:25

Schools will not want to help you play a `tug of war' with your ex over your child. Do not put them in that position. Do not ask them to `call you if he collects son without notifying them before hand'. It is not a reasonable request.

If there is no order made with regard to residence (and holds PR) your ex has as much right to turn to school to collect your child as you do. He has the same legal status as you. The fact that your child lives with you more often than him means nothing without a residence order. You may receive the CB book which will demarcate you as the `primary carer' but in terms of family law it means nothing whatsoever.

Assuming this is the case he has as much `right' to ask the school not to release your child to you without notifying him - i.e. none at all.

Of course he shouldn't just turn up and collect your DS without warning and you should work out an agreement with him for regular and meaningful contact that demonstrates to your son that his parents are working together in his best interests and not fighting over him in an attempt to get one over on each other.

Dahlen Fri 03-May-13 10:08:42

lostdad - that's not strictly true.

My case is different to the OP's because she states that she has no reason to believe her X would do anything to harm their child, thank goodness. The same cannot be said of mine, unfortunately.

When we split I had a child at nursery. The nursery assured me that despite having PR the father would not be allowed to take our child. They would ask for ID and proof of PR because he was not down on the 'approved to collect' list. Maybe the policy is different between venues.

At school, I haven't even registered any of my DC's father's details. So he could turn up claiming all sorts and would be met with blank confusion unless again he could turn up with proof of PR.

betterthanever Fri 03-May-13 11:24:38

lostdad you contradict yourself saying he can pick up from school as he wishes and then you say he shouldn't - I agree with your last point. The OP is right to worry he may pick up when no arangements have been made and I think she should inform the school as Kitty expalined so the school are not put in that position. The OP is not saying that he can't have contact but that a regular pattern needs to be established and it sounds as if it is not. If you can OP, you should suggest in writting a regualr contact pattern for the benefit of your DS so your DS knows what is happening when and then other activities can be planned around this. It sounds as if this may not be possible and if not I would seek some professional advice if I was you CAB? free half hour with a solicitor. Every case is different. You sound like you want what is best for your DS and who can argue with that.

lostdad Fri 03-May-13 12:33:23

My point is betterthanever is that without a residence order both parents can collect the children from school and they have no legal standing to authorise a school to prevent collection by the other one.

A school or nursery who prevent this such as in your case Dahlen are infringing the statutory rights of holder of PR (this is, of course, once it has been proven a father does have PR). If a father with proven PR comes to collect a child a `approved to collect' list is meaningless - schools and nurserys to not have a legal right to prevent a parent collecting their child even if other holders of PR tell them to.

I've had vaguely similar situations myself where organisations have told me that my PR means nothing...and them backing down when I have pointed out they are acting unlawfully.

Either way - I am looking at this from a legal point of view. If I were advising the OP's ex I would strongly advise him not just to turn up and collect the children without warning because quite frankly it is inflammatory and potentially upsetting for the children. It's also likely to damage chances in a court case too. I do agree betterthanever - agreed, regular contact and good communication between the OP and her ex are the way forward.

This sort of situation is a slippery slope that often ends up in court - and once it does things tend to get much, much worse as both sides do what they can do prove the point to the court whilst developing a boiling hatred of each other.

It's why I always advise going to mediation even if you despise your ex now because if it ends up in court you ain't seen nothin' yet! wink

Dahlen Fri 03-May-13 12:50:49

lostdad - you're absolutely right in the eyes of the law, but if a man who has never been seen by the nursery/school turns up demanding to see his child and he has no legal documentation on him to prove that he has PR for that child or is even related to him/her, no school is going to let that child go - regardless of the parental rights in principle - because it's a safeguarding issue. The man could turn out to be a registered sex offender with no link to the child whatsoever as far as the school is concerned. If he called the police to enforce his rights they would simply tell him to return with proof and advise the school that if he did return with said proof they would have to let him take the child.

The whole point of 'approved to collect' lists is that the people on them do not need to exhibit legal proof of their right permission to collect that child.

betterthanever Sat 04-May-13 00:06:46

lostdad I think that quoting `rights' in these situations is never good for anyone, as the issue really is about `responsibilities' and not those given to parents on bits of paper by a court but those `responsibilities' acted out by parents for the benefit of their child which excludes picking children up from school unscheduled and I feel the law should change to stop any parent using a child by putting more emphasis on this.

OP not for one moment do I think you are using your child to get at your ex.

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