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Custody of a Child

(11 Posts)
FanFuckingTastic Thu 21-Mar-13 18:52:08

I am in a position where I am having to consider whether or not my DS might be better off living with his father instead of me, and whether my moving to another place where my DD's father and family live might not be a better idea for us all.

My background is I am disabled, and I am not doing too well at the moment, I have a care package and I am awaiting diagnosis for my daughter to see what is going on with her, she is very challenging behaviourally and it impacts on my health and her brother's well being.

Him staying behind means minimal disruption for him, and he can live with his father and step mother and brothers, stay at the same school and come to mine for the usual two weekends and half the holidays.

I am due to become homeless on the 1st of May, so there is a lot of stress there and the council I am using currently refuse to house me until I have made up arrears. They will put me in emergency accommodation until that point. This is going to take at least a year to pay off.

DS has voiced recently and in the past that he would quite like to live with his father, and I believe now that this may be the better option for him. As a disabled mother caring for a disabled child, I struggle any way and I really feel I am not giving my best to either child simply because I haven't got the strength and stamina to spend much time playing with them, or taking them out any where.

My head says yes, and my heart screams no. It's just so very hard to do. Has anyone else ever done this? I honestly think it may be best for the children, and so I have to consider it.

I just wanted to saywhatever decision you make has to be right for you and your family. It does not matter what any one else thinks - it really does not. You are coping with things most of us wil never have to and you have nothing to prove. I personally think maybe giving your son the time with his Dad might give you just a little respite - does it have to be for ever? Be strong and look after yourself. I am so sorry I can't give you any 'real' help.

TuesdayNightDateNight Thu 21-Mar-13 19:29:08

I don't have any real advice for you, but I do feel for you and really hope you are able to make the best decision for you and your children.

How far would you be moving? I take it from your post that your children have different fathers? Would your DDs father be able to support you with her if you were closer?

izzyizin Thu 21-Mar-13 19:32:31

You say you'll be homeless as of 1 May? Has an eviction order been granted and were you legally represented at any hearing?

I'm not making any judgement on your spending habits, but if you have been claiming all of the benefits to which you are entitled it's hard to see how arrears have been accrued as your rent should be paid in full unless, of course, you are working.

In terms of finding accomodation, how easy will it be for you to move nearer to your dd's father & his family?

FanFuckingTastic Thu 21-Mar-13 19:32:32

If I were to go, I would buy him a laptop (somehow) and have Skype on it for him so that he could call any time and see me and chat with me and his sister. And I can't help but think he would be more settled and able to concentrate if his nights were not broken constantly. He is a very smart boy and not achieving his potential. His dad is a very good caregiver and I don't doubt my son would be better off living there. It's just how he would handle not seeing me so often that makes the decision questionable for me? I am talking to his dad tomorrow to see what he thinks.

FanFuckingTastic Thu 21-Mar-13 19:39:53

My rent was not paid in full because I am in a private rental and they only awarded me a two room rate, so I had to make up the extra £150 each month. Then an admin error resulted in my benefit being stopped for six weeks, and of course by the time I had sorted that out I was in arrears and struggling to catch up with myself.

I have contested the bedroom rate recently, and been given the three bedroom rate as my disabled daughter does qualify for her own room, contrary to the advice I was given by a housing officer there. It still doesn't cover my whole rent here but it's helping me not to get into any further arrears. I moved because my three storey house was not good for me or my daughter, and we were living next door to a very active drug dealer who was being raided very often and it was highly unpleasant.

The rest is just poor money management as when I get sick I find handling bills and things very tough. Fortunately now I know who to call to get help, but in the past I didn't, so things did build up a little.

1st May is when the Section 21 is up, then the Possession Order has to be done, then I intend on a defence saying I need more time due to my circumstances, then she has to get an Eviction Warrant. Basically I am hoping to be able to stretch it to the summer holidays before I am out, so the kids can finish the school year without too much going on.

izzyizin Thu 21-Mar-13 20:16:41

From the end of this month legal aid will not be available in housing matters unless your home is at risk - however, I would suggest you don't wait to possibly have to become a test case or submit an application under 'exceptional circumstances' for entitlement to legal aid.

If you have accrued arrears in a private tenancy, I can't see that is grounds for your local council to refuse to house you. By virtue of the fact that you have dc, not to mention your disability which classes you as a 'vulnerable adult, your local authority is statutorily obliged to accomodate you as evidenced by their intention to place you in emergency accomodation, which may be a B&B or similar, until such time as you've paid off whatever debt you owe to your private landlord.

The problem is that if your landlord proceeds to eviction the costs of this action may be awarded against you and if you've got to pay off several hundred pounds or more on top of rent arrears this may further delay you being made an offer of permanent accomodation.

Basically, it seems that you're a victim of bureaucratic ineptitude and I don't see any reason why you should be penalised for the incompetence of others.

PLEASE make an appointment with a solicitor as a matter of urgency and google your disability to see if there is a help group/charity who can advise/advocate for you in these matters.

FWIW, depending on what area of the UK you're in, it can take some 4-6 months before possession proceedings culminate in an eviction date so you should be good until the school summer holidays - but don't risk it; get proactive now and also get advice as to what entitlement you may have to social housing if you were to move nearer to your dd's father.

FanFuckingTastic Fri 22-Mar-13 10:39:47

I've had a discussion with my son's father now, and he thinks that it would be the right decision whether I move or not for him to be full time carer and me to have access. We talked through all the points and were basically in agreement that it was all the best thing to do for our son, so it will go ahead at some point.

I cried so much, but he told me I am not giving him up, I am just changing the time I have with him, and that this way it's more concentrated and I will be able to enjoy the time more with him. We have decided to organise sitting down together to talk to DS about things and to help to allay any worries he might have about it.

I am still undecided about moving away, I am basically getting legal advice free now with the company that works with the Job Centre. But if it comes to hostels and the like, both my children will go to their father's until the time comes that I get a home for us, and I have simply widened my search a bit to include more opportunities. I just need to talk to through with the council of where I am considering moving too. An hour in the car away.

izzyizin Fri 22-Mar-13 11:18:03

Who are the company 'that works with the Job Centre' and dispense free legal advice? Are the staff qualified to do so?

FanFuckingTastic Fri 22-Mar-13 17:28:43

Sorry, I put job centre and I meant Citizens Advice Bureau. They are called Community Law Services and they are finishing off cases they have taken on only, so I got to them in time.

Had some good news today though, my Section 21 is again not valid. It's supposed to start at the end of contracted time, and she's started it at the beginning, so depending on whether she reaches me by the end of March, or the end of April, I have some more time in the house.

This gives me time to think about what to do and where to go.

WafflyVersatile Fri 22-Mar-13 20:10:36

No advice but good luck with it all.

I'm glad you seem to have a good relationship with the father of your DS and it does seem like a good idea for him to stay with his dad, for a while at least, to take some pressure off you.

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