Unbeknownst to me, the children's absent father (currently of two years) can just turn up to their school with copies of their birth certificates and his own ID, remove them from the premises, drive 180 miles back home with them, put them into a new school, and apply for sole residency.
The school can't stop him unless I have a court order specifically preventing him. They can ring me and stall him, but that's all.
And there's nothing the police can do to stop him UNLESS the children are distressed or I can PROVE he's a risk to their wellbeing.
All I can do is go to court (considering they shut at 2pm and it's in a town 45 minutes away and I don't drive, hard enough...) and apply for an Emergency Probibited Steps Order (PSO) for the police to knock on his door and retrieve them.
That's assuming he's at home, which he won't be because his house isn't habitable. He could be anywhere. He could have applied for their passports and took them abroad.
How much resource will the police plough into finding him under a court under? It's not even classed as Abduction so there will be no prioritising.
It took my Mum nearly a year to get me back again when I was abducted aged 18 months by my bio Dad and his Mum, and that was back in the late Sixties when I don't even know if Parental Responsibility existed. So you can see I'm anxious, to make an understatement.
My lawyer told me I can apply for a non-emergency PSO but it will kick start a contact/access process (and cost me around £3k as I'm not entitled to Legal Aid now (no 'recent' DV or history of child abuse on his part). It won't cost him anything.
So by being totally absent for two full years, then out of the blue sending birthday cards and Facebook friend requests, their father had circumvented both my access to Legal Aid, and superseded the DV history because after two years absence, he will not even be granted contact centre supervision, they can be court ordered to go STRAIGHT TO HIM, despite the fact I have evidence that his aim is to remove the chikdren from my care by whatever means neccessary, even lying under oath, such is the state of his vindictiveness.
Now none of his intentions I can validate. It's all surmise in my head based on my knowledge of how he plays games, along with an attempted 'off the record' suggestion from my lawyer that he 'seems to have waited for the two year absence to initiate (the above mentioned) procedures'.
Summarily, I can either call his bluff and ignore his current actions, hoping that he'll continue to be absent, and myself and children can carry on as before.
Or, I can take precautions by obtaining a non-emergency PSO to prevent him removing the children from school. Simultaneously to initiate a Residence Order (Custody/Sole Residence/Chikd Arrangememt Order/whatever it's called now ... the law on this changed in April 2014) which will be a double edged sword though : It means that I will be granted sole residency so he can't just remove them from school without my permission or apply for them to live with him, but it also means a contact/access order may be granted so he gets to see them anyway.
Before anyone has a go for me seemingly ignoring the 'what's best for the children' aspect. I left him when they were 4 weeks and 3 years old after seven years of the worst kinds of DV. He'd visited them around 6 times after that, accommodated at my house. He stopped visiting them when I stopped accommodating him and paying the fuel cost. There's been zero contact for two years until he sent a birthday card written like a document for the court's benefit and a Facebook friend request to myself and everyone on my Friendlist declaring literally 'I'm The Daddy' in his username, uploading in one go hundreds of public viewable photos of the children which give the overall photo montage impression he's spent years with them, as a family unit, when in fact he's spent about 6 weeks with them since I left 5 years ago.
Anyone with any similar experience of obtaining a PSO for this purpose, or just your views or advice on this development and dilemma?
Apologies for the length. Having spoken to my lawyer yesterday I'm just posting for more opinions as the outlook seems bleaker now :/
If he hasn't actually done anything yet in terms of trying to remove them I'd seriously try to hold fire. As you say, if you go down the pso route now then it is likely to kick off a contact dispute at the end of which he will almost certainly get some form of direct contact. The process is likely to be long, stressful and expensive.
What I would do in your shoes is to speak with your lawyer and agree an emergency course of action that you can kick start if he does remove them. I think if he does remove them you can apply for an emergency return order even if it means going to another court, to reinstate the satus quo i.e. the children in your main care whilst contact is sorted out. Surely the court would take a dim view of his actions anyway and this would bring his character into question (though probably not enough to warrant no contact).
On a practical level speak with the headteacher and class teachers at your school. Explain the situation. They will almost certainly have come across this before and may well be sympathetic. Even if they can't stop him, they may well be able to delay him to enable you to get there.