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Father on with PR thinks he can take his daughter any time he likes!

(7 Posts)
CostaCoffee1 Thu 01-Jan-15 12:50:12


My daughter is being taken through the courts for contact, (not by the man on but if you read his comments at:

You can read his threat and just to add that on another website at:

Their paragraph on this reads:

My Child has Been Taken Away From Me What Can I Do?
Unfortunately in some circumstances, a father may take your child during agreed contact time and then refuse to bring them home again. If this happens and you are unable to negotiate with the father then you should call the police. However, the police may not be able to do anything. This generally comes down to whether or not the father has PR. If they do not, then the child is the mother's sole responsibility and the police may be able to take the child back to the mother. If the father does have PR, then in usual circumstances, they have the same rights as the mother to look after the child and therefore, so long as the child is not in any harm, the police cannot usually do anything about it. This can be understandably distressing for a mother. What can be done about it?

So, does anyone here have any experience regarding a father taking and keeping children whether there is a court order or not? If the Dads can do this, why do we bother with court orders at all?

Does anyone here read the stuff that the "Dads" are putting on "their" website?

Thanks for your time.

STIDW Thu 01-Jan-15 14:02:30

Actually I find Dad Info is quite a good site. The law doesn't discriminate between mothers and fathers and the information is correct.Children not being returned from contact is a matter for the family courts rather than the police.

When both parents have Parental Responsibility they have equal rights and responsibilities to carry out those responsibilities so important issues such as where children live, when they have contact, changing a child's name, taking children abroad to live permanently, schooling and medical issues need to be agreed. If no agreement can be reached either parent can apply to court for an order to regulate PR.

Unless there is child protection issue the police have no powers to remove a child if they aren't returned after contact. The police may call and check children are alright or persuade the parent to return the child but whether or not there is a court order the correct thing is to refer the matter to court. In a real emergency an application can be heard without notice in a matter of hours or if it is less urgent with abridged notice in a matter of a few days. In most cases the return of a child can be negotiated but the court can make a recovery order and if necessary the court tipstaff can call on the police for assistance. IT very rarely come to that though, and as you can imagine it isn't particularly pleasant for children.

FushandChups Thu 01-Jan-15 23:59:01

My stbxh did this - refused to return the children following contact. The info is correct - I could not have got the police involved as he had PR.

However, he gave me advance warning he would do it so I engaged a solicitor and when he went ahead, I contacted her and was in court by 11 am the next day. I had an emergency order by the end of that day not allowing him access to our children but as it was late, he was served it the following morning and I got my children back.

We both returned to court about 3 days later and the arrangement was amended to allow him contact provided I agreed...

It's scary but you will have the law on your side - despite SS being involved on his side, the reason the judge granted the order was because he was refusing to allow me to even see my DC, he was actively hiding them from me (I did go round to collect and he wouldn't even tell me where they were)..

I hope your situation resolves itself - mine is still a mess but then my stbxh is not a very nice man

FushandChups Fri 02-Jan-15 00:01:12

Should add - following the emergency order, any breach (such as not returning the DC immediately) would have resulted in a serious fine and even jail - if you have one in place and he decides to override it, you are in a very strong position - that's why you bother!

CostaCoffee1 Fri 02-Jan-15 12:45:52

Hi FushandChups.

Thanks for input, but as we all probably know, that the threat of prison for mothers breaking an order is just that, a threat and so it must be the same for fathers? Police do not want to get involved so who will enforce the orders?
I asked a solicitor how likely is it that my daughter would go to prison for breaking an order and she said "remote". So I still feel why bother going to court. I know that some women don`t even bother turning up.

I suppose its ok if you can hold your nerve!

Has anyone gone to prison or know someone who has?

Many thanks.

FushandChups Fri 02-Jan-15 14:07:56

I don't know of anyone personally but my solicitor said that she would have pushed for that sanction had he breached it... It shouldn't be different for woman compared to men, but I expect it probably is.

I also expect it depends on who is primary carer as to what sanctions are put in place.

I hope your daughter gets some peace soon - it is just horrible having this hanging over you

STIDW Fri 02-Jan-15 17:02:28

Yes, I do know of cases where people have been sent to prison. One mother posted something similar online asking whether mothers really go to prison. Half way through the thread she disappeared only to return after spending two weeks in prison. In another case a woman was sent down for three months and had another sentence suspended until she was released.

There are also cases when fathers have been committed. In one case I know a father was arrested and returned to France where he faced criminal charges after not returning children.

However generally court orders are for the benefit of children rather than to punish parents and there are other ways of dealing with problems. For example in some circumstances the courts have awarded a shared living arrangement so the children live in two homes to equalise the power between parents. Occasionally when there is hostility to contact a change of living arrangements has been ordered so the child lives with the other parent.

Personally I know of a number of cases when children haven't been returned after contact and the authorities have negotiated or forced a return. One Mumsnetter's child was returned the same night after she contacted the High Court out of hours.The courts also make a number of family assistance orders and enforcement orders each year for community service.

Having said that in some cases a court order itself or the threat of sanctions or penalties is enough to get someone to comply. In other cases both parents may be implicated in the problems so it isn't clear cut who should be penalised.

The bottom line is even if sanctions and penalties aren't that usual no one can assume they can't happen to them.

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