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Advice and reassurance?(7 Posts)
First post on here so apologies if its in the wrong place.
I'm looking for advice and hopefully some reassurance. I have 3 children 2 boys and a girl between 5 & 11yrs old and have been in what I thought was a good relationship, however 3 weeks ago I came home from visiting my mother with the kids and she had packed and said she was leaving as it wasn't working out. I took her to the train station hoping we could sort it out but I couldn't and she went.
I now have the 3 children with me and have sorted all the relevant benefits so that they are in my name.
The concern I have is, the children phone her every night before bed and everything is amicable between me and their mum but today she said she wanted joint custody of them.
Now before all the anti father brigade jump in, I have no problem with joint custody or anything else, my concern is she has moved around 150 miles away, so is unable to see them daily and financially difficult to see them at the weekends. If she decides to go for sole custody of the children will the courts side with her and move the children away from school, family and friends? or will they allow them to stay with me?
Any input would be appreciated.
Thanks for the quick reply. In all fairness time spent was equal. My eldest has difficulties and I am his main carer. Something I forgot to mention was we had a short separation about 4 yrs ago and Social services removed the children from her and gave them to me for a few months, and helped me get a council house so I could look after them for longer periods.
First of all the terms "custody" and "access" were replaced with "contact" and "residence" twenty years ago. In fact residence and contact orders are shortly also to be replaced with Child Arrangement Orders.
Are you married or on the children's birth certificate ?
If parents cannot agree the living and contact arrangement for children a court would consider the welfare checklist in s1 Children Act 1989 including the wishes and feelings of children in view of their age and understanding, the background, how the parents are placed to care for the children and the needs of the children. Children need continuity of care, to keep many of their routines and established bonds so that their sense of security isn't disrupted. That means it could be difficult changing the status quo and obtaining sole residence after separation if your partner/wife was the children's main carer before separation.
Shared care can be in different proportions than 50:50 and living a distance apart isn't a bar to sharing residence. For example in one case the parents lived 400 miles away but the father had been very involved so the court granted shared residence with the children staying with the mother during term time and the father during the school holiday except for two weeks in the summer. Travelling can be shared.
Good contact for children relies on parents working together or at least not against each other so it is better if you can agree arrangements between yourselves, using a mediator if necessary, rather than going through the courts.
Cheers for that.
So am I right in thinking, As we were both equally caring for them and the children's school, hospital specialist, family etc are here with me it would be unlikely for a court to move them away to their mum who would have to redo everything?
I am hoping that we can sort this out without the courts, and no, we were not married but I am on the certificate of all 3.
If childcare shared equally 50:50 is well established before parents separate then shared residence is likely after they separate, and it may be deemed less disruptive for children to stay with the parent who isn't moving away.
However in my experience a number of parents claim 50:50 shared care when the evidence suggests otherwise, although I'm not suggesting that is the case here.
Evidence of the caring routines which may be corroborated includes things like taking and collecting children to/from school, visits to the doctors/dentists, taking the children shopping for shoes and clothes, being responsible for children during the time they are at school if the school closes or the child is ill, helping with homework, children's perceptions, organising activities and taking the children, shopping and preparing children's food and washing their clothes.
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