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Residency of my little ones

(3 Posts)
LimonAde Thu 16-Jun-05 21:38:39

Hi

This is my first posting on here.

Today I received notification from my ex-husband's solicitor that said ex is applying for residency of our son aged 3 and daughter aged 5. The children have lived with me since we separated 3 years ago (divorced 2 years ago this October). My family now consists of my partner and our son who is 20 months as well as my other two children.

The main reason I feel my ex has applied for residency is that we are soon to move away from the area as we cannot afford to live where we do. (It is a rural location and my wage is low for what I do). Also, there is no family support here and we are moving to be nearer my parents.

A big issue is that my partner has recently been suffering with a serious mental health problem. This is as yet undiagnosed but it has involved him 'disappearing' in times of stress. On one occasion it was thought that he had left the children alone briefly but it turns out that this was not the case (he had left via the back door as I arrived home). Social Services have been involved - initially at my request - and have provided no support. They have made two assessments of the children's well-being and subsequently closed each case. Social Services asked that I sign to agree that I would not leave the children in my partner's care whilst they carried out their investigation, which I did unwillingly. Since they closed the case I have revoked this agreement as I firmly believe that my partner's problems have no negative bearing on the children's well-being. The children are well cared for, dressed and fed appropriately, mentally stimulated and very well loved. They adore my partner and their baby brother. Illness aside, we are a very happy family and have come through the worst of my partner's illness. We are experiencing severe financial difficulties, but these will be addressed by our house move and my beginning new employment.

I cannot afford for anyone other than my partner to care for the children so this is how we plan to continue.

In contrast, my ex-husband (who I do feel loves his children dearly btw) paid no maintenance for the first 18 months and now only does so sporadically (only 4 weeks worth since Feb this year) and only has the children between approx 10am and 3pm on Saturdays. He has not taken up my offer to have them overnight or to see them in the holidays (says he has to work, but has taken holiday time to go away himself). There have been a number of incidents in the past such as when he broke into my house and took the children, their beds and my TV and microwave ??!) and also hit me whilst holding our son. However this was all more than 12 months ago and he has been fairly reasonable and responsible ever since although his parenting skills are slightly deficcient. (Told daughter there were scary fairies in the cupboard causing her a nightmare where she walked into the bedroom door and had a nosebleed).

Ok, now I have made us sound like the family from hell...does anyone know what are the chances I will lose my children?

I feel that, through admittedly difficult times, I have provided a consistent and loving environment and provided well for my three children despite a complete lack of support from Social Services, etc. (They refused to use Section 17 money to pay for childcare during the time that they asked that my partner did not care for the children alone, despite the fact that I have a job and cannot afford alternative childcare, greatly exacerbating our financial difficulties).

I am terrified of losing them - we are about to start on the road to a better future with a new job, and better family support. I can't believe this is happening!

SofiaAmes Thu 16-Jun-05 23:05:05

You poor thing. It does sound hard and it sounds like you really are doing a pretty remarkable job given the circumstances. I suspect that your ex will not get custody as he doesn't seem to have been active at all in their lives. But you should really consult a lawyer. It sounds like you will be entitled to legal aid if your income is low. good luck.

aloha Sat 18-Jun-05 20:09:29

He won't get residency. No way. He hasn't even had them overnight!
You can get a solicitor and it sounds as if you will qualify for legal aid.
He is probably panicking because of your move, but frankly, if anyone hit me whether I was holding my child or not, I couldn't get away fast enough.

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