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Friend's ex keeps delaying returning kids - what now?

(12 Posts)
podsquash Mon 22-Aug-11 20:06:39

My friend is a lovely single mum who's ex-husband had the kids for a few days this holiday. Not sure how long he was supposed to have them originally, but they were supposed to be back last Monday, then he refused to return them until Friday and now it isn't going to be until Wednesday. Thankfully he doesn't have their passports.

Obviously we all hope they just come back on Wednesday but if not - what then? What are her best options? I think she needs to get someone official involved but I don't know much about this. Police? Lawyers? Who?

Any advice gratefully received.

GypsyMoth Mon 22-Aug-11 21:16:42

is there a court order in place?
does he have PR?

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Mon 22-Aug-11 21:31:16

Has she seen the kids whilst they have been in his charge? What did she do when he didn't return them when he was supposed to?

My ex was 5 minutes late back with the kids and I was straight on the phone to the police.

Has he done this before. She really really needs to nip this in the bud right now.

podsquash Mon 22-Aug-11 21:43:52

I don't know the answer to any of those questions, I'm afraid. Their divorce only just finalised so not sure about any of that. He has messed her about before.

cestlavielife Tue 23-Aug-11 15:57:05

how old are they?
have they spoken on phone?
what are the welfare concerns if any?
are the Dc having fun/doing something nice/something that couldnt wait??
no single answer depends on the circumstances

niceguy2 Tue 23-Aug-11 16:30:19

Key question. How old are the kids?

What reason has he given for not returning the kids?

This is a civil matter and so the police will not be interested unless there is a risk the children may come to harm whilst under his care.

STIDW Wed 24-Aug-11 02:43:47

I don't entirely agree the police won't be interested. Although they have no powers to recover children without a court order the police will sometimes call round to check children are OK and that may be enough for the parent to return them.

The current living/contact arrangement and ages of the children are important. Children's views are taken into account according to their age and maturity.

Your friend should see a solicitor ASAP because it is important to act before a new status quo can be established. It's possible to apply for an order in an emergency for interim residence and for the children to be returned. This is on the basis that the status quo has unilaterally been altered and it would be in the children's best interest to change it back to maintain their sense of security and established bonds.

Gonzo33 Wed 24-Aug-11 09:50:34

I agree with STIDW it is important your friend see's a solicitor asap, or contacts the solicitor that dealt with her divorce as they will know the history.

I have a residence order and contact order in place just for this reason as my exh has a histroy of not returning our ds too.

Good luck with it all.

podsquash Sat 03-Sep-11 19:01:48

Hi - thanks all of you. Her kids were returned 10 days late, safe and sound but glad to be home. She said that there was no mention of custody and access arrangements in the divorce papers but that she would be seeing to that pronto now. Thanks again.

MeMySonAndI Sun 04-Sep-11 00:12:48

She can't divorce without submitting an "arrangements for the care of children" form. That she must have signed as well as her exh. Obviously this is far from being a residence/contact order but a good point to start...

podsquash Mon 05-Sep-11 09:58:47

Oh right, great, I will tell her that - thanks.

niceguy2 Mon 05-Sep-11 10:39:56

If I was your friend, there is no way on earth I would let the ex have any further unsupervised contact without written assurances that he will return them as agreed and if he wants to vary the dates then it must be by mutual consent.

First step should be to a solicitor who should write to him telling contact is suspended until this matter is resolved. No way should he feel like he can just unilaterally extend contact for 10 days.

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