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Can a father "kidnap" his own child?

(23 Posts)
tangerinesarenottheonlyfruit Sat 02-Jan-16 22:42:12

If a father is on the birth cert, and the couple are separated but not divorced, with no kind of access agreement in place, then can he just choose to take the DC to live with him, even if their normal place to live is with their mum?

Would social services / the police be at all interested if no history of abuse, just a "normal" marriage breakdown?

A good friend of mine is at the beginning of a divorce and her very young DD has said some things that make her believe maybe he's going to try to take her to live with him.

Can he do that?

He's living on his friend's sofa for quite a while now, having left the family home, but will likely get his own place soon.

SixtyFootDoll Sat 02-Jan-16 22:45:10

If he's on the birth certificate then unless there's a court order in place, they both have equal rights.
Best your friend gets legal advice Asap.
Police won't do anything unless child is at immediate risk.

tangerinesarenottheonlyfruit Sat 02-Jan-16 22:48:17

That's what I thought.

So, even if the DD normally lives with the mum (and has never stayed at his), he could just take her?

Then what, how would she get her back?

Bogeyface Sat 02-Jan-16 22:48:35

He can take the child and refuse to bring the child back if he chooses to. She would then have to go to court to get residency sorted, however him taking the child with no agreement in place would not look good for him.

I agree that she needs legal advice asap including getting a residency order sorted so that if he breaks it, she has legal recourse (including the police if necessary).

She also needs to document everything the child says, dates, times etc so if it ever does become an issue then she can produce this information in court.

tangerinesarenottheonlyfruit Sat 02-Jan-16 22:48:38

Or, a better question - how can she prevent this happening?

Shutthatdoor Sat 02-Jan-16 22:48:43

A good friend of mine is at the beginning of a divorce and her very young DD has said some things that make her believe maybe he's going to try to take her to live with him.

Of course he can as pp has said. Unless there is something formally in place the DC us as much the fathers child as the mothers.

Funinthesun15 Sat 02-Jan-16 22:50:18

I agree that she needs legal advice asap including getting a residency order sorted

Residency orders aren't that common unless there are issues that may occur by absconding the country or child protection issues.

tangerinesarenottheonlyfruit Sat 02-Jan-16 22:51:59

How do you go about getting a residency order, and what is it exactly?

Might that not force his hand maybe?

Currently the situation is her DD lives with her, and her DH takes her out on a fairly casual basis, 2 or 3 days most weeks, but when it suits him.

The DD is at home with her mum every night without fail.

If she's wrong about her suspicions, might not requesting a residency order force him into action, and start a custody battle off?

Bogeyface Sat 02-Jan-16 22:57:11

Fun my apologies, I understood it differently, in that the parents agree residency between them and it is then rubber stamped.

tangerinesarenottheonlyfruit Sat 02-Jan-16 22:58:23

Cross posts.

So a residency order isn't really appropriate here?

My friends iss more than happy for him to be involved in their DD's life. But her MIL has got over-involved in their divorce and my friend is getting worried that the MIL is putting her DH up to taking her DD.

It's not that the DH shouldn't be allowed to father her, it's that it's not in the DD's best interests to live with him. Her DD is in a lovely nursery and will start at the attached school next year, she's settled there, has loads of friends and it's a great school. My friend does all the parenting (Drs appointments, sorting out schools etc). The dad has a pleasant personality socially, but isn't great at being responsible, and it would be a shame for the DD to have to move from where she's settled, at home and at school.

If he was going about this sensible (which he still might do, fingers crossed) and talking about access arrangements then fine. But if he's going to go about it this way, that's not fine at all.

Bogeyface Sat 02-Jan-16 23:00:11

So he doesnt have the DD overnight and there is no routine in place?

Is he likely to be the sort who would use the child to piss the mother off rather than actually wanting to see the child? If that is the case then I doubt she needs to worry, they often use the "I will get custody!" as a threat knowing how much it worries us. In reality they neither want nor can cope with the child full time, in my case when I said "OK" to him have full custody of 3 kids he back pedaled so fast I am surprised he didnt set himself on fire.

The issue isnt whether he will take the child, but the confusion he will be causing her by saying these things, which makes a timeline of what she says even more important.

Lweji Sat 02-Jan-16 23:00:20

They have equal rights, which is why I applied to court to ensure I had official residency.
But courts won't like a parent who prevents contact without good reason or who removes the child from familiar settings or from the usual carer.
Your friend should get legal advice and protect herself before anything happens.

Bogeyface Sat 02-Jan-16 23:01:52

X post again....MIL problem hmm

Could your friend contact her MIL and make assurances that she will encourage a relationship between DD and MIL? It could be that MIL is worried that she will lose contact with her GD (lets face it, it happens) and if your friend reassures her then she may back off.

UnderTheGreenwoodTree Sat 02-Jan-16 23:02:03

Show your friend this rightsofwomen.org.uk/get-information/family-law/children-law-relocation-holidays-abduction/

tangerinesarenottheonlyfruit Sat 02-Jan-16 23:08:05

"Is he likely to be the sort who would use the child to piss the mother off rather than actually wanting to see the child?"

I don't think that's what's going on, he is a good dad. More likely MIL telling him it's a good idea.

We don't even know if this is what he's planning. DD has said some strange stuff, but it could be just coincidence - possible there could be a bit of paranoia here as emotions are running high - but either way my friend is really worried and I knew you lot would have good advice.

"courts won't like a parent who prevents contact without good reason or who removes the child from familiar settings or from the usual carer."

I think my friend will find this kind of stuff reassuring, I'll pass it on.

Although I thought courts usually gave primary access to whomever the child lives with normally. If the dad got the child then by the time it went to court and she was settled there, would it count in his favour by then or does it not work like that? Does court happen quickly?

SmallLegsOrSmallEggs Sat 02-Jan-16 23:09:26

The best thing is for your friend to make formal contact arrangements with her ex. See a sol and suggest mediation. Put it across as just ao everyone, partivularly DD kniws where she stands, let's get contact formally sorted out so that she knows she will always he a relationship with her df.

That should sort out who is the RP.
Residency orders can be granted by court but they prefer parents to come to an agreement.

It has to be sorted out as part of the divorce proceedings anyway

tangerinesarenottheonlyfruit Sat 02-Jan-16 23:10:04

"It could be that MIL is worried that she will lose contact with her GD"

Could be, hadn't thought of it like that. I'm not sure if she and my friend really talk to each other anymore, but I'll mention it.

NanaNina Sat 02-Jan-16 23:11:47

There is no such thing as a Residence Order now. Couples who separate and can't agree over the arrangements for the children have no other course of action than to go to the Family Court and the Judge makes an Order called a Child Arrangement Order, which gives one of the parents the equivalent of a Residence Order, in that the child has his permanent home with one parent and the other parent gets contact, defined by the court.

However there is no legal aid available for the private law cases and so parents have to represent themselves unless they can afford to pay a lawyer at considerable cost. It is a condition that the parents attend mediation sessions in the hope that this will enable them to come to an agreement and avoid a court hearing.

I would urge anyone to try and work things out because going to the Family Court is a long, drawn out, stressful process and children get to know that their parents are fighting over them, which is not a good thing.

I agree with Bogeyface that men often use "I'll take the kids off you" either to get back in the family home or just to annoy and upset the mother.

If you do end up in the Family Court the thing to remember is that you must demonstrate that you have the child's needs at the centre of everything. Judges get very impatient with parents who are trying to score points over each other, and there are far too many of them in my view.

tangerinesarenottheonlyfruit Sat 02-Jan-16 23:12:51

UnderTheGreenwoodTree that's useful, thanks smile

tangerinesarenottheonlyfruit Sat 02-Jan-16 23:15:29

SmallLegs and NanaNina too, useful stuff, thanks smile

RivieraKid Sat 02-Jan-16 23:28:14

During my parent's divorce my father threatened to kidnap me, I was picked up from school by the police so I assume there is a precedent for protecting a child in this way?

Funinthesun15 Sun 03-Jan-16 01:52:41

I agree with Bogeyface that men often use "I'll take the kids off you" either to get back in the family home or just to annoy and upset the mother.

In the same way that women often say that the father will not see the children or only on her terms or is that another sweeping generalisation like the highlighted statement is

NanaNina Sun 03-Jan-16 13:20:12

Funinthesun that's a fair point and I've known situations where the mother has prevented contact, giving spurious reasons, child ill etc. I should have said that IF the matter gets to the Family Court there is a report prepared by a CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Services) who is a social worker independent of the LA. They will investigate the circumstances and make a recommendation, but they are so over whelmed with work that their reports have to be done quickly. If either parent is making it difficult for the other to have contact that will become obvious. The SW has to make a recommendation to the court. As I said Judges get very impatient when one parent is with-holding contact from the other without good reason, or they are trying to score points over each other.

But you're right to make that point.

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