Access to my child

Good afternoon everybody 

I hope someone can help me regarding any rights I may or may not have.

I live in Scotland and my ex partner and my child (aged 8) live in England. We split up when my child was less than one year old.

I have always had regular access to my child (the last couple of years I have taken him up to Scotland for most of the holiday periods). Before choosing to see him less times but for longer visits I used to fly down once a month but this was too much financially.

My ex has now stopped me from taking him to Scotland as I have a new partner. She says I can only see him if I visit him in England and on my own.

She has text me today saying that I cannot have him for Easter and she is taking him to Africa for the whole summer. She is from Uganda. It looks like I will not get to see him unless I cave into her demands of visiting him solely in England!

I have always paid monthly maintenance without fail however have now stopped this due to her unreasonable demands. I told her that going forward this money will be added to the monthly savings plan for our son’s future.

To be honest, I really think I need legal advice however am worried about the cost of this. I have given my ex fortunes over the years and eroded my savings. I have also been off my work for over two years with depression. Between a monthly insurance payment and PIP, I receive circa £1,500. Not sure if I would qualify for legal aid with this income amount? Can anyone please help?

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  • Marvel1
    Marvel1 Posts: 7,136
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    JB32 said:
    Good afternoon everybody 

    I hope someone can help me regarding any rights I may or may not have.

    I live in Scotland and my ex partner and my child (aged 8) live in England. We split up when my child was less than one year old.

    I have always had regular access to my child (the last couple of years I have taken him up to Scotland for most of the holiday periods). Before choosing to see him less times but for longer visits I used to fly down once a month but this was too much financially.

    My ex has now stopped me from taking him to Scotland as I have a new partner. She says I can only see him if I visit him in England and on my own.

    She has text me today saying that I cannot have him for Easter and she is taking him to Africa for the whole summer. She is from Uganda. It looks like I will not get to see him unless I cave into her demands of visiting him solely in England!

    I have always paid monthly maintenance without fail however have now stopped this due to her unreasonable demands. I told her that going forward this money will be added to the monthly savings plan for our son’s future.

    To be honest, I really think I need legal advice however am worried about the cost of this. I have given my ex fortunes over the years and eroded my savings. I have also been off my work for over two years with depression. Between a monthly insurance payment and PIP, I receive circa £1,500. Not sure if I would qualify for legal aid with this income amount? Can anyone please help?
    Do not stop this, this won't look good on you.

    Does she have a new partner?
  • JB32
    JB32 Posts: 12
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    Hi Marvel1, thanks for replying. 

    Ok, good advice regarding maintenance, 

    Sadly, she was married when I met her. I was totally unaware of this until she was pregnant 7 months after meeting her. She  hid this from me as she always came over to me. There was no hint of another person as she stayed over in my place two or three nights a week. 

    She was 30 when I met her and her husband was in his 70’s. They still live together with the house solely in her name and with a small mortgage on it.



  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Posts: 11,198
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    Unfortunately you won't et legal aid as in England, there's no legal aid for private family cases . I don't know what the Scottish rules are but as Scottish and English law is different, you would need a solicitor familiar with English law, as cases relating to children are heard in the country where the child lives.

    That said, it would be possible for you to apply without using a solicitor, or by getting some advice to help you prepare, but not instructing them to attend court with you, so keep costs down.

    The court has to decide what is in the best interests of the child, and in the absence of any concrete issues with your partner, it would be quite difficult for her to successfully argue that after having your child for regular visits  with no issues, it's suddenly not in their interests to visit you in Scotland. 

    In the absence of her agreement for you to take him to Scotland, however, you are going to need a court order and should apply for a Child Arrangements Order (setting out when / how often you have contact) and a Specific Issue Order (Giving you specific permission to take him out of England & Wales during his time with you) - because Scotland is a separate country and has separate legal jurisdiction, taking him to Scotland is legally the same as taking him to France or Germany or Australia - you must have either her agreement or the court's permission. If you apply for an order that you can take him out of England and Wales during any period he is in your care, that lets you take him t Scotland but would also apply for any foreign holidays you wanted to take. 

    Are you on his birth certificate and is there a court order in place at the moment, to say he lives with her? If you are on the birth certificate and there is no court order in place, then she is not permitted to take him out of the country without either your consent, or the court's permission, either, and even if she has a court order stating that he lives with her, she is not permitted to take him out of the country or more than 28 days, so if she plans to go for the full summer she needs your agreement. And if she applied to the court for permission, a Judge might well take the view that while it is likely to be in his interested to have the opportunity to spend time with his extended family, he also needs time with you, so might limit the length of time she can go for.

    Child maintenance is totally separate and  you are liable to pay regardless of whether or not you have contact./ Check the CMS calculator to see how much you need to pay https://www.gov.uk/calculate-child-maintenance anything over that amount is voluntary . Courts are very unimpressed with parents who try to put pressure on the other by withholding maintenance, so don't do that - not least because it effectively punishes the child for their parent's behaviour.  (do make sure you pay in a way that creates a very clear paper trail) 

    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783
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    Hi, you CAN actually get legal aid for family matters, whether in England or Scotland. You may qualify. This is what Citizens Advice Scotland says

     - https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/law-and-courts/legal-system-s/taking-legal-action-s/help-with-legal-costs-s/

    You need some help with sorting out custody arrangements and your ex-partner does not have any right to keep you from your child. 

    When I was going through a divorce (different circumstances but same child custody rules) I had to provide a document for my ex stating that I would not keep our child out of the UK for longer than four weeks when I had planned to take her on holiday to Canada during school holidays.  Hasn't your ex been required to supply such a document? Had I absconded with my daughter I'd have been in deep water!  If your ex is actually from Uganda I may be worried (given her history of keeping important and relevant information to herself) that she could just stay there, so you need something in place.

    Don't stop the maintenance. That's for your son. Not your ex. And as Marvel1 said, it won't look good on you.
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • JB32
    JB32 Posts: 12
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    Thank you all for your wonderful contributions. Some invaluable guidance provided
  • MEM62
    MEM62 Posts: 4,667
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    JB32 said:
    My ex has now stopped me from taking him to Scotland as I have a new partner. She says I can only see him if I visit him in England and on my own.

    She has no right to do that.  

    JB32 said:
    I have always paid monthly maintenance without fail however have now stopped this due to her unreasonable demands. I told her that going forward this money will be added to the monthly savings plan for our son’s future.
    And you have no right to do that either. If this comes to litigation, you have just eroded any goodwill that may have been show to you by the court.  
  • london21
    london21 Posts: 2,089
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    Continue doing your part and paying child support.

    If she would not allow you to see your child then court might be the next option. 
  • JB32 said:
    Hi Marvel1, thanks for replying. 

    Ok, good advice regarding maintenance, 

    Sadly, she was married when I met her. I was totally unaware of this until she was pregnant 7 months after meeting her. She  hid this from me as she always came over to me. There was no hint of another person as she stayed over in my place two or three nights a week. 

    She was 30 when I met her and her husband was in his 70’s. They still live together with the house solely in her name and with a small mortgage on it.



    I might be a cynic and totally off the mark here but are you 100% sure the child is yours?
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