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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33704
Experience:  25 years experience of all aspects of family law
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My son wants to come and live with me. He is 10.5 now. I

Customer Question

Hi, my son wants to come and live with me. He is 10.5 now. I have said that when he is 11.5 next summer he can and start secondary school where I am. (My ex wife ran off 100 miles to be with ex boyfriend 4 years ago and took my two children with her. My daughter wants to stay with her.) Can my son just walk out at 11.5 and come and live with me- starting school here Sept 2016? Do I have to start court proceedings or can he just come and live with me and the onus is on my ex wife to start court proceedings to try and get him back? Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.


Thank you for your letter

My name is ***** ***** I shall do my best to help you

Whilst your son is approaching the age at which his wishes will be decisive in the question of where he lives,

allowing or encouraging him to simply "walk out" in this way would backfire and could in fact ensure that for a further

couple of years he has to stay with his mother.

Your ex would have no difficulty in obtaining an immediate order for his return which could then be hard to overturn.

If this is what your son wants then you need to start discussing it with your ex next year - using Family mediation

and a Mediator trained to work with young people so that your son's views can be expressed to some one neutral.

If that fails then you need to make a formal application to the court - taking the correct approach gives you a much better chance of success

Please ask if you need further details


If you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare, thank you for the reply. My ex will fight it all the way-simply because of the money she will lose out on. I started legal action for custody two years ago and dropped it quickly- as within a month my daughter (now 12.5) completely changed her mind- due to pressure from her mother. I see the same happening with my son. Also once I started action she made it difficult for me to see the children for a while. At present we meet half way every two weekends and I have them in the holidays too. The thought of her stopping me from seeing them is too much really. I know that access orders are not worth the paper they are written on and if she wont meet me half way on the motorway then it is too far for me to travel to see them for a weekend. She has me over a barrel basically. Meanwhile my son who really struggles at school will end up leaving with no GSCEs- whereas if he was with me and my teaching background I could give him the extra help he needs. Also I don't have 3k or so to take it to court!
So I suppose my question would be- at what age could he simply walk out and refuse to go back- and when she would not be able to get an emergency court order to get him back- 12, 13, 14?
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

You do not need money to take it to court - the only cost need be the issue fee of £215.

The children are of an age when train travel need not be impossible for part of the journey; and the courts are much more robust

at enforcing Contact Orders - and her stopping contact would be seen as a good reason for the move to take place.

There is no age at which your allowing him to simply walk would be seen as responsible - but they are less likely to force a 14 year old to return

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks again. There have been times when my son has been kicking and screaming when I've handed him back after a weekend with me. He has even run off before. As he gets older I just don't see how I could physically force him to return to his mother is he doesn't want to. It breaks my heart.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Then promise him that you will start the process - and keep the promise - you have an excellent chance of success

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you x
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

You are welcome - remember you will be doing it for your son!

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