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Thomas Judge
Thomas Judge, Solicitor Advocate
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 32978
Experience:  Award winning lawyer with over 15 years experience
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My daughter (12) and I had an argument and she has been

Customer Question

Hi. My daughter (12) and I had an argument and she has been staying with her dad, whom she has seen only twice this year as they fell out. Does she get to choose who to live with, as he will not return her and she has to go to school. He says he'll register her locally.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Family Law
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 1 year ago.

At the age of 12 she does not get to choose where she lives, although the court will listen to her wishes and feelings. As the child has been living with you then I would suggest that you make an urgent application to the court for the following orders if matters can not be agreed between you and your ex - you would want to apply for a child arrangements order (which confirms where she lives), prohibited steps (to prevent her going to this school) and specific issue order (so that she goes to the school as originally planned). I would also recommend that you seek an order authorising the recovery of the child to you. I would suggest that you seek to deal with this in the morning. The form you need is here

Happy to discuss. Please rate positively.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.


My name is ***** ***** I am a family lawyer - and of course there is always the potential for disagreement between solicitors.

I am sorry but I believe that in fact it could be unwise to try and force the return of the child in this way of she has gone to her father

Given her age her wishes will be seen as important - provided it is clear that she understands the serious nature of the choice she is making - with all the implications of changing schools etc.

You should try and organise an urgent appointment with a Family Mediator trained to work with young people who can ensure that your daughter's real wishes are brought to the


If you go straight to the court this week and your daughter feels that you are forcing her return you are more likely to lose her than to have her return to your care

You can read more here


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How can these views be so opposing? My daughter's father is planning to cancel her place at grammar and put her into a local school close to him (we live 70 miles apart). I have not moved with the child, he has moved out of area. It is more complicated. She is scared to go back to school as she was bullied before the summer break, and she is playing up to him on this. School starts on Weds and until Friday she was coming back to me! She has lived with me all her life, he has seen her only twice this year. Surely this counts for something. He has never been a regular presence and she craves his attention.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, he has a history of domestic violence (police report Northants Jan 99).
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.


As I said there is always room for disagreement - and different solicitors take different approaches

It will all depend on how your daughter presents in terms of her understanding of the difficulties ahead of her if she does make this move - losing all her

old friends and having to start again.

You can make an urgent applictaion tomorrow morning - you will need to be in the Court at 9.30 - and be ready to explain your case directly to the Magistrates/District Judge.

It is likely that the Court will be unwilling to make an order tomorrow- but it is possible that a hearing will be ordered for the next day which the father will be invited to attend

I hope it goes well and that time to realise what she will face if she stays with dad will ensure her return

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She will claim to have no friends, as she is fearful. I can't see how the law will help me on this. Which court? I don't understand and am lost with this!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
An urgent application for what?
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

The orders that my colleague set out

1. Specific Issue Order that the child returns to your care and starts school this week while consideration id given about where she should live permanently.

You need to point out that moving schools would pre-decide the issue

2. A Child Arrangement Order setting out where the child will live permanently

You can find details of your local Family Court here

Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 1 year ago.


it is a matter for you, but I disagree very much with the advice my colleague has given. Different lawyers can give different advice but the welfare of the child is the paramount consideration. I would make the applications to the court as I have set out above and I would make them today. You need action not rather than to delay matters. You have stated that the father wants to change the child's schooling. This is an urgent matter needing to be dealt with immediately. I am happy to discuss

Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 1 year ago.

I hope that this helps. Please remember to rate positively - thanks

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