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Clare, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 34105
Experience:  family solictor with 25 years experience
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Dear Sirs Background: 3/10/16: I suspected that my wife was

Customer Question

Dear Sirs
3/10/16: I suspected that my wife was having an affair, when I asked her about it, she left the house and took the car which I own and have the primary insurer, she is a named driver. She left our child in my care.
4/10/16: Came to collect some of her belongings in presence of her friend and asked me to take care of our child as she has no permanent place to live.
5/10/16 - 7/10/16: Stayed out overnight, but picked up our son from the child minder, put him to bed and left the house when I returned from work.
8/10/16 - 9/10/16: Through family invited me to meet in Oxford to discuss reconciliation. Took our son from me without any discussion and left.
10/11/16: My wife submitted an application in my absence to the Reigate Family Courts and got the court to issue a) Non-molestation order b) Occupation Order c) Child Arrangement Order (Primary carer)
11/10/16: After the initial hearing the court kept the NMO, asked both parties to share the house (with specified time to use common areas), gave primary care responsibility to my wife and permitted me to have contact with my son as follows;
Monday - Friday: 6:00am - 6:30am, 7:00am - 7:45am
Saturday: Full day (wake up to bed time)
The above decision was for an interim basis, until the next hearing on Occupation Order and NMO (26/10/16).
However, my wife didn't follow the court order, didn't sleep at home on a single night between 11/10 to 17/10 and forced overnight childcare on me without consent / agreement. Her argument was that unless she receives the court order it is not enforceable. The court emailed the hearing outcome on 17/10/16, however, it was dated as 11/10/16 (the hearing date). Furthermore, regarding the Child Arrangement Order, the court had set a hearing date of 15/11/16.
Yesterday, when I returned from work (approx. 9:30pm), I didn't find my son or wife at home. Which was unusual as my son, who is only 2 years old sleeps around 7pm. I contacted my wife by email to ask where our son was. Instead of replying to my email, she sent a new email (10:00pm) suggesting that, she as the primary carer has taken the decision to change the residence of my son, however, she is happy for me to have the arranged contact with him (6:00am) in Dorking area. I responded by asking the address for contact, she refused to give it to me and instead proposed to meet at the Dorking Train Station, to which I agreed.
I arrived at the train station in time and waited for my wife and son for 2 hours, but she didn't show up. She sent me a few emails suggesting that she thought I wasn't coming, she disagrees with the arrangement and can't bring my son, shortly afterwards suggested that she is outside the station but leaving and finally asking me which station was I at, as there are three stations in Dorking?
My Questions:
1. Where do I stand, in terms of the child arrangement order, can I ask her to bring the child at the family home at specified times and refuse to meet elsewhere?
2. On 3/10/16, she took the car which I own and have the primary insurer, she is a named driver. She is refusing to return that car to me. What are my options?
I will really appreciate your advice and help in the above matter.
Best regards
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: UK Law
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I need to reply to my wife soon for tomorrow's contact, she has sent me a follow up email regarding this matter. I look forward to your response
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

How far is Dorking from your home?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you. Dorking train station is 21 miles from my home as per Google map.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
She is now proposing that I keep my son from 5pm Friday to 8:30am Monday and that she will keep him for the remainder of the days. Which doesn't mean much as my son goes to the child minder 8:30am-4:30pm Monday to Friday. I suspect, she wants to keep the weekend to herself, so that she can spend time with her lover.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have attached the most recent orders issued after the initial hearing on 11/10/16
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.

Would having him at the weekend be a problem for you?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
it will be. I was thinking of proposing to have contact on Sunday only and that too between 11:00am - 4:00pm. If I can get my car back, I can go and meet him in Dorking. If not, I'd request him to be dropped-off at the family home in Caterham.
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.

What arrangement are you looking for in the long term?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I do love my son a lot, but I can't let my wife use him as a pawn to get to me. She was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment (suspended for two years) on 20/2/15 for perverting the course of justice. She helped her brother destroy incriminating evidence in a drugs and gun crime case. Furthermore, she falsely accused me of violence earlier this year, the Police investigated and released me without any charge / caution. I pay for all house expenses, child care, and on top of it she made me pay £500 a month for her expenses, she also works part-time and has reasonable earning. But she never contributed towards any expenses.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I'd go for a similar arrangement in the near future (up to 1 year) and then request a revision, depending upon how things are between my wife and I. She claims to have submitted the divorce petition on 10/10/16 but I am yet to receive any paperwork.
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.

So you do not wish to have the full time of your son - you are happy for your wife to care for him?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
at least in the short-term. I used to spend 2 hours every morning (milk, nappy, play, breakfast) with him plus the full weekend. I helped with the house chores (doing dishes, hoover, cleaning etc.) but my wife wanted me to do even more, which I couldn't with my job. It hurts me to take this decision but I feel it is the right decision for both me and my son
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Sorry just clicked it by mistake
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Dear Clare
I'm about to leave work now, as I have almost 2 hours journey home. I have to respond to my wife's email by 9:30pm. Do you need more information from me, or do you think you'll be able to advise on the questions based on the information provided above?
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.

if that is the case then there is no reason not to suggest the alternative contact arrangement that you want.

Please be aware however that the housing needs of your wife and child will be the priority in any settlement - and you may find it somewhat harder to increase ocntact in the future

I am afraid that you cannot do anything about the car at this point

Please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you Clare, what do you mean by the comment about the housing need priority in settlement? Are you referring to the occupation order or divorce?
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
What would you advise regarding the car, shall I wait until divorce mediation to discuss? Can I not take any legal action?
Expert:  Clare replied 9 months ago.

It would be very unwise to try and take it of her since she has the child - it is something to be dealt with in mediation