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Applying for Child Custody

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 20 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Child Custody Applying For Custody

Sadly, not every marriage can maintain a 'happy ever after', leading many couples to divorce. In the midst of a marital split, there may be children involved and each parent may have their own ideas as to how their offsprings should be looked after and who should look after them.

Sometimes feelings are so strong as to who should have the children that one or both parents may instigate custody proceedings in order to have the law rule on which parent is the most suitable carer.

What is Child Custody?

Child custody is a ruling by a magistrate – or Family Panel – who determines which parent should have the children living with them. This decision is based on a number of factors and also takes into consideration the feelings of the children involved, if they are old enough to understand what is going on around them.

Child custody also rules on how often and under what circumstances the parent who has been refused custody should see his or her children.

Applying for Custody

Before you can apply for custody you must ensure that all avenues of amicable agreement have been exhausted. It is important to remember that a custody battle can be a long drawn out series of hearings and, throughout this, your children will be fully aware of what is happening. They will have to speak to the court welfare officer during this time, too.

You must first consult a solicitor who specialises in family law, and they will instruct you on the best course of action. If there are no mitigating circumstances in the custody request, such as domestic violence, you should reasonably expect the process to take some time.

Appearing before the Family Panel

When you are given the date for your custody hearing, you will be required to appear before the Family Panel – which consists of three magistrates – and explain your reasons for wanting custody of your child/children. Your partner will also have to do this and the Family Panel will put a series of questions to you in relation to how you think you can cope with the children on your own, why you think you are the parent to whom the court should grant custody, and also if you are able to support the children financially?

The Court Welfare Officer

The Court Welfare Officer is given the task of assessing your status at home and also how you interact and look after your children. They will make their report and submit their recommendations to the Family Panel, and may on the day of the custody hearing be asked to present their findings to all those present.

The Court Welfare Officer may also have to speak with your children to try to find out Who They Would Like To Live With and the reasons why. All of this information is documented and presented to the Family Panel for review.

The Family Panel’s Ruling

You should be mindful of the fact that the Family Proceedings Court is a court of law and the magistrates operating therein are doing so in accordance with the law. With this in mind the Family Panel’s decision is legal and binding and – unless you appeal it – you are required by law to adhere to the terms and conditions of the custody agreement.

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Hi, From my previous e-mail, I finally meet my son three times now. I am still having a lot of issues with regards to me going to see my son. I live in London and my ex partner live in Bolton. She has denied me several times to see him already, She is asking me to see my son on week days and will not allow me to see him on weekend as she is busy every single weekend with her personal stuff. The problem I have is that I work on week days and I can only have weekends off. I need help and advice to how I can apply for his custody and what more do I need to do for my sons custody. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hi, My partner have gone to her parents house and taken my son with her who was 3months old. She accused me of slapping her and i was given minor caution by police and got released. I have not seen my son for 2months and she is not letting me to see my son. I have tried to get in contact with her so many times and she has ignored me till today. I am going to see mediation to have a meeting after 5 weeks as she again refuse to see me any earlier until july 2017. I am so dying to see my son but have no clue what other options i have for his custody, Do you think i will be el8gable for 50/50 custody for my son as he is going to be 5 months in June. Pls help me...
fam - 20-Jul-17 @ 9:48 PM
Hi this is going to be a long one but could really do with some help. So my and my partner have been together 2 years,he has 3 children with his ex witch he was with for 9 years. So abit about the story. They had 3 kids and then split (she went with another guy) she then moved with the kids and my partner didnt know were she or his children had gone,he after 18 months of trying he go her new address. Went to the house and she agreed to let him see the children for a few hours every other weekend. She would not let me meet the children as she said that was best for them,after about 3 months of my partner doing this she said they could stop at our house for the weekend (the first time i met my partners kids was when they stopped for the weekend) it continued to be were they came to us every other weekend... She then stoped them from coming because my partner let his boys watch a tv program that she said was to old for them,so they went to mediation. It was sorted out and stated that we would have them every other weekend,she had to tell him is there was any medical problems or changes to the kids and they would both only let the kids watch/listen to age rated things... But she is not aloud to tell my partner how to act/bring up his children when they are with us. Any way now she has picked witch secondary school her eldest is going to without talking to my partner about it. She is not telling us about school plays,she is telling my partner what time to put the children to bed... Asking him not to straighten his daughters hair... And bot following through with doctors appointments that my partner has asked her to make regarding one of the children... 1 of the kids has now said he wants to live with me and his dad... And said the reasons were because he feels like he dosnt get any attention off of his mum as she now has a new baby and her new partner has a son... He never gets any space or time to himself as there are 3 beds in his bedroom... And his mum makes faulse prommises to him... Im just wondering what we can do as i hate to see the kids like this,my partner pays her monthly,yet the children are all in second hand clothes or hand me downs and there trainers are walking off there feet so to speak! Help please
Help! - 17-Jul-17 @ 6:40 PM
Hi I have a 13 week old baby with my ex and 3 sons previous I currently left my partner due to domestic abuse and child abuse to my younger son, he also snatched her last weekend and I had to get a emergency 24 court order to get back, I'm due bk in court but I think he wants custody off her but with me reporting it to everyone I needed too to get myself and children safe will he get it or access
L3ann3 - 8-Jul-17 @ 3:09 PM
Hi, My husband and I separated 18 months ago due to domestic violence this was reported and on the waiting list for crown court however I heard he was planning on moving to Australia (new girlfriend is Australian) so I withdrew my statement and the case was dropped. Surprise surprise a month later he is now in Australia. What I need to know is can I apply for sole custody so I do not need to seek permission from him when we go on holiday, schools they go to etc. I don't want to ban contact as the girls love their dad I just want to be in control of it and their upbringing. TIA
Louise - 2-Jul-17 @ 10:07 AM
Legend- Your Question:
I recently split from my wife of 15 years, and she has since moved on and is in a new relationship with someone 80 miles away. She leaves to see him regularly and does not inform the kids, we have 3, and I am left to deal with the fallout! I have a full time job and I work around this to enable me to take and collect the children from school. I pay the mortgage on the property they live in and I finance the children day to day things when they with me! I have the children more often than she does and when they are home they do nothing with their mother as she is always on the phone/Facebook etc and the kids go to their rooms whereas I have one on one with the kids all the time. She is no mother, just a figure in the lives as and when she pleases. I have reported her twice to the police for abuse and a public order offence on more than 1 occasion. I want to go for full custody of the children to give them every chance of moving in the right direction in life and supporting them as best I can emotionally as they in a bit of a mess. Please advise the best way forward?

Our Response:
The form to apply for full residency is C100 Child Arrangements Order. The courts may expect you to attend mediation first to come to some agreement, so it's worth trying this first.Give your reasons for asking for full residency, make sure that your case is centred around the children - it might be worth considering professional legal advice. The courts will make their decision based on the best interests of the children.
LawAndParents - 28-Jun-17 @ 11:03 AM
I recently split from my wife of 15 years, and she has since moved on and is in a new relationship with someone 80 miles away. She leaves to see him regularly and does not inform the kids, we have 3, and I am left to deal with the fallout! I have a full time job and I work around this to enable me to take and collect the children from school. I pay the mortgage on the property they live in and I finance the children day to day things when they with me! I have the children more often than she does and when they are home they do nothing with their mother as she is always on the phone/Facebook etc and the kids go to their rooms whereas I have one on one with the kids all the time. She is no mother, just a figure in the lives as and when she pleases. I have reported her twice to the police for abuse and a public order offence on more than 1 occasion. I want to go for full custody of the children to give them every chance of moving in the right direction in life and supporting them as best I can emotionally as they in a bit of a mess. Please advise the best way forward?
Legend - 26-Jun-17 @ 4:57 PM
Amy- Your Question:
Hi, I've recently started looking into the possibility of full custody of my son.My son lives with me full time and has done since birth. I left my ex due to domestic violence, I however didnt report this to police etc. Since the start off 2016 I have been in and on and off court battle with my sons paternal grandmother. (Last court hearing was april) I wont go into much detail, but the first was to arrange contact etc so my son goes to her house every wedneday for 7 hours then every other saturday for 7 hours. The most recent was her requesting overnights, which the judge sided with my solicitors offer of one saturday a month instead of her once a week. My ex has been in and out of our sons life, had never shown any commitment to any of the professionals that have been involved. (Social services) he doesnt support him financally and through out the court process he never asked for his own contact. He was advised multiple times to put his own application in but never has. He never asks about him, instead he will try to control me by using our son. I am tired of him walking in and out when it suits him, because at the end of the day it will be our child who gets hurt. I dont want another court battle but I physcally dont know what else I can do. He doesnt provide for his child. I have a child arrangement order that states my son is to live with me, would this help? I am so concerned that all this is going to have a negative impact on my son. It is in every single report tha he is inconsistent, hasnt shown any commitment when it comes to his child.

Our Response:
Yes a child arrangements order giving details of contact should help. Even though your child has a right to contact with his father, that does not mean his father can just turn up as when he pleases.
LawAndParents - 26-Jun-17 @ 2:10 PM
Hi, I've recently started looking into the possibility of full custody of my son. My son lives with me full time and has done since birth. I left my ex due to domestic violence, i however didnt report this to police etc. Since the start off 2016 i have been in and on and off court battle with my sons paternal grandmother. (Last court hearing was april) i wont go into much detail, but the first was to arrange contact etc so my son goes to her house every wedneday for 7 hours then every other saturday for 7 hours. The most recent was her requesting overnights, which the judge sided with my solicitors offer of one saturday a month instead of her once a week. My ex has been in and out of our sons life, had never shown any commitment to any of the professionals that have been involved. (Social services) he doesnt support him financally and through out the court process he never asked for his own contact. He was advised multiple times to put his own application in but never has. He never asks about him, instead he will try to control me by using our son. I am tired of him walking in and out when it suits him, because at the end of the day it will be our child who gets hurt.I dont want another court battle but i physcally dont know what else I can do. He doesnt provide for his child. I have a child arrangement order that states my son is to live with me, would this help? I am so concerned that all this is going to have a negative impact on my son. It is in every single report tha he is inconsistent, hasnt shown any commitment when it comes to his child.
Amy - 23-Jun-17 @ 6:40 PM
Chesca - Your Question:
Do you think I will be able to get full custody of my daughter? Her dad has a drink driving conviction, and also an assault by beating conviction and because of this a restraining order from our family home and street, he has beat me up in front of our daughter which has been recorded by police, I just can't trust him with her

Our Response:
Do you currently share custody? If so you need to apply to the courts for a varying of child arrangements order and tell them that you feel your child is a risk by having a contact time, overnight stays etc with her father.
LawAndParents - 20-Jun-17 @ 11:54 AM
Do you think I will be able to get full custody of my daughter? Her dad has a drink driving conviction, and also an assault by beating conviction and because of this a restraining order from our family home and street, he has beat me up in front of our daughter which has been recorded by police, I just can't trust him with her
Chesca - 18-Jun-17 @ 12:51 PM
Hi , could i gain custody of my son from my ex , i ask regular everyday how he is ? how he is doing at school and if he had a good day?, i ask her to speak to me and stop ignoring me, but she hardly replies to my messages, i ask often to ring him but she is funny about this, i ask to see him but she makes lame excuses for me not to see him and nor will she let me have time with him in her home, so i cant interact with my boy he is 4 yrs old, and jus wants to play with his toys mainly , i work mornings as she doesnt, so i earn more than her, she takes my son out at weekends drinking with her family till 2/3am in the mornin before taking him home to sleep and often invites other men round knowin my dog hates strangers and could possible cause my boy to be confused , with all this info can i get custody of my boy ..!!
Gizzle79 - 14-Jun-17 @ 5:24 PM
Sara - Your Question:
Hi, I have recently had my child, she is 8 weeks, my partner, her father drinks alcohol every evening, 3+ times a week is sniffing cocaine and smoking weed everyday, if I was to leave are they good enough grounds to ask for sole custody of my child? As I would not feel comfortable with my child being in his care. Thankyou.

Our Response:
This is for a court to decide really but as the mother of an 8 week old baby, you could be assumed to be the main carer anyway. Once the baby is older, you should try and negotiate contact times with the father, but if you feel the baby's safety is at risk then you should say so.
LawAndParents - 13-Jun-17 @ 9:59 AM
Hi, my ex partner and I had a bad time in January I got and injunction out on him that runs out in July but in between this time he has been coming to my property and sometimes staying. I have never rung the police as I didn't want my sons dad to get put in prison and my son losing the chance to have a father. But things have got worst he has always been an alcohol and drug user and has been getting worst. He has been doing drugs and drinking in mine and my sons home. I don't do either. He doesn't as much as know his son routine through the day and is forever walking out the door late at night when he is here to go get drunk or high. This has never been brought to the acknowledgment of police of social services as he always threatened me and told me they will take my son away. But now I feel like it's time to do things properly and make sure my son it's safer than ever before as he started getting violent and is always angry.
Achinlex - 10-Jun-17 @ 10:49 PM
Hi, I have recently had my child, she is 8 weeks, my partner, her father drinks alcohol every evening,3+ times a week is sniffing cocaine and smoking weed everyday, if I was to leave are they good enough grounds to ask for sole custody of my child? As I would not feel comfortable with my child being in his care. Thankyou.
Sara - 10-Jun-17 @ 6:09 AM
Hey. I want to take fully custody of my son as my ex partner has a new girlfriend and hasn't been to see his son in weeks or even ask about him. He was never in our sons life till my son began to walk and talk and become more independent. My ex use to abuse me infront of our child but I never called the police as I was scared of him. He is a horrible person. He emotionally abuses me everyday and brings me down but then is all nice to be as if nothing happened and goes back to being rude. He can be a great dad when he wants to be but since he has been with his new girlfriend he spends more time and money on her then he does helping out with our son. And now he wants to take my son away from me to be a little family with his new girlfriend. I raised this little boy and have done everything I can for him and have tired speaking to my ex about arguments but he just says ill never win.But do you think I'll be able to get full custody of my son? Please help me
Sofia - 6-Jun-17 @ 3:58 PM
SS79 - Your Question:
My ex husband and I moved to another country 6 years ago with our son. a year ago, my husband got a job back in the UK and he left us to take up this job, shortly after, my son and I visited him in the UK and he told me he wanted a divorce. For the past year my son has been living with me abroad and my husband sees him when we go back to the UK and he has been over to see him a couple of times. Getting maintenance from my ex is like getting blood out of a stone and he barely contributes anything towards our child. I pay for his private schooling, housing, food, travel, holidays etc. My ex is now getting married and has told me he wants me to move back to the UK with our son or else' see what I do'. I'm in no position to move back right now and its better for my son and I to stay where we are for financial an logistical purposes. I'm afraid if I came back to the UK and let my son see his father, my ex would keep him and not let me take him back.

Our Response:
Are you a British citizen/passport holder? The maintenance issue will only be relevant/dealt with if UK laws apply to you, so there might be limits as to what you can do about that while your not living here. If you decide to move back to teh UK your ex cannot simply "keep your child" especially as you've been the parent with majority care for the past few years.
LawAndParents - 6-Jun-17 @ 2:00 PM
My ex husband and i moved to another country 6 years ago with our son. a year ago, my husband got a job back in the UK and he left us to take up this job, shortly after, my son and i visited him in the UK and he told me he wanted a divorce. For the past year my son has been living with me abroad and my husband sees him when we go back to the UK and he has been over to see him a couple of times. Getting maintenance from my ex is like getting blood out of a stone and he barely contributes anything towards our child. I pay for his private schooling, housing, food, travel, holidays etc. My ex is now getting married and has told me he wants me to move back to the UK with our son or else' see what I do'. I'm in no position to move back right now and its better for my son and i to stay where we are for financial an logistical purposes. I'm afraid if i came back to the UK and let my son see his father, my ex would keep him and not let me take him back .
SS79 - 4-Jun-17 @ 6:03 AM
Hi, My partner have gone to her parents house and taken my son with her who was 3months old. She accused me of slapping her and i was given minor caution by police and got released. I have not seen my son for 2months and she is not letting me to see my son. I have tried to get in contact with her so many times and she has ignored me till today. I am going to see mediation to have a meeting after 5 weeks as she again refuse to see me any earlier until july 2017. I am so dying to see my son but have no clue what other options i have for his custody, Do you think i will be el8gable for 50/50 custody for my son as he is going to be 5 months in June. Pls help me...
Fam - 29-May-17 @ 11:50 PM
Hi, My son is 9 years old, I have been having him every other weekend and every Wednesday evening. This has been going on for years. We have been happy with this situation for such a long time. His mum has recently got a new boyfriend after several years of being alone and since this man has been involved (a year and a half) there has been problem after problem. Because of the nature of my work I cannot finish early enough to go and see my son during the week except Wednesdays but they are throwing the fact that I don't see him in my face. I bought my son a phone so he could contact me whenever he wanted when he wasn't with me but a couple of months ago while I was on the phone to him his mums partner snatched the phone off him and threw it out of the car window. He has phone me today to say that I am not aloud to buy him anything for his home and if I do it will be thrown away as soon as he comes home with anything. The new partner has a daughter that he sees for a couple of hours every other Sunday because his ex has a court order on him. My sons mum has bipolar and has caused me and my family a lot of grief for many years. All I want is for my son to be happy and I believe he will be happier with me. Would I have enough grounds to apply for custody? He seems to be happy enough at home but there is always a dark cloud over him and I think he has learned to disguise his feelings. I really need help now. Thank you.
Jo - 25-May-17 @ 5:04 PM
froggie - Your Question:
Hi My Husband has a child with his Ex, We recently have all decided that it is better for his son to come and live with us. How do I make this legal. His mother does not want him. I want to make sure my husband has full custody and rights and that his ex does not just want us to have him and then change her mind in a few months. Please help me. do I need to go to court for this?

Our Response:
If you all agree, you may not need a court order. However if you go to court and a residency order is granted, the courts could also include details of contact arrangements with the mother. This will help to clarify things moving forward.
LawAndParents - 11-May-17 @ 2:10 PM
Hi My Husband has a child with his Ex, We recently have all decided that it is better for his son to come and live with us. How do i make this legal. His mother does not want him. I want to make sure my husband has full custody and rights and that his ex does not just want us to have him and then change her mind in a few months. Please help me. do i need to go to court for this?
froggie - 10-May-17 @ 12:30 PM
Dan - Your Question:
My ex wife have already agreed terms of custody so do we still have to go before a panel

Our Response:
No a court will prefer it if you can make your own child arrangements amicably.
LawAndParents - 9-May-17 @ 12:14 PM
My ex wife have already agreed terms of custody so do we still have to go before a panel
Dan - 7-May-17 @ 8:29 PM
Hi my partner and I have recently found out my partners daughter is sharing a room with her grandma, we both thought she shared with her mum. We are both concerned over the child's welfare and don't know if we have a case to gain full custody, I've got two children myself and his daughter would be sharing with my daughter. Do we have a case to start from?
Nicola - 19-Apr-17 @ 3:47 PM
My son is one next month and I will not allow his dad have him over night as he has history of alcohol and drug abuse. He has turned up to see my son smelling of alcohol previous, and also harassed me when he was drunk by calling me at 2am. I have reposted this to the police and it was classed as harassment and he got a warning. If I wanted to get full custody without going to court is there any way? I don't trust him around my son and his never been alone with him as I cannot trust him not to drink. What case do I have?
Kelly93 - 13-Apr-17 @ 12:29 PM
Hi I have a little boy and he's 3 my sons. Mother stops me seeing him because she can't have me I ain't seen since he was 11 mouths old I've seen him the odd times with mother come I get half custody of him
Ron - 8-Apr-17 @ 7:20 PM
Hi can my partner have the kids live with her even if her ex partner cheated on her and try every way to stop us from having the kids
Pain2017 - 28-Mar-17 @ 10:42 PM
Need advice ,I have a 12 yr old son who has lived with me since birth ,I split with his dad soon after birth he has been payingfor maintenance every week through the csa every week ,but since the change of csa to maintenance recently ,he has become reluctant to pay,the child maintenance recently got in touch with him to start up payment from him but he told them he has his son for 2 nights over the weekend ,while in fact he spends only one night,he recently called me and told me to call child maintenanceand lie to them to let them know he spends 2 nights instead of one or else he would take me to court to get custody for his son.what do I do?
Nicole - 24-Mar-17 @ 5:17 PM
I need help to get full custody of my daughter I am the mother and I have her teeth been living with me for through it but five or six years
Julia - 2-Mar-17 @ 12:24 AM
Gran10 - Your Question:
Can my granddaughters ex partner from over a year ago apply for full custody of their son. He has never paid one penny towards his keep although he says he buys him clothes although never sent home with him.my granddaughter works pays for nursery and everything her son needs he's all of a sudden decided he wants full custody. She allows him 1 night a week and every second weekend.he's now recording every phone conversation talking rubbish saying she's smoking drugs she never has but him and his family do. Does he even have a case for court

Our Response:
Anyone can apply for full custody...whether they will get it or not is another thing. If the father doesn't think he sees enough of his son, or that his son would benefit from having more contact with his father, the parents should discuss this and try and come to some alternative arrangements. Maybe a 50/50 split etc? If they can't agree mutually or using a mediation service, then he can apply to court. The courts will make their decision based on the best interests of your grandson.
LawAndParents - 24-Feb-17 @ 11:40 AM
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