My ex-partner left me with the care of our 2 children a year ago. He has a new partner whom he doesn't live with and my children stay at her house every other weekend. My ex-partner frequently turns his mobile phone off or has it on silent, so if there was an emergency I have no way of contacting him and getting a response.
I've asked him to provide me with details of where our children are staying on these weekends, just in case anything happens and he is refusing to give them. He has parental responsibilty for our 3-year-old but not for our son. Am I within my rights to know where my children are?
(C.M, 26 May 2009)
This does sound like a difficult situation. You are trying to ensure your children continue to spend time with your ex-partner, and he – for whatever reason – won’t give you the address of his new partner. It must be hard not knowing where your children are.
To answer your question, I’ll first explain some principles of Parental Responsibility. As you know, more than one person can have parental responsibility at any one time. The essence of The Children Act implies that it is not practical for a person with parental responsibility to have to ask another person’s permission about everything to do with the child. There are certain exceptions to this, however, that do require everyone’s consent, such as sending a child to boarding school.
Relevant Case Law
There is case law that supports this: in the judgment of the case of D. v D. (Shared Residence Order)  1 F.L.R 495, Lord Justice Hale said that where a child is being looked after by one parent, that parent must be allowed to take the decisions relating to the child. While this parent has care of the child, the other parent should not try to interfere with matters relating to this time during which they don’t have care of the child. This does not, of course, extend to taking decisions that contravene a court order. However, where possible, flexible and practical arrangements should be made.
Delegation Of Parental Responsibility
Although your ex-partner does not have parental responsibility for your other child, you are delegating care of your child on a temporary basis. I do not know the details of your former relationship (such as whether you were married) or the age of your elder child, so I will not speculate here.
Your ex-partner has made it clear that he does not want to disclose his new partner’s address. Although he is within his rights not to want you to interfere with the time he spends with the children, it does not seem fair that you have no means of being able to contact them if there is a genuine emergency.
Talk to your ex-partner about this issue, and try to work out a compromise. Reassure him that you are not trying to interfere with his time with your children, nor are you seeking to abuse any contact details he gives you. If there is a genuine emergency with either of the children while he is in their care, make sure he understands that he must contact you. However, if you suffer an emergency, you need to be able to contact him, too.
Explain that you will not be contacting him during his time with the children unless there is a real and immediate emergency. He may be more willing to pick up his phone then. In the alternative, is there a trusted third party that you can contact in the event of an emergency? For example, could you arrange to contact one of your ex’s relatives, who would then contact your ex?
I hope you have found these suggestions useful, and wish you luck with resolving this issue.
my ex partner is married to some one else he constantly mentally abuses her he has hit her and chucked a paint can through a window to get to her on seperate occasions i am concerned for my childrens safety and hers do i have any rights to phone police and ask for him to be prosecuted in the interest of my children
kev1123 - 21-Dec-11 @ 7:52 PM
My ex and I have been seperated for 2 years and have a 3 year old son which we both have parental responsibility over. I have recently moved address with my new partner, my new partner has currently got a non-molestation order against her ex due to domestic abuse ( There is the police, council, social services, SOADA amd a few other organisations involved with the move ). This is causing a problem with my ex as she is demanding our new address and that part of her family remain in contact with my partners ex. Does she still have the right to know the address concidering the situation ?
stupid - 15-Oct-11 @ 7:08 PM
My so is 10 months old and after an argument my ex partner wont let me see OUR sonshe's changed her phone number and moved house so i have no clue where or how to contact her is there any way i can find these things out so i can see my son or is it just wait and hope the solicitor finds it out ?
Dan - 15-Oct-11 @ 4:58 PM
My ex partner is taking my son on holiday, I'm not sure if it's abroad or within UK. I've asked her where she's taking my son and who will be going to the holiday with my son but she won't tell me. Do I have the right to know where my son is going, either abroad or within UK and who will be spending time with my son during this holiday?
Lee - 26-Aug-11 @ 8:43 PM
I have a four year old son who has lived with his father since he was 9 months old.Since my ex-partner has had custody of our son he has moved a few times. Just before Christmas he left the county & moved to newcastle to be with his new girlfriend. I now only get to see my son every couple of months. That was the outcome of the final hearing at the beginning of the year. I don't know where they live or have any contact details for them. I don't trust my ex one bit, he is a very devious man. Do I have a right to know where my son lives & is there an order I can apply for to stop him from going out of the country for more 1 month & do I have a right to get details on any holiday that they take out of the uk?
vickster - 2-Jun-11 @ 4:43 PM
I separated 4 months ago, i've 3 kids, 2 from this relationship, we aren't married he is on b/cert. He appears without notice, every day, he refuses to put in place set days & times to see kids, also he takes them to his mother's house despite my saying they are not to go there. She tells my kids that I am wrong. Also when my 2 yr old was left on the stairs & fell down them, he had to be taken to hospital. I do not want my kids there and he takes them even though I express they are not to go. Can you help?
Shirley - 1-Jun-11 @ 9:57 AM
I am in a similar position except my boyfriend has two children from a previous relationship. The mother was fine with me watching them on my own so she could go out, now she has a new partner she has said I am dangerous and his children are not allowed to stay at my home. This is a shame as I have had a baby with my boyfriend so is also an issue about siblings. She has now moved wont answer her phone and we have no way of getting in contact. Do we have any rights? He is on both birth cerificates.
louisexx19 - 11-Apr-11 @ 10:02 AM
As the partner of someone in exactly the same position with her ex-husband it would be helpful to have a direct answer to a well put question ( even if if the answer is there is no decided case law on the point!). It seems to me both absurd and unreasonable that my partner's two children, aged 7 and 5 effectively disappear for two days every two weeks, we have no address and no telephone contact number. It should be quite simple, no address equals no contact, what is this business of not interfering with his time and trusted adviser, the world has gone bloody mad!