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Do I Have the Right to Know Where My Children Are?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 18 Jul 2017 |
 
Contact Child Parental Responsibility

Q.

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)

A.

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.

Parental Responsibility

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) [2001] 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.

Suggestions

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.

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I stay in London during the week and go home at the weeeknds. My ex says that she wants to know exactly where the kids will be with me every weekend. She has all the address details of both residencies and contact numbers. Am I legally obligated to tell her my movements with the children every time I am with them if I remain in England? She is saying that no matter where I go with the kids she has a legal right to know. I would not take them out of the country without consent, and I have parental responsibility as named on the birth certificates although never married. She has said that I am not allowed to take them to London which I feel is unreasonable.
Jay - 18-Jul-17 @ 8:02 AM
Clareclick - Your Question:
My childrens ages are 3 and 5, when he has them once a week after work the teachers have said on a few occasions that my oldest daughter has fell asleep in assembly I dont think this is fair at all and when I say anything about it to him he just says I cant stop him from seeing the kids

Our Response:
Can you ask the teachers to have a word with the father?
LawAndParents - 28-Jun-17 @ 10:48 AM
Clareclick - Your Question:
Me and my partner split a year ago he was hardly ever here at the weeeknds going to work on fridays not seeing him till sunday I was left with our 2 daughters. this past year he just sends a text saying I want the kids after work he lives across the road from me with his parents 44 years of age by the way he usually gets back around 5.15 but when he wants the kids he turns up at 6.6.30 says hes had his own things to do if they stay over he brings them back at 7.15 getting them up at 6am to get them ready still the friday night to sunday happens kids dont hear a thing he never has them now because ive said no its not fair on them never gets any time to spend with him just going over to sleep there n back first thing hes said hes taking me to court?? Will the courts allow him to only have the kids after work when they go to bed at 7/7.30 pm n for him to bring them back at 7.15am whenever he decides he wants them?? He wont let me have any set days or times or anything am I within my limits to say no??

Our Response:
The courts might recommend contact on certain days rather than via the current ad hoc arrangement. If he doesn't stick to it, they may recommend that contact is stopped only if it's considered that would be in the children's best interests.
LawAndParents - 27-Jun-17 @ 2:42 PM
My childrens ages are 3 and 5, when he has them once a week after work the teachers have said on a few occasions that my oldest daughter has fell asleep in assembly i dont think this is fair at all and when i say anything about it to him he just says i cant stop him from seeing the kids
Clareclick - 26-Jun-17 @ 3:04 PM
I meant he finished work on fridays went the pub and id never see him till monday when he txt to apologize.
Clareclick - 26-Jun-17 @ 2:51 PM
Me and my partner split a year ago he was hardly ever here at the weeeknds going to work on fridays not seeing him till sunday i was left with our 2 daughters.. this past year he just sends a text saying i want the kids after work he lives across the road from me with his parents 44 years of age by the way he usually gets back around 5.15 but when he wants the kids he turns up at 6.6.30 says hes had his own things to do if they stay over he brings them back at 7.15 getting them up at 6am to get them ready still the friday night to sunday happens kids dont hear a thing he never has them now because ive said no its not fair on them never gets any time to spend with him just going over to sleep there n back first thing hes said hes taking me to court?? Will the courts allow him to only have the kids after work when they go to bed at 7/7.30 pm n for him to bring them back at 7.15am whenever he decides he wants them?? He wont let me have any set days or times or anything am i within my limits to say no??
Clareclick - 26-Jun-17 @ 2:48 PM
My gf is having issues with her ex partner. She is the main carer. He gets to see every alternative weekend. They've been to mitigation agreed to things. He hasn't stuck to most where as she has. She wanted to get him into sport so he socialised with children, he the father isn't keen on this. He states as it's his time he doesn't have to do anything he doesn't want to. Which I understand, but he never considers his son he's always selfish. We're getting concerned that he doesn't even look after him leaves it to his own father. While he lazes about. Lying about where he's taking him to avoid football. Shetries phoning and facetiming her son. Whereas when her sons here she will let him ring the father. He also doesnt respond to any messages or calls. She asks him to make sure he protected by suncream and give him medicines etc. He doesn't listenand does nothing. Is there anything she can do to sort this he's refused to go to mitigation again then claims to have spoke go a lawyer however this is a guy who moans about buying his son some clothes along with paying child maintenance. However he does stick to the time limits. It's just stressful for my GF as she wants her son happy and puts him first. The the father just will not do out go his own son.
Bernie - 29-May-17 @ 9:04 AM
Smarie- Your Question:
My ex has taken my two children now living on the ilse of wight. He rarely lets me see them and when I do it's with him.and only for a few hours. I don't have an address for them as there mother I should no where my children live. Is this illegal??

Our Response:
It's not "illegal" as such, but you should be able to apply to the courts for contact/child arrangements order, if your ex is stopping you from seeing your children.
LawAndParents - 14-Mar-17 @ 11:17 AM
My ex has taken my two children now living on the ilse of wight. He rarely lets me see them and when I do it's with him.and only for a few hours. I don't have an address for them as there mother I should no where my children live. Is this illegal??
Smarie - 11-Mar-17 @ 1:46 PM
jay - Your Question:
I have an 11 month old son and I have him staying at mine at weekend's and various other nights that I'm requested to have him due to my ex partners work work.Even though I am a male I do not trust my ex partner. Her mood is volatile and abusive, her requests are demanding and I have recieved verbal threats and had property of mine damaged.she knows the city I live in, the road and has my telephone number and email to contact me but I do not trust her with my house number.She tells me I must give it to her as her social worker says it looks bad if I kidnap my son which I have no intention of doing. I said I would give my address to the social worker but she said that those details were confidential so I wouldn't be allowed to do so. She still is forcing my hand to give her my address by saying id I don't she will never allow me to see him again.Do I give it or not?Thanks. Jay

Our Response:
No you don't. If you're prepared to give them to a social worker or other trust person (in case of emergencies), that would be considered sufficient.
LawAndParents - 10-Mar-17 @ 11:55 AM
I have an 11 month old son and I have him staying at mine at weekend's and various other nights that I'm requested to have him due to my ex partners work work. Even though I am a male I do not trust my ex partner.Her mood is volatile and abusive, her requests are demanding and I have recieved verbal threats and had property of mine damaged. she knows the city I live in, the road and has my telephone number and email to contact me but I do not trust her with my house number. She tells me I must give it to her as her social worker says it looks bad if I kidnap my son which I have no intention of doing.I said I would give my address to the social worker but she said that those details were confidential so I wouldn't be allowed to do so.She still is forcing my hand to give her my address by saying id I don't she will never allow me to see him again. Do I give it or not? Thanks... Jay
jay - 9-Mar-17 @ 3:42 PM
Nathan - Your Question:
I have a 16 year old daughter born in wedlock. Myself and wife ( in process of divorce) have separated. Am I entitled legally to know where my daughter is living?

Our Response:
There is no law that details anything this specific. Parental Responsibility however, does not end until a child is 18, so you should still be involved in all important decisions relating to your daughter.
LawAndParents - 27-Feb-17 @ 11:27 AM
I have a 16 year old daughter born in wedlock. Myself and wife ( in process of divorce) have separated.Am I entitled legally to know where my daughter is living?
Nathan - 24-Feb-17 @ 6:04 PM
Hi, My ex babies mum stops me seeing my son when ever it suits her. Or i wont give her more than CSA says. She has moved my son out of our area and away from mine and her family. Shes also moved him school and house and wont tell me where he lives or gos to school.. lets me see him when it suits her or she is going out. Sick of it. What can i go incant afford court and dont know where i stand. I asked to take him on holiday to which reply i got i dont deserve to take him away? Or hes ginger he doesnt need a holiday.
Dannyg - 13-Feb-17 @ 6:10 PM
helenhollyscarlett - Your Question:
Hello, I have been threw a lengthy court process already with my ex. I left due to domestic violence and have been given the support by cafcass and womens aid. Anyway I have a question. My two daughters live at home with me and spend every other weekend with their dad who collects them from the school on the friday every other week. I have a court order which states hes cannot remove the children from my care. he has already been into the schools uninvited and got himself banned from my eldests school ground because hes just so volatile. Now my daughters have stared with a childminder and he is requesting all of her information which I dont mind giving him shes a fully ofsted registered childminder with 13 years experience. my problem is I know he will try to intimidate her and my daughters are so happy there and they tell him this. anyway I suppose my question is. Do I have to give him the details ? is he entitled to have them or not ? it shows her address and I do not want him just turning up and putting her in an akward position.

Our Response:
If you feel that it is putting your daughters or the childminder at risk then you can refuse to give him the details. You may need to make alternative arrangements for your ex to pick up the children on alternate Fridays if they would ordinarily be at the childminder's or the school (from which he has already been banned).
LawAndParents - 6-Feb-17 @ 11:45 AM
Hello, I have been threw a lengthy court process already with my ex... I left due to domestic violence and have been given the support by cafcass and womens aid. Anyway I have a question..... My two daughters live at home with me and spend every other weekend with their dad who collects them from the school on the friday every other week. I have a court order which states hes cannot remove the children from my care. he has already been into the schools uninvited and got himself banned from my eldests school ground because hes just so volatile... Now my daughters have stared with a childminder and he is requesting all of her information which i dont mind giving him shes a fully ofsted registered childminder with 13 years experience ... my problem is i know he will try to intimidate her and my daughters are so happy there and they tell him this... anyway i suppose my question is..... Do i have to give him the details ? is he entitled to have them or not ? it shows her address and i do not want him just turning up and putting her in an akward position.
helenhollyscarlett - 3-Feb-17 @ 4:48 PM
I need some advice please , my daughter and partner have split after a very volatile relationship due to him taking weed on a regular basis ,they have a beautiful daughter ,my only precious Granddaughter . They are both happy in new relationships and my Granddaughter lives with Mom and see's her Dad twice a week . My concern is that I have heard from 3 different concerned friends that he and his girlfriend take 'coke' and although I have no evidence ,they say it's taken when the children are with him ( he has a previous child and his partner has 2 ) I am extremely concerned knowing this that we are putting my Granddaughter in danger , how do I go about protecting her .. and do I have any rights ?
Sue - 30-Dec-16 @ 6:12 PM
My ex partner keeps bringing different men into her life two of which have turned out to be violent and agressive, she is now considering moving in with a new partner who has a recent conviction of breaking into womens homes and stealing underwear and sex toys he was fined and banned from visiting his familly and the village they lived for 7 years ami justified in seeking legal advice as he obviously is wayward in his sexual prefferences, and i concerned for my children.
Donald Duck - 16-Dec-16 @ 2:37 PM
Hi my name is nicola davidson 'me and my parter went to court on the 24 November 'in Holborn 'my socail worker just ran out of court to and took my 5 year old 'son from school 'he was not happy 'my socail worker called my parter she said to us will go have contart with him at the contart center in catford for three times a week 'monday thursday friday the time are from four to six clock 'but my socail worker hads not tell us were he liveing at the min i would like to known '-'and there said will not get him till march next year
Billyfred - 27-Nov-16 @ 3:34 AM
We are due to move house an we do not want to tell my boyfriends ex our new address. She is demanding that he tell her where we are going or she will not let him see his child. He did go to court because she refused to allow him to see the children out of spite. The reason we don't want her to have our address is because she has used threating behaviour towards my self when I was with my child and a family member broke in with his friends and attacked my partner in our own home. He did not mention this attack in court because he was desperate to see his child. We have our own child an i want an need to keep him safe we don't know what to do an I'm worried that if anything else happens. Can you tell us where we stand with the situation.
Nell - 18-Nov-16 @ 4:26 PM
My sons father has a new girlfriend and be won't tell me who it is. I have s problem with this because his past relationships are with drug addicts and o want to be sure that my son is safe and that I know there is no danger. He also drinks alcohol and so who knows what she does. Do I have the right to know who she is as the mother?
Mommabear - 15-Nov-16 @ 11:00 PM
My ex wants me to share my weekends with my son she wants me to drop him of for partys photosect plus I have had my son everywhere ends for a year she went and got passportbehind my back my name is the birth certificatecan I cancel the passport becauseshe give false informationshe likes her own way 21 and has learning difficulties
Jock - 4-Nov-16 @ 7:19 AM
Shell - Your Question:
Hi problem is my ex sis in law is getting married and refusing my brother contact with his son my nephew is 7 years old my sis in law is asking for propeties and money to be put on my nephews name until this happens she will not allow visitation can anything be done my nephew is getting depressed as he does not want to move his maternal and paternal family lives in the same area where he is moving to he has nobody there besides his mum and her new husband to be also when my nephew stay over weekend he refuses to go back his dad has to beg him to go back to his mum can anything be done can my brother just not send his son back and keep him with him

Our Response:
No your brother should not just keep his son. If he cannot make a workable agreement with his son's mother, he should apply to the courts for a child arrangements order.
LawAndParents - 28-Oct-16 @ 12:20 PM
Hi problem is my ex sis in law is getting married and refusing my brother contact with his son my nephew is 7 years old my sis in law is asking for propeties and money to be put on my nephews name until this happens she will not allow visitation can anything be done my nephew is getting depressed as he does not want to move his maternal and paternal family lives in the same area where he is moving to he has nobody there besides his mum and her new husband to be also when my nephew stay over weekend he refuses to go back his dad has to beg him to go back to his mum can anything be done can my brother just not send his son back and keep him with him
Shell - 27-Oct-16 @ 4:09 AM
My child father both agreed to split evey other weekend. Which we both agreed upon this weekend he has her. For some reason he has blocked me from his phone and I am being told that I have to contact his wife to speak to our daughter. I've shared my address with him but he will not share his with me. We don't fight nor agure but when ever I asked him to comply with a request of mine he refuses. I want to know why as a mother don'tI have the right to know where my daughter is? Why do I have to contact his wife in order to speak with my child? I never interfere with their time but she is my only daughter so I am use to speaking to her so me calling once to hear her voice shouldn't be a problem. I am very emotional I am trying to be considered but I am being met with disrespected. What can I do in order to get the things I feel that are important for me and my daughter I want her to be with her dad she loves him but not if I can not contact her when she with him.
Lec - 15-Oct-16 @ 7:06 PM
My partner has left while I was at work and taken my little 20months with. Police are not helping she has refused to take her to see a doctor today because she is unwell what can I do
wales - 7-Oct-16 @ 5:04 PM
Smiler39 - Your Question:
My ex husband moved house 3 weeks ago and our girls are due to start sleeping over in October. He refuses to tell me his new address. I have never ever turned up at his old house unannounced so I can see no reason behind this. He has my address and I'm fine with this too. Surely I have a right to know where my girls will be from 6pm Friday to 4pm Sunday every couple of weeks!? If he won't tell me, as crazy as it sounds I can legally follow him or get a friend to can't I?

Our Response:
There is no law that forces a parent to give the other parent their address details but it is courteous to do so. Following him to establish the address is not illegal unless you did this on more than one occasion etc.
LawAndParents - 30-Sep-16 @ 2:06 PM
My ex husband moved house 3 weeks ago and our girls are due to start sleeping overin October. He refuses to tell me his new address. I have never ever turned up at his old house unannounced so I can see no reason behind this. He has my address and I'm fine with this too. Surely I have a right to know where my girls will be from 6pm Friday to 4pm Sunday every couple of weeks!? If he won't tell me, as crazy as it sounds I can legally follow him or get a friend to can't I?
Smiler39 - 29-Sep-16 @ 10:47 PM
Bella - Your Question:
My ex husbands partner who he was having an affair with while we were still together, has sent me abusive and slanderous messages and I've expressed my wishes that she not be involved in my children's lives. He has now ignored this request. Can I take out a court order to stop her from being involved in their lives? Also they have moved without telling me, is this allowed?

Our Response:
You can apply for a court order - it will be up to the courts decide whether to grant it. You would have to prove that it would be in the best interests of the children (i.e not you). They do not need to supply you with their address if they move house but it's courteous to do so if you are to be sharing drop off/collections etc.
LawAndParents - 27-Sep-16 @ 11:57 AM
My ex husbands partner who he was having an affair with while we were still together, has sent me abusive and slanderous messages and I've expressed my wishes that she not be involved in my children's lives. He has now ignored this request. Can I take out a court order to stop her from being involved in their lives? Also they have moved without telling me, is this allowed?
Bella - 26-Sep-16 @ 12:29 AM
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