Home > Ask Our Experts > Do I Have the Right to Know Where My Children Are?

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

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 18 Nov 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I have tried or near 3 years to track my son sowncand have done so with the support of a Solicitor, Judge and Private investigator. Neither of them have been successfull in tracking her down and I have this on writing by the judge in a sense that we have exhausted all avenues. Should I still have to pay for my child if I am unaware of his where abouts? I have joint parental responsibility and my name is on the birth certificate. I feel my only avenue to entice her to come out of hiding is to stop payments yet CMS have basically said I need to pay regardless even thought the legal team I have cannot locate. What steps should you suggest I take to sort this issue?
Tol - 18-Nov-17 @ 2:06 AM
jase - Your Question:
Me and my ex split 18 months ago and we have a 5 yr old boy whom I adore.i was at every hospital apointment while see was pregnant,i was there at the birth and ive been a massive part of his life.he adores me.i used to take him to school every morning and also collect him every day,he stays with his mum monday to thursday ( 4 nighs) a week.now all of a sudern she doesnt want me to take him to school or collect him.her new bf does this.can she stop me from taking him to school etc? and also do I have the right to stop her bf from takin him to school as I feel it should be me doing this.niether of us have custardy of our son.

Our Response:
Are the current arrangements documented in a court order?
LawAndParents - 1-Nov-17 @ 3:21 PM
me and my ex split 18 months ago and we have a 5 yr old boy whom i adore..i was at every hospital apointment while see was pregnant,i was there at the birth and ive been a massive part of his life..he adores me..i used to take him to school every morning and also collect him every day,he stays with his mum monday to thursday ( 4 nighs) a week...now all of a sudern she doesnt want me to take him to school or collect him.her new bf does this.can she stop me from taking him to school etc? and also do i have the right to stop her bf from takin him to school as i feel it should be me doing this..niether of us have custardy of our son.
jase - 31-Oct-17 @ 12:56 PM
Mr D! - Your Question:
I have two boys, 13 & 9 who live with my ex partner. We never married, but I'm named on the birth certs & have PR. I have had regular contact on a daily basis taking them to school & they stay over night now & again. My 9 year old has just been permanently excluded form school. I have been at the forefront in meetings in the school, changed my shifts at work, home schooled him in the mornings & dropped him back in. I spoke to my ex a few days ago to try to get together for putting a letter into the governors to try to get them to reconsider giving him his place back. She told me that she doesn't want to speak to me about it. I received a text off her last night saying that any further contact to her is unwanted & will be classed as harassment & will be reported. Can anyone please give me some advise on if contacting my children's mother in relation to their well being/issues relation to schooling is harassment & can I be reported for it?

Our Response:
Write to her asking her to attend mediation so that you can discuss progress with your son. Speak to the school yourself if your ex is not willing to cooperate especially since you have changed your working pattern to accommodate his education needs. If your next alternative has to be court, you will have evidence that you have tried to communicate to no avail. You have PR so have every right to be involved in major decisions concerning your children - those kind of decisions certainly include changes in education provision etc.
LawAndParents - 30-Oct-17 @ 2:25 PM
I have two boys, 13 & 9 who live with my ex partner. We never married, but I'm named on the birth certs & have PR. I have had regular contact on a daily basis taking them to school & they stay over night now & again. My 9 year old has just been permanently excluded form school. I have been at the forefront in meetings in the school, changed my shifts at work, home schooled him in the mornings & dropped him back in. I spoke to my ex a few days ago to try to get together for putting a letter into the governors to try to get them to reconsider giving him his place back. She told me that she doesn't want to speak to me about it. I received a text off her last night saying that any further contact to her is unwanted & will be classed as harassment & will be reported. Can anyone please give me some advise on if contacting my children's mother in relation to their well being/issues relation to schooling is harassment & can I be reported for it?
Mr D! - 28-Oct-17 @ 9:27 AM
We haven't seen our 17 son for nearly 4 weeks. He was staying with his girlfriend who is now 18 and her mum. He said it was to sort his head out as I upset him when (after a week of him not being home, not being able to contact him and not attending college) I jokely posted on Facebook about a room to rent...we actually discussed it after so he knew it was a joke. Apparently his girlfriend decided he needed to teach me a lesson. Since then we cant call him (he broke his phone & passes him messages n calls on when and if she chooses) we have no idea if he is ok physically or mentally. He saidto younger brother that he has sold some drugs to earn cash, he has now got a part time job quite far from our home, so not feasable if he did come home. College have him on a warning for attendance. And keep asking me to give him message re coursework and classes that he has. We have begged the girlfriend to let him call. We are now art a loss, and heart broken and unsure of what our rights as parents are and do we need to inform anyone other than inland rev & child benefits. Can someone advise us. Thank you advance Vic60
Vic60 - 15-Oct-17 @ 9:18 AM
Been a stay at home father for over a year taking care of three children under the age of five. There mother decided she did not want to live in a small town, was unhappy with our relationship, and just took my kids to go live with her brother and will not let me know where! She says I have been verbally and physically abusive when in fact the exact opposite is true . She took my children, cash card, and left me high and dry.
Moe - 13-Oct-17 @ 10:32 PM
My sons father and I seperated over 5 years ago and have had a fairly amicable relationship. He now has a new partner and there have been threats to not bring my son home if I don't agree to certain pick up times as they've moved a significant distance away, over two hours drive. I have no intention to stop acccess as I feel this is just a threat. However I would like some evidence to where he is? He won't give me the address and now I feel fearful about that. Is there anything that I can do?
Racer - 9-Sep-17 @ 10:17 PM
Do I have a right to know where my son is when his with my ex partner? And if I send her messages stating that I'm concerned about his safety and well being due to her leaving him with someone does she have to reply ?
Mikka - 1-Sep-17 @ 9:54 AM
E - Your Question:
I have placement placement for my sonew with joint custody. Me and my girlfriend just moved in with each other. My question is do I have to tell his mother my new address ? According to child support I only have to report it to them(child support). no where in my case does it say I have to report it to her. Child support says I do not have to tell her

Our Response:
No there are no laws, that say you must provide an address to the other parent, but most do so out of courtesy.
LawAndParents - 4-Aug-17 @ 12:51 PM
I have placement placement for my sonew with joint custody. Me and my girlfriend just moved in with each other. My question is do I have to tell his mother my new address ? According to child support I only have to report it to them(child support). no where in my case does it say I have to report it to her. Child support says I do not have to tell her
E - 1-Aug-17 @ 10:44 PM
Jay - Your Question:
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.

Our Response:
No, there is no "legal" right to be kept informed. However as a parent, it's natural to want an idea of where your children are etc. You don't have to give a specific address, but you could let her know roughly where the children are and whether they're at your home or staying with you at a relative's home etc. It is unreasonable to prevent you from taking them to your weekday residence in London.
LawAndParents - 25-Jul-17 @ 11:16 AM
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
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the LawAndParents website. Please read our Disclaimer.