LEGAL EAGLE: My ex turned up at our son’s school and tried to take him
My husband and I have been married for nine years. We have a five-year-old son and decided to split up; he moved out the family home three weeks ago.
Ever since he has been pestering me with threatening messages and phone calls. He turned up at the school unannounced to try and take our son. What can I do?
It sounds like you are in a difficult situation. If you are concerned about the behaviour of your ex-partner, it is important you take legal advice as soon as possible. You are legally entitled not to be threatened or harassed by him. There are many ways a solicitor can help. It may be writing a warning letter to your ex-partner clearly setting out what communication, if any, you are prepared to have with him and the consequences that will follow if his behaviour continues. If a warning letter fails, you can apply for a non-Molestation order. This order prevents someone from doing certain things such as harassing you, being violent or coming near your home. This is a court order stopping your ex-partner from contacting you. For the order to be made the court must be satisfied that the actions of your former partner are having an impact on your physical or mental wellbeing. A non-molestation order can last for up to 12 months but can be extended beyond that if necessary. If he were to breach this order he would be committing a criminal offence which is punishable by up to five years in prison. In some cases, an Order is not always necessary. Your ex-partner may be asked to give an undertaking to the court in similar terms to a non-molestation order. If he breaks that promise, it is contempt of court and an application can be made to the court for their committal to prison.
If your ex-partner tries to take your son or threatens to remove him from your care I urge you to seek immediate legal advice. It can be upsetting for a child to not be returned to their main care giver. An application to the court for a prohibited steps order should be made which will stop your ex-partner doing a number of things concerning your son, such as trying to remove your son from your care and turning up at the school unannounced. The court will decide how long the order should last for. You will also need to make an application for a residence order which decides who your son should live with.
For further advice please contact specialise solicitors Ben Hoare Bell LLP on 0191 565 3112 or email [email protected]