LEGAL EAGLE: My ex has threatened to go back to Iran with our daughter

I have been the victim of domestic violence for the last few years. My husband and I have a three-year-old daughter together.

Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 12:00 am
I was completely distraught; I have been calling him ever since but he has ignored me.

He is Iranian born and visits Iran often. When we were together he always made threats to return to Iran with our daughter.

A month ago, I could no longer take the abuse and left the relationship to live with my mother.

Since then, he has been texting me to say that he wants to see our daughter. I have just ignored his messages. Yesterday I went to the nursery to collect her and she was not there. The nursery staff told me that her father had attended to collect her. I was completely distraught. I have been calling him ever since but he has ignored me. His brother has told me that he just wanted to see our daughter and that he has taken her home with him. What should I do?

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You will need to act quickly in order to get your daughter back into your care, you should seek legal advice immediately. There are a number of steps you can take.

Specific Issue Order – A specific issue order asks the court to make an order on a particular matter. You can ask for the urgent return of your daughter to your care via this order. If granted and your husband fails to return your daughter to your care, then this would be a breach. A breach of this order could lead to his arrest and he could face criminal charges punishable by up to 5 years in prison. If you think that there is a risk that he will try to stop you from making the application or that he will leave the country with her if he knew you were going to apply, then it is possible to issue the application without him knowing. If successful, he would need to urgently return your daughter to your care.

Prohibited Steps Order - this acts as a way of preventing your husband from removing your daughter from your care and or the jurisdiction in future. If you do not object to him having contact, then the order could be amended to show he cannot remove her from your care save for when he is having contact with her. You could also ask the court for a Port Alert Order to prevent her from being removed from the jurisdiction. This means that the police would flag her name at all UK airports and points of departure.

Child Arrangements Order - as it stands, your husband has every right as the father of your daughter to have contact with her. This order provides who your daughter will live with; how, and when, she will spend time with the other parent. This order would also be helpful in helping you and your husband agree future arrangements for your daughter.

You may also be eligible for legal aid if you have been the victim of domestic abuse.