Court Orders Son Returned to Father - Family Law Case Study

25 April 2016

Client Situation

Mr. B was the father of a 2 year old boy. Mr. B and his son's mother were no longer together. They had tried to settle the child's living arrangements amicably since their relationship broke down.

Mr. B's son was living with his mother, but she made a threat of suicide and also made threats to kill their child. Social Services decided that Mr. B's son should be removed from his mother and live with his father instead due to the circumstances.

Mr. B was allowing his son's mother to have access to their son, when she left with the child and travelled 200 miles away. Mr. B had no idea where his son was or where his ex-partner was and had no way of getting in touch with them.

Mr. B was very concerned about his son's welfare.

How We Helped

Trainee Family Law & Divorce Solicitor Laura Flanagan made an urgent application for disclosure of his son's whereabouts. This was served on the Local Authority because we did not know where Mr. B's ex-partner was.

As a result of the application, the Local Authority was bound to provide confirmation of where Mr. B's son was. The Court also ordered the Police to help get Mr. B's son back to him.

Whilst making the application for disclosure on the Local Authority, Laura Flanagan also made the following applications for Court Orders:

  1. A Specific Issue Order – this was made to get Mr. B's son home
  2. A Prohibited Steps Order – this was made to stop Mr. B's ex-partner from removing their son from Mr. B's care
  3. A Child Arrangement Order – this was made to ask the Court to confirm that Mr. B's son is to live with him and not his ex-partner.

Mr. B's ex-partner contested the applications.

Laura Flanagan got expert reports about Mr. B's ex-partner's mental health, and got expert reports about child welfare concerns and the recommendations of the Local Authority.

In addition, the solicitor representing Mr. B's ex-partner did not comply with directions from the Court. The solicitor failed to provide instructions ahead of the hearing. Laura Flanagan made an application to the Court for wasted costs.

The Outcome

The Court ordered that Mr. B's son was returned to him. Final Court Orders were also made, these were:

  1. Prohibited Steps Order. This order now prevents Mr. B's ex-partner from taking her son without Mr. B's permission or without a Court Order.
  2. Child Arrangement Order – the Court decided that Mr. B's son lives with him and spends alternate weekends with his mum.

The Court also gave an Order for Mr. B's ex-partner to pay his wasted costs.

For more information see Court Orders for Children.

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