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TOPIC: Please give advice on going for custody

Please give advice on going for custody 1 month 2 days ago #96865

Hi,
I'm a step mother and looking for some advice on behalf of my partner.
My partner is 26 and has an 8 year old daughter to his ex partner. They were together for the first year and a half of his daughter's life and he is on the birth certificate but her mother's parenting has always been 'questionable'.
When my partner was with the child's mother, he often came home from work on a night to find his daughter at home on her own (as a baby) while her mother had gone out. After they had split up, she met someone else who lived an hour away, moved in with him and tried to stop my partner seeing his daughter. My partner went to a solicitor to get access to his daughter alternate weekend. The child's mother then made a false accusation that my partner's grandfather had sexually abused the child discussed, she put her child through an examination (at 3 years old) to which the results found she had not been abused and then the mother admitted she had lied.
I met my partner 2 and a half years ago when his daughter was 6 and have noticed serious signs of neglect. ( I am a teacher so trained to identify these signs)... coming very smelly, unclean, not fed etc... In December 2017, we went to school to raise concerns and asked if school could keep an eye on her. They said they would. We went to school numerous times to ask this and they told us things were fine.
Only recently we found out (by a lucky accident) that the child's mother has had social services investigating situations about the child 3 times last year - the most recently because the mother had thrown a lunch box at her daughter's face in an angry rage (she suffers from bipolar) and went to school with a bruise on her head.
2 parents from school had also contacted social services - 1 because the child had told another parent she was scared to go home cause mum was going to hit her and another because my partner's daughter had a friend round for tea and the friend went home and said there was lots of shouting and swearing in the house and she was scared so didn't want to go again.
These are the 3 most recent incidents - we also know she had witnessed domestic violence between her mother and an ex partner of hers.
We try ask my step daughter about what goes on at her mum's house but she just becomes upset and says her mummy told her she can't talk about things or she will get taken away and not see her family again.
I'm sure there are many other incidents that we do not know about and my partner is at his wit's end worrying about his daughter and her being in a home where she is not safe.
We are now looking at going for custody and are wondering about other people's experiences with this and if people think we have a good case? We are both professional people with clean records, my partner has always paid child maintenance, he is involved in her schooling, we live in a nice estate where my step daughter has her own room and is cared for properly and our catchment area is for a 'leading school' meaning she would be educated by one of the best schools in the country if she lived here.
We know that solicitors will say we have a case and take us on cause they get paid whether they win or not, so just wondering if people think we have a good case or not?

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Please give advice on going for custody 1 month 1 day ago #96883

  • actd
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Hi
You certainly have a good case, but courts are generally reluctant to change who a child lives unless there is good reason for the safety and welfare of the child, so you'd need to prove that his daughter is not safe. I would say you need to work with social services, let them know she has a home waiting with you and that you are concerned for her safety - this will make it easier for social services to remove her from her mother's care if they think there is justification.

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Please give advice on going for custody 1 month 21 hours ago #96896

  • Yoda
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Has your partner already spoken to Children's Services? It might be a good starting point.

Does the child ever ask not to go home?

Your partner sounds like he has a strong case but there are no guarantees.

Things have to get pretty bad before CS get involved, but if you have significant concerns, your partner can make his own application and not rely on CS to sort it.

A good school is important but it's not going to be a significant deciding factor in a judge's decision.

Best of luck

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I have several years experience supporting parents in family proceedings as a McKenzie Friend. I am, however, not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

Please give advice on going for custody 5 days 18 hours ago #97398

The better-parent standard becomes possibly the most important factor when a parent demands sole authority. Basically, the judge must be persuaded that one parent is superior to the next, which can be hard to demonstrate. To best get ready for your tyke care hearing, make sure to discover what courts in your state are searching for and counsel with your legal counselor about how to show yourself to be the best parental figure for your youngsters.

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