Monthly Archives: July 2013

Applying for an ex parte order

By Juliet Phillips-James, Director, Gomer Williams (as featured in the Llanelli Star)

Q: I split up with my partner last year and she moved back to Poland, leaving our children with me. I have recently discovered that she is coming to live back in the UK and I am concerned she will try to remove the children as she has already indicated to me that this is her intention. What can I do to prevent her from doing this?

A: You need to apply to the court for a residence order. This is an order which sets in place the person with whom the child is to live. As a parent, you can automatically apply to the court for this order.
Depending on the circumstances, you may need to apply for an ex parte order. This means you will apply for an emergency order without your ex-partner having notice of the first hearing.
The court will only hear from you, therefore the court will only make the order in exceptional circumstances. Even if your circumstances are not exceptional, it may be that you should apply on an ex parte basis to get this matter into court quickly. The court will then usually list it for a further hearing several days later to give you the opportunity to arrange a formal notification of the hearing to your ex-partner.
While the court may not grant a residence order at the first hearing, they make provision that the children should not be removed from your care until further order.
This will then at least secure the children's place with you until the court can assess all the evidence before it, prior to making a final order.
If your ex-partner then attempts to remove the children, or refuses to hand them over following any contact, you will need to get the police involved, who will need to see a copy of the order.
You may also want to apply for a prohibited steps order at the same time to prevent your ex-partner taking the children abroad without your consent. A solicitor specialising in family law will be able to advise you further on these matters, as well as giving you practical advice regarding the children's passports.

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