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My ex-partner is refusing to bring the children back after contact. What can I do?

A photo of Nicola Starbuck
21st February 2023

Difficulties often arise when agreeing arrangements for the children. When you separate from your partner, decisions about where the children will live and how often they should spend time with the other parent will need to be made. In most cases, it is better for the parents and children if these arrangements can be agreed amicably and without the need for court proceedings.

Any agreement that you reach with your partner is not legally binding. That means if there is a later dispute, there is very little that one parent can do to hold the other to the terms of the agreement.

If your ex-partner refuses to return the children to your care following a period of agreed contact, then you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there is no ‘quick fix’ when this happens, but it is important that appropriate steps are taken quickly to try and resolve the issue.

You may decide to contact the Police or Children’s Services. In most cases, they will be unable to help you. If both you and your partner have parental responsibility and there are no safeguarding concerns, it is likely that you will be advised to speak to a solicitor.

At Thomas Flavell & Sons, we understand that this can be a distressing time. Our experienced Family Team recognise that each case is different and we are able to advise you as to what options are available. It may be appropriate for your solicitor to write to your ex-partner requesting that the children be returned to you.

Mediation or a Collaborative Law approach may also be suitable as ways of securing an amicable resolution. If there are safeguarding concerns, then it may be necessary to make an application to the Court. Depending on the circumstances, an application may have to be made urgently.

If it is necessary to make an application to the court, a judge may be unable or unwilling to make any orders until CAFCASS [] have had an opportunity to consider the issues and in some cases prepare a report about what is best for your children.

Our Family Team are here to help you. With our Family Solicitors based at Hinckley (01455 610747) and Leamington Spa ( 01926 887700), contact us to arrange your initial consultation.