Q&A - Can my ex just take the children without my consent?

Q: I separated from my long term partner after Christmas because I was fed up with the way he expected me to run around clearing up after him and doing everything around the house. Our parting was very vitriolic as he didn’t want the relationship to end. Now he is trying to get back at me in every way he can, even trying to use our two children as a weapon against me.

He keeps threatening to take them away from me if I don’t go back to him, claiming they would have a better life. I work and the children go to after-school club until I can pick them up, but I’m worried he will just go and get them before I get there. Can he do this?

A: If your ex was present when the children's births were registered and he is named on their birth certificates he is very likely to share parental responsibility with you. This means there is nothing to stop him from picking them up from school and there is nothing to compel him to return them to your care.

If this happened the police may do a welfare check, but provided the children are not in any danger they will not bring the children home. To ensure the children have to be returned to you, you will need to obtain an Order from the Court. Firstly, you will have to attend a mediation information assessment meeting (MIAM). If you don't want to go to mediation you still have to attend a MIAM before making an application to the Court. The first hearing will usually not be held until 6 weeks after you submit an application so you should think about instructing a Solicitor to try to negotiate the return of the children in the meantime.


Nathan Wright, Partner at GHP Legal

Nathan Wright


A Partner specialising in Family and Matrimonial Law

Alison Peters

Alison Peters


A Partner in our Family and Matrimonial department in Oswestry