He says he’ll take our child!

My ex-boyfriend left me soon after our baby was born. He visited now and again but he hated her crying – and she always cried when he held her, because he hardly ever did it and he just wouldn’t try to learn how to do it properly. He wouldn’t get involved with things like feeding her or changing nappies and after a time simply stopped coming. He’s never paid a penny towards her upkeep. Last year I heard he got married and has a little boy. A couple of friends of mine who see him in a group that meets in our local pub say they’ve heard him say he’s going to get my daughter, who is now 5, and bring her up as his own and that he can do this because he’s now a married man with a family while I’m single. Can he take my child?

He has to have Parental Responsibility to be able to have any say in where your daughter lives, or a Residency Order to say your child should live with him. And since you weren’t married when she was conceived or born and this was before December 2003, the only way he would have got Parental Responsibility would have been for you to sign it an agreement with him or for him to have gone to court to win it. If he wanted her to live with him now he either has to apply for a Residency Order, which automatically confers Parental Responsibility, or apply first for the one and then the other. The court would have to decide that your child would be better off if he has Parental Responsibility or Residency. And if he’s had no contact for at least the last 4 years and made no attempt to maintain or see his child it’s inconceivable they would. The courts prefer to leave young children with their mothers unless there’s a very good reason why she can’t cope or is a risk to them. Being single isn’t even an issue. It sounds as if he’s winding someone up – you, his wife, your friends.

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