What can I do if my former partner fails or refuses to return our children on time?

This will depend if there are formal arrangements in place through a court.

If there are no formal arrangements in place then the police cannot forcibly return your children and you will need to seek advice from a solicitor.

If there is a court order in place the order will advise or specify what action should be taken, if there are regular and intentional breaches of an order by a former partner then it may be necessary to bring the matter back to court and to bring enforcement proceedings. However this should be seen as a last resort as it only causes more friction and expense.

Depending on the case and the nature of the breaches involved, the court has the power to order community service, a fine, and in cases of the most serious and repeated breaches, a court can have the power to issue a prison sentence, although this is very rare indeed as often the parent breaching the order is also the children’s primary carer.

If you have serious concerns about the welfare of your children being in the care of a former partner the police can check on their welfare, but, unless there are serious concerns about the children at the time of the visit it is unlikely that the police will remove them from the former partner.

I think my former partner may be intending to take my children abroad without my permission

If you believe that your former partner, who is a foreign national, may have taken the children with the intention of taking them abroad to live there, without your permission, this may be an offence. You should contact the police by telephone on 101 to report without delay.


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