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Reassigning Custody

I am separated from my partner since 2003 but had two kids with her and also have joint legal guardianship of them. Just got married to a very nice lady who is pregnant with my baby. She is very open to my desire to have all kids growing up together. My ex doesn’t work but my wife and I have good jobs with comfortable financial balance. How do I go about getting custody of my children as they are not getting the best standard of living they may likely get if they lived in my house? Dan.

Hi Dan.  I am assuming that your ex has actual legal custody of the children (by written agreement or court order or otherwise) and this presents a difficulty. 

 

To get custody you will have to bring an application to the court and three things must happen.  Firstly, you will have to prove that you can give a safe, secure and desirable atmosphere to bring up the children (I think this is certainly the case) but also you must prove that your ex is actually unsuitable and is a danger to the children.  Secondly, given that your ex already has custody, the court would have to upset the status quo which might involve the children moving school, moving away from their friends, moving away from a familiar environment and into what the children might regard as an alien one, with other children.  And thirdly, the court will have to determine what is best for the children in question. 

 

I can see difficulty with what you propose because it is unlikely that in the absence of a dangerous environment in which the children presently live, the court will  upset the children’s lifestyle, but of course this will depend on their ages.

 

If you have a solicitor who arranged the joint legal guardianship in the first case (by agreement or court decision, etc.) you should go back to him or her and discuss the issues.  Alternatively you should consult an experienced family law solicitor because this will be a difficult case to prove, but that shouldn’t put you off investigating further.

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