Your access rights to your children when a marriage breaks down
Q: I have been married for more than five years now. We have one daughter together. The family home is in my sole name as I bought it long before we were married.
I have always felt controlled in the relationship; not really able to make decisions about my life or my child’s life.
He would decide what we wore, ate and when we could leave the house.
I left the home without my daughter with the hope that I could come back for her.
I have not seen her in more than two months now because my husband will not allow me to.
What can I do to see my daughter again? How can I move back into my home? The doctor told me that I could be the victim of domestic abuse, but he has not been physically violent with me.
A: I am so sorry to have read about your situation.
If you would like to see your daughter and also potentially be able to move back into your property, you should seek legal advice immediately. There are a number of steps you can take.
1. Occupation Order
An occupation order is an order that requires that a person vacates the property that they have been living in.
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If your partner were to breach this order, then he could be arrested and face criminal charges punishable by up to five years in prison.
If you think that there is a risk that he will try to stop you from making the application, then it is possible to issue the application without him knowing.
If successful, he would need to move out of the house which would then mean you could move back in.
2. Child arrangements order
As it stands, your partner has every right as the father of your daughter to have contact with her.
This order provides who your daughter will live with; how, and when, she will spend time with the other parent.
Usually you would need to take part in mediation before you can apply to court for this order but you have mentioned some behaviours which suggest that you are the victim of domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse does not need to be purely physical in nature, in fact, it is believed that some of the worst violence is emotional and intangible.
You may also be eligible for legal aid if you have been the victim of domestic abuse.