my ex partner has died, can I get custody of my 12 year old?

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my ex partner has died, can I get custody of my 12 year old?

Post by allan.watson » Thu Jul 30, 2015 5:58 pm

I had a son with my ex partner in February 2003, I split up with the mother of the child when he was 14 months old. I never seen my son again. I have recently found out that the mother passed away 2 years ago and my son had been living with his step dad who had been abusing him. The maternal grandmother took my son into her care on the 16th March 2015. I went looking for my son after finding out his mother had passed away, only to find that he lived 3 miles away from me and that he was known as using his mothers maiden name instead of his given name on the birth certificate that I signed. I made contact with my son on Saturday and he had been told that I was dead. So in my sons eyes he was now an orphan! His maternal grandmother has told me that she is going for guardianship of my son which in turn would take away any parental rights that I may have, I have spent a bit of time with my son and he is eager to spend time with me too, stating that he would much prefer to live with me than his 65 year old grandmother who also has her own 89 year old mother in her care. My son does not have a proper bedroom in his grandmothers house and he sleeps on a camp bed in the living room. His grandmother drinks alcohol every evening, and I do not think that it is a suitable place for my son to be brought up. I have always wanted to be part of my sons life, however his mother put obstacles in my way, by way of threats from other men etc... As she is no longer here any more, I am the surviving parent, do I have the right legally to keep my son with me. I would encourage contact with his grandmother and extended family, however I would like to be the one that brings my son up how he should be brought up, in a loving home, with his father who can provide a stable home, love, care and guidance.


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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: my ex partner has died, can I get custody of my 12 year old?

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:06 pm

Dear Allan.watson,

Welcome to the parents forum. I am sorry to hear what your son has gone through over the last few years. I am also very sorry that you have been excluded from his life for so long.

It seems that children services were likely to have been involved with your son because of the abuse he suffered. They will now also be involved because grandmother is seeking a special guardianship order . She will have served them with notice.

Do you know what the current legal status is in respect of your son? You should finds out whether there has been any court proceedings to ascertain who has parental responsibility for him.

Parental responsibility

Do you have parental responsibility for your son? You will have it if:
• If you were married to his mother,
• or signed a parental responsibility agreement,
• or have you obtained an order from the court giving you parental responsibility.
Signing the birth certificate will not have given you parental responsibility –as your son was born before December 2003.
However, you do not need parental responsibility for children’s services to consult and assess you. The law says that children services must consult with “parents”-which includes fathers who do not have parental responsibility.
See our information for fathers .
I suggest that you contact children services as soon as you can, if you have not already done so.
• What the legal position is. If the local authority has a care order-this will give them parental responsibility to be make all the decisions about your son.

• To be assessed by them in relation to having contact with your son and for him to live with you.
• You should also ensure that you are given a copy of the application for the special guardianship order. Here is our advice sheet about special guardianship orders .

I am not able to answer your question of your son living with you until I know more about the legal position for your son. To discuss in depth, you could also contact our advice line on 0808 801 0366.

Best wishes,

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Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:20 am

Re: my ex partner has died, can I get custody of my 12 year old?

Post by justiceisaright » Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:51 am

I hope you go for it!

Full speed ahead as it is doubtful the maternal grandmother will gain an SGO as these are very indepth (adoption like) investigation and from what you have said will come back quite negative. Particularly because she did not protect her grandson from his stepfather. However you need to build up a relationship with your son. This will be difficult because Social Services will test you. It means you will need to make sacrifices to show that your son is your main priority in your life.

But this will not be a show to your son. He is a child and deserves to be loved, protected, cared for and fought for. Showing him these things and giving him a stable life will help his confidence and be a deciding factor in his futher and mental health after all he has been through. Depending on how old your son is they may ask for supervised contact. Make these enjoyable, laugh a lot, be appropriate at all times, and put a smile on his face. You will not be allowed to speak to him about private matters, his mother, or the case and this can be very difficult and confusing for children who don't understand what is going on.

I would contact Social Services straight away and find out what is going on.

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