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Question
Posted by: Anon | 2011/08/06

URGENT ADVICE

My ex went away for the weekend now I must take my 22 month old son to her parents to sleep there but he is not allowed to sleepover by me. The parental agreement is not in place yet can I keep him with me? I believe I got more rights than the grandparents. Will they be able to arrest me for keeping my son? The mediator told the mother that she must let my son sleepover so we can see how he reacts and I have to give her feedback but can''t do it if my ex keep on refusing that he sleepover.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFamily law expert

I suggest that you do bring an urgent application to get certain contact arrangements in place pending the mediation of a parenting plan. It may well be so that your spouse will lay a charge, but having said that, you also have joint parental rights that include contact and the mere fact that your child sleep over temporarily whilst your ex is away does not constitute a criminal offense.

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: G-Dad | 2011/08/10

I have been down that road, if there is no court order in place, there is not much she can achieve by laying a charge, if you are the biological father and the child sleep over at your place, on what grounds would she lay a charge, it can not be kidnapping, so what is the grounds for any charges, the cops can do nothing, they are a useless bunch in any case.

If I were in your shoes then I will let the child sleep over at you and she must come and fetch the child, you have more legal rights that the grand parents, my son was granted sleepovers at 18 months to an unstable mother, there should be no legal reason why you can have all these rights and responsibilities but not be allowed sleep over rights because ...

I agree with Bertus, bring an urgent application to set out interim shared residence, this mean that the child can spend equal time at both parents, this will be an interim order, but once such an order has been granted, there is a good chance it will be made a final order.

If there is not court order then I disagree with Bertus, letting your child stay with you and the mother have sleepovers is also legal, this mean that even if you let your child live with you permanently it is not an offense, the only thing the mother can do is to bring an urgent application to force you to return the child, in most cases the courts will leave the child where he is currently living until a full parental assessment has been done.
The only problem with this is that if the mother succeed in an urgent application forcing you to return the child, the judge might punish you by allowing supervised visits to your child which you do not want.

Reply to G-Dad
Posted by: family law expert | 2011/08/08

I suggest that you do bring an urgent application to get certain contact arrangements in place pending the mediation of a parenting plan. It may well be so that your spouse will lay a charge, but having said that, you also have joint parental rights that include contact and the mere fact that your child sleep over temporarily whilst your ex is away does not constitute a criminal offense.

Reply to family law expert

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