Mother pulls children out of school after ex-husband moves nearby despite court order
- Credit: Archant
A Welwyn Hatfield mother had to pull her children out of their school when she saw her ex-husband, who she has a court order against, waiting outside the premises.
Sarah, not her real name for safeguarding reasons, has a family court Prohibited Steps Court Order which states that her ex-husband cannot come within 100m of her children or any school they attend.
Yet after Sarah saw him outside the school she found out he had not only enrolled his child from his new partner into the same school but moved to a property within 100m of the site.
Sarah's children have had no contact with her ex-husband for seven years and then were suddenly forced to see him on a daily basis after schools returned earlier this month.
Sarah told this paper: "I walked in to the school grounds to collect my children, and basically he was there and I found out that day that they had obviously put one of their children into the same school that my children attend.
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"Me and my husband went through everything we could to try and get him moved, we contacted solicitors who said it might not help to go back to court because his children reside there - especially because he hadn't put his name on the tenancy."
Sarah struggled for options with the school offering to ban him from school: "He has been stood at the school gates every single day that my children were still there, I am guessing to intimidate me. But I sent my husband to go pick the kids up after that because I was too scared to go."
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Sarah said she was told by police if they felt the school couldn't keep her children safe or safeguard, she should remove them from the school, which she did.
She added: "The kids were looking forward to seeing their friends. My kids have been in tears the last couple of days, because they have had to say goodbye to their friends.
"I don't know what the point is of this court order, nobody's helping."
Fortunately now a few weeks have passed Herts County Council have managed to allocate school places for Sarah's children, with the kids due to start at their new school after Easter.
Sarah's mother said: "When my daughter went back to the school later that day to collect her children she was confronted by her ex and his partner.
"My daughter ran into the school scared and broke down in the reception area asking them why they have allowed them to put their child into the school, when she had given the school a copy of the documents for safeguarding the children at the school.
"My daughter has contacted the council, police, school, citizen advise and even a solicitor for advice and none of them can help her. The solicitor even advised that if she was to go back to the family court they may not do anything to help her.
"How can this be so, this is wrong is so many ways and it shows that a system in place does not work and the wellbeing and safeguarding of a child is rubbish.
"I feel so sorry for my daughter she tries very hard to bring up her sons and all she has tried to do to safeguard her boys seems to go against her."
A spokesperson for the school said: "Because this is a sensitive and complex case, and it is our duty to work with all of our pupils and their families, we are leaving this to the outside agencies involved and will act as advised.
"We acted swiftly upon discovering this situation and sought guidance immediately from those agencies."
A spokesperson for Herts County Council said: “We were not aware of these families’ specific situation when we allocated school places, and in any event there are strict rules around school admissions that would prevent us from taking that into account. We do appreciate that this is a difficult situation for the families and we are working with them to find alternative school places for their children.”
If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic abuse you can visit: Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline.
HDAH is a confidential, free, support and signposting service for anyone affected by domestic abuse, you can call 08 088 088 088 or confidentially email Kim@mailpurple.org