Access to children age 14 and 18

(22 Posts)
Beehive52 Thu 05-Jun-14 09:46:50

Hi all. I am just embarking on path to legal separation and wanted some advice. I have two kids age 14 and 18. One of my options is to move away totally but wondered how this might affect access arrangements to my youngest son? At what age can the children chose to see their father rather than it being imposed on them if that makes send. I certainly don't want to move if it means him being dragged up and down the country, so any advice...?? Thank you.

grocklebox Thu 05-Jun-14 09:49:33

At 14 nobody can make him go for access. But if he wants to, moving away will make it very difficult for him.
I think you'e got this the wrong way around. Surely finding out how much the kids want to see the nonresident parent is the first point?

Beehive52 Thu 05-Jun-14 09:54:46

Well at the moment the eldest is making up his mind but temporarily says no to seeing him. My youngest is very distressed at the moment and I feel wants and needs to see his dad regularly, they have a good relationship. I may have got it the wrong way round as this is all new to me, but I thought my husband would have legal rights to a fixed amount of access if that makes sense, weekends or whatever. If I upsticks and move away is there still a legal fulfilment?

Beehive52 Thu 05-Jun-14 09:57:10

No I am still not explaining my question well. I want to know at what age can a child make his mind up re seeing the parent without a legal framework. Is it part of the separation settlement?

grocklebox Thu 05-Jun-14 11:36:28

There is no one answer to this, but no court can force a 14 year old to have access that they don't want, so while your husband certainly has the legal right to access, its moot if the child won't go.
Certainly if you move away and prevent access if both the child and the father want it, then you could legally be in trouble.

So essentially yes, your husband has legal rights to access, but no-one could force it if the 14 year old says no.

However if you feel your child would benefit from contact with his father, why would you consider moving away and denying them that?

You never need a legal framework. Ideally any arrangements would be decided between you (the courts are for when that is not possible).

If ds wants to see his dad and they have a good relationship you need to support that as best you can. Are you planning on moving a long way?

Other forms of contact are frequent skyping and phoning.

If you're further apart it may be better for ds to see his dad less often, but for longer periods (if that's an option).

There's no set answer.

It's possible that if you couldn't come to an agreement a court could order you to bring ds to XH every other weekend. But at that age if ds doesn't want to go they wouldn't enforce it. Courts don't make orders for over 16s at all.

What would be ideal for ds?

Beehive52 Thu 05-Jun-14 14:16:49

Thank you for your advice and guidance. At present I am trying to sort out options for the family post separation last week. We relocated here 2 years ago due to job change, when a 2 year EA was revealed. I am considering moving back to where we have friends and support, and my son is quite keen on the idea. However it is a long way from here so he wouldn't be having regular weekly access. My son has a good relationship with his dad and I don't want to jeopardise this. Trying to explore implications of this and if, I can move him without legal permission.

Beehive52 Thu 05-Jun-14 14:18:09

Ps not sure whether ds realises there would not be regular contact if we moved.

It might be worth discussing it with ds. Weigh up the pros and cons. Explain to him that moving back would mean seeing XH less often, but that he could maybe go for longer when he does see him.

You've only been there two years and are relocating to be near family and friends and support where the dcs grew up (good reasons). I would check with a solicitor, but I don't think he could stop you from moving home within the same country, especially as the dcs are older.

Lots of parents do every other weekend contact and then Skype etc.

Is there any chance XH would relocate too?

I read your other thread too, and am impressed by your dignity. The fact XH was in the midst of his affair when you moved means he moved you under false pretences too. It would be completely understandable to feel angry at him for that. But this has to be about what is best for the dcs. This includes a happy, supported mother. That is something that they need, and for that you need family and friends. The dcs wanting to go home is another reason.

Beehive52 Thu 05-Jun-14 14:44:59

Ttank you for your kind message. I guess it's a 'what I want now' vs what's best for my kids, I really don't think the distance would make regular contact feasible. I just can't face living somewhere where he is loved up with OW and I don't want ds sucked into their world either. Realistically I know I have no say over this, and keeping my son happy and settled is my priority.

ForeskinHyena Thu 05-Jun-14 15:07:22

"My youngest is very distressed at the moment and I feel wants and needs to see his dad regularly, they have a good relationship." Then surely regardless of the legalities, you wouldn't want to "up sticks" and have him "dragged up and down the country"? He should be able to see his dad whenever he wants, not whenever the (non-existent) legal framework dictates.

Especially as kids get older, the old fixed access patterns can start to become more fluid as they choose to visit one parent more or perhaps spend more time with a working parent now that childcare isn't an issue after school etc.

Whether or not it is awkward for you to be near OW and ex is a bit irrelevant if the alternative is fucking up your DSs' relationship with their dad. The older one may not choose to see him at the moment, but if you make it very difficult for him to do so if he changes his mind you could do irreparable damage to their relationship. Your younger son is already struggling and needs to maintain his relationship with your ex to help him feel more settled through all of this.

Unfortunately you will have to put your own needs after those of your DCs for the time being.

unrealhousewife Thu 05-Jun-14 15:17:55

I think you have to do what's best for your youngest, whether that means commutuing, ex moving or you staying is your decision. You as adults need to compromise for him and as dh messed you about for two years the onus should be on him to make his ds happy.

You might have to start by asking them where they would want to live if you both stayed together, then both adults make hat compromise.

You can always try nesting, meaning the adults do the travelling and the dcs stay in their own home.

ForeskinHyena Thu 05-Jun-14 19:12:37

Unreal, my DS suggested that yesterday, I didn't know there was a name for it!

He's finding it annoying going between two homes and someone always forgets something and has to pop back in the morning ruining my lie-in!

The nesting idea sounds good if the adults can handle spending time in a shared space. I'm guessing it works best if one parent is the primary carer and has somewhere else to stay once a week. I guess there could be an adult house and a child house but the adult house would inevitably end up being much more the domain of the non resident parent and thus not so welcoming for the the RP when they stay there.

Has anyone successfully done this?

unrealhousewife Thu 05-Jun-14 19:21:30

I think it works well as a first stage. You need to be amicable and organised and committed and stick to shared house rules. It may be a good solution. Happens a lot in the US. As yours are older it might work.

unrealhousewife Thu 05-Jun-14 19:23:22

I think you would probably need to stay with your family, he can stay with his gf if they are still an item.

meditrina Thu 05-Jun-14 19:24:51

Your STBX doesn't have any rights. But neither do you.

The people with the rights here are your DC, and they have the right to a relationship with both parents, even if those parents are no longer cohabiting.

Your responsibility, and that of STBX, is to ensure that happens.

unrealhousewife Thu 05-Jun-14 19:29:11

Mediator ins that's what OP is working on now.

unrealhousewife Thu 05-Jun-14 19:45:11

* meditrina

meditrina Thu 05-Jun-14 19:50:15

Yes, I had read the thread. But OP seemed to be talking about 'rights' in a context where there are none (unless in none of the UK jurisdictions) and I thought it was worth a mention. Especially as e 14 yo appears, at present, to want to remain close to his father. The DC are the only one with rights. But in 4 years, that changes as he reaches his majority.

ForeskinHyena Thu 05-Jun-14 19:56:06

Unreal, I'm not OP btw, sorry for any confusion, I was just musing on your suggestion of nesting for my own circumstances.

unrealhousewife Thu 05-Jun-14 20:03:45

Ok oops.

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