can my friend's ex husband legally contest her decision to move 300 miles away to be near her family?

(300 Posts)
troubledfriend Wed 23-Jul-08 23:55:54

Very dear friend , 2 primary school kids separated from husband 2 y ago.

In separation agreement kids live with her. Their dad is half an hour away and sees thm loads. They are reasonably cordial and flexible about it all.

he did initially want residency but she would not let him and .

She is v unhappy and wants to move 300 miles away to be near her family.She is currently in Scotland and wants to move to England

She is dreading telling him.

Could the courts stop her?

Would he have any chance of getting residency if he pursued it through the courts?

madamez Wed 23-Jul-08 23:57:57

Well the courts will be sympathetic to him, and he does have a point: they are his children too and 300 miles is a long way. Could/would he move, too? Could/would she compromise and move halfway or something?

troubledfriend Thu 24-Jul-08 00:02:21

yes he def has a point.

She could not move halfway as the whole point is so she can be close to her mother , sister and brother.She has NO family support here and is completely miserable and finding it very tough.I know he would take the kids like a shot if she would allow

She really wants to know if he would stand a chance of getting residency or actually stop her taking them away.

Not sure if he could move

Hecate Thu 24-Jul-08 00:08:58

I suppose if he did contest it, it would just be a case of demonstrating to the court that it is in her and the children's best interests.

Bit hard on the dad though. But if she's not coping, she needs to find a way through.

What she needs here is legal advice. She should see someone.

Mamazon Thu 24-Jul-08 00:16:37

court can only stop you moving out of the country as far as i am aware.
the court would be able to impose certain directions with regards to contact. ie he sees them every other weekend and they take it in turns to do the traveling or something

PurpleOne Thu 24-Jul-08 00:28:46

I moved 200 miles away from Exh. He contested it with the CSA so had less money, but he still had to pay for petrol etc.

No prob for me.

pedilia Thu 24-Jul-08 00:29:14

As far as I aware from my time in court, since he has PR he can contest a move abroad but not within the uk.
As madamez states I think their can be order imposed regarding contact and who is responsible for visits etc.

A friend of mine took his ex-wife to court when she planned to move his DD to Eygpt, they were encouraged to have mediation and eventually reached an agreement on visits etc.

ElenorRigby Thu 24-Jul-08 20:04:23

Scotland and England are different jurisdictions, children cannot be taken with impunity from jurisdiction without the consent of all with PR (parental responsibility)

troubledfriend Fri 25-Jul-08 01:05:56

elenor forgive me for being thick.
Are you saying she can't take them out of Scotland without his approval?
Are you a lawyer?

Soapbox Fri 25-Jul-08 05:28:47

Notwithstanding the legal issues, I cannot understand the selfishness of a mother putting her own need as an adult to be near her parents above that of her children's need to be near their father. Especially a father who is so involved in their lives.

I think it sounds to me as if your friend should really think hard about her priorities! The children have already suffered a breakdown in their parent's relationship and it seems cruel to inflict this further separation from their father upon them, just so mummy can be closer to her parentshmm

boredveryverybored Fri 25-Jul-08 05:37:17

God soapbox thats a bit harsh have you never struggled? My ex left me with just DD..I can honestly say if I hadn't had my family around me I would have been incapable of looking after her. I was on anti-d's and relied heavily on my family to get me through.
It's all well and good saying dc needs their dad, but at what expense? the sanity of their mother??

Soapbox Fri 25-Jul-08 05:43:49

Well you can run that either way - 'It's all well and good saying mum needs to be near to her parents, but at what expense? the sanity of her children??

boredveryverybored Fri 25-Jul-08 05:50:23

I don't think thats true though is it. If the DC are living with mum as main carer, then her mental health is paramount to their well being. You could put me in same situation, except I didn't make the decision but DD's father left the country when he left me. He was still very much involved in DD's life, but I was her main carer, If I hadn't had the support I'd had to get through it. I'd have either royally f*ed DD up or had her taken from me. Neither situation being a good thing I'm sure you'll agree.

boredveryverybored Fri 25-Jul-08 05:53:33

I just don't think it's as simple as saying oh she's being selfish. Maybe she's realising...she loves her DC doesn't want to lose them but knows she needs support to deal with whats she going through? Should a mother who's struggling when a Dp leaves her with dc have to give up the dc if she needs to move to get the support she needs to cope??

stoppinattwo Fri 25-Jul-08 06:00:10

I agree with soapbox.....but feel very sorry for the mother.

OP says the mother is v unhappy, this move might not acutally cure that unhappiness. The father is only to happy to looks after the children when required, so freedom and time to herself arnt a problem.

Maybe she should look at reasonably regular visits to family. The grass isnt always greener, moving back to home town may cause other reasons for her to be upset....like fed up dad who wants to see his children

boredveryverybored Fri 25-Jul-08 06:16:39

But freedom and time to yourself arn't everything, when you're struggling and need support no ammount of time to yourself will help, you need supportive people around you. It's not about having time to do as you please, it really isn't, it's about having someone close who loves you to listen and tell you you're doing ok.

Freckle Fri 25-Jul-08 08:01:28

Was the divorce dealt with through the Scottish courts or the English ones? In England, if the dad has PR, he could apply to the court for a prohibited steps order, specifically asking for the court to order that she doesn't move away - no guarantee that they would grant it, but he could apply. Not sure about Scottish law.

Alexa808 Fri 25-Jul-08 08:02:16

Soapbox has a good point though. How often do men who move away get flamed and shot down for moving away (usually to find a higher paying job to make sure they can continue to support their ex and dc).

I also think that the children should be near their Dad who is so involved in their lives. If the mother needs someone to listen and care then why not call her family or install skype and chat with them via video calls every day? Could she not try to join clubs or organizations in Scotland who'd help her and make her feel more happy?

From a legal point of view ER is right: your friend can be hindered moving the kids into a different legal system.

FWIW: I have lived in various countries and sometimes felt very lonely and isolated. So I can understand how your friend feels but she is a mother and has a duty to her children. She'd let them down by moving them away from their father and making it more difficult for them to see him. And probably expects him to also increase the funds to support her move and his travels to see the kids. Unfair IMO.

Alexa808 Fri 25-Jul-08 08:09:22

BVB: I'd be very careful in playing any 'mental illness card' in court to justify the mother's move to her parents. The father has already pointed out he'd like to have residency. If the mum now claims she can't cope looking after the dc unless she moves closer to her parents than courts would most likely decide that the kids should stay in their comfortable surroundings -with their father! So the mum is free to move to her parents.

Doubt she wants to end up having to leave her kids behind.

chipkid Fri 25-Jul-08 08:13:13

Legally, Scotland and England are different jursidictions. If the situation was the other way around she would not be able to remove the children from the jursidiction of England and Wales permanently without the leave of the court or the consent of everybody with PR.

She lives in Scotland I suspect (although know nothing of the Scottish Legal Stystem,)that they would have a similar rule. If so then NO she cannot just move. If she were moving 300 mile within the jurisdiction then her ex would have to apply for an order to prevent the move.

Oblomov Fri 25-Jul-08 08:17:26

Boredveryverybored, yes she needs support. Does her mum and brother and sister not phone her? My mum often phones and is an apsolute pillar of support to me.
And I am happily married, not seperated and only have petty problems.
Does she not have friends around her.
I wonder why she thinks that moving will help. If he had a very very close, loving , supportive relationship with her family, they would probably be phoning her and visiting her all the time, and thus she prob wouldn't need to move.

FioFio Fri 25-Jul-08 08:21:38

Message withdrawn

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 25-Jul-08 08:29:06

I moved (300 miles) to be near my mother when ds1's disability was diagnosed. We wouldn't have survived without her hand on help tbh. Phone calls wouldn't have done it.

Similarly if you're by yourself then the advantage of having someone you can leave your child with at a moments notice on your doorstep is immense. Maybe this person's Mum will be like my own and come in every day to help out.

troubledfriend your friend needs to see a lawyer to find out the legal implications. At least if she does that then she'll know what her options are.

Would her parents be able to move to be near her?

Leslaki Fri 25-Jul-08 08:29:24

OFGS!!!!! shock My ex recently left me and my kids and I have considered miving back to Scotland which is 300 miles away from him. The op hasn't mentioned mental illness or anything like that. Here is a woman whose marriage has fallen apart and who lives hundreds of miles away from her support network. Those of you who have already shot her down in flames for being selfish do not know the full story so give her a break. You do not know the reason behind the marriage breakdown. It is EXTREMELY hard bringing up 2 kids on your own (yes her ex does help but bet she is still doing the bulk of it) without a support network. Friends do help but it is NOT the same as having family around you. Her dc may very well benefit from the realtionship with their grandparents and having a happy mother. They are young and will cope with a move.

I take it if I moved back to Scotland away from my ex I would be slated on here for being selfish then????? angry My ex was the selfish one having an affair, running up debts with HER (in the 2 months before he letf to move into THEIR new house) so I would be responsible for half of them and leaving us struggling. It is hard without your family. My friends are great but they have their own lives and families. Life can get very lonely at times without your family and maybe the OP's friend is feeling that. If the kids are ill I also have to take time off work - UNPAID after day 1 as I have no-one to look after them. If I move home I will have my parents to help with things like that. When you are ill you still have to look after kids with no help. These things are hard.

The father can travel to see them. It's not thousands of miles away. There are cheap flights and the M6.

And yes, in answer to the original question, she can move within the UK and he can't stop her. I have already asked my solicitor as I am such a selfish mother who is considering possibly moving back up to Scotland. In my case, HE was the one who chose to leave his family. The kids and I DESERVE to be happy and if that means moving then that means moving.

Can't believe some of the attitudes on here.

None of it's ideal and the kids will be happier with a happier mother.

Hope your friend is OK troubled friend.

Anna8888 Fri 25-Jul-08 08:35:51

It doesn't sound as if anyone is being unreasonable or selfish here: while it is perfectly reasonable for a father to wish to live near his children, it is just as reasonable for a lone mother to wish to live near her parents for extra support.

There is a clear conflict of interest which will be all the harder to resolve if value judgements are hurled at each party.

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