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Prohibitive Steps Order - can he stop her going?

(48 Posts)
Allinthefold Mon 07-Jan-13 23:04:05

My cousin has recently divorced and wants to move away for a fresh start. About 4 hours away.
She has two children.

Her ex doesn't want her to go & is threatening a prohibitive steps order to stop her.

Can he stop her long term? She seems to think that he'll never be granted one.

He sees the boys once a fortnight, although does chop & change a bit.

SundaeGirl Mon 07-Jan-13 23:06:46

Yes. Courts prefer children to have 'status quo' over 'fresh start' in general. 'Fresh starts' tend to benefit the parents but disrupt the children.

MonetsGardens Mon 07-Jan-13 23:10:39

If she is moving simply in an attempt to deliberately restrict contact with no legitimate reason to do so, then yes, there is every chance that he would be granted the order.
Luckily, courts are not generally in the business of stopping people from rebuilding their lives post separation. She needs to put a very good 'case' together with regards the benefits of the move for herself and the positive effects this will have on the children - in terms of schooling, family support, jobs, housing etc. What is she going to do to ensure that contact with the father will remain as 'regular' as possible ? I would suggest that if he only sees them every fortnight at present, it would still be possible to continue that, with him doing the travelling to see the kids 1 weekend a month and her taking them to see him on the second weekend.

Allinthefold Mon 07-Jan-13 23:25:11

I think the only real benefit to her move is housing.

They are in SE at the moment with great schools etc. however if she moved further north she'd be able to afford a much bigger house.

She doesn't have partner or job.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Mon 07-Jan-13 23:28:30

Moving just because of housing (as opposed to moving where she has a job lined up or where her family and most of her friends are) might not be seen as a good enough reason. However, has she dumped this man because of violence/abuse? And if so, is his abuse on record?

Allinthefold Mon 07-Jan-13 23:32:01

No, he's a git but there's no record of abuse in the divorce.

She will be technically closer to her family but is 'overshooting' a little.

Kayano Mon 07-Jan-13 23:42:11

Is it for her or the kids?

I'd rather be close to my non abusive father than have a slightly bigger house tbf

Allinthefold Tue 08-Jan-13 07:43:18

Difficult to say. She would definitely be happier there. Not sure about the children.

I suppose it would all depend on how much being close to father weighs against other benefits of moving.

ILoveTIFFANY Tue 08-Jan-13 07:45:55

So she has chosen a random place?

How? She has no job? How is she affording it?

Startail Tue 08-Jan-13 07:54:57

I read this a lot on MN it you simply sell up and move, what can the corts actually do.

Surely they aren't going to put a Mother of young DCs in jail.

If your renting surely you can just go rent on Shetland if you so please without telling a partner your going.

Allinthefold Tue 08-Jan-13 07:56:17

She has some connections there and her sister lives there.

She has enough money from the divorce to buy outright & has maintenance payments to live on. She plans to get a job when she gets there.

ILoveTIFFANY Tue 08-Jan-13 08:01:03

The courts will want to see details tho

And yes she can be stopped.... If a move badly interiors education or another parents access!

Also, how is she planning to facilitate a relationship with the children/father.?

Allinthefold Tue 08-Jan-13 08:03:02

I'm not sure she's really thought about that. I think she is just figuring he'll have to come and collect them.

So she's planning to live on maintenance payments but make it more difficult for Dad to see them and inflict and 8 hour journey on the kids when they do see him.

I have an a**e of an ex but there's NO way I'd do that to him or the kids.

How old are they, are they at school?

Seems harsh

ILoveTIFFANY Tue 08-Jan-13 09:33:11

Thays disgusting!!

And shows her true colours really doesn't it? She doesn't have her children's best interests at heart at all

What a cow!

perfectstorm Tue 08-Jan-13 10:10:49

Startail, no, they wouldn't put the mother in jail. But they might decide the father's relationship to the children is essential as well, that remaining in their home environment is in their best interests, and that a mother who is in contempt of court should not be rewarded and allowed to sever ties at will... and give him primary residence, with her being the one to see them every other weekend. If she can travel from the Hebrides to do so, of course.

So yes, there is "something they can do". A child is not a parental possession, and if the courts rule something is in their best interests and the parent ignores that and does exactly what they want anyway, then the court may well think that casual contempt for the interests of the children is not ideal, and award residence to the other parent.

perfectstorm Tue 08-Jan-13 10:17:13

And a mother who "hasn't really thought about" how her kids can sustain a close and loving relationship with one of their parents, when pondering a move halfway across the country?

She's their mother, how can she not be concerned about their relationship with their other parent? Whatever the history between the couple concerned, a reasonably good relationship with both parents is generally considered as pretty advantageous to a child's happy, secure development if at all possible. He's their dad, not just a mate. Worrying about her kids' wellbeing is last on her list? That shocks me, I'm sorry, but it does.

ILoveTIFFANY Tue 08-Jan-13 10:44:45

Me too perfect! Me too... hmm

Footface Tue 08-Jan-13 10:53:26

Sounds like she's either trying to punish him or push him out if their lives completely.

Wonder how she would react If it was the other way round or if he even went for custody

Allinthefold Tue 08-Jan-13 14:55:45

It sounds a lot worse when you write it down like that.

I doesn't seem that way in RL, just because of how unhappy he's made her.

I'll tell her she needs to talk it through with her solicitor as to what she should do.

perfectstorm Wed 09-Jan-13 01:03:56

But this is the point you are still missing: it doesn't MATTER how unhappy he has made her, if he is a good father, as long as he is not abusive. It isn't about their relationship anymore, and nor does she need to have one with him. It's about physical proximity of those kids to half of who they are. It's about THEM, not the parents.

Too many parents see kids as an extension of themselves. They aren't. You can't look at the relationship between the adults or what went on there, unless it will directly impact the relationship between parent and child.

Spero Wed 09-Jan-13 01:12:07

The overriding principle is what is in the best interests of the children. The courts recognise that a primary carer should have freedom of movement in the UK BUT she will need a good reason for wanting to move, otherwise it's a risk court will see this as her trying to frustrate his contact.

It's not a done deal if she is moving just for a bigger house. She will need to show good evidence of her job prospects and what she is able to do to make up for extra distances - she would need to make at least one journey herself. That s quite a big distance to travel so she will need some good reasons to justify it.

As others say, courts ultimate sanction is to transfer residence to father.

HillaryClitoris Wed 09-Jan-13 01:16:48

Another case of the now familiar 'poor me victim so i'll get automatic sympathy to enable me to manipulate everyone around me in order to selfishly get what I want' excuse.

Cabrinha Wed 09-Jan-13 01:38:34

Poor father, poor kids.

TisILeclerc Wed 09-Jan-13 06:50:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SomebodySaveMe Wed 09-Jan-13 06:54:02

DPs ex is trying to do this. No family where she's moving to except her partner who she hasn't lived with before and 5 year old DSD says she gets shouted at when she says she doesn't want to move there.

Spero Wed 09-Jan-13 08:23:49

TisI - it sounds as though you want to do the move in a planned and thoughtful way - try and get agreement from the father but if he won't agree you may have to go to court. A judge would need to see evidence of clear advantages of a move - eg more support for you from family/friends, good housing, good schools, job prospects, if poss.

I have seen some sad cases where parents want to move say from Cornwall to Manchester - no connections with new area, just desire to make things difficult for ex. That is unlikely to find favour with court.

Generally a car trip of about two hours shouldn't be a problem.

I think you just have to be honest with yourself and say - do the benefits of this move outweigh the problems it causes for contact? If the answer to that is 'yes' I think yo have to go for it. There is rarely an 'ideal situation' when parents split, just a least worse one.

TisILeclerc Wed 09-Jan-13 10:09:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TwinkleReturns Wed 09-Jan-13 10:21:50

Tis its a whole different ball game where abuse is involved. If you had gone into refuge they would likely move you to an area where the abuser wasnt and that would v likely be near family, with a view to you securing accomodation permenantely in that area - so for that reason if you chose to move near family he wouldnt have a leg to stand on. Survivors of abuse are usually isolated from a support network and as primary carer for your children it is seen to be in their best interest for you to move to an area where you have a support network etc.

So actually no I dont think you need to consult him - he is abusive, hes not going to tell you to do something which would benefit you is he? He will do everything to get you to remain in an area where you arent near family and support. There is a reason that we are advised to cut contact with these twunts, avoid mediation, insist on supervised contact etc - its to ensure that they dont use the DC to manipulate us.

Spero Wed 09-Jan-13 10:45:37

I agree, if you are talking about an abusive man who has been found not fit to have contact, or only limited and supervised contact, it's sn entirely different scenario and you may well be encouraged by social services etc to move away.

But for most cases I think you are looking at a scenario where ex may have been unkind/unpleasant (or why else are the splitting up?) but not abusive to extent that he/she can't argue for continuing contact.

Th problem is that there is heaps of psychological research showing the damage done to children who are kept away from one half of their genetic makeup, and that informs why courts are so keen to promote contact - plus it is child's legal right to know both parents, if safe to have that relationship

TisILeclerc Wed 09-Jan-13 11:00:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TisILeclerc Wed 09-Jan-13 11:01:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

babyhammock Wed 09-Jan-13 11:06:45

There is also heaps of research that show the damage done to children witnessing the abuse of their primary carer. Hence why the courts are supposed to follow the Sturge and Glaser experts report (ordered by the high court) which addresses that balance of harm either way.

Basically if the abuser acknowledges the harmful effect of the abuse, shows remose AND most importantly can put the needs of the child above their own then contact is considered in the child's best interest. If they can't then the balance of harm is against contact.

babyhammock Wed 09-Jan-13 11:09:41

Quote from TisLeclerc's ex the others are all proper abusers...'
Just be careful, it sounds from the language he is using that he's doing this as a ploy to get back in with you rather than a genuine desire to change x

TisILeclerc Wed 09-Jan-13 11:14:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

startlife Wed 09-Jan-13 11:36:31

Just thought I would share a friend's story.She moved 6 hours drive from her ex partner - SE to Scotland with her dd who was 10 at the time. The move was supposed to benefit mum and daughter as it was a rural area and cheaper housing. Mum loved the move but dd hated it. Rural area translated to lack of independence for a growing teen and she resented the fact that she now saw her father less frequently. As the dd has grown her relationship with her mum has been strained as her dd just doesn't believe her mum has acted in her best interests.

Its such a shame as the mum was not intentionally being selfish but she just didn't think through the changes involved for her dd. The mum only saw the upside to the move without actually thinking of the losses for her dd. A teen might not actually appreciate a rural move if they are used to independence with travel and a busy varied life.

Be aware courts will ask parents to share the driving especially if Dad has fulltime work - also factor in the costs of petrol - these could be substantial over a year and motoring costs will only get more expensive.

Dad may also have to get a B&B locally,who will pay for this?

Spero Wed 09-Jan-13 11:50:13

Baby hammock, everyone who works in this field knows full well the damage done from seeing or hearing abuse. Thats why I was clear to distinguish between parents who are not safe and parents who have just not been brilliant partners.

I know that it can be very painful trying to accommodate someone who you don't like or don't respect, but there have to be serious and compelling reasons to justify shutting one parent out. Hitting, verbal abusive, bullying are probably those.

I would agree be wary of anyone who calls anyone else a 'proper abuser'. It's great that he self referred, that is rare, but it doesn't mean he is suddenly 'cured' or full of insight. I assume he is 'high risk' with a high MARAC score.

TisILeclerc Wed 09-Jan-13 12:20:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Spero Wed 09-Jan-13 13:53:59

O dear. Sounds like he has a lot of work to do, but great that he took that step. As long as he genuinely wants to engage with this stuff, I think it can help.

And looking on the positive side for you, such a high score, even if he does subsequently sort himself out I think gives weight to you wanting to live somewhere where you have the most support possible. As Sturge and Glaser said so compellingly - abuse by one parent against another is a massive failure of parenting, and it will have left it's mark on you and the children.

perfectstorm Wed 09-Jan-13 20:54:32

TisILeClerk in all honesty, with that sort of background, a move sounds like it would be in the kids' interests. As you can see from prior postings I am not exactly anti-fathers, but I am anti-abuse and pro-support. Moving somewhere where you can raise your kids surrounded by extended family, and in a nice area, sounds great. If their father raises troubling signs to the point SS have given him a very high MARAC score, and he sees himself as not a "proper abuser", then wanting a calmer and more stable environment for them sounds pretty damn child-focused to me. And Spero will correct me if wrong, but I would imagine the fact you've worked at facilitating contact despite his being abusive to the point that SS would be unhappy for him to live with the kids at the moment should tell against any claims he might make that you were doing it to make contact more difficult. Good luck and I hope it all works out for you.

Spero Wed 09-Jan-13 21:40:47

yep, if you have shown yourself willing to promote contact, he would have an uphill struggle trying to present your move as motivated to make his contact difficult. that might be the result, but court will weigh that up against all the positives.

TisILeclerc Thu 10-Jan-13 07:27:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Spero Thu 10-Jan-13 10:38:09

i feel your pain. I cannot bring myself to be friendly to my ex - I never bad mouth him to my daughter, I try to speak positively to her about him and I support her contact... but I find it impossible to smile and make chit chat at handovers because I feel this is some way endorsing his behaviour as 'ok' and I dont want to ever give him that impression that I think what he did was ok.

I am trying to live by the great Jack Kornfield quote 'letting go is not getting rid of. Letting go is letting be'.

i can't change the past and the fact that I decided to have a child with someone who was not a good person but I can do what I can to let her have a relationship with him that is as free from my dislike of him as possible. And I assume they do have a much better relationship as of course she isn't making the same demands on him as a partner would, which he cant cope with.

it does make it difficult when you are not sure how much your decisions are clouded by dislike or even fear of a person but I think all you can do is to try and step back and look at it objectively as possible. If the father can still see his children on a fairly regular basis, then I think you are entitled to move to a place which gives you the best chance of a happy, settled, supported life.

I think it is much more clear cut when other agencies are involved who agree that the father's behaviour is a problem. Then you don't have to examine your own motives quite as closely!

Greer123 Thu 10-Jan-13 11:31:06

It sounds like your cousin might be setting herself up for a fall. Even if she doesn't mean to cut off contact her ex won't be able to go up North every other weekend. He'd have to stay the weekend in a hotel and his new partner won't like that I'm guessing. So he will be forced to lose contact.

When the boys go through the teen years and are being challenging it will be all too easy for them to move back with dad to escape. Bear in mind that at 13 they can make the choice who to live with. Even at 11 courts give them a great deal of say. Dad can then lay it on really thick about what a cow your cousin has been and have court papers to show what a fight he put up to keep seeing his precious sons. That will drive an even deeper wedge between them. If the boys are already at school they will have a whole raft of reasons to resent moving, especially if they have trouble fitting in at the new place. They've had a lot of disruption already.

I can see your cousin being tempted to have a full "fresh start" but sadly it isn't really possible once you have kids involved. Your cousin and her ex will find they keep crossing paths their whole life. Just got to learn to live with it I'm afraid.

Allinthefold Thu 10-Jan-13 11:44:48

Greer, those are exactly my fears.

Her ex is quite manipulative and he can easily say that she took them away from him forever onwards. I don't think he will be able to see them once a fortnight and doubt he has enough holiday to manage half the school holidays.

I'm far from his biggest fan but think he now has perfect excuse to not make a lot of effort, but blame her in the process.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Thu 10-Jan-13 17:22:18

Is this man actually bothered about contact? Will he start court proceedings out of a wish to see his DC or purely as a wish to make life hard for your cousin? Or is he the sort that will just fuck off and content himself with whining 'Bitch won't let me see my kids' when he's sat in the pub with the other losers.

Greer123 Thu 10-Jan-13 17:52:50

Boys and their dads. My bastard hubby has more or less kidnapped my two boys that I spent years of effort raising and I hardly every see them these days..... And we're still together! It's like living with the 3 guys from TopGear I tell you! What happened to my babies!

So yeah, I would assume he will REALLY want to keep in touch with his precious boys and will kick up hell if anyone gets in his way.

babyhammock Thu 10-Jan-13 18:24:05

What SolidGold said. He sounds that type

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