Transport costs advice please

(34 Posts)
Lala1980 Sun 21-Jul-13 08:34:11

DPs exW and DSCs currently live 10/15mins away. Legal arrangement is the kids stay with us EO weekend and a week in the hols as DP is a farmer and works v.unsociable hours. ExW drops off 5pm Fri and DP takes them home for 6pm Sun.
The ExW has announced she is moving next week 2 hours away. DP was not consulted on any of it, school choices etc and we don't feel it has been with the kids' interests in mind at all, but that is another story. We know she is legally allowed to move. We don't know how she is funding it as her housing benefit (800) won't stretch to the house she has told the kids they are moving to (1350). She doesn't work.the move is to be nearer the latest boyfriend (and these change with alarming frequency). The kids will spend a whole summer hols in a strange town not knowing anyone. There's a lot of background and the kids don't want to go but we can't afford to go to court to challenge the access arrangement or residency.
Also, we can ill-afford the extra diesel and wear&tear on the car especially as dp usually works sun evenings once the kids go back and the extra traveling will prevent this. Will this be taken into account by the CSA as we are on a shoe string "to the penny" budget and did not choose to incur these extra costs...
I'm not just being mercenary. There's lots more to this but I don't think we can legally challenge her choices, we just have to be there to pick up the pieces when it all goes wrong. Have four very worried little people right now :-(

PrettyPaperweight Tue 23-Jul-13 14:50:29

Mumandboys Not everyone has to 'move away' in order to move on, and when separated parents are an equal and active part of their DCs lives (I appreciate that's not the case in your experience), it is of questionable benefit to them to uproot them from school, friends and one of their families for the sole purpose of their parent establishing a new relationship.

(I'm sure you can speculate that there are all sorts of other reasons why the OPs DSC mum is moving, but I'm basing my comments on the OPs post).

In cases like this (not like your own experience) where parenting is shared, and one parent wants to 'move on' by moving away, then isn't it better for the DCs if they remain with the other parent in the area where they have friends and go to school? The DCs are going to 'lose' one of their families (on a day to day basis) wherever they live - better to keep as much as possible consistent, surely?

Lala1980 Tue 23-Jul-13 18:14:35

We are absolutely not against DP's exW moving on. In fact, if the children's home life was stable, I am sure they would be a lot happier.
The ExW has a history of being unstable. The children were taken off of her earlier in the year by SS and were in DPs care. Obviously it wasn't too bad in their opinion, as the children were put back with her, but obviously this has given us cause for concern, especially as we are no longer just around the corner to help her out when she is going through tough times, or being able to be there in ten minutes in the case of an emergency.
I agree , her private life is not our business to an extent, but when it affects the children, and thus how they are during access weekends, then it becomes our business if they are unsettled, unhappy or it affects their behaviour/sleep/school work.
I only mentioned the housing benefit thing because I don't know how benefits work, as DP & I work full time for a living and don't have a full understanding of what affects what, so really just wanted to ask if there was any risk of the children losing their home. I was not dissing DPs exW for having a new man or moving in with him, merely wanted to check that the kids would still have a roof over their heads. We are also aware that she has been doing some cash in hand work undeclared to HMRC, which we are concerned may also affect her financially if this were to come to light. We are prepared to ultimately pick up the pieces, but are concerned that the type of behaviours that would lead to SS involvement again would seriously affect the kids, and I personally believe in prevention rather than cure...
This post is serious to us, and I don't want to be shot down for us having concerns that are based on repeated past experience. I am asking for genuine advice here. I am not, repeat am not, judging or against the exW for having a new man. Our misgivings are based on the fact that the children claim to have barely met him, and they aren't the easiest children, and we are worried he will run a mile once he realises what he has let himself in for, then they will have moved and uprooted for nothing and know no-one in this new place except him and his family. She is "bribing" the children with promises she financially cannot keep to try and get them to come round to the idea of moving. The oldest child has Aspergers and change needs to be carefully managed, but this move has been so rash and abrupt, and he is now all over the place again. As it has been pointed out, these specifically are not our problem, but it becomes our issue when it affects the children when they are with us, or if they are taken away from her again and they come to live with us again. Plus back to the point that we somehow have to find the extra money for transporting the extra distance/wear&tear on the car.
More to the point, the kids are devastated at leaving their family, friends, entire support network, school and familiarity, having not been taken to their new schools for any sort of induction, don't know anyone in the area and will have to spend the next 6 weeks with no-one to play with...
I don't agree that just because plenty of kids are dragged up and moved about that that makes it okay. We are just trying to help in our personal situation... please don't flame us for that.

Lala1980 Tue 23-Jul-13 18:30:11

My personal feeling is that if this man was so keen to become a family with DPs exW and the kids, wouldn't it be better for him (i.e. 1 person) to move here rather than uprooting 5 people including 4 children who don't want to go and have their entire support network here...

stepmooster Tue 23-Jul-13 21:44:19

OP DH's solicitor has advised him there is nothing he can do other than try to sort out a contact order via courts, or go for residency. With the contact order its pot luck whether the judge will agree to your DP's ex having to meet halfway or not. With respects to residency not really sure what is involved there, but I think ages of the children are taken into account and there wishes.

Best of luck x

newlifeforme Tue 23-Jul-13 22:32:04

This is so sad..is there an option for the dc's to live with your dp?

It isn't just the nrp that has to travel but the children and its draining and unpleasant for them.
Dsd's mum moved, due to a boyfriend, we moved to be closer so that travel would be reduced.Dsd's mum has now hooked up with another man in another part of the country and she may move again!

We do have a court order that defines contact and ensures dsd's mum does some of the travel as contact is for the children's benefit so both parents should facilitate contact.

Lackedpunchesforever Tue 23-Jul-13 22:53:59

Apply for residency. It's that simple.

Lala1980 Wed 24-Jul-13 06:52:54

We literally have no money. I'm probably going to sound really stupid here but is it as simple s filling out a form or do we have to go to court? Will have to find out if we are eligible for legal aid if that is the case... I think we're one of those unfortunate situations where we earn just too much to be able to get any sort of help but not enough to actually ever have any money... would the kids have to be dragged through court or do they talk to them separately?

stepmooster Wed 24-Jul-13 08:19:41

Hi OP DH solicitor advises that we must try mediation before court. The courts will want to see some effort to reach an amicable solution. Even if you know deep down that it probably won't work, you have to do it at least to show your DP is trying to be reasonable, I.e. Not just running to court without trying to be sort it out reasonably first. But that advice was only given to us regarding contact not residency. I guess the same applies? Are you able to go get 30 mins free advice from a solicitor? Or you could try CAB?

newlifeforme Wed 24-Jul-13 11:28:08

Yes, you can apply to court and pay a fee, you don't need a solicitor.It may be worth requesting mediation with the ex.In our case mediation was pointless as the ex refused to find a solution.

We ultimately did go to court as dsd's mum refused any reasonable request.It was the best decision and my only regret is that we didn't apply to court earlier.If a parent is being selfish and acting in their interests only then the children need protection.This appears to be the case here.

DSD is now a teen and she is so angry with her mum.I am just thankful that dh fought to remain in dsd's life (although the cost to me has been very high) as she has some stability.The court hearing for contact and travel sharing was very straightforward, a judge made the decision within a few minutes I.e dad has good relationship with the children, the mum is choosing to move away which will directly impact the quality & frequency of the children's relationship with the dad.The judge defined an order that scheduled regular contact and specified that the mum should share driving. The ex was at the time livid (understatement!) but I think now she recognises that it was in dsd's best interest, as her 2nd marriage failed and the step dad is no longer in dad's life.The alternative for us would have been much less contact with DSD and dh would be like a stranger to DSD.

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