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to move 2 hours away with son when father has hugely unstructured contact

(23 Posts)
NicolaElize Sat 16-Jul-11 00:31:45

I split with my sons father 2 months ago, we were together just shy of 2 years. Since we split he has been through a whole spectrum of emotions and behaviors ranging from pure rage to absolute devastation. It's 2 months on and the weeks have come & gone where he has had barely any contact & where he has had contact it is never overnight & usually 3hrs at a time x 2 a week, if that, and it's always somehow my fault for making it difficult or 'too painful' & I end up getting blamed for him not seeing our son as much as he should, our boy is 11 months old.
Anyway I've recently been made aware of an oppurtunity to move 120 miles away with my son, about a 2 hour drive, for a better life out of the city, a decent job (as opposed to being on benefits now which is not something I wanted to stay doing, and I am only doing due to recent change in personal circumstances as a temporary measure).
My question is more of a legal one than a moral one, I realise my ex will need time to establish a relationship/routine of his own with our son, but I know in my heart of hearts our 11 month old will be as happy if not happier in our new life away from here. I would never try & make it difficult for the ex to see his boy, and would happily drive 1/2 way or do 1/2 the journeys in their entirety or more, I don't wish to stop him seeing his son at all but he shows barely any interest now, so why should I stick around just for him in case he changes his mind and decides to grow up?
I wouldn't be moving for at least 3 months yet & my famly is mainly here so would be moving away from them but they don't have a huge amount to do with son anyway.
My issue is, legally speaking, can I move 120 miles away with my son? It will still be within same country/England. I will travel with son for visits if need be & ex has not had him overnight once, nor has showed a desire to whatsoever.
I am a bit confused by this 'parental responsibility' issue & how it can work in exes favour if he decides to kick off.
any help, hugley appreciated!!
Thanks

NicolaElize Sat 16-Jul-11 00:38:27

I should add that he doesn't drive but if I didn't move for 3 months at least anyway that's plenty of time to start learning to drive.. thanks!

If you are prepared to meet halfway and the XP has been dicking you around even when you live nearby I would say go ahead with it. Legally XP can't touch you as it is less than 20 miles AFAIK.

worraliberty Sat 16-Jul-11 00:42:54

I'm not really sure of the legal side but I just wanted to say 2 months is nothing if you're feeling the raw emotion of splitting up with your partner and no longer living with your son...so perhaps a bit of slack should be cut?

Also, 3 months is plenty of time to start learning to drive if he has the money but until he passes his test, would you do the whole journey yourself?

GreatBallsOfFluff Sat 16-Jul-11 00:50:25

I agree with springchicken. He can't stop you from going, and it might help him get his arse in gear and not take the fact that his son is 'there' for granted.

AmberLeaf Sat 16-Jul-11 00:51:12

2 Months is not much time at all to be passing judgement on your ex.

Do you really think your 11month old will be happier ling so far away from his dad? what about when hes older?

Legally i think you'd be ok. It does seem like a rash decision though.

AmberLeaf Sat 16-Jul-11 00:51:38

Living so far

NicolaElize Sat 16-Jul-11 01:15:22

Thanks for all the repsonses so far.. to address points, I do think 2 months is a little rash yes & I'm aware that given time things might change, but he never showed that much interest (always a burden) when we were together & has only made notable effort since as his mum has forced him to - not had a penny to support financially so far.
as for learning to drive, he just needs refreshers & finance is not an issue, until he passes (except if he doesn't pass just to spite me & I would NOT put that past him) - I would indeed do the whole journey, except if train travel etc was possible, always worth a look.
3 months is a minimum time to pass before any moves are made.

I know he is hurting but just can't see why I should wait around to be on the recieving end of a whole load of abuse when it's him being awkward & not seeing his son simply to spite me.

Thanks to everyone so far - all opinions gratefully recieved.xx

worraliberty Sat 16-Jul-11 01:22:54

I think it's so early on in your split, there's a lot of anger there at the moment on both sides.

Remember you loved him once (I assume) and you saw fit to have his child. That must count for something?

It's been 2 months/8 weeks...I'd wait til thinks calm down a bit before making any decisions and making judgements. It's going to be a difficult time for you all and it's so easy to 'write the non resident parent off' because they're less than perfect as we so often see here on MN.

Yes some no resident parents are shit and a waste of space...but then again so are some resident ones and obviously we only get one side of every story.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do...hope it works out with everyone putting the baby and each other's feelings first.

squeakytoy Sat 16-Jul-11 01:23:42

Why did you split up?

NicolaElize Sat 16-Jul-11 01:31:53

We split up because he was controlling, suffocating & angry & the arguments were beyond acceptable for a young child to experience on a day to day basis. He started waking in the night & became inconsolable & the day I eneded it he slept like an angel the way he should always. I will never change my mind there - I left for the sake of my boys sanity & it has been worth it every second since.
I know theres still time but I don't think he will ever amount to much, he only bothers to save face & as asoon as his family backs off so does he. My boy deserves better.

worraliberty Sat 16-Jul-11 01:45:42

Seriously? He slept like an angel on the day you ended it?

He's either particularly advanced for his age and understands at 11 months old, that his parents have split and there'll be no more arguing...or he just had trouble sleeping through like a lot of babies?

What your boy deserves are two loving united parents. Let's just hope that's what he ends up with.

Ok he might not, but as you're already writing his Dad's parenting off just 2 months after seperating with him...it's going to be a difficult ride.

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Sat 16-Jul-11 02:38:44

Okay. No legal advice but my two penneth's worth...

To separate because of a partner being controlling and frequent arguments sounds totally reasonable and normal. For him to have 'hugely unstructured contact' after only 8 weeks doesn't sound that unusual/odd. To want to move for a fresh start is understandable.

I wonder what support network you'll have when you move? If you're working what will happen when your DS is too ill for nursery? You say your family are where you are now but you don't have much contact. As you don't work you haven't needed to lean on them. Ignoring your ex, how will it be for you being a single parent where you plan to go? I'm not trying to be negative, just trying to say look at the practicalities of the move. It might be that you could stay put and still change your life.

The other thing I would say is that your ex may well be incapable of maintaining contact, but 8 weeks from the break up it's rather soon to write him off. Maybe you could try pushing for set hours now, regardless of whether you move, and sorting it out with a mutual friend to help keep it amicable. If he doesn't maintain contact, would it be worth sorting out visitation eg with your ex's mother? If your son has a relationship with his grandmother/other family on his father's side it would be a shame for him to lose touch with all of them. If you do move it would make sense to involve a family member of his that drives, as he's unlikely to learn in 3 months and you driving two hours each way for him to see his DS is going to cost you a lot in petrol and lead to arguments.

I think you need to do what you feel is best for you and your DS, but try as hard as you can to make it easy for your ex to stay in touch. He may be a waste of space as a partner, but hopefully he'll get his shit together and be a good father.

Mitmoo Sat 16-Jul-11 08:33:13

Just to add a different perspective to what has already been said much of which I agree with. It is an opportunity to get back into work and off benefits which right now in this climate will be very hard to turn your back on.

Legally speaking he could apply for a Prohibitive Steps Order but if he has no money and I think legal aid for family court cases has now been withdrawn then it's unlikely that will happen.

I wouldn't worry about the driving thing at the moment, he can get a bus, train or coach if he wants to see his son he will. I will say this to you though, if when the baby gets to one or two, he may well decide that he wants the baby for weekends, weeks in the holiday and other lengths of time and if he did go to court he'd probably get it so don't act just for today, think about what you are doing when the baby reaches 2 5 10 etc.

Having said that you could always move back if that suited you better later, nothing has to be forever.

youarekidding Sat 16-Jul-11 08:46:24

Well. My Ex-p and I split when DS was 13 months so pretty similar. Ex wouldn't have DS overnight, paid maintenence on a whim if at all and always cancelled his days with him at the last minute even when I was working.

I moved 4 1/2 hours away by plane for better job, support etc. Moved back to UK btw. We are both Britsh nationality and therefore so is our DS despite where he was born and legally I there was no problem.

There is though the issue of lack of contact but I am of the opinion if they want contact they'll co-operate and do everything the can to have it.

Oh and btw good on you for going out and doing something with your life and not just taking the easy option. I know how hard it is.

4madboys Sat 16-Jul-11 08:47:26

just looking at it from the financial pov i would say go for it! like you say you dont want to be on benefits forever, opportunities like this are few and far between!

as long as you maintain regular contact with his father i see no problems tbh, also as its further away you could do overnight contact, drop your son off on the fri evening maybe and pick him up sunday. as your ex doesnt drive then you will have to do the driving unless there is a train?

good luck smile

Truckrelented Sat 16-Jul-11 09:01:47

Just to be open as I've been accused of having an agenda I am a single father.

I am pretty stunned when I read that posters think it's ok to move 100s of miles away from the other parent.

I would bet money that within time he doesn't see his child anymore.

You'll meet someone else, he'll meet someone else, more children will possibly come along.

My children are older and with sports, clubs, friends etc. I couldn't see them wanting to travel 150 miles every other weekend, especially the teenager.

If there was a poll of Mumsnetters on how many would be happy to live 100s of miles away from their children I would have thought it would be 100% no.

Mitmoo Sat 16-Jul-11 09:30:31

You make a fair point Truck and living 100s of miles away is not ideal, but if the OP is moving away from her family and the father of the baby and it means she can provide rather than live on benefits, it all has to be weighed up.

4madboys Sat 16-Jul-11 09:39:38

what mitmoo said and 120 miles is NOT that far, both my parents and my inlawas live that distance and we regularly travel that far in a day, simply get up in the morning, bfast, dressed straight in the car and then are there before 10am, stay the day and drive back after dinner, in the evening etc, which is also an option for the op if her little boy is not happy to stay overnight just yet? plus whilst her ds is with her dad she can if she wishes then catch up with friends, go the the cinema etc, just have chill out time on her own.

is it ideal? no but life isnt ideal, and job opportunities like this do NOT come about that often, she would from the sounds of it be able to give her son a better standard of life (not that that is everything) but the evidence points to the fact that children where their parents work DO better than those where their parents are on benefits, yes there are exceptions to this rule, but as a single parent you have to think long term and being offered a job like this is a great start!

i think as long as the op does all she can to make sure her son CAN see his father then she is doing her bit, he has to make an effort to and if he does and builds a good relationship wiht his son then there is no reason for contact to stop, it may change ie know my friend has a teen son and he has to travel to visit his father, he now at 13/14 goes on the train on his own, they have interests that they do together, its all about them both at this age working on a relationship, yes it will be harder with the distance, but its a tricky age for ALL parents and they will need to work at it.

i dont think the op can turn down a job offer like this because her ex may find it hard to see her son when he is a teenager! he himself may move before then, LOTS of things can happen and yes weigh everything up but it sounds like a very good opportunity.

ihatecbeebies Sat 16-Jul-11 10:25:35

If you have the opportunity to get off benefits and give your dc a good life but still stay relatively close (2 hours isn't that far he can get bus/train if he wanted) to the father then go for it. My ex moved 2 hours away from his DS but still sees him every fortnight, this also might encourage your ex to have dc overnight too. Well done for having the courage to do this many would stay where they are and not try to better themselves.

FlangelinaBallerina Sat 16-Jul-11 11:14:46

Just a quick point re legal aid for family matters- it hasn't yet been withdrawn. The draft Bill proposes removing it for contact proceedings, but it hasn't gone through Parliament yet. So at the moment, a person who qualifies will indeed be able to get legal aid to apply for a Prohibited Steps Order. Having said that, if XP is financially in a position where driving lessons will be easily affordable, he might not qualify anyway.

Not sure if this is a relevant factor for you OP or suggesting it should be, just posting to clarify the legal aid situation.

TheSugarPlumFairy Sat 16-Jul-11 12:23:47

as someone who has gone through the family court for just this issue i can tell you that if your ex did decide to file for a prohibitive steps order (he wouldn't not need to be represented to do so BTW, a litigant in person usually does better in the family court if they are reasonably articulate) he would absolutely get it.

You are moving AWAY from your support network, away from the non resident parent, away from all of the stable things in your little boys life. You only broke up a short while ago and regular contact has not yet been established.

The fact is you chose this man to have a child with. Whatever else you might think of him, he is your child's father and that link is forever. Your child is entitled to a full and fulfilling relationship with him, not spending 4 hours in car every second weekend because you fancy a lifestyle change. Getting of benefits is a laudable aim but moving 2 hours away is not going to be the only way you can do it.

The courts priority is not meeting your emotional needs, it is in making sure your son has the best possible opportunity to enjoy a relationship with both parents given the compromised circumstances.

Tanya28 Sun 17-Jul-11 07:42:20

I was told by my solicitor in a similar situation I could ove anywhere including mainland Europe as it was for work. As it was moved 40 miles away from friends and family best thing ever! Children still see dad and all worked out well do what feels right for you

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