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Divorcing and moving abroad with DS?

(15 Posts)
PinkApple2019 Mon 11-Feb-19 10:29:44

Hello, I am a regular here but changed my username to post about this. I come originally from an EU member state and have been living in the UK for more than 13 years. I came here originally to study, then happened to meet my British husband, found a job and started a family, our son is now in primary school. I do not have UK citizenship.

Unfortunately, things have been going really bad in the relationship with my husband for around 5 years, we don't do anything together anymore unless it involves our son, there is no communication at all etc. Since Brexit, things have worsened more generally: apart from the casual abuse on the street sometimes in front of my son, a lot of friends and close relatives that happened to live here close by have left the UK and the sector where I work in is heading for some serious problems.

Given all these, I am considering leaving the UK, it is very likely that I will be able to get a job elsewhere in Europe (I already had job offers, not in the country of my origin though). I discussed with my husband moving together elsewhere but he dismissed it immediately. I feel I no longer have a reason to live like this anymore, I have become depressed and am now seriously thinking of leaving on my own and trying to take my son with me. I am hoping to get a professional job in a country where quality of life is considered very good, schools have good reputation, there is low risk of violence etc. The type of jobs I am targeting offer a range of fringe benefits as well, including paying for the kids' education, etc.

Can someone please advise whether I would be legally able to do this? I assume that my husband would contest this but I feel I have no other option given the way things have been going.

I am very sorry for the long post, any advice you have would be really extremely helpful.

OP’s posts: |
MrsBertBibby Mon 11-Feb-19 19:05:18

Your child is habitually resident in this country, so you can only take him overseas with your husband's agreement, or permission from the court.

Beansandcoffee Mon 11-Feb-19 19:08:23

Not really fair to the father of your child or your son to move away. If you do I hope you will pay for your child to come back to the U.K. every fortnight to see his dad.

PinkApple2019 Mon 11-Feb-19 20:11:17

Many thanks. Yes, I would be willing of course to pay for DS to come back to visit his dad; I am aware of cases where this is done. Is habitual residence the main or sole criterion in such cases then? DS has also lived for some time in my country of origin with me (including going to school there) and is a citizen of that country as well. Aside from this, I was hoping that the broader context would be taken into account, not so much in terms of my own circumstances (as much as I would have liked that in light of what is going on), but more in terms of the quality of life for DS. Of course, I understand that seeing his dad is vital in this but I find it difficult accepting that just because he happened to spend here the first years of his life, he has to live here for the foreseable future given what the changes in the circumstances.

OP’s posts: |
MrsBertBibby Mon 11-Feb-19 20:35:09

The decision by the Court about whether you can take him overseas is decided on the basis of the child's best interests.

The residence point is simply relevant to your not being able to remove him from the country without consent /permission. Taking a child out of the jurisdiction is potentially a criminal offence, and the EU state to which you take him should return him back to this jurisdiction for a decision to be made.

PinkApple2019 Mon 11-Feb-19 20:50:27

That helps a lot, thank you MrsBertBibby. If the focus is on the child's best interests, does this allow, by any chance, for consideration of other factors apart from proximity to the other parent and/or the fact that the child has settled in the place of his habitual residence (e.g. in terms of school, friends etc.) or does proximity/settled status usually determine the decision of the court? I am trying to understand what would be the basis for deciding what is best for children in such cases.

OP’s posts: |
MrsBertBibby Tue 12-Feb-19 08:23:10

The judge has to weigh up disbenefits (reduction or loss of paternal relationship, educational disruption, loss of friends, koss of familiar environment, risks of not settling in the new environment) with the benefits (happier mum).

My personal opinion is that taking a child overseas away from a loving parent is a cruel and selfish thing to do, but the courts allow it sometimes. And sometimes they don't. It's extremely hard to predict.

PinkApple2019 Tue 12-Feb-19 10:29:07

In the case that you describe, I fully agree that it is selfish for one parent to relocate with the child. I am sure though there are a number of cases where things are not as clear-cut as this, courts seem willing to acknowledge this.

OP’s posts: |
Mumsnevergiveup Tue 02-Jun-20 23:46:17

Hello...Just wondering if @PinkApple2019 has been able to relocate?
I am in a similar situation, but in the UK. Came here because of my husband and his job, gave up my life career friends etc and now I am unemployed, without any family or help and my maintenance does not even cover rent, while my ex enjoys a good life, two homes, new car, holidays, etc... but he is unwilling to help me. I lost a lot in legal fees. I don't want to go back to court for a higher pay, I just would like to move back home. It is very depressing, I feel trapped by him and the system.

catkins22 Wed 03-Jun-20 20:12:36

My stbxh threatened to take our DCs to a country outside of Hauge convention. I got a pso stopping him.

Try to think how you would feel if you were living elsewhere and your ex tried to bring your DC to UK long term.

flirtygirl Wed 03-Jun-20 22:28:28

If no court order and no help from ex then what choice do you have? I would go on holiday and not come back.

I think people just don't understand how isolated someone from abroad can be in this country, Brexit ref made it worse and still to Brexit, which will be awful. These would links to other countries in Europe can have a better life with their kids there and also have family support.

It would be different if the ex was supportive etc but if not, what have you got to stay for?

Vickyglitz Fri 05-Jun-20 11:29:51

Catkins22 - was he able to take her on holiday? My soon to be ex is saying I can't take my daughter on holiday to Russia to see my family. He threatens to confiscate passports. I'm not planning to run away and not come back. I appreciate i would need to get a court order allowing me to go if he doesn't consent. But I don't want it to get rejected. I don't think it can be if I plan to come back and have a house and a job here... just wanted to know your thoughts. Russia is party to Hague but not interested in enforcing.

Mumsnevergiveup Fri 05-Jun-20 14:32:32

Thanks @flirtygirl
Unfortunately we have a court order and father sees the children almost every week ( when he doesn't have better plans or travels).

Of course- Only reason for me to be in UK is so the children can see their father. I know they may be sad if we relocate. I was too nice and too weak, always protecting him so the children would think highly of their Dad (huge mistake). He is a high earner (banker), but wants me to have a miserable life when it was him who walked away. He could not stand my confrontations about cheating, lying etc and was very aggressive, mostly verbally. He did not let me make any decisions ever. Not even what I could eat. I was completely brainwashed and had zero self-esteem by the time he left us. I never spoke up so when he made an application for care arrangements he got everything he wanted. He stopped working so he would not have to pay maintenance. Obv he is in full time work now after we settled. At Court, I feel I was discriminated because I was born in a country of South America which he made clear to the judge. I was living in the US for over a decade and I moved to the UK because I was in love with him, and believed everything he said. He isolated me. What an idiot.. Now I have nothing except the children. What reason do I have to stay? How can I build a case for relocation if I never said anything out of fear?

Mumsnevergiveup Fri 05-Jun-20 14:37:41

If anyone knows an affordable ( and fierce) lawyer that can help me please let me know. I have gone to many organisations but since I was separated they could not help me. During the marriage I went to Women's Trust and that helped me find the strength I had lost during the time I was married due to constant gaslighting and bullying.
I am only 40 and want to live a happy life with my children, who are also very lonely as neither set of grandparents or extended family live in the UK.

flirtygirl Fri 05-Jun-20 15:05:26

That's so difficult Mumsnevergiveup flowers. He sounds extremely controlling. He still gains enjoyment from control over you. The only way is to parallel parent or eventually get back to your home and your family. The children will miss him but he will always try to change their opinion on you as he seeks that total control. If you did go, you could never come back because of the court order but would he challenge you in the courts there? Would he even be able to?

He sounds like he has lots of resources but for many men because it is about control, once he feels he has truly lost, ie you have moved away and the courts in your country are not on his side, he may well give up.

It's hard that you never said anything but to be honest as he had more money, the outcome would probably have been the same even if you had said something as it is so difficult to prove. It also takes a lot of time and money.

Start to be honest with your kids and show them the realities, not bad mouthing him but you don't need to protect him. They should not grow up knowing only his side and narrative on the situation and a few women have written on here how the father won their children over and in young adulthood, they turned their backs mostly on their mother. They listened to only one side only for years and their mothers trying to rise above it, did not respond to counter their exes word and viewpoint. Which ultimately was not good.

I'm in the same situation in having not got police etc involved or disclosed abuse in the divorce. So as I never said anything, it's very hard to enforce anything or get help. I did have womans aid help but nothing from police or courts. But I make sure my kids know the realities, first in a very gentle age appropriate way and as they get older, I will honestly answer all questions. My daughter aged 10 did ask some frank questions so I answered her honestly.

I also said to go for a holiday and not come back as 10 years ago I moved to my husbands country in North Africa. He then was changing and he was violent. I talked him into coming back to UK for a holiday and we stayed here as I refused to go back. It was the only way to leave his country as there at the airport, I needed written permission from my husband or his father to be able to go through security to board the plane. Marriage continued for another 7 years until divorce.

It was the only way to get my kids back to what I knew, my family and home town and relative safety in the UK. I then gave him years to change and tried to do what was right for the marriage but it all got worse.

Now I'm on the other side where he could do the same to me and take my daughter for a holiday to his family and never bring her back. And because I never mentioned to authorities, getting a court order is nigh on impossible.

Mumsnevergiveup write up all the instances over the years, as many as you can remember and date. Then start to keep a record going forward. Communicate in writing with him only and only regarding the children. Read up about going no contact when you share children and parallel parenting.

A pattern of behaviour will start to emerge even on email. This can be a help for you if things get so bad and you go back to court. He may well drag you to court anyway as it's a well known tactic by abusive men to control and cause stress to their ex with the court system. Having it written up ready to use, documented and recorded may help you. If he threatens you in person, record him on your phone if able. Ring the police and have them record it with a crime no. It all builds up a record.

I have started to do this so if I go to court, I at least have something to back me up.

Good luck.

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