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Anyone with experience of mediation relating to children's proposed move overseas

(23 Posts)
kittensinmydinner Mon 29-Dec-14 20:29:35

I am wondering if there is anyone out there with experience of mediation when one parent wishes to remove the children of divorced parents overseas to live. The situation in brief is this. 3 children, 2 have special needs. (One at a special school for Autism, - 8 to 2 teacher ratio., the other is currently on school action plus in primary and due to transfer to secondary in 2015. RP wishes to move to a non Hague signatory convention country with new spouse who already works there. Employment package covers 3!children at private school. nRP currently has court ordered eow contact. Solicitors have suggested mediation as first step. The questions are this : NRP does not want children to leave the uk. Will not give his permission. He has agreed to mediation but I do not expect he will pay. His reasoning is that he doesn't want anything to change. Can he be forced to contribute if I am the one who wants to do this move. D2. What form will the mediation take. ? 3. The country I am planning to move to does not have very good provision for special needs but I feel thatm we can work around this. As I feel it is better that we are all together as a family. And the life experience will be too good to miss. I also want to be with my husband. 4. To get permission from the court to take them, do I have to show what type of educational provision I have in place ? As this will be quite difficult in the country I plan to move to. 5. What are the chances of my ex preventing me moving. . Many thanks to anyone who can help.

Littlefish Mon 29-Dec-14 22:44:00

I think that if the country you are planning to move to does not have very good provision for special needs, then the NRP is being very sensible in trying to block this move.

I have no idea of the legalities of any of it, but I would think that if his objections are based on the education/SN of the children, then any court would want to hear what your plans are regarding these issues.

kittensinmydinner Mon 29-Dec-14 22:51:40

Thank you , I was afraid that this would be the case.

Pooka Mon 29-Dec-14 22:51:42

No experience, but agree with the previous poster.

The NRP has a point - if you have 2 dcs with SEN, one of whom is at a special school, I would imagine that if this were to go to court you would have to come up with concrete plans to demonstrate that the move would not be detrimental to the dc's education. Your actual post seems to suggest that this will be tricky. Life experience of a move needs to be balanced against continuity of education and the benefits that this provides.

The status quo is that the dcs are with you as a family and with eow contact with the NRP. Your new dh does not have to take the job overseas? Could you not stay in uk?

sanfairyanne Mon 29-Dec-14 23:16:10

have you spoken to the new school? will they even accept the children there?

mynewpassion Tue 30-Dec-14 01:23:26

Just as important as the children's education is their relationship with their father. What provisions are you going to make to facilitate contact their contact with him? Will you pay for flights to and from the new country to visit him?

kittensinmydinner Tue 30-Dec-14 08:42:10

Thank you all for replies. The issues you have raised are exactly what needs to be discussed at upcoming mediation. The reason we are going to mediation is because my ex dh will definitely not give his permission for this move and I will have to return to court to ask them to change the current eow contact . The status quo is that things stay as they are, with my husband working overseas and returning every 3 Months and me visiting every 3 months ( so we meet up every 6 weeks ) My dh has worked there for three years, but now we have married I would like to be a 'family unit' with my children and new dh. His employment package includes private education for 3 dc but from basic research it seems that the sn provision is not of a similar quality to home. My ex dh has grudgingly admitted it could be a life times experience for our dd1 but is unplayable with regard to the youngest 2. he can be very difficult and we do not have a good relationship, we haven't even got to mediation yet and he is refusing to pay as he doesn't see why he has to pay for a process he doesn't want to facilitate. ie.
he has an eow court order and doesn't want that changed. Can he be required to pay . he has agreed to attend but only on the basis I pay. If we don't go to mediation can I make an application directly to court to change the existing order ? there has also been some mention that as the country I am proposing to live in is not a signatory to The Hague convention, then I will have to make this application in the high court. is this correct ? Many thanks for any advice.

kittensinmydinner Tue 30-Dec-14 08:46:31

Sorry, forgot to address contact issue. I have suggested contact with their father twice a year either summer/Easter and Christmas for a couple of weeks at a time. We will pay all air fares.

VegasIsBest Tue 30-Dec-14 08:50:50

I can see your ex husband's point of view re paying for mediation and concerns about you moving abroad. The move doesn't sound to the advantage of your kids who could end up in unsuitable schools and lose their relationship with their father.

Since the drive for the move comes from you, I'd suggest you pay for mediation and see if you can find a way through this together. Don't be surprised if that doesn't work though. Put yourself in his shoes - would you agree to your ex moving away with your kids meaning you only got see them once or twice a year???

Could your new husband find a job back in the UK instead?

CinnabarRed Tue 30-Dec-14 08:51:44

I have every sympathy with your XH, to be absolutely honest. I think it's a terrible thing you're asking of him. Sure you'd like to be a family unit with your DH, but I don't think that even comes close to trumping your DCs need for an optimal education and their right to a regular and frequent relationship with their father.

WannaBe Tue 30-Dec-14 08:56:13

I agree with previous posters. And going from eow to twice a year takes no consideration of the children's best interests.

It is utterly selfish to even have considered this move. Perhaps you could move to be with your dh and leave the dc with their father and you have twice yearly contact.

defineme Tue 30-Dec-14 09:01:39

But what will life be like for your child with asd? I am surprised you are definite about this move when you haven't thoroughly investigated where they will be spending the majority of their days. Perhaps if your ex can be shown precisely what care they will receive then he will be more receptive. However, reducing contact from eow to every 6 months is pitiful... you are managing to see your dh every 6 weeks?

CinnabarRed Tue 30-Dec-14 09:06:43

Plus, your DH must be virtually a stranger to your DC if they only see him once every 3 months. How on earth can it be in their best interests to move thousands of miles away from their friends, family and father to live with a stranger they've never even lived with before? Particularly the two with special needs?

Littlefish Tue 30-Dec-14 10:43:52

Your update makes things worse as far as I'm concerned as it seems to be all about your wants and wishes, and almost nothing to do with the rights of your children to an ongoing, appropriate relationship with their father, their rights to an appropriate education and the need to support their ongoing special needs.

I don't see why he should pay anything towards mediation. You are the one who wants to change things, therefore you should be the one to pay for the mediation.

Moving from contact eow to contact twice a year is likely to be horrible for the children, particulary for the child with autism if there are any issues related to difficulty with change/routine.

You sound very selfish.

3xcookedchips Tue 30-Dec-14 11:06:56

LTR cases can take a while to move through the system when one parent(quite rightly in this scenario) opposes. Sometimes 1-2 years to completion.

As you may be aware courts are meant to go on what is best for the children. So far your only justification is the life experience, and you want a new family unit.

As for life experience, that's a red-herring.

As for the new family unit, well, why should the children lose their relationship with their father in favour of a new dynamic - why is that in their interests?

I wish the father all the luck on this.

financialwizard Tue 30-Dec-14 11:10:29

You need to see a family solicitor asap and get good advice.

I got leave of jurisdiction 8 years ago but we were moving to countries that were signed up to The Hague. My exh and I did not go to mediation because he refused.

My circumstances were similar with regard to my husbands work but I did not have children with SEN.

What are your circumstances financially? If you stayed in UK would it cause hardship or would you be ok?

Would you consider taking your eldest and not your younger two? Not that I'd want to if I were you but just asking.

What will you do to facilitate contact between exh and your children?

What exactly are the schools going to do to cater for your SEN children?

How are the children going to cope without seeing their Dad for extended periods of time?

Anyone that says OP is selfish is being a little unfair. No one knows her personal circumstance right now.

PM me if you want to OP. You and I will probably get flamed for wanting to take our children out of UK.

CwtchesAndCuddles Tue 30-Dec-14 17:32:25

Wow - I am a parent of a child with autism and special needs, I can't believe you are considering such a drastic move for your children. It's hard enough getting the right provision here! I also think you may have underestimated the effect all of this change could have on your son who is currently seeing his father eow - moving countries and only seeing his father every 6 months could have a massive effect on him given that children with autism usually like routine and how will this effect his future and the transition to adult services etc? (assuming he will need support as an adult)

nooka Tue 30-Dec-14 18:10:02

My dh wanted to move overseas with our children and without me a few years ago. My plan was to fight tooth and nails against it, simply on the grounds that it would have meant not seeing my children for extended periods of time. We had 50:50 care and I think it would have been devastating for our children to have lost regular contact with either of us.

If the OP is the one who wants to move then it is absolutely right for her (and her new dh) to pay for everything associated with it, including mediation. Why should her dh pay to facilitate something that he probably finds incredibly threatening?

I can see that the current situation is not good for the OP, but the obvious resolution is for her new dh to get a job in the UK, not to move her children away from appropriate education, friends, family and familiarity. If the new country does not have SN provision at least as good as the UK then I think that he project is a total no go. It's also worth bearing in mind that emigrating is not easy for children and can be hugely disruptive, of course it is a 'life experience' but that doesn't mean it is necessarily positive!

kittensinmydinner Tue 30-Dec-14 20:02:47

Many thanks for all your time and replies. I have taken on board all your advice.

mynewpassion Wed 31-Dec-14 19:12:23

How is the health care system of this new country? Will it meet your special needs children's care?

FarOutAllNamesUsex Fri 02-Jan-15 04:36:19

I am looking at this from a legal stand point only. I do not have experience of children with special needs and only you as parents will know how such a big move will affect your children.

Firstly the fact it is a non Hague country isn't that big a deal. It sounds as though your ex allows you and the kids to holiday there now which is as big a child abduction risk as your desire to move permenantly. The matter could be dealt with by your local family court.

You have to attend mediation before.you make an application to Court. Typically each person pays for their own mediation. If he wont pay and you don't want to pay his share mediation will.come to an end and the mediator will sign the form c 100 to allow you to make an application to the court for a specific issue order that you be allowed to remove the children from England and Wales.

When making a decision the Court will look at what is in the best interests of the children. Typically when the resident parent is in a long term relationship and has given careful thought to contact with the other parent and educational arrangements the resident parent is allowed to take the children out of the country. To make.your arguement as strong as possible you will need.to outline how long you have been in a serious relationship, how long you have done the long distance thing and how it.impacts upon family life. How you would facilitate direct contact (twice a year for 2/3 weeks etc) whether you would be prepared for dad.to see the.children if he were.to come to your new country to visit them once or twice a year. How often they could skype / face time.

Legally your biggest hurdle is going to be your children's special needs, how their educational needs can be met, and what detrimental effect if any a change of.schools and.change of.contact with Dad.will have on them.

It is essential that before the matter.goes.to.court you have.child school places available for all children so you can provide this information to your ex and the Court. In places likes the UAE getting school places at all can be difficult and.provision for special needs.is almost non existant (depending on the level.of need). You may also want to.speak to the.existing.school and see what their thoughts are on how a move would.impact the kids and what they feel would be the minimum level of support that would need to be in place in a new school.

In short what you are asking for legally is not that contraversial provided you have dotted I 's and crossed t's in terms or proposed contact and education.

You must be prepared for ex to say that you can go and he will be the resident parent of all the children and.you can see them when you visit the UK. You will need.to have.an argument ready as.to how remaining.in.your care.on a.different country would be less.disruptive to the.children than moving.to be.with their dad.

If mediation is unsuccessful the Court will aim to make.a.final.decision within 6 months. It maybe that the academic term in the new country also.starts in September so you would need to start mediation rolling sooner that later to get everything resolved by then.

Sorry for all the. Fat fingers.

MooseBeTimeForSnow Fri 02-Jan-15 05:13:06

As FarOut said. In the only removal case I dealt with, the mother wanted to remove the children to a European country. Pretty much all the Judge wanted to hear about was EVERYTHING about the proposed schooling. You're going to have to do some serious homework to stand any chance of succeeding with your application.

kittensinmydinner Tue 06-Jan-15 14:16:42

Thank you all very much for your replies. I am very grateful and now need to confess that this was a reverse (for the best of intentions). We are the NRP and step mother. It is heartbreaking when something like this happens, my DH is totally devastated by the possibility of losing them. He is not a flaky father, we have had them without exception, every fortnight for 6yrs. Then contact was withheld and it took 9 months to get it reinstated (contact is used as a bargaining tool and for once dh stood his ground but lost the children for doing so) it has now been back to normal fri-sun eow for 16 months. Anyway, feelings run high and this is such an emotional issue, we wanted to be sure that we weren't being selfish in putting our desire for contact above what could possibly be a completely amazing lifestyle and opportunity for the children. We could not begin to compete with the type of home and activities on offer in the proposed relocation. However we have now done extensive research and are more certain than ever that this move will be detrimental. The special needs provision is woefully inadequate, not a patch on what we now have. This alone makes us sure we are putting their needs first. Our greatest worry now is that we will have to represent ourselves once the application goes in, but hopefully the onus will be on the RP to provide the court with concrete evidence of suitable educational provision then the rest is for the court to decide.

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