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Can my ex stop me moving with child?(6 Posts)
Hi, I'm sure there have been loads of posts like this but I am at my wits end.
I am due to be moving house in 6 weeks - my current landlady is selling the property - and was given notice in November of this. Things have been unamicable since the break up with my ex 2 years ago and we are both still living in the same village. He has moved on and is engaged to be married at some point according to our daughter. I have been in a relationship with someone for nearly a year now - he doesn't live with us and at present I don't think I want anyone living me other than my daughter due to being in an emotionally unstable relationship with my ex and having severe trust issues now.
Here's where the predicament lies. The new partner and I want to start aiming towards living together, however his life is 140 miles away (job, other family) and bearing this in mind I am looking at moving to where he is. Now I'm fully aware my ex can't stop me from moving but we have a contact order in place that he sees her alternate weekends and alternate Monday nights after school until the following morning and when the order was put in place it has both my home address and present school on it. I rushed through and signed it because my ex had cornered me into doing it and threatened me with prison and losing residency if I didn't. Unfortunately I took it as gospel as he said this had come from his solicitor and I can't afford one. I had my 15 minutes with a solicitor at the time and advised me to sign it for my own peace of mind (my ex had a habit beforehand of refusing to have our daughter if didn't get his own way). So now I have been informed by his solicitor that should I move daughter without informing him I will go to prison.
I have informed him via his solicitor of my intention and where I am choosing to move to, however with time getting on I know that in a few weeks time I am going to have to move regardless. I have also offered alternative visitation, still alternate weekends and weekly video calls, sharing school holidays 50/50.
So my question is can he actually stop me moving should I apply for a variance of contact order and will it be done in time for my tenancy to be finished?
You are going to have to apply to change the existing Court Order if your move means you can no longer comply with it. Firstly you will have to go to mediation. You can get legal.aid for this if you are on a low income. Mediation can usually be set up in around a week. If mediation is not successful you will need to apply to the Court. You will need to show the court that you have thought things through carefully, thought about what level of contact your child will be able to have with dad, what you have done about change of school etc. Provided that your child will still have regular face to face contact with Dad it should not be too problematic. That said the Court process will likely take up to 6 months if you cant reach an agreement.
Brilliant. Thank you so much for your help there. I have already drafted a letter to send to his solicitor and fingers crossed he will be agreeable.
You have informed him of your intention to move and proposed a new contact schedule so the ball is in his court. He could apply for a Prohibited Steps Order to prevent your child from moving or changing school at least until the courts can investigate and come to a decision. Whether or not such an application is successful is another matter but it may take several months.
Alternatively you could pre empt this and apply for a Specific Issue Order for permission to move/change schools and a variation to the child arrangements. Strictly speaking if you don't stick to the terms of the contact order it is contempt of court and the penalties are imprisonment or fines.
A court gives regard to how realistic and practical plans are. You would need to show your relationship with the new partner is well established and definite well thought out plans for accommodation, schooling, economics, travel and contact arrangements. IF your ex is loosing alternate Monday nights you may need increase contact during school half terms and holidays to compensate and a court could expect you to do most of the travelling and pay for it as you are the one moving away.
If you have a history of acting unilaterally and non compliance with contact orders a judge may question the motivation for the move. Your ex's motivation and whether or not his opposition to the move is more to do with the issues between adults than the interests of children is also a consideration.
Sorry I meant to say the ball is in your husband's court and the alternative are only if no agreement can be mediated or negotiated.
The other issue is how accessible it is travelling to the place you are proposing to move to. It may take 3 hours to travel 140 miles on motorways but on country roads it can take 6 hours to travel the same distance.
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