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Prohibited steps order hearing

(153 Posts)
CustardCream1 Thu 11-Aug-16 20:44:18

I have been asked to attend a court hearing as my ex wants a prohibited steps order to prevent me moving 150 miles away, and in fact to prevent me from moving out of the area at all. I got the letter about this today and the hearing is on Tuesday which is hardly any time to prepare. I am really confused and finding it hard to deal with as I'm so upset over it all. Does anyone if I can oppose the prohibited steps order? I've been told that Cafcass will have to do background checks on us both which could take around two months. I am meant to be moving house at the end of August and if I am prevented from moving, I will be homeless as I have already given notice on my current house and I would lose the house I was due to move into. I also have been asked to provide a report from my GP on my mental health (I raised my concerns about my ex's mental health and his ongoing emotional abuse towards me and I guess he wants to get back at me). I am going to try to find a solicitor tomorrow, but in the meantime, can anyone advise me? I am sick with worry. Thank you.

catarratto Thu 11-Aug-16 23:17:05

You are entitled to oppose any order and will both be able to state your case in court by possibly giving statements. As far as a mental health report goes, as long as there are no safeguarding issues regarding your children I can't see how this would impact. I am not legally trained so see a solicitor as soon as you can. If it is a directions hearing, it will just be to establish the next steps that need to be taken. A solicitor will advise you regarding the the short notice.
I am in a similar situation regarding contact and had 5 years previous of court hearings so I understand how stressful this must be. Keep us posted. You're not alone smile

CustardCream1 Fri 12-Aug-16 17:34:06

Thank you for your reply. I'm so sorry to hear your going through it to. I am actually totally appalled at the whole family law legal system. I find it intrusive, bullying, unfair and ridiculously expensive. How dare some judge tell me what is in the best interests of my child. How dare a judge tell me where i can and cannot live.

catarratto Fri 12-Aug-16 18:45:21

I completely agree with you. We gained nothing from the court hearings except a great deal of stress and intrusion. 5 years on from the last hearing, I'm going through it all again. I constantly feel like I have to defend myself when all I want to do is protect my child from a violent bully. I am dreading seeing CAFCASS. I have absolutely no faith in them whatsoever and now have to try and get some legal fees together.
Did you manage to get hold of a solicitor?

veryproudvolleyballmum Fri 12-Aug-16 18:47:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CustardCream1 Fri 12-Aug-16 21:43:44

Oh cat what a terrible ordeal you've had to go through. You have my total support and sympathy. I am worried sick about CAfCASS and having them snoop into my life. I have done nothing except be the best mum I can, my daughter is happy, healthy, reaching all her milestones and there have been no concerns whatsoever from my doctors my health visitor or anyone. If I am told I can't move house until CAFCASS have done an investigation into whether I am fit to be a mum I will be outraged. I am told if they do an investigation it could take 8 weeks at least. That means I will lose my house up north, I will have to leave my current house and sign up to a new tenancy for six months, have two weeks to find a new home which, given I am unemployed is going to be bloody difficult and plus the rent where I live is extortionate as I'm close to London. I can't afford to live here it's as simple as that. Criminals get far better treatment than this!

CustardCream1 Fri 12-Aug-16 21:55:41

Oh and my ex is the one who has major problems. He has threatened to kill me, punched holes through walls, had numerous breakdowns, been emotionally abusive, which has been ongoing to this day. It does appear however that his rights as a father are considered more important than mine as a mother. I have been told that it doesn't matter how he has treated me and the abuse I have suffered. That the most important thing is him maintaining regular contact with our child even if it means me being forced to live somewhere that I have zero support and cannot afford to live. I have also been told that I am going to have to agree to him having our daughter for overnight stays even if i feel this is not in her best interests (my ex is a serious alcoholic which apparently isnt relevant)

CustardCream1 Fri 12-Aug-16 22:18:42

very proud I totally understand that my daughter has a right to contact with both parents. I have put forward a proposal to my ex's solicitor whereby she can maintain contact with both parents. But surely if my ex is requesting a prohibited steps order to prevent me moving from the area then if judge approves this then he or she is making it a legal order that I must remain in the current area I live and that I cannot live where I want to live?

Fourormore Fri 12-Aug-16 22:27:14

No - the PSO will be to determine where your daughter should live, not where you should live.

CustardCream1 Fri 12-Aug-16 22:30:30

But my daughter lives with me and always has done. Sorry I don't understand.

CustardCream1 Sat 13-Aug-16 00:06:24

I understand the court can decide that my daughter remains in the city where we currently live but as she resides solely with me then the court is effectively instructing where I must live too? The court surely cannot honestly expect that me as her mother will just leave her with someone else such as her father in this city so that the mother will live elsewhere? They surely don't think it reasonable for mother's just to abandon their child in this way in order for the fathers to get their own way? It is inconceivable for me to leave my daughter with her father permanently just so I can live in a different county. I would never leave her anywhere. She needs to be with me her mother.

catarratto Sat 13-Aug-16 12:35:22

If you're going to be living near family and a support network and be financially better off by moving, this should be all weighed up by the judge. If you are being reasonable about contact also, this should go in your favour. You haven't just up sticks and moved without informing anybody and you should make this clear. Cafcass should look at your daughters wishes when they speak to her.

prh47bridge Sat 13-Aug-16 12:57:38

The court is only likely to order that your daughter cannot move if they think that your plans don't make sense or that you are attempting to frustrate contact. If your plans are well founded and you have thought through how contact will work it is unlikely the courts will intervene.

CustardCream1 Sat 13-Aug-16 13:19:37

Thanks cat I do hope so. My daughter is only 1 and doesn't speak so they won't be able to ask her.

TimeforaNNChange Sat 13-Aug-16 14:24:30

custard The speed with which the court is acting suggests that your DD's Dad has applied for an emergency order. Are your plans quite sudden? The court may want to be clear that this is a well thought out plan on your part, if so.
Or, is it that you've had well organised plans in place, but you only told your DDs dad at the last minute? You'll probably need to have a clear explanation as to why you didn't involved him earlier.

CustardCream1 Sat 13-Aug-16 14:38:06

time I informed him nearly 3 weeks ago. 4 and a half weeks before the planned move date.

TimeforaNNChange Sat 13-Aug-16 14:42:27

Seven weeks to relocate 150 miles away? Some would say that is ample time to make such a significant life decision for your DD, some would say it was very quick - it may well depend of the view of the judge and CAFCASS Officer on the day.

Can you show that you were willing to discuss it with him? What did you suggest when he said he wasn't happy with the contact you were proposing?
Have you mediated?

CustardCream1 Sat 13-Aug-16 14:47:45

time I also spoke to my ex many times of my wishes to move but he always got very upset and one time took an overdose. I realise I should have consulted him before applying to rent this house but things have been very strained between us for months. My plans are very well thought out and I don't want to hinder contact for my ex with our daughter. I guess the court isn't interested but my ex is a bully towards me and I am scared of him. I have been advised though not to mention to the court about my concerns for my ex and his mental health as it will be viewed as me being vindictive and trying to reduce contact which is not true.

TimeforaNNChange Sat 13-Aug-16 14:54:21

Oh, goodness, it sounds very difficult. Your DD's Dads fragile mental health is a significant complication.

I hope that you and he both have solicitors who are members of Resolution and have signed up to their Code of Conduct.

Good luck.

caroldecker Sat 13-Aug-16 15:27:21

How are you proposing contact is maintained - the court may consider that you will need to do all pick-up and drop offs.

caroldecker Sat 13-Aug-16 15:28:01

Also, as you are unemployed, I assume you are getting HB, so how will living up north be cheaper?

CustardCream1 Sat 13-Aug-16 15:35:01

I initially proposed we meet half way every other week and he spends the day with our chikd then after a month or two he has her every other weekend and longer perisods during holidays. I don't think I am eligible for housing benefit as I have redundancy money . I will pay the rent myself. I plan to find part time work asap.

caroldecker Sat 13-Aug-16 15:44:27

Normally he would be expected to have a night in the week as well as every other weekend (certainly as your child gets older). Living so far away prevents this.
I would suspect (not an expert) that your reasons for leaving would be considered weak.

TimeforaNNChange Sat 13-Aug-16 15:45:50

Could you secure employment before you move? That would go a long way to assuring the court that you are doing this for the long term benefit of your DD.
What contact does your DD currently have? Would your proposal of initially only 1 day a fortnight, in public, significantly alter the time she spends with her dad?

CustardCream1 Sat 13-Aug-16 15:51:28

I disagree. I think my arguments for moving are very strong. I have no family support here whatsoever and as a single mum it is important to have support. I cannot afford a decent place for us to live here as rent is far too high. I could only afford a flat in one of the poorer areas or aroom room in a shared house which is not the best for a child. My child would grow up with her three cousins id we moved which is beneficial. I would be desperately unhappy if i had to stay here where I am very isolated. That is not good for my dd. She needs a happy mum.

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