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My ex is trying to take our daughter

(32 Posts)
AllyBally99 Mon 09-Oct-17 14:33:31


I'm new here and in desperate need of advice. My ex and I have been divorced for almost 3 years now (separated for 5) and we have a 7 year old daughter together who lives with me and she sees her dad every weekend - either Friday or Saturday night sometimes both if her father wants to.

We don't have anything official in place regarding residency and he decided to move 20 miles away - all well and good.

However I've had a new partner for nearly 5 years now and we don't live together yet. There will come a time in the not too distant future that we will be moving in together and I would move in with him as he has two children from his previous marriage too - one of whom has special needs. We won't be moving any further geographically - in fact it's probably closer as the crow flies but my ex doesn't like the town we'd be moving to.

My ex husband has now started to tell me that our daughter won't be going to a school in the town where I will be moving to and she can make up her own mind who she wants to live with.

Her dad is very good at splashing the cash and will easily turn her head with promises of x, y and z so feel that on that basis alone (we all know how fickle children can be!) I fear that she will choose to live with him not understanding the ramifications.

I can't afford a prolonged legal battle as I feel that my ex is only saying these things to exert further control over me - he certainly gave our daughter no thought when he was cheating on me and gave zero thought to the consequences of family breakup if he were to be found out.

I'm trying to build a life for us but he is picking fault at every single little thing I do. My daughter seems to spend most of her time with his girlfriend anyway, which is great as she likes her but then he turns round and tries to tell me that I don't do enough on my own with my daughter as I go to visit my partner at the weekend and take my daughter if she's not with her dad - she loves going to see my partner and his children although she tells her dad she's not that bothered as she doesn't want to upset him as she knows he "hates" him - her words - not mine!

Does anyone have any advice for me - I have a constant knot in my stomach over all this and only want what's best for my daughter.

Thank you very much

PurpleStarInCashmereSky Mon 09-Oct-17 14:35:36

Can you get a residency order drawn up now? Maybe speak to CAFCASS as a first step?

AllyBally99 Mon 09-Oct-17 14:45:46

Will that stop him from being able to do what he wants though?

babybarrister Mon 09-Oct-17 14:47:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AllyBally99 Mon 09-Oct-17 14:49:53

I do actually have an appointment with a solicitor this week just to see what my options were but just thought I'd ask if anyone else had been in the same or similar situation.

He's moved on with his life which I'm glad about but he can't seem to offer me the same courtesy and I feel like he now has a personal vendetta against me and will do anything he can to make my life a misery - but I'm trying not to let him see how much he's upsetting me as I don't want to give him the satisfaction.

AllyBally99 Mon 09-Oct-17 14:51:05

I honestly can't see him agreeing to mediation but I'm willing to do what's best for my daughter

prh47bridge Mon 09-Oct-17 14:53:31

There is no such thing as a residency order any more.

If your ex has PR he has a right to a say in where your daughter lives and what school she attends. However, that does not mean he has the right to decide.

If there is a dispute about where she lives you will have to go to court to get a Child Arrangements Order specifying where she lives. Her wishes and feelings will be taken into account but at 7 years old she is too young to decide for herself.

If you and your ex can't agree where she goes to school you will have to apply to the courts for a Specific Issue Order.

If he does not have PR the situation is somewhat different. You decide where she lives and where she goes to school. He does not have any say in those matters and will have to go to court if he wants to challenge your decisions.

AllyBally99 Mon 09-Oct-17 14:55:07

at what age are they allowed to decide for themselves? Her father has PR sad

MrsBertBibby Mon 09-Oct-17 15:18:35

There is no such age. Their wishes and feelings are always a factor, but only one.

W &F are given more weight as a child gets older, for obvious reasons.

AllyBally99 Mon 09-Oct-17 15:41:28

So I might potentially lose my primary carer status if my daughter prefers to be at her dad's coz he can buy her all the latest gadgets and I can't purely because he earns more and has two incomes going into the household and I'm a single parent holding down a full time job??

She fell out with me the other day because I said no to having a TV in her room but she has one at her dad's

That hardly seems fair!

AliceTown Mon 09-Oct-17 16:28:16

As above, your daughters wishes and feelings (I want to live with Dad because I can have a TV in my room) will carry little weight because she clearly isn’t old enough to understand the implications of her opinions.

The court are clearly not going to take a child out of an arrangement they have had for a considerable length of time just because the other parent is flashing the cash. Courts do not like to change the status quo without good reason.

Why doesn’t your ex like the town you’re moving to? Is there a compromise to be had on the school she attends? If you’re not moving far, does she need to change school at all?

AllyBally99 Mon 09-Oct-17 16:43:20

Sorry if I sounded a bit dramatic but I'm so worried about this.

My ex wouldn't like it if my partner lived in the nicest part of the nicest area of the nice country in the world! He hates the fact that another man is involved in mine and my daughter's life - although my thoughts about another woman (his girlfriend) being involved in my daughter's life were never given a second thought.

His reservations about the town are unfounded - it's a nice area, near countryside etc and his time with our daughter would not be affected one bit (not from my side anyway) even though it's in a different county. Unfortunately we couldn't compromise on a school in a different area and she wouldn't be able to stay at her current school - he just doesn't want her to move - full stop. It's very infuriating and frustrating and he's being completely unreasonable.

MrsBertBibby Mon 09-Oct-17 17:08:39

The best advice I have is to keep on parenting your way, with proper boundaries, clear explanations, and all. No badmouthing Dad ( I'm sure you don't anyway) and lots of love.

Kids know what is good for them. And they do tend to show when they are being manipulated, especially that young.

Stop letting your ex in your head, and cross this bridge when you come to it.

AllyBally99 Mon 09-Oct-17 17:24:17

No - I'm very proud of the fact that I never badmouth her dad (although the same can't be said of him re. my partner and I)

I'm just worried that we (I) started out the divorce as mature grown ups - wanting everything to be civil and straight forward so we never took an official route regarding our daughter and now I wished we had and if I apply for an arrangement order then it's going to open the floodgates and he's going to do everything he can just to spite me and to make my life as difficult as he can and I'm powerless to stop him - just makes me sad that it's come to this instead of just drawing a line under it and concentrating on making sure our child was happy.

You live and learn I guess sad

MrsBertBibby Mon 09-Oct-17 17:41:19

It would make no difference to your current situation if you had got some kind of order before.

Try to stop worrying. You are letting your own mind do his work for him. You have much greater power here than he does. Why else would he act like such an arse?

Wishingandwaiting Mon 09-Oct-17 17:45:07

It’s a difficult one OP.

If he is in a position to offer her a full time home then I think you have a fight on your hands because I can’t see why he shouldn’t (other than that you don’t want him to, which is a very good reason from your perspective, I get that)

MrsBertBibby Mon 09-Oct-17 17:51:23

That isn't how it works, Wishing.

There has to be a positive reason for the change. Not just because one parent has decided he fancies a go.

AllyBally99 Mon 09-Oct-17 18:07:48

Thanks everyone - I do feel better about things now - it just gets overwhelming at times and I feel like I'm being punished by him - which i suppose is how he wants me to feel, for whatever reason.

Why can't people just get on? I'm not an unreasonable person - far from it but I'm also not the pushover he seems to think I am. Because I don't response to his BS I don't want him thinking that I'm accepting of it!

Wishingandwaiting Mon 09-Oct-17 18:14:10

The child is moving town; in to a new family and having to move schools.

Justification for the father seeing this as a change in circumstances.

AliceTown Mon 09-Oct-17 18:16:44

Well, usually there’s two sides to every story. Having your child live with a new partner can be a painful experience - even if they already live with a new partner while they’re with you. It’s a new step - another reminder that he’s not the Dad he hoped he’d be when she was born.
Given that you separated amicably, and things have been relatively amicable since then, I’m going to guess he’s not a total jerk. A bit of empathy for his experience - new partner, change of School to one he doesn’t like for whatever reason... imagine it in reverse.. understanding where he’s coming from can make it easier to detach from his reactive (and unhelpful) behaviour.

Wishingandwaiting Mon 09-Oct-17 18:18:53

Nailed it Alice

OP you really need to see this a little more from his perspective .

Another man will be living with his daughter. That’s a big deal.

His daughter is having to move schools. If she’s settled st her current, I would be bloody upset at that change.

AllyBally99 Mon 09-Oct-17 18:20:09


I see where you're coming from, but my daughter would still be moving schools to where her dad lives if things were to be granted in his favour. I will be moving into a family home, with other children of a similar age who she loves spending time with and her time with her dad will not be affected at all.

He may well refuse to collect her from school on a Friday for example but if that's the case then he will only be able to see her on a Saturday and if he does, then it's all his own choice.

He's just trying to control us any way that he can.

AllyBally99 Mon 09-Oct-17 18:24:18

Alice - unfortunately he is a total jerk. None of what he is doing is for our daughter. I've had to accept that there is another woman in my daughter's life as I'm realistic - he should be the same the other way round.

So I'm not allowed to have a life on my own and move forward and marry my partner eventually in case my ex husband gets upset?

mustresistwine Mon 09-Oct-17 18:30:57

There's a lot about you & how you feel in these posts, when really this who situation should be about your daughter. There is also a lot of venom towards your ex

as pp have said, perhaps trying to understand his perspective (presumably he loves his daughter as much as you) would help?

Also be mindful that dd may well tell him she doesn't like your dp, or want to live there or to move schools when she's with him, all of which would fuel his fire

AliceTown Mon 09-Oct-17 18:37:45

That isn’t what I said or what I meant, though your reaction gives a bit of insight into the way you respond and therefore why things between you aren’t straightforward.

What I said was - if you can bring yourself to understand why he might be feeling hurt, it will be easier for you to not get caught up in what he says.

Mediation would be a good place to start. He can’t go to court without attending a MIAM in any case.

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