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splitting childcare 50/50 between England and France?!

(67 Posts)
shypuffin Sat 07-Dec-13 12:42:41

Hi, I'm in a pretty difficult situation. I stupidly moved to rural France with my partner and 4 month old twin babies 2 years ago but it's just not working out for me. My partner and I argue all the time and have decided we want different things out of life. He wants to stay here long-term but I feel totally isolated and want to return to the UK where I have a support network and means of decent income.

After an horrendous 6 months we've agreed we need to split up but he is insisting on at least 50/50 custody and since it's illegal to take children out of their country of residence without both parents' permission I feel I have to agree to that if I am to live in the UK. The twins have just turned 2, this would mean they live with him for one month in France and then me for the next month in the UK. I have no idea if I could afford this, or how I would go about find flexible enough childcare and that's aside from the emotional impact on us all. What would you do?

Maryz Fri 13-Dec-13 21:26:55

And yes to going back soon. Not taking them, but agree to the 50/50 (record the conversation or have it by email) and go home for Christmas, don't go back, he can come and get them in January.

Don't stay long enough for them to learn to speak French, to start school etc.

NumNumChristmasPudInMyTum Fri 13-Dec-13 21:27:31 is a uk based charity with a helpline for parents who have had children abducted but also who may have abducted their children. They can help you with basic advice and pointers of where to get help.

NumNumChristmasPudInMyTum Fri 13-Dec-13 21:32:14

Some useful info here:

Alanna1 Fri 13-Dec-13 21:36:01

Get some legal advice. FAST. My gut instinct is to agree as a "trial" for "a year". But go see a lawyer!!!

PetiteRaleuse Fri 13-Dec-13 21:48:48

Don't leave them in France though without a written and signed agreement in place. Abandon de domicile or abandon de famille would never go in your favour. Women have lost custody over here for moving out short term and leaving the kids. French women with French kids.

Maryz Fri 13-Dec-13 22:34:55

Sorry, I didn't mean don't take them with you, I meant don't appear to kidnap them.

Sort it out, agree to the 50/50 on a trial basis, take them home for Christmas and leave him to come and get them.

PetiteRaleuse Fri 13-Dec-13 22:55:12

I got what you meant maryz just wanted to point out the mistakes some women have inadvertantly made. Abandon is a big deal in French family courts and it means leaving, not actual abandonment.

Bonsoir Sat 14-Dec-13 08:30:01

Do not agree to the 50:50 as an interim measure as it will create a precedent for the court (even though a French court would never agree to this long term, it could create a situation whereby your STBX will get more child-time than you would like).

All those who advise but who don't know French family courts - I'm sure you mean well, but French family law and courts do not behave in the same way as English ones!

LoveSewingBee Sat 14-Dec-13 16:28:33

OP - Hope you are seeking legal advice, ideally from a UK firm who has also offices in France.

I think other posters are right, you NEED to get legal advice asap.

shypuffin Sun 15-Dec-13 13:08:55

It was the UK law firm with offices in France that gave me the previous information I referred to which has put me off going down the legal route ever since. If anyone knows of any French organisations that would give advice over the phone I'd really appreciate it as there is no way I can get to see a lawyer without my partner finding out (as we live so far away from cities and both work full-time).

In the meantime, we're all heading back to the UK to see family for Christmas and I will try and figure out how I would afford to move back with them (my partner owns this house and all my savings are tied up in equity in 2 flats I rent out in London). Thanks to everyone for all their advice, I'll keep you posted..

FarFarAway Sun 15-Dec-13 22:38:02

Agree with some other posters. I live and am divorcing in France. Don't leave or agree 50/50 split because as another poster said this will set a precedent for the court.

The french courts are not so bad and have the interests of the child at the centre. Although 50/50 splits are to be encouraged statiscally the mother gets the garde of the children more than 90% of the time.

Your partner does not speak french. If I were you I would find a mediator. He or she will put your case to the judge with the facts. The facts are your partner does not speak french and has no network to help with children. You can prove the opposite for you in the UK. You have no roots or connections to oblige you to be there. You need the permission of a judge before you leave the country.

jenpetronus Tue 17-Dec-13 18:03:07

I'm sorry you're in this position - can't offer any other help than what's been said above - but I can't help but wonder how he imagines he's going to look after 2 year old twins while renovating a farmhouse hmm

KingRollo Tue 17-Dec-13 18:07:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

shypuffin Wed 18-Dec-13 15:03:53

Yes, it would be great to get a recommendation for a good lawyer, but I am over an hour from Beziers and over 2 hours from Toulouse and Montpellier. Trying to get to an appointment when I work full-time without my partner knowing would be next to impossible. Does anyone know of any French ex-pat forums that might have recommendations?

KingRollo Wed 18-Dec-13 19:27:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

shypuffin Fri 20-Dec-13 17:51:32

I work from home, as does he.

LoveSewingBee Fri 20-Dec-13 19:13:34

If you both work from home, plus he doesn't speak French his demands seem even more unreasonable. Can you see a UK lawyer once younare both back in UK for Hols? Try early on in Hols so lawyer got time to come up with a plan. Could you refuse to travel back? He has after all agreed to go to UK after all?

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