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ex disagrees with relocation to a different part of the county.

(33 Posts)
mumfor4 Tue 08-Jan-13 19:44:13

my ex disagrees with me relocating a short distance with our dd's, aged 5 and 6 (10 minute ferry crossing). we are going to court over it. Has anyone else experienced this?

Many thanks

Spero Sat 12-Jan-13 12:20:50

I think it unlikely that a court would insist on mid week contact if that scuppers an otherwise sensible move - but it may depend on how long that is going on, how much the children say they want it etc, etc. I have found that often mid week contact is more a massive pain in the bum for everyone and doesn't stand the test of time, unless parents live very, very close to one another. Otherwise children are just dragging lots of possessions around to various houses and it gets messy.

all you can do is state your case, politely and fully. Don't drive yourself mad trying to second guess his motives. If he wasn't interested and involved in the schools before it will not look particularly good for him if he claims an interest now. As long as he gets to see them regularly for long enough, the rest is just window dressing. Their primary need is for a safe secure home and then as much good quality contact with the non resident parent has can be sensibly managed without everyone being run ragged, living out of suitcases or spending all weekend in a car.

mumfor4 Sat 12-Jan-13 11:32:01

Hi, my ex currently does have mid week contact-when he doesn't have them at weekends but offering more weekend time counteracts that. At the moment he only has them 4 school nights a month but would have extra quality time at weekends. He also works and uses childcare on some of those afternoons. It is still in the same County, people do move to other parts of the county-sometimes families are rehoused by housing associations (although not in this case). Any way, I started the court ball rolling-following legal advice to do it properly. I did try to discuss with ex first, he asked why I would like to move. I explained better quality of life, schooling, childrens activities etc and was told I will not agree to the disruption to the children's lives.

niceguy2 Sat 12-Jan-13 11:11:12

oops, never mind. I just saw further up you already said it.

What is the normal routine you have for contact? You said it wouldn't affect his time but do you mean he gets the same number of hours in total or do you literally mean everything stays the same bar a short ferry ride?

Because the risk here is that you have more losing scenarios than he does. Because of school you need to have Mon-Fri. The courts cannot stop you from moving but they could in theory order midweek contact and that effectively scuppers you. I think it's very unlikely but it's still something to think about.

Do you know the REAL reason he's going to court? Is it the be the noble dad? Financial (ie. costs of ferry)? Or just sheer control freakishness?

I learned a hard lesson when my ex took me to court over our relocation. I couldn't get a straight answer on what she wanted. CAFCASS was a joke. They were dead against me, didn't listen and just kept repeating 'the kids need their mum'. Despite me explaining that I was only the resident parent cos she didn't want to be and that the current routine (which would be unchanged except for a drive) was HER idea....not mine. After that I was shit scared cos all the judge needed to do was order midweek contact and I was screwed. It looked likely and then the ex caved in. Her new demands were less than I originally offered!

Once the dust had settled I realised that what she was actually after was not residence of the children. Even she realised the kids were far better off with me. What she actually needed was a way of showing everyone she had fought the good fight. Someone to blame so people wouldn't gossip about why the kids didn't live with her.

The point I'm trying to make is that people often go to court using arguments which are nothing to do with the fundamental issue. If you can focus on that then you can adapt your strategy to suit.

niceguy2 Sat 12-Jan-13 10:58:27

Can I ask why you have chosen to move to this area? Is it closer to family and your support network?

Labro Sat 12-Jan-13 10:04:42

Sounds all too familiar, refuses to engage in the process then spits the proverbial dummy out because you've dared to make a decision without getting the control freaks decision first.
Having sat in court 4 times nothing really surprises me anymore.

mumfor4 Sat 12-Jan-13 08:00:19

I have asked my ex to look at the schools in my chosen area- which he ignored. I have the email too. As it turns out there are no options as none of the other schools have vacancies. luckily its a lovely school. x

mumfor4 Sat 12-Jan-13 07:57:28

Labro- that made me laugh! I'm prepared for a very long list of reasons for not relocating on the statement. He could pick up from the school if he wished as its a short train journey but would add to cost as he would not be able to get a child escort rate for the ferry. the school is a short walk from the train station so school visits- xmas performances and parents evenings are very easy to attend. One of the reasons I like it. ex does not attend fairs, coffee mornings and assemblies but may now decide they are the most important thing about schooling. x

Labro Sat 12-Jan-13 02:00:43

The only thing that came to my mind (because it was what my ex harped on about) does your moving mean a change in pick up arrangements for him? ie has he previously been picking them up from school or your home and the new arrangment would need to be the ferry terminal? Changes like that have a habit of taking on a life of their own in the exes heads and they suddenly start screaming about their parental responsibility rights to choosing new schools etc. Don't be at all surprised if your exes statement has things in it about disruption to his involvement in their school life (even when hes possibly shown little interest previously) and the 'disruption' of meeting them from the ferry and that he feels the ferry isn't reliable etc (my ex wrote 3 paragraphs in one of his statements abour how HIS son couldn't be allowed by him to live in a flat - to which the judge suggested with a twinkle in his eye that perhaps if it was that appalling a prospect he should give me our former home)
Hope all gets better for you x

mumfor4 Fri 11-Jan-13 18:33:35

There are no special needs, education or medically. Both are doing well at school and phsically very fit. In the area I would like to move too there are more play parks, open land and up to date sports facilities. The roads are safer (less congested) and there is a lot of off road cycling paths.

mumfor4 Fri 11-Jan-13 18:22:31

Thank you for your good advice, I will contact the courts next week to see if a statement has been filed. My ex declined mediation (formally) hence referral to court. I have done all I can so far. My concern is the future and not the past or the blame game, I will print off relevant emails as evidence of my attempts to discuss this.
It would be difficult for the children to attend their current school as its an hour walk from the ferry-with no direct buses to the school, it would cost £90 per week to do this every day (return ferry only) plus £50 per week parking car, I would also been unable to return home until I collected them. Added to that catching a silly o'clock ferry in the morning.

I have visited the school in the area I would like to move to and it's a primary so no trying to be at two schools at the same time (which would happen here) the school has better facilities, IT suite, Library room, arts and crafts room, outdoor play equipment and playing field and a good recent ofsted report-with lovely teachers. onwards from that the catchment secondary school is a sports academy with good GCSE and A Level results. (the same cannot be said for here, sadly) I felt like crying!

I have offered to sacrifice some of my weekend time to make up for him losing time, it evens it out. I have no intention of stopping his time with the children and I will be travelling some distance to the ferry to ensure he has that. He is a very short distance from the other side of the ferry.

Spero Fri 11-Jan-13 13:41:18

I think it is now an obligation to show that you have at least tried to mediate by attending an assessment meeting - obviously mediation is unlikely to be suitable if there are serious issues of abuse or control. Some disputes i don't think sit well with mediation - someone has to make a decision between two quite stark competing objectives.

You can't get public funding without at least investigating the mediation option but given that public funding will soon be withdrawn from these kind of cases, I am not sure where that leaves mediation. I think people ought to be able to access whatever form of dispute resolution they want if they have to pay for it themselves, without being made to jump through hoops.

But gov likes mediation because it is cheaper - if it works.

Labro Fri 11-Jan-13 13:13:56

Agree that mediation fails, but wasn't sure if the gov has now made it mandatory to a least attend (used to be mandatory if either party received legal aid) but have a recollection that theres been recent changes in the family court laws as my ex wanted to raise a specific issue case when I moved but got told it wouldn't even get to the door of the court. niceguy2 list is a useful one to check for any gaps in your own reasoning that he could potentially use against you (ie if a child has a diagnosed special need where changing schools would disadvantage them or a medical need where moving would mean starting the referral process over again)
If hes basing the disruption on having to use a ferry etc, then it won't get far.

Spero Fri 11-Jan-13 12:03:08

sorry forgot to add, the purpose of the MIAM is to decide if your case is suitable for mediation. If it isn't, end of story, make your application. I think you also are not forced into this if there is no mediation provider within a certain radius who can see you within 14 days, but check that in case I am misremembering - did my training a year ago this week!

Spero Fri 11-Jan-13 12:01:28

you don't have to sit through hours of mediation but you will probably have to attend a MIAM meeting which i think stands for Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting.

Mediation is not a magic wand, despite the Gov's desparate hopes. Its founding principles are voluntary participation - it can only work if you both are committed to finding a solution. It doesn't work if one party just wants to impose their will on another. It is about you both being given space and time to work out a compromise that suits you both.

I am not sure such a situation is ever capable of mediating - you want to move. He doesn't want you to move. It is quite black and white.

I am not knocking medaition and if it works it is definitely better than getting locked into a court battle where someone else decides for you. But it isn't a panacea.

niceguy2 Fri 11-Jan-13 11:34:02

If disruption is his main line of defence then the things you need to think about will be:

- Contact. How will this affect your daughters time with dad? If it doesn't really (10 mins isn't a big deal) then that's a moot point and he will look stupid.

- School. Do the kids have to change schools? Ideally not. But even if they did, it's not a big deal. Kids change school all the time. Most settle without any problems. To try & argue that the kids won't be able to cope with a move in school would be difficult.

- Medical. Are there any medical reasons to keep them in the area? Any reasons why moving would put their health at risk? Hopefully not.

Labro is right though. Have you been to mediation yet? You need to go there first before you can go to court.

Feckthehalls Fri 11-Jan-13 00:27:12

Great advice from labro. Well done on self representing

Labro Fri 11-Jan-13 00:20:31

Its not about the disruption to his life or indeed your life. Everything will hinge on proving that either option is in your dd best interest. The courts aren't interested in opinion, they will want cold hard facts with no emotions attached (terribly hard for you but necessary) remember they don't know you, your ex or your dd's from adam and couldn't care less if hes the biggest control freak on the planet. Have a look at the cafcass website and read the welfare checklist as this is what the family court applies to every case. Does your ex have a solicitor? If so, contact them and request (in writing) a copy of his court statement before the hearing date. This will tell you exactly what his arguments are. If he is also self representing, then you are allowed to request from him a specific list of his issues with the move.
The first hearing will be a directions hearing (basically telling you what the judge thinks) set out all the reasons for the move which are to the benefit of your dd's and how you plan to combat the extra travel cost etc. DO NOT lapse into why you think your ex is doing this etc, courts have heard it all before. If asked what you think the childrens relationship with their dad is the reply is that you think OUR dd's love their dad and their dad loves OUR dd's, nothing else. After thw directions hearing, hopefully the judge will follow the 'no order' policy, close the case and refer you for mediation if he feels there are still unresolved issues.
Just thought of something - have you actually got a court date because I thought there had been some kind of law made quite recently that all applications to family court were automatically to be refered to mediation first? If I'm right in that then you can go ahead and move unless there has been a court application approved and served on you.

mumfor4 Thu 10-Jan-13 20:14:30

Thank you, he has mentioned disruption in his argument, no doubt there will be more reasons by the time it gets to court. All the advice given has been very good. I do feel its more about controlling than the dcs best interests, it will have very little effect on his life if we move.

niceguy2 Thu 10-Jan-13 13:03:29

A few years ago I moved 2 hours drive and over 100 miles away. Ex was totally opposed to it but the court allowed it. The judge actually said "Well it's not exactly a million miles away is it?" to the ex.

So 10 minute ferry crossing? He's on a hiding to nothing if he's using distance as his main line of argument.

mumfor4 Wed 09-Jan-13 08:16:59

Thank you for your replies, it gives me hope. I realise its a very short distance but I would never take it for granted the courts will allow us to move. x

makemineapinot Tue 08-Jan-13 22:11:12

My ex forced me to move (by making life so horrendous we had to move - stalking, harassment, his ow threatening dc etc)but then took out a prohibited steps order to stop us moving home to Scotland from England! Labro's information is spot on - you are hardly moving any distance t all and it won't affect contact time. I had to prove all sorts cos we were leaving England and Wales but you're not in that situation. Above all e the reasonable one putting your DCs welfare first and reiterate how much you value tier contact with their dad etc. good luck x

hellsbells76 Tue 08-Jan-13 22:10:30

My ex tried that when I moved to the next county (40 min drive away) - kicked up a massive stink and went to a solicitor who basically laughed him out of his office and told him he didn't have a leg to stand on. Shame your ex's solicitor hasn't been as honest with him; probably just saw pound signs. Don't worry about it.

(Ex moved 700 miles away 6 months later...go figure! It's got bog all to do with the kids and everything to do with being a controlling arse and trying to make life difficult for you. Go to court with your head held high, answer all questions honestly and straightforwardly and from the point of view of what's in your kids' best interests, and have a little snigger to yourself at the thought of his legal bill).

strumpetpumpkin Tue 08-Jan-13 22:04:03

he could take you to court but he wouldn't win. you're from there and could prove your dc would benefit and it wouldn't hinder his access

mumfor4 Tue 08-Jan-13 22:01:20

Thank you both for your advice, my ex lives 5 minutes from the ferry terminal, and would not impact in the slightest time with the girls-ferry only takes 10 minutes too, when you combine the cost and time it is no different to two bus journeys into town. There have been a lot of other issues going on but I worry that the courts will not allow us to move, one of the reasons is because we would have a better quality of life as well as less exposure to anti social behaviour (as they grow up) and be surrounded by a great support network. my ex claims it would be very disruptive but refused any further discussion. I worry that if we are not allowed to move and myex
is given full residency It will be made difficult for me to see them. My ex is very controlling and already claims that the children don't want to be with me

Labro Tue 08-Jan-13 21:16:38

If self representing, listen carefully to the question and answer only the question you are asked each time. The judge will assist you to understand what is going on so be honest if you don't understand anything. The law says that neither party should be disadvantaged by not being represented. They won't give advise but will steer you through. If hes represented, then his solicitor will be expected to talk to you in the waiting area to see if an agreement can be reached 'by consent'. Has he given reasons why he is opposing this? If so, write down your response to each concern so that you don't get flustered.

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