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Can my ex stop me changing our sons school?

(19 Posts)
Pepperpotts66 Thu 11-Jun-15 22:05:02

Not sure if I've posted this in the right place, sorry. I know I'm not a lone parent anymore but the question relates to my child fr a previous relationship.

My ex and I have been separated for 4 years and have a 5 year old DS. We've never had a formal custody agreement. He currently has DS 3 nights a week and shares the school run. He's a bit of a bully and has never paid child maintainance but I've worked hard to let my feelings aside so DS can have a positive relationship with him. He bullied me into sending DS to a quiet country school 15 mins of where I currently live because this was more convenient for him than my local school. I am only able to do the school run on Mondays, Tuesday's and Wednesday mornings due to my partner needing our car to get to work. Recently I found out my ex has returned to work full time and that his fiancé and her mother are picking DS up which is upsetting DS as he wants to be with me if daddy can't have him. I'm also struggling with the school run as I now have a seriously ill 10 month old with my new partner. Therefore I've decided to move DS to his local school but have said I will keep the access arrangements in place. I will pick him up everyday and take him home, play with him, give him his tea etc until my ex can collect him after work. However my ex has totally freaked out and is threatening to take me to court. He says he's going to stop me changing schools and will be granted access so DS lives with him. I'm absolutely beside myself and heard him shouting at our DS over the phone so now feel absolutely awful about the whole thing.

DS has literally been begging me about when can he start at his new school, he's really excited about it because he will get more time with me but now I'm scared I'll end up losing him.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 12-Jun-15 12:55:50

The short answer is yes he can do. He can get an emergency court hearing and get a prohibited steps order to prevent you moving your son.
Ideally parents should agree about schooling if they are unable to agree the court will decide what is in the best interests of the child.
What are the advantages for your DC of the move?
Residency is likely to be considered separately.

inthename Fri 12-Jun-15 14:45:17

Yes, he can apply to the court for a prohibited steps order. Since April, all such applications are referred for mediation first (see www.gov.uk types of order for information). If he wishes to, he can also apply for a 'child arrangements order' which hasreplaced contact and residency orders.
You will need to think carefully about the advantages of moving your ds as your ex could counter all the arguments by saying he can do all school runs or arrange for someone else to do them. It isn't seen as an issue by the courts that other relatives are picking your ds up as many children are collected from school by relatives or childminders.

lostdad Fri 12-Jun-15 15:47:22

In a word...`sort of'.

Assuming he has PR he has a right to be `consulted'. What that means has no legal definition so if it came to court there would be debate on this matter.

His response to you doing this would be to apply for a prohibited steps order to prevent you moving if you haven't done so, or a specific issues order if you haven't.

The best interests of your DS would be the test as to whether the application is successful.

Applications of these types (Section 8 applications) can often balloon out of control. In your case I could see you saying in court that your DS isn't happy that his partner collects him, a CAFCASS report being done off the back of this and before you know it you've got a full blown case over a relatively small issue.

I would strongly recommend you organise mediation here. Not `suggest it to him' - but organise it. Don't be swayed by the `It's his job' argument - if it does go to court it may escalate problems rapidly.

This should be a simple issue to sort out. Don't let it grow.

cestlavielife Fri 12-Jun-15 16:34:28

him organizing someone else to pick up from school should not be an issue. up to him on his time to organize the childcare. it is good for ds to have other people in his life - especially if they are now related to him thru his dad.

you could get another car to do school runs. if you have a baby with health needs who needs to maybe get to gp or hospital then you may need a car. or your dp can look into bicycle/moped/car share to work so you keep the car.

if you have a sick baby it will be better ds keeps current arrangement adn routine with dad.

you should not have unilaterally decided to move ds given that his dad is involved with ds half the week (or nearly).
you should have invited ex to discuss first laying out pros and cons; or if you need third party go to mediation.
you should not have told ds until it was agreed with your ex. (but i can understand you focusing on new baby needs etc and it seemed the right thing to do)

so step back, dont make changes, go to mediation and try and sort it out.

sort out the car issue. look at other ways your dp can get to work.

cestlavielife Fri 12-Jun-15 16:41:14

i don't know your baby's issues but i do have a disabled oldest child - so i imagine that the needs of your baby will often take priority and your ds may find himself pushed out due to baby's needs so being "with you" may mean being left to play on his own... at least if ds is with dad you know you can focus more on baby's needs on those days and then figure out how to put ds first on the other days. for your ds to build good relations with dad and dad's new partner/mil whoever will be really important if your baby continues to have high needs going forward and you need to make sure ds is with familiar people while you with baby eg hospital appointments or whatever...... from a practical point of view, going forward, you need to encourage ds to enjoy his time with these new adults in his life.

Sanityseeker75 Fri 12-Jun-15 16:44:19

Therefore I've decided to move DS to his local school but have said I will keep the access arrangements in place. You say this but then go on to say I will pick him up everyday and take him home, play with him, give him his tea etc until my ex can collect him after work. This is a change in the contact arrangements as his finance was doing the school run in his absence previously.

My guess is that your ex is not happy that you have decided to change schools and change the arrangements in a bid to negate the need for his DP to collect your son from school.

If the school is closer to you would you be prepared to compromise by still sticking to his DP doing the pick up in his absence - maybe that way he will give on the school?

Pepperpotts66 Fri 12-Jun-15 16:52:46

Thank you for all responses.

The main issue is DS is extremely unhappy and doesn't want these people picking him up. He doesn't like them and doesn't understand why he has to be with them when I'm a home all day. I have him sobbing and begging me every time he goes to Daddy's not to send him there. It's heart breaking for me.

My baby has liver disease and is waiting for a liver transplant. I have not once allowed his needs to come before DS's needs. I've put a lot of planning and care into making sure both the children's needs are catered for and that I am always there when DS needs me.

I've been to see my lawyer today who said that typically schooling decisions have to be discussed with both parents but that the ultimate decision rests with the parent that the child resides with and as long as I'm choosing my catchment school it shouldn't be an issue.

He's cpntacting my ex regarding mediation.

There's no way we can afford a second car, well we can if we don't eat.

Pepperpotts66 Fri 12-Jun-15 16:54:37

The joke Is DS was ill today and he was with his dad but it was me that ended up looking after him. Not that I minded at all, we had a lovely day but he's just gone to pieces when he had to go back to his dad sad

cestlavielife Fri 12-Jun-15 23:40:23

Something is wrong if going to dad sets hin off into being very anxious. Is there a bigger issue ? If he spending half the week with dad and used to being with him ?

Unless it is crocodile tears.
Does ds know baby is sick. Does he worry ?

Of course you put both kids needs first but when baby has to go in for transplant your ds will need to be with someone. If not his dad who will it be ?

Starlightbright1 Sun 14-Jun-15 11:14:33

It does sound very complicated for your DS.. A new baby does take up extra tme never mind one who is poorly...

How do you think Ds is when with Relatives. It may be worth asking school how he is at pick up time. He may skip out of classroom happily. It may be about leaving poorly baby and mummy not about where he is going.

I think mediation is a good thing..Ultimately it is about the childs best interests.

MrsChiefTyrell Tue 28-Jul-15 01:41:45

When two parents both have PR matters regarding education should be discussed and both parents consulted.

Your Solicitor was right in that typically the final decision rests with the parent with whom the child resides, however, your son has two homes and spends almost equal time between those two homes. It would be a different matter if your ex only saw him alternate weekends.

It's also relevant that you aren't just now choosing a school for your son (in which case it would most likely be the school local to whichever parent he spends most of the school week with) to start in reception but instead you are looking to change your son's school - take him out of one school and place him into another.

Honestly, I think your ex has a very good chance of stopping you if he is willing to go through with this and take it to Court. It sounds like he is pretty angry and annoyed about this. How would you feel if he told you that he had chosen a new school and that he was moving him to a different school.

You really need to play this well to avoid looking unreasonable and controlling should it get to Court. You need to consult him not tell him and explain why you feel this would be in your son's best interests and ask for his opinions and then arrange mediation. In the mean time do not take any steps to remove him from his current school or enroll him in a new school.

Have you told your son he will be moving despite his Father disagreeing?

lostdad Thu 30-Jul-15 10:39:28

MrsChiefTyrrell `It would be a different matter if your ex only saw him alternate weekends'.

In law this is not correct. The only thing that matters is that he has PR or not. It is possible for a parent with PR to have 0% `contact' and one without it having 49.99%. `Contact' has absolutely no link with PR.

The level of contact is dependent on many factors - what resident parents want, what non resident parents want, what the court will order, etc.

And forgetting the legal side for a moment .what message does it send a child?

`I am making this decision and overruling your other parent...because I can'.

Children learn from seeing their parents cooperate. It teaches them a) that their parents love them enough to work together and b) how people can work together.

CamelHump Thu 30-Jul-15 10:43:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

eetgirl8787 Sun 08-Jan-17 21:30:32

you won't lose your son because your child lives with you and not his dad its up to you where your son goes to school

3xcookedchips Mon 09-Jan-17 13:01:25

* you won't lose your son because your child lives with you and not his dad its up to you where your son goes to school *

Have you not been reading this thread?

Ultimately, if two parents disagree then a court can decide where the child goes to school - according to the childs best interests.

Incidentally, when the son is with his father, who is he living with?

HappyHedgehog247 Mon 09-Jan-17 21:40:39

I'm less pessimistic than the other posters here. Yes ExDP has PR but there are other things in your favour and if Ex wants to formalise things through court then I expect it is also time that maintenance is formalised and contact arrangements. He risks upsetting an arrangement that seems to work very well for him for the sake of a slightly easier school commute. Glad you've got support from a solicitor.

VikingVolva Mon 09-Jan-17 21:45:32

This thread is 18 months old.

I hope it was all been resolved - probably through mediation - some time ago.

WorldsSmallestPatio Mon 09-Jan-17 21:55:01

Of he's with dad almost half the week for the last 4 years why is he hating it so much ? confused

Why doesn't he love his dad, granny and auntie? What is going on?

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