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Experiences/advice re moving away with children

(34 Posts)
tp12 Thu 22-Oct-09 12:57:09

Stbx left 18 months ago. I made a decision to move back to my home town (Eng to Scot ie 400 miles) but stbx does not consent and has applied for SR. Now have to wait for courts to decide (after CAFCASS report). I did not make this decision lightly nor immediately and have well thought through plan (housing, education, job) and family/friends support. It's been a long haul for me and children (DS, DD1, DD2). I would be very grateful if got any experiences or advice you would like to share? I'm really scared stiff that I will not be allowed to move.

Niceguy2 Thu 22-Oct-09 16:06:46

Firstly from your ex's point of view it must be grossly unfair. Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot and he said he was moving to the other end of the country with the kids effectively kyboshing your position as mum? Would you consent? The fact you have a "well thought through plan" is of very little comfort to him. The person who will no longer be able to see his kids regularly or without a lot of time/money being spent.

That all said and done I did move 100 miles away a few years back from my ex and my home town. Looking back although I am happy in my new home and have built a good life, I do think if I had my time again I wouldn't have moved. As the kids have grown they could have/should have spent more time with their mum. Esp. as my DD is entering teenage life, there are things where a woman would be better placed to deal with. I suspect you will face the same issue with your son.

Its good you have the support of family/friends but no amount of them can replace one decent dad.

So in short I'd say that if I had to do it over again, i wouldn't. Dragging the kids so far away isn't fair on the kids, nor the other parent.

How often do your kids see their dad?

tp12 Thu 22-Oct-09 17:24:02

Thank you for your reply Niceguy2 and I'm sure you realise that every situation is different. Things might be different had I walked out on the family, but I didn't, I stayed and took all the cr*p. What is different now is that I am now asserting my position, and stbx doesn't like it.

I am accutely aware that my son is entering into teenage life and I have fully considered this with regards to my proposition. However, stbx is now living with a new family of 2 boys, of which our son is in the middle. This has caused some anxiety for my son and, of course, me. Although, he is doing really well coming to terms with it...in fact, I'm really proud of him. I know that I can continue to support all the children and do this with every encouragement that they develop a positive relationship with their Dad. As regard expenses, I have said that I will contribute to his costs for seeing the children, including travelling with the children to see him.

What is 'unfair' in all of this is the fact that my stbx was personally unhappy for some time and chose to leave the family, knowing full well it was an extremely difficult time, without addressing any issues he had with me. It transpired he had been conducting an affair for some time - yes, with someone slimmer and more attractive than me. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Previously he conducted an affair during/after our 3rd child was born and at a time when a close family member of mine died - he chose to tell me on Valentines Day. He refused to talk about it then and afterwards, but I took him back believing it was for the greater good. I now think I was wrong. I put up with years of living with an extremely unhappy person, who refused to talk about issues with me. I just got on with it and he still sh*t on me.

To answer your q ...the kids see their Dad every other weekend and half the holidays... in fact over the next half term he only needed to take 2 days off, but instead they are going to their grandparents in NW England. This is a recurrent theme in 'his' contact with the kids.

Don't get me wrong, I'm fuming, but I also know that I have to bring the children up for the next 10 years and will do to the very best of my ability. Maybe he was right, he left me because 'we are different people'...says it all.

Niceguy2 Thu 22-Oct-09 18:27:25

Hi TP12

I must say that even though I took the decision to move 100 miles away, I was still at pains to make sure ex had regular contact. At the time she had every other weekend and no holidays. I don't think I could ever move so far that my kids couldn't regularly see their other parent.

Yes, everyone's situation is different. That said, the fact he had an affair, that he didn't tell you he was unhappy is irrelevent. Thats all between you and him. Whats important here is whats best for the kids.

Like I said, with the benefit of hindsight I would have liked to have had their mum closer and whilst I've done a perfectly good job in bringing them up, if I had a do-over I wouldn't do it.

I don't think for a minute what I say will make you change your mind but just make sure you are honestly looking at whats best for the kids rather than yourself or perhaps even some misguided attempt at revenge.

Chocol8isLikeaBeautifulEngine Thu 22-Oct-09 20:22:51

tp12, what do your children say about the move? They don't seem to see their father much already, this could be very difficult, 400 miles is not a spur of the moment visit distance, especially for you teenage son.

tp12 Fri 23-Oct-09 00:13:39

Thank you for your replies. I do appreciate it.

The children are my foremost consideration in all of this, how best to bring them up in the long term. Their father has regular contact and, hopefully, this will continue. His contact is never 'spur of the moment' as he has never functioned like that.

I have found it difficult to broach the subject with the children, mainly because it is not definite as yet and also they are still quite young, my son is not quite a teenager yet. Therefore, it is difficult to know how they really feel about it as to seek their opinion will put them in a tricky spot and I know they would not want to feel disloyal to either of us. I do know that they will be well cared for and supported whatever the eventuality.

The distance may sound far, however, it is easily accessable and does not necessarily have to be a major difficulty...unless he makes it so. Also, in the next few years to come, the children will be old enough to make the journey themselves, if they so wish. I know it's not what their Dad wants...by the same token, it's not just about him either. Revenge is definitely not the driving factor, as I said my decision was not made lightly, I have considered all the factors and, to me, this makes most sense.

Niceguy2, I'm sure you didn't make the decision to move lightly either, and at the time it likely seemed the best option, in the best interests of your children. Are you saying you feel guilty moving away from their mother? How has the distance been so detrimental to their relationship?

mummygirl Fri 23-Oct-09 08:08:04

tp12, who will be fudnign all the tavelling? Apart from the time your ex will have to spend travelling instead of being with his children, there may be a lot of bitterness about the cost of it all. And IMHO it should be you that pays for all his tickets/petrol since you're the one who's made this decision.

Now, I'm not a judge, but if I was one I wouldn't allow you to move the kids so far away, it's NOT for you to decide.

chopstheduck Fri 23-Oct-09 08:55:55

I moved 200 miles with mine, when they were aged around 3 and 1.

My exh was a twunt, he really was, and I was getting increasingly unhappy with the way he was caring for them on visits (taking them to the pub, no heating in the middle of winter, no toilet roll, feeding them crap, etc.) The visits were also getting more infrequent, and he would get verbally abusive towards me on pick ups. I needed a fresh start with a bit of distance.

I never planned to stop contact, and spoke with him from day one of deciding to move, trying to find ways where he would still have some contact. He simply wasn't interested and once I moved, all contact ceased.

I think it was a lot easier on my children because they were younger. They soon settled, made new friends, etc. I think had they been a lot older it would have been much more difficult.

I still don't think someone can put their own life on hold because of an exh though. I think you do need to start talking to your children and see how they feel about it. I can't see any reason though, why regular contact cant be maintained and they will gain a lot from you moving back to where you have family and friends too. When we moved we moved away from family and friends, but my children are still very close to their grandparents, and see more and more of them as they get older. It takes a lot of effort on both sides, but it is doable.

Niceguy2 Fri 23-Oct-09 10:58:04

Hi TP12

I think there is an element here of trying to justify your own decision to yourself. Just how do you propose to maintain "regular" contact if you've moved 400 miles away? To drive would be a 6 hour drive each way. Train would be equally as long and cost more. Even if ex could fly, as mummygirl has quite rightly asked, who would pay?

Lets at least be honest here. Once you move, contact will all but cease. Seeing dad will become like a special event like going on holiday once a year or christmas.

I've been in your shoes and I guess your reluctance to speak with your kids is because you know its an unpopular decision. My DD cried for days after I told her.

From what I have read it sounds like the move is what is best for YOU, not the kids, not the family.

In answer to your question, I do feel some guilt over the move to the point that if I could have a do-over, i wouldnt do it. But at the time I thought it was the right thing for my entire family. Ironically a lot of what you say is also what I said. Now with the benefit of hindsight though I think my kids would be closer to their mum than they currently are if they lived closer. We are used to the commute now but its a killer. And thats only 100 miles. Thats why I say 400 would be impossible.

In addition kids benefit most with two good parents in their lives, even if they live apart. From what I've read your ex was a crap husband but seems a decent dad.

Finally, would you allow your ex to move 400 miles away with the kids?

Niceguy2 Fri 23-Oct-09 11:02:38

Oh and another thing. You are not just asking your kids to lose their dad, they will also lose their mates too. At their age, thats a big ask as well!

giveloveachance Fri 23-Oct-09 11:38:23

You will be their primary carer, you have to make the decision as to where you and they will feel happy and settled. Support from friends and family is very important and will help you feel part of the community as will perhaps being in familiar surroundings of your home town.

Children will miss their friends but in the age of facebook and so on can maintain friendships and make new ones.

As for their Dad, he needs to acknowledge what is ultimately in their best interests, and perhaps feeling settled and supported by the extended family is as important as regular contact with their Dad. It is not australia, only scotland, you can get very good travel deals if you book in advance, I have family who do this, and find flying very cheap if you book well in advance - cheaper often than the train.

Contact need not cease at all - there is also phone, mail, facebook, texting, what about video phoning over the net? All ways to stay in touch, and the access visits to look forward to.

only you know if its possible or impossible OP and no distance is insurmountable.

You are obviously thinking long and hard about the move and whats good for the children and yourself. I dont think you are asking them to lose their dad at all or their friends.

How settled do your kids feel at the moment? Would a new environment help sweep away the bad memories?

All kids miss their friends and it is scary to start over but the reality is they make new friends quickly - I have relatives who moved 300 miles away and after only 4 weeks the kids are out and about with new friends and loving their new school. What seemed scary and insurmountable in the planning turned out to be exciting new and fun in the execution.

Niceguy2 Fri 23-Oct-09 12:06:13

>>>Contact need not cease at all - there is also phone, mail, facebook, texting, what about video phoning over the net? All ways to stay in touch, and the access visits to look forward to.<<<

Well this man's just totally unreasonable then isn't he??? Fancy wanting to see his kids every other weekend as he currently does when he could just as well call them and look at their photos on Facebook.

Seriously?!?!?!

DailyMailNameChanger Fri 23-Oct-09 12:23:58

Everything niceguy says is spot on. What you are proposing is unreasonable and your ex is quite right to take it to court.

I would be very surprised if the court agree to it.

Bear in mind that Cafcass will ask your dc what they think about it. Allowing them to find out from a stranger because you are worried about telling them is pretty spineless.

400 miles is a massive distance. Moving 3 kids from school etc at this age is a bad thing.

Be aware that, at teh age they are, it is possible they could tell the officer they want to saty where they are with their dad, thier school and theur friends. This would be taken itno account. It is quite possible you could lose residency here and, tbh, that may be the wake up call you need.

giveloveachance Fri 23-Oct-09 12:38:33

yes seriously! why would you assume that all contact would cease Niceguy2? It wont be easy but its far from impossible.

The OP has not gone into details, but not many would consider a big move like this lightly. She is obviously concerned enough to garner opinions on here.

A resident parent has to get agreement from the non-resident parent when moving to scotland or abroad, she could up sticks to Wales and she would not have to seek agreement.

At the end of the day it is up to them to decide what is best of the children and them as their parents, distance may help by focussing attention on quality contact. I dont think its helpful to attack the OP when she has asked for experiences to help see what pros and cons there are to this step.

And as for being unreasonable - i did not say he was. The OP did mention that he often sends the kids to his parents rather than stay with him on his weekends. He left, he caused the turmoil they are currently in.

DailyMailNameChanger Fri 23-Oct-09 12:45:50

No, she is asking for experience/advice to help her get her own way and make sure she gets to move, not advice on how to make the contact work. Re-read the posts, there are no questions about making contact work at all. I suspect that what she wants is answers like "if you say to Cafcass XXX that will get them on your side".

Sorry to be cynical but that is really how it reads.

DailyMailNameChanger Fri 23-Oct-09 12:47:59

As for "He left, he caused the turmoil they are currently in." how do you know? The op has not gone into detail, yes he left but there could be a multitude of reasons, some of wich would be the Op being unreasonable and leaving him no choice - not saying it was that but you don't know do you.

Whether you like it o r not parents to not get punished for leaving by having their children moved hindreds of miles away.

giveloveachance Fri 23-Oct-09 12:57:35

I have reread as directed dailymail - and the OP repeatedly states her intentions to do what is best for the children. She has not talked to them yet - not because she is spineless - but because she is considering all the options before talking to them and doesn't want to put them in a position of feeling disloyal to either parent. I wonder if the OP's ex thought this hard before he embarked on his affair and left them?

maybe I am just lucky not to be so cynical.

cestlavielife Fri 23-Oct-09 12:57:45

i think you need to have - and CAFCASS might suggest this - a family mediation session where you all sit down and look at the options and come to some agreement.

let the children have their say too.

cestlavielife Fri 23-Oct-09 13:04:59

also have a read of
www.separateddads.co.uk/DealingWithYourExPartnerAndChildMovingAway.html

lots of stuff on there from his pov -howver much you dont agree

DailyMailNameChanger Fri 23-Oct-09 13:11:49

love, saying you have the best for the dc at heart and then saying but I am going to move 400 miles away from their dad does not go together. She may think she has but, clearly, she has not. Anyone can say anything, it does not mean it is true, not by any stretch of the imagination.

You have a lovely fluffy way of seeing things, which is great I am sure. However it does not change the fact that the op wants to take a mans children away and wants help in doing that.

You can empathise all you like but I am not obliged to. Moving children away like this is wrong. Wrong, there is no way around it.

His affair or anything else is nothing to do with his access to the children and it is about time people wised up and realised that children a not a tool to be used to punish an offending partner.

Niceguy2 Fri 23-Oct-09 14:16:01

>>>yes seriously! why would you assume that all contact would cease Niceguy2? It wont be easy but its far from impossible.<<<
Trust me, as someone who's been there and done it, its HARD.

For 4 years now I've ferried the children up & down the motorway to make sure their mum still sees the kids. Thats only a distance of 100 miles and 2-2.5 hours drive. Quadruple that and "regular" access is impossible.

Its not about ALL contact but regular contact. OP's ex is currently getting regular access and OP is unilaterally deciding to change this agreement with her ex or taking into account her childrens opinion.

If her ex had very sporadic contact or was a crap dad then my opinion would be different. So far, her ex seems to have regular access and i've not read a single reason why it would be better for the kids.

Lastly as Dailymail has said, at the kids age, if they react badly and tell CAFCASS they want to stay, there is a chance the court may reverse residence. Surely if OP thinks its fair to move 400 miles away then its only fair that she leaves the kids and move herself?

giveloveachance Fri 23-Oct-09 14:44:24

well what can I say to someone who calls me 'love' and thinks i am fluffy!

I thought MN was here to provide support and where necessary give opposing views but why does it have to be done so unpleasantly? Why kick someone when they are down?

Dailymail and Niceguy you both seem to have made assumptions about the OP's situation and come across as not interested in WHY she wants to move, but have been judge and jury that she is using the children to punish her ex. I haven't read that in the posts.

Niceguy2 why not move closer to your ex to make access easier then??? You say your DD cried for days, but you still moved.

I came on this thread to respond to the request for experience and advice, I posted in the spirit of offering ways of making the best out of a bad situation. If everyone did that then perhaps we wouldn't be having this 'conversation'

Niceguy2 Fri 23-Oct-09 15:09:34

OP has not given specific reasons why she thinks moving is in the best interests of her children. I'd welcome hearing them.

In my case I moved 100 miles away but from day 1 I made sure my ex did not lose one single day's worth of access. In fact she now gets significantly more than she did when I lived ten minutes down the road. But that has come at a cost.

My kids spend a lot of time sat in a car going up & down the motorway. Their mum cannot realistically attend school parents evenings or drop them off at cubs/brownies/whatever. She has lost opportunities to do "parent" things.

Moving back is something I've considered. I've even talked to my eldest about it. Frankly with my current financial situation combined with the fact DD is totally against it means a move is unlikely.

OP asked for opinions from those who've done it. Well I've done it and got the T-shirt. I understand how she is thinking and a lot of similarities are apparent. I've also said that if I had that chance again I wouldn't do it.

One thing I would never ever do however is move so far that regular access was impossible.

I don't expect that OP will reconsider based on some random posts by people she's never met but at least it would be good to look at it from her ex's point of view and not delude herself in thinking what she is doing is fair and reasonable. Its not. What I did wasn't. It was right for my extended family at the time but totally unfair to my ex.

DailyMailNameChanger Fri 23-Oct-09 15:52:27

Lol yes, how dare I shorten your user name - I mean it is an unwritten rule of MN that no-one is ever to shorten a user name isn't it? hmm (if you really object to Love you should possibly change it though)

As for making assumptions, I feel that you are the one who has done that, you have assumed that the op can be taken at her word. I am making my assumptions based on her actions rather than her words - those being that she is attempting to force a man to have his children taken away against his will and has not asked the dc what their wishes are - so possibly against their will too.

I am aware that this is a place for support - in most cases - however I do not feel I have to be supportive of everyone, especially where their actions are damaging to a child. If someone came here saying "I decided to hit ds with a belt because he ran out in the road - it is only for his own good" I would have no qualms in giving my opinion and disagreeing strongly with the op. This is no different, it directly causes harm for the ops children, it is selfish and in her own interests not those of her children.

tp12 Fri 23-Oct-09 16:24:31

Thank you for your replies.

Yes, I did come on here to look for experiences and advice from people who had some understanding of the situation...not to be judged, which is what I think DMNC is doing. Why would I not want to be taken at my word DMNC? I think it is you who has made assumptions based on your own, possibly, bitter experience.

I have made it quite clear that I am not doing this to frustrate contact. Stbx can well afford to travel by whatever means he chooses, and I am offering to pay towards this. Why can't people just be honest that when they leave a family....they leave a family? I have been to hell and am slowly crawling back at the same time as managing to keep the children happy and safe. The children are, and always will be, my priority...they are not his priority and it's as simple as that. My reasons for moving are genuine and I believe for the greater good. If they were not, I would have p*ssed off ages ago.

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