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want to move an hour away from DD's dad

(21 Posts)
thedarkgoddess Fri 06-Nov-09 11:54:47

I have a daughter of nearly 10 and have been separated from her dad for nearly 3 years. He was emotionally abusive and controlling although a good father to her. He has narcissistic personality disorder. After he left, he almost immediately started a new relationship (actually I'm sure it had started before we split) and he moved in with her a few months later. Six months ago my ex had a new baby with her. He lives about 3 miles away from me at the moment and DD spends 2 weekday nights with him and every other weekend. His life is very chaotic - he has no money because he's never worked, the new baby has serious health/developmental issues and his GF also has a daughter of 12. They all live together in a tiny 2 bed house and DD hates going there. She loves her dad to bits and I try to be amicable for her sake but it's hard because I don't think he's a good man and don't respect him (his own family feel the same).

My ex also has another daughter from an affair he had around the time of DD's birth, so he has 3 kids by 3 different women. I now have a new partner, a really good man who is the love of my life. We plan to live together but this means me relocating to a town an hour away from DD's dad. My parents also live in the new area and it's where I grew up and DD is very close to her grandparents/uncles.

If/when we move, DD would be with me during the week because of school and would see her dad at least every other weekend. I would be happy to consider more than this - 2/3 weekends would be fine. I want to be with DP very much and know he will make a brilliant step-father as he has 3 kids of his own, one a girl DD's age. I also feel that an arrangement like this would give DD more stability; she often complains about having to move from one house to the other during the week. But I know she'll not be happy at not having daddy up the road and I hate having to upset her, albeit hopefully temporarily. I would really welcome your views as to whether I'm doing the right thing.

HeSaysSheSays Fri 06-Nov-09 12:03:58

Very difficult as whatever way you do things you are going to be moving and upsetting children.

I am not sure what to advise but I would say that, should your ex push this, it is unlikely that a court will let you take her out of school against his wishes as there is an established lifestyle here, school, routine with dad, friends etc.... I honestly think you would have a hard time if it came to court.

WRT his housing situation, it is not really relevant, I am sure it feels it to you (and possibly dd) but sharing a room and cramped quaters are not enough to base a move away on really.

GypsyMoth Fri 06-Nov-09 12:05:36

you are doing the tright thing for you,but your dd...well. not so sure if she will be really upset at leaving her dad. only you know how its likely to affect her. have you spoken with her?

your ex has good contact,is this by court order?

GypsyMoth Fri 06-Nov-09 12:07:26

actually,prohibited steps orders are rarely enforced....within jurisdiction.

offer holiday contact.

HeSaysSheSays Fri 06-Nov-09 12:11:06 that makes it ok then?

I really think that, if a court would say no then it is unlikely to be the best thing for the child.

I agree it could be good for the parent but not the child.

I don't mean it is carved in stone but it makes a good barometer to test things by in my book.

Biobytes Fri 06-Nov-09 12:15:07

Well, is not that you are moving to stop facilitating contact, you are moving because your life has moved on, and you are certainly moving to an area where you would have, perhaps, a better network of support, which is something the court will look at.

If you are the parent with care, you only need to inform him of the decision and make the effort for contact to continue (Like finding a way for her to spend more time with his dad (perhaps increasing the time during the weekends).

If you have her most of the time, and there is no court order in place, there shouldn't be much of a problem, unless the dad can convince the court that you are doing it to reduce the time she spends with him.

It is just one hour away, if you were in a big city, probably that could be only a few miles away, it is not as if you are moving to the other corner of the planet.

Now, if you have her 50-50 you may encounter some problems.

thedarkgoddess Fri 06-Nov-09 12:26:16

There's no court order in place, we arrived at the arrangement reasonably amicably. And I really hope this would not have to go to court but I don't know what his response will be. I do currently have her most of the time, and this has increased since he's had his latest child who requires almost constant care. I'd even be prepared to offer him every weekend (with flexibility) and that would equate to a little more than he has currently.

I'm sure if he could DP would offer to relocate to me but there are more reasons for him to stay put. I wanted to move to the new area whilst me and ex-H were together living in London. We wanted somewhere with a better quality of life but he refused and we had to come somewhere that suited him better instead. It would make me deeply unhappy to be separated from DP for too much longer and that I believe would be far worse for DD than her not seeing her dad during the week. Is that selfish?

GypsyMoth Fri 06-Nov-09 12:35:36

i think proposing every weekend is untenable. what about your time with her? what about her new friends,parties etc?

i woud continue to offer every other weekend,with who doing the travel? you can do that and finance it/ or do halfway? he's not working so guessing money will be tight.

i would also suggest midweek telephone/webcam contact,and half terms and shared/alternate xmas and easter. half of summer hols too

Biobytes Fri 06-Nov-09 12:38:08

I don't know if it's selfish. It all depends on your very own circumstances and from some paragraphs here, it is difficult to know what those are.

It may be that it works actually better for him to have her every other weekend, rather than also during the week which may be causing some problems in the job front.

However, whatever you do, don't go into giving him all of the weekends, your DD also needs to have some leisure time with you, more so as she hits teenage in a couple of years.

I would suggest that you start looking for schools, and work out every detail on how your DD's life will be benefitted OR not, with the move. If the pros are more significant than the againsts... well it would be easy to do.

HeSaysSheSays Fri 06-Nov-09 12:40:30

Don't offer him every weekend, I know that sounds odd but just imagine the next 6 or 8 years - until she is an adult where you get one weekend in a blue moon, loose part of every holiday, only see her after school - when it will be dark in winter....

I am not an advocate of removing dc from their parents (mother or father) but offering every weekend is going too far, you need weekend time too, it is important!

You being unhappy etc - yes that is selfish, sorry to be blunt. However, there are levels of selfish - like most things it is not black and white. Of course you would cope if you cannot move to DP, it would be hard but you would manage - afterall you could have weekends together - which is what you are suggesting would be enough for dd and her dad to see each other... but that dosn't mean going or not going are the right options here.

Being honest I really think this is too close to call for an outsider which is why I went to the court argument, I oubt a court would allow it, if it got that far.

The situation is pretty awful all round, a sick child, seperated from your dp, seperating children from thier NRP, making step -siblings relationships harder... I can see why you are feeling the strain of it all a bit!

GypsyMoth Fri 06-Nov-09 12:47:45

if court opposed the move of the child,then the alternative would be staying with dad....not a place your dd likes to be. or you don't move.

are you planning to stay within jurisdiction? i.e not going to scotland are you?

try contact and residency section on advice over there

thedarkgoddess Fri 06-Nov-09 14:44:23

Thank you all for your comments, they're really helfpul. I can see that every weekend away from me would not be good and probably she wouldn't like that either. Biobytes, I know it would make his life easier, and especially when his GF goes back to work (she, like I was, is the breadwinner). Their baby is still being tube-fed at 6 months old and no-one knows how she's going to develop.
He's very hands-on and also has his other daughter to consider.

I would be more than happy to do most of the travelling - at the moment I travel a lot anyway because I have to stay at DP's. He's in a wheelchair and my home is not wheelchair accessible He does come up sometimes and stays at a hotel up the road.
The new place would be well within jurisdiction, about 50 miles away and the roads are good (or can be if you time it right, it's the M25!).

I know I have to give this a great deal of thought and plan it to minimise disruption to DD. I know it sounds like I might be bribing her, but if I moved in with DP I wouldn't have to work full-time (after 30 years of that I can't tell you how much that would mean to me) and we could get a dog. She's been begging me for ages...

HeSaysSheSays Fri 06-Nov-09 15:48:10

What about her school and friends?

<not an accusation a genuine question>

mmrred Fri 06-Nov-09 18:04:51

I think the only honorable think to do is have a conversation with him about it and ask him how he feels. I know if seems to you like you'd be doing him a favour, but he might not see it that way.

As there is no court order in place, you are both equal parents, so you would certainly have to do more than simply 'inform' him you are moving. It would be far better to approach him honestly and try to come up with a solution that you can both agree to.

You also cannot make your DD responsible for your happiness - ie that she has to go without seeing her Daddy every other day so that you can live with your DP - I really don't think that is fair.

Have you really considered the impact of this, psychologically? Suddenly she has to live with 3 other children, a new Daddy, plus since her baby brother/sister arrived, Daddy has had to spend a lot of time with him/her, (and is probably worried sick into the bargain) and if you move she'll have to go without seeing him for weeks at a time?

I'm sorry if this sounds judgey or in your face but I think moving a kid away from a parent is a BIG deal and it changes relationships massively.

I do know what you are going through - I was in the same situation with my DD when she was 10, and my new DP (now DH) lived an hour away from the town where DD's Dad and I both lived. We compromised - I live 25 minutes away and DD goes to a school in the middle so either of us can get her/drop her off. DD found that traumatic enough without all the half/step siblings involved in your situation.

thedarkgoddess Fri 06-Nov-09 18:18:57

Hi mmrred. Yes of course I've considered the impact and part of the reason I'd like to move is to distance her from the chaos at her dad's house - there's no room, they don't put the heating on, the sheets are never changed and they and the house are dirty. Her step-sister bullies her. Also he's making her feel responsible for him, telling her he hasn't any money. She said to me the other day "we'll have to help daddy buy a house". I think that is manipulation of a young child. He never buys her anything and I get no maintenance.

She wouldn't go for weeks without seeing him, I would suggest she could see him 2 out of 3 weekends. I'd only be going an hour away, not to the other side of the world! DP's 2 eldest are at uni, his DD of 12 is the only one at home.I know my ex is likely not to want this and I'd have a fight on my hands and I'm not looking forward to it. I really am weighing up the pros and cons and of course moving her from school and friends is another considerationt. She's a popular girl but there's only one girl she'd really miss (I asked her) and she could still see plenty of her at weekends. She's in year 5 now, so I think next year would be a good time to move, before she starts secondary school.

Or maybe I should just put my own happiness on hold for the next 10 years (by which time I'll be in my 60s). After years of a miserable and abusive marriage I really feel I deserve this but of course I know it's not all about me.

HeSaysSheSays Fri 06-Nov-09 18:58:46

Goddess, it is not all about you - but equally it is not not about you either.

It is a very difficult balancing act you are faced with, as I have said I can see no easy solution. Whatever happens there is going to be difficulty for someone - even staying put would be hard on you. I really do not envy you this decision but the first step is certainly to talk to your ex. Perhaps he will be more accomodating than you think? Well hopefully anyway!

thedarkgoddess Fri 06-Nov-09 19:38:38

Thanks HSSS - I know I musn't rush this and give it time. And also that the first step is to talk to the ex. Very hard to do because we don't communicate well but it needs to be done. Thanks to all for the advice.

HeSaysSheSays Fri 06-Nov-09 19:47:39

Good luck on finding a solution to this one. smile

Niceguy2 Fri 06-Nov-09 19:48:34

This was a bit like my situation a few years ago. I wanted to move 1.5 hours away.

Firstly think about this. Is there ANY chance that your ex would refuse to return your DD after contact once you've moved?

Like you I wanted to do the right thing and I spoke to my ex who wasn't happy. Even though it would mean no change to her contact arrangement. The next time the kids went to hers, she refused to return them. Cue a rather expensive court battle.

Given that your ex sees her dad 3 nights a week, he would have a fair chance at getting a shared residence order.

At the end of the day though an hour isn't very far. Some days it takes me 20 minutes to drive 1 mile to the motorway!

Just tread carefully and you may want to have a chat to a solicitor beforehand so you know where you stand before you speak to the ex.

salbysea Fri 06-Nov-09 19:55:47

FWIW I don't think an hour is far, I do an hours drive twice a day smile

thedarkgoddess Sat 07-Nov-09 18:04:30

Yes, an hour is not far and I've thought about it some more today and I think it's doable. I don't think putting my life on hold for 10 years or so is going to benefit anyone and I'm in no way taking her away from her dad.

Thanks Niceguy, I will tread carefully and maybe chat to my solicitor friend first so I know where I stand. As far as I understand, taking her only an hour away would not be considered unreasonable.

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