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Dad is the main carer - relationship break-up

(58 Posts)
ohnobaby Tue 06-Oct-09 09:12:27

Hi, a friend of mine is married to a Romanian woman. He lost his job about 6 months ago and since then his wife has worked full-time and he's been the main carer for his son who is now 13 months old. They're not getting on too well and she's talking about divorce and taking their son back to Romania. Can this happen? I was under the impression that if he was the main carer he would have the same rights as the 'mother' so to speak? Surely she can't just take their son when he's been the main carer for 6 months? Would he not be entitled to custody? Thanks guys

MaggieBehave Tue 06-Oct-09 09:23:23

It depends. probably yes.

she's not swannign off to the gold coast with a new lover, she's returnign to her home country for the support of extended family.

i am told that judges are begining to question the wisdom applying the hague convention absolutely wihtout question. (ie that removing children from habitual domicile is always wrong). there's a shift happening. more consideration is finally being given to the fact that a single parent needs the support of her extended family.

If your friend wants the baby to stay in the UK then I would suggest that he does everything in his power to make sure that he acts honourably (in the long term, not just the short term) and does not set out to crush her/beat her (however you want to phrase it). She should go where she's going to be able to provide the baby with as much love without financial hardship.

Tell him not to be a wanker about it, fighting her every inch of the way. He has got to open his eyes to the fact that a mother needs her family around her and that by ordering her to remain in the uk he would be expecting a massive, and longterm sacrifice from her.

She's still the child's mother whether she had to work or not, and she probably wouldn't be penalised for that if she worked because he couldn't get a job iyswim.

The child is too young to have a routine, to know grandparents, habitual domicile is where you've lived the last YEAR and child only a baby...

so yes I think she could be able to return to romania. I think she should be allowed to as well, but that's a separate thread.

MaggieBehave Tue 06-Oct-09 09:24:43

ps, I 'did' what she wants to do. Few hitches but I managed it.

addictedtosuckingblood Tue 06-Oct-09 09:25:09

as a father he'd be intitled to custody anyway.

i dont know much about it, but i didnt want to leave you unanswered. hopefull someone will be along in a moment with better advice. but try talking to the CAB or a soliciter

ohnobaby Tue 06-Oct-09 09:36:12

Thanks all. I just wasn't sure what to say to him, I assumed because he was the main carer now that he would still remain as the main carer but obviously not unless it went through court. He's not going to be a wanker about it, he just doesn't want to lose his son and not be able to see him as often as he liked. I can understand that as I split from my partner after living in Australia for 2 years. I wanted to return there because that was where all my friends were, my family are in Cyprus, but I decided to stay here because I wanted my daughter to see her dad as often as possible.

ElenorRigby Tue 06-Oct-09 10:10:04

Where was the child born?

ElenorRigby Tue 06-Oct-09 10:11:58

Oh and where has the child lived for most of it's life?

Snorbs Tue 06-Oct-09 10:12:40

I'm somewhat surprised by MaggieBehave's automatic assumption that the child should stay with the mother regardless of the fact that the father's been the main carer but hey ho.

OP, please recommend to your friend that he joins Families Need Fathers ASAP and ask their advice. They're not the same bunch of nutters as Fathers 4 Justice - FNF's aims are to reduce the conflict over child residency and contact and to help fathers stay in contact with their children. FNF's usual recommendation is to avoid courts as much as possible and go for mediation. However, if your friend considers there's a real risk that the mum will abscond with the child then he may need to get a temporary Prohibited Steps Order to prevent that until the case can be sorted out properly.

ohnobaby Tue 06-Oct-09 10:16:08

Thanks snorbs, that's great. The Child was born in the UK and has lived here ever since he was born

ElenorRigby Tue 06-Oct-09 10:23:05

btw Maggiebehaves post is just what she thinks should happen. The law looks at the status quo ie who the child is being cared for now and where the child lives now
From the information you have posted your friend has a very good case to become the resident parent. If the child was born here or has been habitually resident in the UK for some time that child cannot be removed from jurisdiction with out the consent of all those with PR (parental responsibility).
Romania is a signatory of the Haugue Convention btw so if she took the child without your friends consent she would be abducting the child.
Your friend could apply for residence and put in a prohibited steps order to prevent the child from being removed from the UK.

ElenorRigby Tue 06-Oct-09 10:27:43

Yep I second Snorbs advice that your friend seek advice ASAP from Families Need Fathers
He really needs to act now!

MaggieBehave Tue 06-Oct-09 14:52:31

Well, Eleanor Rigby, you are cool with mothers being penalised (in the event of custody battles) for having had to get a job (as her husband not working).

The father could go all out to "win" this. But winning this will be at the expense of some woman who is isolated from her friends and family.

What's the outcome he's looking for?! Full custody?? so the mother is then tied for ever to a country that's not her own country? But the father could emigrate after gaining custody???

This woman needs legal advice and soon. I hope she is watching her back.

Snorbs Tue 06-Oct-09 15:18:50

It's not about who "wins" between the mother and the father. It's about doing what's best for the child. Right now, that child is being predominantly cared for by his dad. Therefore there is every reason to consider continuing with that. Working status doesn't come in to it (which is lucky for SAHMs, of course).

ElenorRigby Tue 06-Oct-09 15:22:26

Well said Snorbs, a voice of reason as always

MaggieBehave Tue 06-Oct-09 15:32:44

lol at snorbs the voice of reason. Caped crusader with blinkers of the reasonable part of his brain.

Snorbs is right when he says THIS much though, It's not about winning.

An admirable statement, but what the op's friend wants is to win full residency. He will use whatever arguments he can to win full residency such as the fact that while he wasn't working his wife was.

If he loses full custody he wants to tie the mother to the UK for as long as HE chooses to reside here.

A child of 6 months old will stil be waking up for nightfeeds or cuddles and she may well be equally close to her mother, and if, at this point in her life (a tiny 6 months old) she is aware of being slightly closer to her father than her mother, the op's friend will seize on that and use it against the mother.

6 short months ago that child was in her mother's stomach and EleanorRigby, you must have a chip missing if you think that working could push that further in to her memory.

Eleanor, I expect nothing less from Snorbs than to always argue everything from a separated father's point of view. He annoys me, but it's to be expected. Do you really think that as a woman you would have thought it was fair or right or reasonable that you could have lost residency of your 6 month old BABY because you'd had to work?? Pull the other one?!!? You'd be like any woman I bet, suicidal at the prospect of losing residency of your child. If in the UK though you'd have your family around to support you. Romanian woman won't have that.

Her tiny baby mgiht be taken from her by its British father who no doubt knows how to work the British system. IF the child is only 6 months old, the mother can't possibly have been working for longer than 4 months anyway. That is not 'habitual' as the courts eyes.

MaggieBehave Tue 06-Oct-09 15:34:22

I'm ony presuming you're a mother.

ElenorRigby Tue 06-Oct-09 16:06:05

ohnobaby, as already said your friend as the main carer has a strong case for residency.
He could also apply for a prohibited steps order to prevent the child being removed from jurisdiction.
Here is some more information about the law regarding the removal of children from jurisdiction.
Hope that helps

Snorbs Tue 06-Oct-09 16:26:46

MaggieBehave, I'm astounded that you could read so much malicious intent into this guy's motives. It would seem that in your world at least, it's impossible for a father to simply want to be able to see his child (a child who he's been the main carer for) grow up. Luckily the real world doesn't work to such blinkered values.

On the other hand, the OP makes it clear that the child is 13 months old. Maybe your ability to fantasise about your imagined evil intent of this father is some kind of compensatory development for your lack of reading skills?

addictedtosuckingblood Tue 06-Oct-09 16:36:01

maggie i didnt read that he wanted full custody and no one said he would be forcing the mother to stay in the country. from what i read of the op the father wants joint custody and surley if an amicable decision could be made there should be nothing stopping that joint custody eventually being something like a period of time in each country?

to me it just sounds like this father is worried the mother may take the baby away to a diffrent countrywith out discussing it properly and he would then find it very difficult to have fair access to the child.

i think regardless of wether snorbs is a man or a woman he makes a very valid point it is about doing whats right for the child. there are alot of cases where the child does reside with the father rather than the mother an i really see no harm in that. the right thing wuld really be to do whats best for the child

diddl Tue 06-Oct-09 16:39:19

If the father isn´t working, what´s to stop him going to Romania if the mother is allowed to return?

Snorbs Tue 06-Oct-09 16:51:58

Visa issues? Language issues? Maybe he's got his own extended family in the UK?

MaggieBehave Tue 06-Oct-09 17:18:31

Snorbs, there is no malicious intent in my words, I understand what it feels like to face the prospect of a court case which may or may not rule in your favour. I understand the terror (which I felt so deep it was in my bones) of being at the mercy of a judge who knows nothing about you or your life or your x's life and who might rule in favour of your x.

I make no apology for empathising primarily with a mother in these cases (unless there has been another issue). I felt my children move inside me and I gave birth to them and I understand what absolute torment it would be for a woman to lose her children..... because she had a job???????? That is a disgrace. That is no reason to be at risk of losing residency of your children.

He wants the child to stay in the uk, and he's going to use the fact that he hasn't been working and his wife has against her to get his way. He wants the court to rule in his favour, and if his x is isolated and tied to a country where she knows nobody, then so be it.

I've had converstations with you before and you show no mercy for a mother. It's fight for the rights all the way. Collateral damage (the mother) is incidental.

"Do you really think that as a woman you would have thought it was fair or right or reasonable that you could have lost residency of your 6 month old BABY because you'd had to work?? Pull the other one?!!? You'd be like any woman I bet, suicidal at the prospect of losing residency of your child."

You know this applies to Dad too in many, many cases right?

MaggieBehave Tue 06-Oct-09 17:28:40

Libras, women carry their children, give birth to them, breastfeed them.

If you think that a man has as strong a bond with a practically new born baby as its mother does then I will just laugh at you.

And besides, listen to you arguing for some Dad who wants to go to court for residency of his children... hmm you and Eleanorrigby would have said, "oh of course, you are perfectly entitled to take me to court for residency over our six month old baby, may the best man win" ......?

I somehow doubt it. Think back to when your baby was 6 months old.

Theory is a wonderful thing. But you wouldn't have handed your OWN children over I bet. Some other woman should face that risk though???

Bramshott Tue 06-Oct-09 17:31:45

Ahem - the baby is 13 months old, the father has been the main carer for the past 6 months.

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