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Is it worth applying?
#1
Hi, new to the forum and hoping for some guidance.

My wife left the matrimonial home last September to live with her girlfriend. My daughter, 16yr old in a week, has stated from the start that she wants to live with me and is still living with me in the matrimonial home. One of the many reasons for her decision is that her mother now lives in a 2 bed static caravan and she doesn't feel comfortable in that environment and the new lifestyle her mother has chosen.

My wife accepted my daughters decision, albeit with a lot of tension and poor behaviour on her part. My question relates to residency in that both my wife and I initially agreed to sell the home. This was an informal agreement; however, since then I have found that my chances of obtaining a new mortgage are low so I will be forced to rent.  This will significantly increase my monthly outgoings and put a huge strain on my finances. I've been made aware that I can approach the courts to seek a residency order where my wife will be unable to force sale of the home whilst our daughter is in full time education. My daughter has stated that she would like to stay in the home, decorate and make it 'our' home. She has also said that the stress of moving will add to the stress and anxiety she's suffered since her mother left.

My concern is that I could lose the case as I've read that the courts tend to side with the mother, irrespective of what the father or daughter wants. If I did lose then I'm at risk of losing the house, custody of my daughter and be a lot worse of financially.  All I want is for my daughter to be safe, happy and confident that for the next 2 years she won't have the worry of having to move and lose the quality of life she's been accustomed to.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated because I can see this becoming very messy, expensive and putting a huge strain on my daughter. Thank You
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#2
At 16 I have heard what the child wants carries great weight. So my feeling is you will have a great chance at getting residency and if your finances means you can't split and each afford a home, then I think you will be allowed to live in the house.

Don't mix the two issues when negotiating. Agree residency first and foremost, get it approved, then talk about finances, get a clean break agreement.

But first go to mediation for a child arrangement order, if mediation fails, you can apply to court for a child arrangement order, that says she will "live with you".

After that is done and dusted you will start negotiating for finances, (get a solicitor to make sure where you stand). If you can't agree, you will have another court case for finances.
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#3
Thanks for the reply. I will suggest mediation to my wife but I'm not convinced she will agree. Sadly she has put herself first at every step of the way since she left in September and has driven a wedge between her and our daughter, a relationship which used to be so close. My wife has a home, the caravan, as her new partner, who is 14 yrs her junior, voluntary lives there and has said she's content there.  The overheads will be minimal living in a caravan but she's seeking sale of the matrimonial home so she can pay off her large debts, a lot of which built up trying to keep her affair a secret.

My concern is that if this does go to court then texts, emails etc can be used. At the outset of the marriage split I had a mental breakdown and a number of messages were sent which were regrettable, for which I've since acknowledged and apologised for. My wife also had a breakdown and physically attacked me in my car and also threatened me after I asked her remove her belongings from the home. My mental health has since improved, greatly, and I'm seeing a counsellor on a weekly basis who has said that my health has improved significantly but I'm still not 100% there and my concern is that the courts may look badly on this and, despite my daughters wishes and her feeling safe & content, could refuse my request.
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#4
I wouldn't worry about the texts,etc. Everybody understands during separation , people get emotional and can do or say irrational things. Just keep it clean from now on.

Look the court understand they can't really make a 16 year old do what she doesn't like.if she says she wants to stay with you in the family house, that is what they will order, I am fairly sure.

Refuse to engage in any financial negotiations until the child care arrangement is sorted.

If she doesn't come to mediation, you can ask them to sign you off, then you can apply to the court for a child arrangement order.
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#5
Thanks again. I've suggested mediation to her and she's responded by saying I'm making the divorce difficult and costing her money. Her reason being that I haven't rolled over and accepted everything in the petition.  She's now making plans with our daughter without informing me, which I've said isn't acceptable as I'm her main carer. Mediation, I'm assuming, would put a stop to this.  If my wife does not agree to mediation can I still go ahead with it and if she doesn't challenge it then what?  Sorry for asking but this is very difficult for me at the moment and fear making things worse than they already are
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#6
start mediation and make sure you ring them monday morning. you dont want to be listening to any more of her poor excuses.
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#7
Your first meeting for mediation is called mediation assessment meeting, MIAM. If she doesn't turn up, you can ask them to sign your court application which is needed to show you have tried mediation.

Fill in a C100 form and take it with you just in case. That is an application for a child arrangement order.
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#8
Thanks for the advice. I'll get the ball rolling asap and just hope it turns out OK
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#9
Update on this. My ex has flatly refused mediation so I've contacted her solicitor, as requested, but still waiting for a response. I've also made several attempts with a mediator to set up a meeting but they're not getting back to me so I'm still no further down the line.

My ex had my daughter for the full weekend and only informed me of times returning after I'd contacted her to find out. There was no consideration from her part and when I asked for our daughter to be back for a certain time she responded with a later time; end of, no discussion. I informed my daughter and ex that I had plans with my daughter for the full weekend coming up, only for my ex to play the emotional card on my daughter and say she wanted to make plans for the Sunday. I don't want my daughter being put in the middle, she's been through a lot, so agreed saying we'll rearrange our plans for another day. I informed my ex of this good news only to receive a response of 'leave me alone'.

I fear that my best attempts to be fair are being ignored and my ex will refuse any proposals made for the arrangement order. My best intentions and interests are with my daughter in mind but it would appear this is not the same for my ex, who is willing to disregard any of my requests or responsibilities as a father.
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#10
The leave me alone line worries me.
I would at this point refrain from email, text, or phone calls. Get to your solicitor and apply for a child arrangement order. If you need to contact her, doing so via your solicitor may be safer.

If you have email that she has refused mediation that may be enough to proceed with the court application. I am not sure though. Your solicitor may be able to advise.
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