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Relocation
#1
I separated from my wife 19 months ago and we now live in our own flats.   We are not yet divorced but she wants this to be sorted soon.  She has provisionally agreed to a clean break order.  I see my son 3 days a week and pay her an agreed maintenance.  She is now talking about relocating to Norfolk which is 114 miles away.  She has no ties there except her new boyfriend's parents live there. She is trying to say it is a small community and she could work part time so it would be better for him. She says I would still see him every weekend and she will drive him back as I don't drive but I don't trust her as she keeps changing everything we have agreed.  I also think my son has been through enough upheaval.  He is 8 and I don't want him to leave his school and friends.  I know this will upset him greatly.  Can I stop it from happening?  I believe I can get a court order if she takes him away without my consent but is it likely to be granted?  We have no legal agreements in place, can I get something in place if we don't agree?  I would be very grateful for any advice.
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#2
You can try with a prohibited steps order, but it may not work
The opinions here are not that of Separated Dads, but merely a loving father who has been through the process and has come out the other side.
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#3
Many thanks. She backtracked and stated it wasn't concrete yet so I suspect I would have to try mediation before I applied for any court orders.
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#4
Yeah you would - it may be worth your while getting something in writing/court order now
The opinions here are not that of Separated Dads, but merely a loving father who has been through the process and has come out the other side.
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#5
(10-17-2018, 12:41 PM)invisibleintellectual Wrote: Yeah you would - it may be worth your while getting something in writing/court order now

Thanks for your help.  I will look into it.
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#6
Hmm. She could just up and move at short notice? ie move in with the boyfriend's parents. Does the boyfriend live there too? I would start mediation asap. At mediation you can reach an agreement which can be put into a consent order - which is legally binding - for the child arrangements. Never mind the clean break you want a 50/50 shared care order for your son to "live with" both parents. (Assuming you want him 50/50) . Or at least 60/40 "lives with both parents". That would be shared care order and would help if she did happen to move. Google mediators in the area, ring round them and take the first appointment (or go with the one that sounds most helpful). The first appointment you go to on your own (MIAM) where they explain stuff and you tell them the situation. They then invite the ex (you could also tell her you think mediation would be an idea and to expect an invite). If she won't go or doesn't turn up you get signed off mediation. Or if no agreement is reached for a consent order then you get signed off. And you can then apply to court.

Seriously you need a court order asap. At the moment everything is informally agreed and she can just change her mind whenever she feels like it and it would be very difficult to get more than every other week-end if she moves further away - so the sooner you have an order that is nearly 50/50 the more it establishes a full home life with you.

Rule number one after separation - trust is out the window - you are both looking out for yourselves and lives go in different directions. But keeping amicable (as much as possible) is good for the kids. So first step is to ask her to agree to a consent order over arrangements for your son - not just the amount of time with each of you, but to include where he goes to school (eg it could have an agreement that he remains at the same school until secondary school).
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#7
Thank you so much. This is very useful
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#8
Thanks to you both for the advice. I booked mediation and right before it she said she was still moving but was going to stay with her mum for half the week to allow him to stay in school and take him to Norfolk on Fridays then back on Sundays so I can get him for half the week. So much driving. How long before the plan gets changed again? I went to MIAMS this week on my own and told her she would get an invite soon. She is refusing to go saying there is now no need so I asked her if we could get a consent order for child arrangements drafted by a solicitor stating I see him on my days and he stays in his school. Again she has refused saying I could use it against her. That tells me that she doesn't plan to stick to it so it looks like I will need to apply for a court order. Stressful but I can't keep letting her fry my boy's head like this. Any advice on this next stage would be highly appreciated. Thanks for your help so far.
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#9
As you say you can't trust what she says. Otherwise why would she not agree to perfectly reasonable child arrangements formalised? Next stage is - you need signing off by the mediator. The form they sign is a page of the court application form. Contact them and say you want signing off because your ex won't come. In the past I've taken the form with me and got them to sign it there and then. Last time they said they'd post it out to me (you then replace the page in the application form with the one they send) - but it took two weeks. So tell them you need it urgently and are happy to bring the form in to be signed. If they say they'll post it say you need it this week.

So you need to download the C100 court application form. It's fairly straightforward to fill in but make sure you get the details right. Anything you're not sure about, ask on here. The important bit is the summary box which is where you say why you are applying, what the situation is, what you've tried so far, what the other person's point of view is and why you don't agree with it, and what you're asking the court to do - ie what order you want them to make. So a brief piece covering those things. Also important to know what you're asking for and to have that in the box at the front. Eg
Child Arrangements order "lives with both parents". In the summary you can say specifically. eg I wish the court to make an order for my son to live with both parents on a 50/50 shared care basis as follows:

Week 1: Wed 3.15pm to Friday 9am
Week 2: Wed 3.15pm to Monday 9am
Half the school holidays to include a full week at Christmas and Easter, the second, third and sixth week of the summer holidays, the whole of October half term and half of February half term.

That's just an example - you put what you want when you've worked it out. If you're not asking for 50/50 then leave the 50/50 bit out. Better to ask for more than you want and then you can negotiate down to less. There are negotiations before hearings sometimes where it can be agreed and not need to go ahead with the hearing. Otherwise - you may get it if you ask for it, or you may get less. The standard is 4 or 5 nights a fortnight and half the school holidays.

I've done two applications and in the summary box I put "please see attached sheet" and type it out and insert the sheet behind the summary page. Because it's not a very big box to write in. You need to put your name at the top and what you are applying for (as in the box on the front page) and copy across the wording from the statement of truth at the end of the form, sign the extra sheet and date it.

So something like an opening paragraph saying you wish to apply for a Child Arrangements order for your son to spend x time with you, to ensure his ongoing stability.

Then a brief bit about the circumstances and history. eg Jane and I separated in x year and agreed to share the care of our son. For the past x years son has spent Mon to Wed with me every week and every other week-end (or whatever) with me taking him to and from school and being fully involved in his school and extra curricular activities. On x date Jane informed me she planned to move 100 miles away. I did not feel this would be in our son's best interests as he is settled at his current school and doing well and has an established pattern and home life with me. I attended mediation but Jane did not wish to attend. I am therefore asking the court to make an order as follows:

Just thought you might need to ask for prohibited steps as well as Child Arrangements. And you might need to do that urgently if you think she might just move at any time. In which case tell the mediator you'll bring the form in for them to sign because you need to make an urgent application. I'm not sure it would be classed as so urgent you don't need mediation signed off, unless you have some clear idea that she is planning to move in the next couple of weeks or something.

The thing is - if she has good reason to want to move a court is not going to stop her moving - it's her human right to live where she wants - which conflicts with the child's right to significant and regular contact with both parents. So you'd want to be looking at a workable agreement wherever she lives. And if you have an order for him to live with both parents (what used to be a joint residence order) it is a stronger position for the future if she decided to move again. Something like the 2-2-5-5 suggested above wouldn't work if she was further away because you couldn't do the school nights.

I would suggest asking for 3 week-ends out of 4 and a Skype call on the 4th week-end, plus all the half term holidays, half the summer holidays, and half of Easter and Christmas (ie additional holidays instead of regular midweek nights) on a shared care lives with basis, due to the history of shared care son has had - as she is planning to move further away and for the driving to be shared by way of her dropping him off on Fridays and you returning him on Sundays.

Otherwise you may just get every other week-end and half the holidays and that is not frequent time.

Alternatively you could go in stronger with the shared care and say you wish for him to live with you Monday to Thursday and live with his Mother 3 week-ends out of four with a Skype call on the fourth week-end, and additional holidays with her.

It's how a 50/50 shared care would work at a distance. Main thing is to stress the ongoing pattern of shared care he has had and push for shared care if she is moving.

It's a bit late - sorry if that was a bit garbled.
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#10
That is absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for all of this. It is beyond helpful
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