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Ex and relocation advise
#1
Hi,
My Ex has been planning a relocation 150 miles away (6 hours return journey time) in secret for months and has already notified schools and our six year old child, who told me about it. She is currently refusing to discuss in mediation but has no job offer or family in her new proposed location. I have been a non resident parent since my daughter was six months old and have had overnights for 4 years, currently 6 nights per month term time. We don’t have any court orders.

My question is if anyone has any experience with CAFCASS or court orders in relation to the Max distance a 6 y/old child can reasonably travel for alternate weekend contact. My Ex is saying she will bring our child back most of the way for my alternate weekends but as she has not made a single journey of 10 miles in 5 years I don’t believe she will honour that. And I think a 300 mile round trip each alternate weekend is way too far for a child after school, therefor CAFCASS / court wouldn’t make that journey part of a formal agreement as too far unless school holidays. My ex is trying to sell her relocation based on my contact not changing but would be forcing a six year old to travel huge distances that I don’t want to put her through. I also want to formalise contact with an order if she is relocating.

I appreciate every case is different but hoped I’d find a rough limit of what’s deemed acceptable for a child to travel by courts/CAFCASS .

Thanks in advance!
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#2
(04-29-2021, 05:15 PM)Condor Wrote: Hi,
My Ex has been planning a relocation 150 miles away (6 hours return journey time) in secret for months and has already notified schools and our six year old child, who told me about it. She is currently refusing to discuss in mediation but has no job offer or family in her new proposed location. I have been a non resident parent since my daughter was six months old and have had overnights for 4 years, currently 6 nights per month term time. We don’t have any court orders.

My question is if anyone has any experience with CAFCASS or court orders in relation to the Max distance a 6 y/old child can reasonably travel for alternate weekend contact. My Ex is saying she will bring our child back most of the way for my alternate weekends but as she has not made a single journey of 10 miles in 5 years I don’t believe she will honour that. And I think a 300 mile round trip each alternate weekend is way too far for a child after school, therefor CAFCASS / court wouldn’t make that journey part of  a formal agreement as too far unless school holidays. My ex is trying to sell her relocation based on my contact not changing but would be forcing a six year old to travel huge distances that I don’t want to put her through. I also want to formalise contact with an order if she is relocating.

I appreciate every case is different but hoped I’d find a rough limit of what’s deemed acceptable for a child to travel by courts/CAFCASS .

Thanks in advance!

I think you should apply for an urgent prohibited steps order "to prevent Mother moving child away".  You can't prevent ex moving wherever she wants as its seen as her human right.  But the court can order that the child lives with you if she moves further away.  That has stopped some ex's moving.  The main thing is being able to show that she is not supportive of contact.  The only reason you would get residency probably is if it can be shown that the reason for the move is to prevent regular contact.  She would be expected to have a valid reason for moving that far - a job to go to, a partner to move in with etc.

Do you have a court order already?  Regardless of Cafcass, you would hardly ever see your daughter if she lived that far away - most of the week-end would be spent travelling, no midweek contact.  You would see her in holidays but with the distance and less time, many ex's use the opportunity to try and remove them from your life.

Some of this depends how amicable you and she are - but she hasn't told you.  One word of warning.  Your daughter has told you and presumably wasn't supposed to.  My son did this and I inadvertently dropped him in it when a solicitor's letter challenged ex based on what son had told me.  I am sure she punished him for it.

So if you can "find out" some other way, you can apply to court honestly stating that you know your ex is planning to move.  So if she has told schools - then contact the school and get confirmation in writing that your ex has informed them your daughter will be leaving the school due to moving.

That is the evidence you need.  Just a short email from the school will do.  If they won't do that then ring them and have it confirmed then just put in an application that school have confirmed daughter is being removed and moving away.

Apart from anything else she shouldn't remove your daughter from school without your knowledge and consent (although they do things like that).

Do you have it in writing that she is refusing to discuss the matter at mediation?  If so put in a prohibited steps application.  The advice I was given was - don't say you want to prevent the Mother moving, say you want to prevent the child moving and state that if the Mother moves the order should be varied so the child lives with you and spends additional holiday time with the Mother plus EOW.  Argument being - the ex has no reason to move for work or family, child is settled at school and has strong links with paternal family and friends in current location, you have cared for her significantly since she was 6 months old and you have a strong bond - the separation would be traumatic for your daughter.  You feel the ex's move is designed to frustrate daughter's relationship with you.

It is rare for them to stop a Mother moving away. But a good Judge has on occasion ordered that the child remains with the Father and IF the Mother still wants to move, then she can but she will have to do all the travelling and collections and drop offs.

Basically - try and stop it happening.
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#3
Courts generally cant prevent ex partners moving as long as they allow contact to continue. What is her reasons for moving , because surely it can only be if she has a partner there or something. No family, no job etc. Cafcass and courts wont have an issue with the distance however i think your 6 nights will become 4 though if u allow move to happen.
As for transport i imagine you will end up doing the 150 mile trip on a friday with daughter and most your ex will do is maybe meet you halfway on sunday afternoon for a handover. There is no guarantee she will stick to this as you said she dont even drive 10 miles at moment. Contact wise if she moves you are looking at 4 nights a month during term time and half the holidays .
Only way there could be midweek contact is if you was in the area which is unlikely for a pick up from school play + supper.3pm - 7/8pm for example .

It could be worth putting an emergency application in to try and stop this from happening as you dont know if shes going to call further problems with contact in future and you definitely need a court order. if you do decide to put one in best to lay it on thick to try and get a hearing quicker without slating ex of course. for example mum of our daughter moving 200 miles away to an unknown location ..this is detrimental to daughter as she wont be able to see father . contact been happening since shes 6 months old which ensure stability and routine for her. every other weekend .6 nights every 28 days and half of the holidays.
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#4
My ex moved 180 miles - I just let her and accepted the fact - its going to happen, you just now need to adjust your contact 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
Thanks for the responses. I have no order, has been Informal all along but never worked that well. Never allowed a regular phone call for example and there were gaps in contact in the first years as she kept leaving the country for weeks at a time before child was 3. Often to work illegally in America. My complaints were sent to the police and she attempted safeguarding with social services but as nothing had happened, no action was taken. That was 4 years ago but she will certainly bring all this up in the family court.

Ex has formally refused mediation to discuss her relocation so I only have an email from her “committing” to my contact but I can’t simply take her word for it given our history. I will self represent and as she is wealthy will have a top solicitor but I can’t worry about that. Just need some one to look at the case and decide what should happen.

Thanks again .
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#6
I think you should apply to court. You can apply for prohibited steps and Child Arrangements at the same time on the same C100 form. As no orders at present, there is nothing that formally says the child lives with either of you. Unless you have agreed in writing that your daughter lives with your ex.

I think either apply for shared care/lives with both, but that if the Mother intends to move, you wish this to be on the basis that your daughter lives with you midweek, remains at her current school and spends 3 week-ends out of four with ex plus additional time in holidays.

Or - apply for daughter to live with you and spend time with her Mother 3 week-ends out of four and more than half the school holidays - on the basis that ex has no valid reason to move 200 miles away, other than to prevent your relationship with your daughter.

It needs some thinking about but you also need to get an application in quick. When I was in this situation, barrister advised to apply for prohibited steps "to prevent Mother moving child away" and residency/lives with you if she does decide to move. My ex didn't move in the end and had to do an undertaking to say she wouldn't change the child arrangements without plenty of time for mediation first (stop her doing a moonlight flit basically). But every situation is different.

So ideally you'd have a MIAM first even the prohibited steps is an urgent application. You could probably get one at 24 hours notice as it helps to have it in the application. But you also want to get an application in quick. You can self rep and get help on here maybe.

I think the reason I was advised to ask for residency if she moved was to deter her - and it did.

So Monday morning - google mediators in your area, ring round them and make an appointment with the one who can do it quickest - might be videolink which would make it quicker as well. The MIAM is the first mediation appointment on your own where they tell you what mediation is. You can just say - your ex has refused mediation so you want to be signed off. They then send you sign off form to put in your application (it is a page of the C100 so you replace the blank page with the mediator signed page). On one occasion I took the C100 form with me and asked them to sign the page from it at the appointment rather than wait for them to send it.

Meanwhile download the C100 and start filling it in. It's mainly standard details. The Summary box is where you write your piece and what you're asking for. It's not a big box so you can just put "please see attached sheet" and type it out and attach it to the form. For an attached sheet put your name and application details at the top. I also copy the statement of truth from the end of the form onto the end of the sheet and sign and date it.

What is the current pattern of contact and for how long? It might help to know what to ask for. I am thinking probably something like - after your explanation, when you then ask what you want the court to order:

I request the court make an order to prohibit the Mother moving the child away from her current region and school and that the court makes a shared care order for child to live with both parents on a 50/50 basis. In the event that the Mother does move out of the region, I request the court make the shared care order as follows:

Child lives with Mother three week-ends out of four, all the half terms and half the remainder of the school holidays.

I would get an application in asap - or you may end up losing contact. It sounds like there has been some hostility previously so no you can't trust what she says.
Child lives with Father at all other times.
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