My ex and I divorced last year (clean break financially) - we agreed to 50/50 custody of our 2 children and I have been paying her a sum of money each month to help her with clothing etc for the 2 kids (which I agreed but as we had 50/50 custody then I don't think I needed to pay her anything). Since we separated in 2017 although we have said 50/50, me or my parents have had to step in and help her out on numerous occasions (32 times this year alone) due to her poor health (Physical and mental)
Today I got a call from a local authority 40 miles (where her new partner lives) from where we currently live to say she has applied to transfer my kids to a different school and would I approve this transfer. I blocked it and they said she would have to apply to court to try and push this through. Up until now things have been relatively amicable, but does anyone have any experience of this kind of thing? I don't want my kids to have to move school and I cant rely on her to be well enough to look after them even 50% of the time now. I'd prefer not to go to court but don't really see an alternative
Your only legal option is to make an application for a Prohibited Steps Order under s7 of the Children Act 1988. This wouldn't prevent mum from moving, but it would prevent her from moving your children out of their current location. You would need to prove that moving them away would be detrimental to them, ie:
• The other parent is acting unilaterally, disrupting the children’s well-established routine, and shared parenting with you is being terminated without regard to the children’s best interests;
• The other parent’s relocation will effectively erase you from your children’s life;
• You suspect the other parent’s motives, as there was no discussion with you to seek viable alternatives;
• The other parent has no pressing need to relocate, so you believe it has been done to prevent contact;
• Removal from the area is not in your children’s best interests as they are settled at school and moving them away would interrupt their relationships with teachers, friends, other relatives, and, of course, yourself
However, I don''t wish to get your hopes up as judges don''t like to restrict personal movement of a parent, and your ex may believe that she has a good case in moving your children, ie to move to be closer to her new partner for support. The problem with applying for a PSO to restrict internal relocation is that it can be viewed as controlling and with school aged children it is often better to apply for a PSO on the grounds that a change of school and loosing friendships would be disruptive. A PSO application won''t necessarily stop the move but court proceedings ensure that proper arrangements are in place before the move takes place.
Your best option is to come to an agreement with your ex - if you present it as a fight, then it will become hostile. You need to present the arguments against her relocation from a child-focused perspective. Booking some mediation sessions is a good step. It might be an idea to ask her to set out how she thinks contact will work if she does move. How often, who will travel, who will pay for the travel, how will your child cope with the travel, etc. Your arguments should not be about her moving, but about removing your children from their schools, family, friends, disrupting his routine etc. Stay child-focused.
Another option would be to offer to move to her new area in order to continue with the current arrangements.....
Or for your children to live with you, and Mum has contact on the basis you current have.....