This might sound like such a simple question but I'm really not sure at all where I stand on this.
I am intending to leave my wife and the marital home very soon but I am also determined that my two young children, (6 and 11), will be coming with me. I am off for a fresh start with a new partner to be, but it is going to mean that I will be moving over 100 miles away.
Where do I stand legally in taking my children? What can she do to stop me? What should I be doing to ensure it all goes as well as possible for me and my children?
A bit of background. My wife and I have not been getting on at all well for several years now. She is very domineering, critical, impatient and intolerant! I am extremely unhappy and have finally had enough and want to leave her and start again. Then to complicate things, I met someone else. Bad timing or good? That's another question You really can’t choose when these things happen.
Anyway, wife is now suffering from depression and is off work on long term sick. She is mentally unstable in my opinion and although seems outwardly fine most of the time, is most definitely 'on the edge' and occasionally snaps and threatens to leave or run away, saying that she just doesn't care anymore about anything.
She knows things aren’t good between us and has said, during her darker moods, that she worries that I will leave.
I know she is ill and I understand what a bastard I must seem for intending to kick her whilst she'd down, so to speak, but it also seems to me that perhaps this is the best time as I don't feel she would be capable of looking after our girls if she was alone with them.
I am extremely close to my girls and have always undertaken all the school runs and evening/weekend clubs, classes and activities. It’s me they call out for in the night if they are ill or need something. It’s me they confide in and me who they ask those awkward questions, as children do!
I need to know where I stand legally. Am I just able to take my children and leave, or do I have to do anything to keep it all legal, especially as I will be moving far away? I have already found great new schools which have spaces for my girls and we will have a roof over our heads.
Any comments, criticisms or suggestions are welcome, no matter which way they lean. One of the best things about the Wikivorce Forums is the honest and experienced replies it receives.
Thanks you very much,
I don't know your whole story but this is my take on it from the information you have given. If I am too harsh because I don't have all the facts, I apologise.
As a father of two children (10 and 8 when we separated in 06) I think you are moving too quickly by taking the children to live with you and your new partner in a place they don't know.
During divorce children need to be kept as stable as possible by normally staying in the family home and staying in the same school with their friends. They won't know their new surroundings and they won't know your new partner. You are changing everything for them and you may find they reject you and your new partner and want to be in the familiar surroundings of their home and school.
Why do you have to move a long way away? If you want the children being with you, you have more chance of a court agreeing with you, if move to a house in the current locality and keep the children in their current school and near their friends.
I share care of my children with my ex2b on a 50/50 shared care basis with the children one week with me and one week with her. I have set up a home in a rented house 1/2 a mile from the FHM and the children have one life but two homes. They do the same activities each week, whether they are with me or ex2b.
Have you thought of the effect on your wife of you taking your (and her) children a long way away? How will she get to see the children - are you going to drive the children so that they can spend time with her
I think you are smitten with your new woman and not thinking about the most important thing in your life - your children. If you want to move away to be with this woman, do it but leave your children where they feel safest.
I hope this is of help but I somehow think you have made your mind up and no amount of reasoning from anyone on here will change your mind
I have similar issues to you as well regarding child care issues. My wife also suffers from mental health problems.
I assume you haven't started any sort of divorce proceedings? in which case there will be no court orders regarding custody of the children.
This means you have PR (parental responsibility) which means both parents have equal rights. I was recently concerned about returning my children to my W after the Xmas break. She had self harmed and was admitted to A & E whilst the C were with me. I contacted Social Services (yet again!) and explained my concerns about returning the C to her. If she was having little regard for her own well being I didn't feel she was in the right frame of mind to put the welfare of the C first either?
SS advised I was in my rights not to return the C if I considered that it wasn't safe for the C to return home. In the end the situation defused itself and I returned them. I live 230 miles away.
I recognise the fact that even though I have major issues over my W's parenting skills the C love her very much and she needs to be a part of their lives. For their sakes not hers. I believe i am a much better parent than her but that is of little consequence to the C they love us both equally! their not concerned about the practicalities of the situation as us adults.
If you take them away from the FHM their schools and friends and other routines and actives they have grown up with and even the stability of and familiarity of situation ( your not happy with) they know and are used to. Do you think moving them 100 miles away with some who's is not their mother and into an unknown environment is going to be less upsetting than them stopping in the FHM?
These kind of things will have a major bearing on any possible custody battle that you might get entangled in later should your W decide to try and take legal action? So it's what's best for the C and not the parents which is the issue really I believe.
Clearly I don't know your full situation and there may well be other factors which you haven't mentioned which may mean what you propose to be the best solution for the C. I do not mean to insult or offend you in any way as you well may have though about all things long and hard no doubts?
I just express my opinions as a father who really feels the pain of not seeing his C every day my eyes well with tears as I write this! As much as I now dislike my W could I do this to her? but much more importantly were are the C happiest at present? I dearly hope that one day the situation will arise and they will live with me! I don't want them to become pawns in Mum & Dads big game of emotional chess and have their loyalties ripped in two.
My question to you is are you fighting for your C or are you going to be fighting over them?
You seem very sure..."I am also determined that my two young children, (6 and 11), will be coming with me".
What would your children want?
I wish I had my children with me. Perhpas I went about things badly but at least when I made my decision to leave my husband I left the kids with him because at that time I thought it was the best thing for them. I didnt go too far either only 5 mins because I needed to be near them and thought it would be better for them. Believe me in a small community it would have been easier to go about my day to day life further away but Ive stuck it out and discovered Ive more friends out there than i thought (perhaps Ex has made more enemies).
Im not completly happy with my current situation yet but am very hopeful it will get better. I am happy I dont have to go home to him at night, the thought fills me with dread.
I hope everything works out for your kids and ultimately everyones else involved.
I agree with everything that has been said about the stability of staying in their home and continuing at their schools with their friends being better for your children. Monitor is very blunt but he is right: you need to put the children first, and they may well be happier staying with their mother, even if she is depressed, than moving a long way away to live with someone they barely know.
It's also possible that your wife's depression is related to living with someone who has not wanted to live with her for some years, and who now has another partner, so once she is not doing that she may recover reasonably quickly. Occasional snapping is not particularly bad parenting in any case.
You also might want to think long and hard about what it would be like for your new partner to have two fairly young children living with her full-time, especially if she's not done so before. She may be sufficiently in love with you to want to try it, but it is hard being a step-parent and could be a significant problem for your relationship. If the children are in any way unhappy about being so far from their mother that will not help matters at all.
Monitor's and Tinny's suggestion that you move nearby seems much more sensible. You would be able to maintain a good relationship with your daughters and keep an eye on their welfare. They could gradually get to know your new partner. Someone who is worthy of being the stepmother of your children will understand that you can't move 100 miles to be with her, and will compromise.
Your plan is hugely flawed....if you do what you suggest you will immediately become embroilled in a heartbreaking legal battle where there are NO winners and to boot will cost a bomb.
Your W will be angry when you leave and it will be very very unlikely she will vent her spleen and attempt to get back by fighting you all the way.
What is best for the girls is the ONLY answer...
There is only one Mum & Dad
W will percieve her position as a Mum is threatened by your new Partner.
It is highly likely that if you move 100 miles away your contact will be limited and not what you really want.
Whilst you may want to move on with your life it may be v prudent to consider Marriage Guidance....it is used just as much with assistibg parties split than actually reconciling and with W's health the strategy you adopt is likely to cause a lifetime of resentment.
Remember well balanced kids need input from BOTH parents.
So my advice Relate then mediation to properly work together to plan the sep and divorce and the arrangements for the children. Only the eldest is old enough for an opinion and anyway it isn't fair for children to decide these issues.
Parental Responsibility means just that and it calls for bravery from both parents if they are truly to put what is best for the children first.
If possible try to stay local and jointly enjoy your children growing up.
You have to establish AND maintain a good working relationship with you W where ever the children live...until they leave Uni so 18 + years
A potential banana skin is to not force your new partner on the C
Work together with W as to how and when C should be introduced..discuss this in mediation and emphasise that you are NOT trying to marginalise the mother's role.
I think it is a huge misconception that a Mother who has the C living with her full time is in a better position. If the F has generous staying contact with 50% of hols F often get better real "quality" time. Mothers are often left with a difficult role..including the homework/discipline issues and when you consider W health here is not 100% PR is fully needed to shine in adversity when parties split.
With careful guidance your W will accept another chapter in your lives is about to unfold but with you supporting her financially AND emotionally your children will be the beneficiaries- if you choose the other option...well it could be very traumatic for all.
How many young girls faced by watching an ill mother being (deserted) by father may provoke a response from them you don't want.
Remember they tend to say what the parent with them at the time wants to hear!!!
They are children and will think like children.
It is your separation and divorce not there's so if you suspect Mum will tell them all (even unintentionally they could be damaged by this and affect their relationships for the future).
If the C have seen their Dad leave for another woman leaving an ill Wife will they ever learn to trust their Husband's or Partners.
No there is no easy answer to this one....time is a healer.....needs careful handling and sensitivity....you may not realise it but handled in the right way you will be paid back handsomely when W ultimately realises you did handle to sep and divorce as well as you could.
This really could sream out for a Collaborative law approach in this case -check solicitors in your area who will adopt this approach.