My ex left me with the kids (6 and 2) citing mental issues, went to live with her folks.
I've since had to play mum and dad doing all the chores (cleaning, feeding, cooking etc) while going to the office (drop them at my mum's) then come pick them up and carry on. This is now coming to a year.
She sees them one day a week and regularly pays maintenance (which is minimal, but I know this is not relavant here).
As you can imagine this has taken quite a toll on me (I'm close to 50). My elderly mum will be moving back to her villa somewhere on the Mediterranean so my support network will be gone.
There is no way I can maintain my employment with her gone.
I intend to have a mediation session with my ex to explain my circumstances, but given her apathy (and her parents) this is unlikely to get anywhere which is making me think about applying for a Leave to Remove when talks inevitably break down.
I want to take my kids to live at my mum's villa where:
[*]There is an English school nearby.
[*]Exclusive swimming pool.
[*]Healthy outdoor lifestyle.
[*]Live in nanny that will look after both boys on full time basis (labour much cheaper than here).
[*]Low crime rate (small village).
I can offer my ex:
[*]Daily conversations on Phone/Skype etc.
[*]Pay for her tickets to come once a year (and I'll be bringing them during Christmas where they can stay).
[*]If she does come to visit, she can stay at the villa, so no cost involved to her.
Some facts to consider:
[*]Both kids are very attached to me. The eldest (6 years) has repeatedly stated his wish to go wherever I go (I understand their opinion doesn't hold much at this age, but just providing background that this isn't against their will).
[*]I have no intention of separating them from their mother. Despite living in a large house with her folks, she refuses to take them in. I have repeatedly offered her the chance to be the primary carer and allow me to go to the office and pay the mortgage and give her child maintenance, but she has refused to look after the children.
[*]The fear of the children leaving their environment (school, neighbourhood etc) is inevitable whichever way this turns out as I cannot maintain the status quo; with my mum gone I cannot afford nanny care or nurseries so I'll have to leave my job, thus can't afford mortgage so will have to rent/sell house and will need to relocate somewhere distant as I bought this house when it was cheap and prices have skyrocketed around the area meaning no way I can remain close anyhow.
[*]I don't want to do what she suggested at the time of her departure, and that is to leave my job, sell the house and live on benefits while looking after the kids as I have never applied for benefits nor do I wish to as long as I'm able to work and provide. Staying here is a depressing prospect and one that will increasingly affect me emotionally as I cannot have a social life nor will I be able to provide for my kids when I'm out of work.
[*]What are my chances? - I know every case is different, but what is your gut feel?
[*]How long do these things take? - I've searched past posts on here and some mention a couple of years.
[*]How much do they cost usually? - again it all depends on the case of course, and I'd expect it to be in the thousands, but is it in tens? anyone had any experience?
[*]How do these things work? - We go to mediation, and if that breaks down I make an application, then is it a series of meetings with the judge? is there a back and forth? or is it a one hearing and it's all decided on the spot?
I'm just having a hard time picturing the judge refusing my case (though reading articles it's clear stranger things have happened), as I am stuck in a rut and staying here will soon be no longer an option for me financially. Furthermore, I am willing to let her be the primary carer if she wants. Can the judge really refuse my relocation on the basis of my wife wanting to see them more often yet unwilling to look after the kids herself or provide us with a solution to the problems we're about to face with no support network?
The best interests of the children will always come first. Hopefully the mediator will help you discuss this with your ex and support you to reach a solution.
If she has mental health problems this may not be as simple an issue as you have portrayed. She may not be well enough to be primary carer.
I am sure many wikis will have found themselves in a very similar position re sole care of young children and trying to hold down a job. In my own case I scaled down my career aspirations and changed work patterns to fit round the children - as well as paying for child care when necessary.
There will be others here who have experience of a LTR application. As far as I am aware you would need a clear plan (which it seems you have) plus the support of social workers who would talk to each of you and the children before providing reports for the court. As to how much it costs - a lot depends on whether you are represented and how acrimonious things get. It shouldn't be tens of thousands.
I’m going through application for internal relocation. 50 miles down the road, if you’d believe it!
But as I understand it, the procees is similar as the courts only interest is in the children’s welfare.
It’s a long slow process if you’re going to court. As your ex has mental health issues a section 7 report would most likely be requested, and CAFCASS involved.- that alone takes approx 12 weeks. I made our application in mid June, we’ve had a section 7 report in my favour, 2 court hearings with the final 2 day hearing listed at the end of this month as my ex has continued to contest it. All in all 7 months and 28k in legal costs, while ex has ploughed through a little under 100k!
If your ex-wife has mental health issues, then you both have my sympathy.
I understand that you are in a really tough and unsustainable situation, and the request from your ex that you give up work and go on benefits to look after the children must seem totally unreasonable.
I don't know the nature or the severity of her illness. However, it sounds like desperation to me.
Perhaps she knows that you can't go on the way you are, particularly as your mum is moving away, and she maybe fears that her children will be taken to another country and she will never have the opportunity to see them again.
My question to you is: - would you be thinking of doing this if she were seriously physically ill, or would her request that you give up work then not sound quite as unreasonable?
Only you know all the circumstances - and whatever they are - as I said before - this sounds like an awful situation. I hope it gets better for you all xx
My leave to remove was refused after extremely long litigation. I am a sole carer to two pre-schoolers, have to work full time as a requisite for my own immigration leave in the UK, have no family here, not entitled to benefits, and in addition the father (British) has left the country to work overseas and does not maintain face to face contact with the children, or provide financial support. I asked for the leave to remove to my home country, which has a lower standard of living than the UK, but in my particular circumstances it would be better for everyone, as there is a support network there.
It costed me over £40K in legal and expert fees. Ex represented himself and won on the argument that he still intends to return to the UK and establish close contact with the children. There has been no contact in the year since the judgment.
The court is very reluctant to grant the leave in case of very small children (of age when they are likely to forget the other parent in case of no contact). They will err on the side of extreme caution. I don't think that the chances are high in your case either, especially as the other parent has regular contact, and it was discussed that she might become the primary carer at a certain point.
Going on benefits could, bizarrely, be seen as a reasonable solution by the court. I had to provide written evidence from DWP that I am not entitled to any welfare for the financial hearing (because I claimed childcare as usual expense on my form E, and this was contested, as I could've stayed at home). I don't think that it will stand in the children's matter either - single parents of young children are almost automatically assumed to be supported by the state first, and only then by the other parent.
Mind, I am not a legal professional, only sharing anecdotal experience.