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Single parent moving abroad - Leave To Remove

by Shivali / Posted 07/06/2010 / Updated 02/09/2011

Hi there,

I was wondering if there were any single mum´s (or even dads) on this forum that may have (or currently are) facing a similar predicament to what I am right now.

Basically, I am a single divorced mother of a 6yr old boy looking to relocate to Singapore in August (both my brother and sister have been settled there for the past 2.5 yrs). My son has had no contact whatsoever with his father since since the age of 2yrs old nor am I in receipt of any child maintenance money from since 2008. My relationship with my ex was an abusive one and though I do not have a court order as such in place stopping him from seeing his son, I had made it clear right from the start that any form of contact following the divorce would need to be made via the appropriate legal channels.

However, my ex has not bothered to make any attempt to comply with this arrangement and therefore has by default not bothered to persue any contact with his son since our seperation/divorce 4yrs ago. I know for certain that due to my ex´s aggressive and unreasonable nature, he would for sure out of spite do what it takes to stop me from taking my son if he was to find out about my relocation plans, even though he hasn´t bothered to make any effort to maintain any contact with his son.

Whilst I will be seeking legal advice, I would be grateful to know if anyone has any advice or faced similar issues with removing their child from the UK to relocate abroad?

Thank you in advance to any replies back.

Responses

From Annabelle / Posted: 15/06/2010
I sympathise with your predicament. As you were married to your boy´s father, and he was born after 1 December 2003, your ex would have automatic Parental Responsibility. This is separate from Child Maintenance or Custody. PR just means your ex has a right to say how your son is brought up, including WHERE he lives.

You would have to seek your ex´s permission to remove your son to Singapore. I have no doubt you are right in that he might say "no" just out of spite. However, you need to seek a solicitor´s advice as to how to make a case for yourself outlining the lack of commitment on your ex´s part, and how it would be in the best interest of your son, and best for his welfare, for you both to move to Singapore.

All the best!
From Rebecca / Posted: 24/06/2010
Annabelle´s response sounds like the correct (legal) response, but I´m thinking "just go". You have raised this child by yourself for the last four years without any help or interest shown by his father, you are getting on with your life (as I presume he is), so why should someone who has not bothered with either of you for 4 years stop you from moving on even further? If you seek his permission, then out of spite he will probably stop you, so why not go, and if he´s bothered then he will take the steps to get you back (I´ll probably get slated for this by other users). The way I see it is that virtually 100% of the people on this site are on it because the have lost a child that they have a close and loving relationship with. Your son will not be affected from being taken from a father he does not know. Once you have moved to Singapore, you can contact your ex, let him know where you are, offer ongoing contact by phone calls, webcam, post cards, letters etc if he wishes to, that way your son will still be able to have contact with his dad if he wishes to. I would not offer this advice at all if I thought your son and his dad had regular contact, but they don´t, I should imagine your son would not even recognise him now if he hasn´t seen him since he was two years old.
From Shivali / Posted: 26/06/2010
Dear Annabelle, thank you for your response. I consulted this issue with my solicitor yesterday and have been given the following advice (which whilst I am not promoting would be the same for anyone else in a similar position to that of myself but it certainly gives hope and options that can be considered). Basically, as their has not been any contact from the absent parent (my ex-husband in this case) for a number of years and due to the historic issues and his negative character, it is obvious as to why I would not wish for him to be contacted. My solicitor advised that as long as I log my ´intent´ to relocate abroad with them. providing them with my reasons and any fowarding contact details (in the event that I ever need to be contacted) then their really isn´t an issue as such. Of course in the event if my Ex were to suddenly ´appear back on the scene´ wishing to see his son, he obviously would need to a) find out that I have relocated and b) find out where to - both of which I´m guessing would not be that easy. However, if he does and decides to do something about it ie. apply to the Courts to intervene then my solicitor stated that the Courts would obviously see note that my son is now well settled in his new environment and would not deem it in the child´s best interest to uproot him (plus my Ex´s past behaviour would also be accounted for). In addition it also works in my favour that Singapore is not party to the Hague Convention, which technically makes it more difficult should my Ex wish to try and get my son back to the UK. Good luck to all the mothers and fathers out there that are facing their own respective issues and predicaments.

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