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This forum offers parents the opportunity to voice their own experiences of international parental child abduction, and related issues, and to share useful information with others in a similar situation.

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Single Father looking to leave the UK

by Chris / Posted 22/07/2010 / Updated 12/08/2010

Hi There,

My name is Chris and I am father to two children aged 5 and 2.

22 months ago the kids mother and I split, I allowed her to remain in the family home until she had found somewhere suitable to move to. This went on for a while and eventually in August 09 I asked her to leave. We had never really discussed what would happen with the children, but as the situation panned out, the children remained with me.

I allowed contact with the children whenever she wanted, and also contacted my solicitor in preparation for things turning nasty.

She lived from a suitcase on friends sofas etc for three months, and finally got a place of her own nearby around about October 09. She was then allowed to have overnight contact with them, but it should be noted that she seemed to only have some sort of natural bond with our son, and would ask to spend more time with him.

Since us splitting, I have made an effort to return to normal and remain happy for the sake of the kids, and I have met a beautiful lady, things could not be better!

The kids adore my partner, and vice versa.

She is an American citizen, and I have no doubt in my mind that she is the person that I would like to spend the rest of my life with. This is where the complication arises.

I have visited the states, her family etc and was totally windswept by the "american dream".

Returning home to dull and recession driven Britain was so depressing, but one must plow on.

In the future I hope to be able to take my children to live in the USA indefinitely, with my partner, but I do not want to run the risk of shooting myself in the foot and give my ex the oppurtunity to take my children away from my by default.

The kids have thrived so much since my new partner has been on the scene.


My ex and I have yet to have a court hearing, and have recentlty finished the mediation process (which decided that mediation would not help our case).

My questions really as it stands are;

-Would I be better mentioning to my solicitor NOW that I intend to take the children out of the country.

-Could she stop me from taking them even if it was proven that they would have a better quality of life.


If anybody has any sort of experience with his kind of case, or has knowledge that may help, I would appreciatte your responses and comments.

Thanks

Responses

From Rebecca / Posted: 31/07/2010
Hi Chris,
I´m afraid that unless your ex fully agreed and consented to your children moving to America then you have a very difficult and unlikely task of taking them ahead. A court is unwilling to separate children from either parent, especially ones so young, and as your children are having regular contact with their mum they would be affected by being taken away from her. Living abroad permanently is not as easy as it sounds, so spending some great time in America with your new partner on what may have been an extended holiday is far different to the reality of moving there full stop (I know, I did it in Australia). So many adults have to make the choice of whether they want to make a new life with a new partner abroad and forego the kids, or give up the love of their life because the kids come first. It´s not a case of having your cake and eating it too, one of them will have to give and only you can decide what is the most important. If your new partner is living in the UK already and you really are ´the one´ for each other, then it shouldn´t matter where you live, and your children can grow up in a happy family environment with you both whilst still seeing their mum on a regular basis. My son´s father remained in Australia and chose his new lifestyle/partner over his son and refused to return to the UK to be an ongoing part of his life and my son has been very much affected by not having his father around and feels second best to his dad. You would have to apply for a Relocation Order through the courts to take your children to live in America and you would have to provide evidence of why your children would be better off with you in a country that is not native to them, with a woman you have been with for about a year, thus taking them away from their mother and grandparents etc.
From lizzy / Posted: 01/08/2010
Im suprised that you even bothered posting on this forum for advice seeing as you have a solicitor that is looking after "your" interests. In fact ive never come across a posting like this one before. So lets see, you allowed the mother of your children to stay in the family home till she could find somewhere else? . Which was then only replaced by her sleeping on the sofa of friends houses. At least in the first part of your e-mail you have given her the status of a mother , because from there onwards you talk about MY children . Well children have both a mother and father , so perhaps you should remember that, im sure they do get on very well with your new partner, but do not forget that they have a mother that gave birth to them. They will never forget. You seem to have moved on with your new life, which basically means you have met a new partner that is from another country , so you feel that yourself and the children should follow the "American Dream". Do you really think that all of America is living in a dream like state of mind , get real, youve been with this women for over a year..

My advice to you is .. Leave it a lot longer before you make any dicisions about future happiness for your children. Perhaps you should water the grass better where you are .. its not always greener on the other side ..

Just a shame that the mother of your children was not in a position to seek advice earlier on , perhaps she was suffering from post natal depression.

So answer to your questions are, No you cant just pack a bag and take the children and if you was looking at their best interests then ,you wouldnt even consider it. And secondly no one can predict the future so whats a better quality of life for a child . The best that money can buy or regular contact with their natural mother ?. l would say the second .

Whatever the reason for your separation from her she clearly want to play a part in their lives or else you wouldnt be worried that she may use any sudden departure from the U.K to regain custody.

From Chris / Posted: 02/08/2010
Rebecca-

Thanks for your constructive response, I understand your thoughts on this matter and also appreciatte the directional support that you provided.

Lizzy-

Not once did I call the children, "My" children in my OP. Yes I allowed her to stay in the family home, which was replaced by sofa sleeping, however if you knew the WHOLE story, and you were in my shoes, I am pretty sure that you wold not have allowed her to stay in the first place.

The mother that you have so much feelings for, who I am doing so much wrong to by even mentioning this, has not paid a penny towards her children. and from August 09 til Feb 10, claimed and KEPT tax credits & child benefits for herself and left the father of her children to raise them on a mere £60 a week income suppport, and then had the audacity to ask me to pay her to have the children a couple of days a week, AND send food around with them!

If she cared so much, would she continue to allow the children contact with her mother? If she cared so much, would she choose a bottle of beer, over a "bottle of milk" so to speak, because on MANY occasions she has chosen not to have the kids overnight when offered, because she wanted to go out on the lash.

Yes she clearly wants to play a part in their lives, but wants paying for it. What kind of mother asks to be paid to look after their own children?? answer me that
From lizzy / Posted: 12/08/2010
Hi Chris,
Sorry if you seem to have taken offence about some of the comments i made. if you re read your mail, you will see that you did call the children "my" children..
The thing is this site is full of people , especially mothers that are in conflict with partners and have to deal with the situations by themselves in foriegn countries. Many of us do not have the assistance of income support or child benefits to pay for our childrens up keep . So in that aspect althought you may think that britain is depressive ect , at least there is a state goverment that will support the children and indeed yourselves if you have any financial hardship. Again this isnt a personnel attact on yourself, i am merely stating a fact..

Many of us have made the mistake of having children out of our own enviroment and culture, but we have no alternative than to live with that discion. Everyone has a different story on here and many are very heartbreaking for both parents involved and children.
I think perhaps you should both try and resolve your differences as best you can, before it becomes nasty and bitter.

Ive no idea why the mother of your children should not allow contact with their grandmother . if the children are in any danger from that contact i would imagine that has to be dealt with at any future court hearing.

What ever happens ,i wish you all the best and hope that you can come to some type of arrangement with the mother of your children. Once solicitors become involved and courts ect ,, it can get out of hand. I would also say that once you make a court apperance be carefull how you come across in a family court. You did menton that you had visited the states , but didnt make it clear if the children went with you on this holiday.. If you left the children with the mother , i would assume that her solicitor would use that against you for any removal of the children abroad.

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