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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34589
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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Separation, children, moving and custody

Resolved Question:

I have separated from my husband. We have a 7 year old daughter and I also have a 10 year old daughter from a previous relationship who he has bought up since she was a year old. My 10 year old still has regular contact with her father and we have a good relationship.

I have moved out of the matrimonial home, which my husband owned prior to marrying me and which he still holds in his sole name. I have asked for nothing financially from him as he is not in a position to raise funds, unless he sells the house. His elderly mother lives in the property so I won't ask him to sell it.

I originally wanted to stay in the locality so that the children could stay at their school and be able to see their dad easily. However, he has made life uncomfortable for me in the small village where we live. He disapproves of my friends and is worried I will start a relationship with someone he doesn't like. This is unsubstantiated and none of my friends are a danger or negative influence on my children. They are happy, well looked after, fed and clothed and attend school. I don't have any issues or problems or history that could count against me.

He has threatened he can get social services to investigate me and he will apply for full custody of my youngest daughter if I continue to associate with the people he doesn't like. I am worried he will lie about me to make this happen.

Because of the situation, I think moving away from the area will be the best thing. I don't plan to move far, a town 20 ish miles away. I will ensure that the agreed access to both children is upheld, but I will need to change my daughters school. Can he stop me from doing this?

Financially he currently insures the car that I drive, but will stop this payement at the end of May meaning I have to borrow a car - I cannot afford the insurance payments on the car myself at the moment. This is about £8 per week and he tops this up to £25 per week in cash, once a month. He earns around £400 per week and has no other children of his own at another address, nor and of anyone else's living with him. He has both the children over night once in the week and every third weekend.

Really, what I need to know is can he stop me from moving my daughter into another school? I assume he can't actually stop me from moving house.

Social services became involved in our situation as he was violent towards me and the children were present. I called the police, he denied the allegations and was subsequently not charged or convicted and he still denies violence outright. The children knew something happened but they were just (thankfully) out of sight - they were in the car and he and I were out of it and he banged my head against the car with a punch to my jaw but there were no other witnesses.
As the police were called social services became involved. They have since agreed to close the case but they will continue to watch for any unrest.

What are the chances he will get full custody of our daughter?

Thank you in advance.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What contact does he actually have - and what maintenance does he pay?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Financially he currently insures the car that I drive, but will stop this payement at the end of May meaning I have to borrow a car - I cannot afford the insurance payments on the car myself at the moment. This is about £8 per week and he tops this up to £25 per week in cash, once a month. He earns around £400 per week and has no other children of his own at another address, nor and of anyone else's living with him. He has both the children over night once in the week and every third weekend.
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Why is he not paying child maintenance?
How much is his house worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgage?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
He pays the £25 per week, which includes the car insurance payment. At the end of the month, when I no longer need him to insure the car - I am getting rid of it as it's too expensive to run - it's a freelander - enough said! - he will pay £25 per week all in cash. This is what we agreed on for child maintenance.

His house is worth a fair amount - the last valuation was around £480,000. It's a large rural property with an annex and lots of garden area. He has £120,000 outstanding on his mortgage and a loan with an outstanding amount of £31,000. He is currently trying to negotiate a new interest only mortgage and include the loan, so the total outstanding mortgage will be around £150,000. The loan is in both our names, but I have no savings or property of my own anyway. I rent a cottage privately, with some assistance from housing benefit and I work around 24 hours per week to fit in with the girls. His mother lives in the annex, so I can't expect him to sell the house, and he says he has no spare money each month to pay me anymore for maintenance.
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
May I ask why you cannot expect him to sell - are the needs of the children not as important as those of his mother?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Honestly, I hadn't thought of it like that. I chose to leave him. I am receiving some benefits at the moment, but as soon as I move back into a town I will be able to earn enough to keep all three of us without needing benefits or him. And I think if I kick up a fuss he will seriously try to have full custody of my daughter awarded to him. He is a competent and manipulative lier and I am sacred he will succeed. And his mother is old. I think the strain of it might finish her off.

I really am unsure of what to do next, and I know I need to get some face to face legal advice but I just can't afford it right now.
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Just to check - may I ask - do you have a problem with drink or drugs or have any of your friends been convicted of any form of child abuse
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Nope. I do have a glass or two of wine sometimes, but have no problems with either. And none of my friends have been convicted of anything to do with child abuse, or indeed anything. Clean criminal records all the way.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I've used the child maintenance calculator and based on that the minimum he should be paying is £34 per week, but he also takes my other daughter as well. He has cared for her since she was a year old, but he has no legal parental responsibility for her, so I am happy with the amount of maintenance he pays
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
That is fine
May I ask does the father of your older child pay maintenance for her?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes he does. Around the same figure if £25 per week, but he is very helpful with anything she needs.
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
HI
Have the local Authority said anything about the benefits you receive being reviewed because of your interest in the Matrimonial Home?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No. I've disclosed everything to the local council and nothing has been said about reviewing my benefits.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
If we had owned the property jointly I would not have been able to claim any housing benefit. As my name was never included on any documentation I can claim.
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
That is good news - but please be aware that this could change in the future and there may be a review.
The fact is that you both have Parental Responsibility for your child and on that basis you do need to consult him on the school issue.
However if you cannot agree then you can apply to the court for a Specific Issue Order dealing with which school the child should go to
This is the only way that he can prevent the move since it will not interfere with his contact in any way.
Since there is no reason whatsoever to change the current living arrangements for the children no matter what allegations are made - and indeed Social Services are more likely to be concerned about his violence than his false claims
You may find this website of assistance
http://theparentconnection.org.uk/
I hope that this is of assistance -please ask if you need further details
Clare
I hop
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
So if there are more reasons to move, such as my work - I can get a far better job in town - wanting to send the children to a better and bigger school, that he has made it difficult for me to live in the local community, I am closer to a support system if I move, there is more chance of him not being able to stop me moving her school?
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Yes in essence that is correct
Do try and discuss matters with him using Family mediation as soon as possible - this will show that you gave him the chance to behave better!
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Ok, last thing. Can I sort out family mediation off my own back or do I need to go through a solicitor?
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
No you can do it yourself - and Legal Aid is still available for mediation
Clare
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