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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34105
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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I was the main carer (not by much 55-60/40-45%) but at separation

Resolved Question:

I was the main carer (not by much 55-60/40-45%) but at separation 5 years ago, my ex took over. Since separation I have seen my son around 3 days a week - 2009 - 2012 Sunday am to Tues evening, then a "consent" court order (April 2012) without representation changed it to a 3 week pattern so I could have a long weekend every 3 weeks, half summer holidays. In 21 days, I have him 10 days though 8 nights. Christmas access changed for the worse but I didn't realise til too late. Anyway I have gone with it as my ex's solicitor depicted me as a time waster, persistently not happy so I fear being banned from court. My son has an open warm bond with me and has been telling me about a boyfriend who has been sleeping over since last year. Then he became unsettled earlier this year about the prospect of his mother taking him away to Leeds away from out residence since birth city of Newcastle. His mother has kept the boyfriend secret although serious so I told her I knew. She will not confirm she is moving to Leeds and I worry she will decide and let me know with little notice so I can't do anything. My son is due to go into final year of his First School (Year 4 - age 8-9). His next school has to be chosen by Oct 2014 and I have emailed my ex to clearly say I want to be involved. She has ignored it and instead sent a involved email about a consultant psychologist friend advising her that our son is unsettled due to x y z (basically down to me and the current almost 50 50 access).
I am worried sick that she is engineering a move to Leeds and keeping me in the dark until it's too late for me to do anything. I have contacted a mediator but my ex says they're is no agenda. I feel my son is more and more aware of the conflict as it is visible - she is simply very careful with email and text communication, selective and carefully judge friendly responses. How can I protect my son from emotional turmoil due to her trying to gag him (when she found out I knew about her boyfriend he got told off and became scared to talk), threatening him directly to take him away and ultimately keep the access so I can carry on the excellent work bringing my son up as I always have despite my ex's assertions that I am trouble?
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 exactly does the current order say?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Page 1

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
There is no way that your ex could move to Leeds without breaching the Court Order so please stop agonising about that
If she does make the move then you can make an immediate application to the court for an order that she returns until the court decides whether or not the move is in the best interests of the child.
Leave matters for now and at the end of August ask for details of the schools she is considering.
If she does not reply then ask for an Urgent Mediation meeting about this point.
In the mean time minimise all communication between you and keep what there is relaxed and light
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare,

People ask me whether I have a residence order or not. I don't know - I was unrepresented. My huge worry is that my ex will just organise a job in Leeds and also a school then use this establishment in court to be allowed to go ahead and move to Leeds. I have tried contacting school admissions both in Newcastle and Leeds to ask if they can keep me updated but don't think they can. I think court she knows court is inevitable and all her communication is written in an obviously judge friendly manner but in practice she continues to show conflict through numerous ways e.g. dragging him away when he's waving bye to me etc. As I can't really prove much of her bad behaviour I just live with it.

I have to say I remain very concerned that she will covertly arrange things in advance and then make a strong case to move away, at a late stage so the judge will be unlikely to allow proceedings to drag on.

I will use your advice about schools and mediation. In the meantime she has sent me a lengthy troublesome email claiming I can't handle my son and I am sending unnecessary communication to stop her moving on etc. I feel I have to reply as no doubt this email will appear in any court bundle.

Regards

Rajan

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
What you are doing is playing into her hands so stop.
IF she tries to move to Leeds without applying to vary the Order then SHE will be in the wrong.
The moment you become aware that she has moved you make an immediate application for a Prohibited Steps Order
This will be granted and she will then have to decide between moving without him and staying here - BUT she will be the one who has done wrong.
Do NOT reply to the email other than with a simple
" I agree that it would be better in future if we restrict communication to what is essential between us with regard to any changes in xxxx's routine and his schooling"
Then STICK to that.
Make sure you have said goodbye fully BEFORE she can "drag him away"
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare,

She is not daft enough to move to Leeds without telling me, but she is manipulative/organised enough to begin choosing a school and arranging a job in Leeds, before sending polite correspondence l informing me of her plans to move shortly before Arjun would be due to start school there, and I am worried the court will have a hearing and agree the change in access to allow her to move my son to the chosen Leeds school and her to start her new job.

Throughout my dealings with her, she has arranged key decisions without involving me and I expect no different in the future. She has finally admitted that she has a boyfriend from Leeds and claims she has no plans yet to move. However as she is reluctant to even discuss his next school (application due in Sep/Oct 2014 for Sep 2015 start), and instead is emailing me saying she has sought guidance how to introduce new partners to a child, while saying her partner is a doctor who says the tiredness/lack of motivation issues my son is having is due to living near equally across two separate households.

Based on my experience with her covert arrangements sprung upon on me and my strong gut feeling seeing through her words, I expect her to attempt through court as late as possible take away my son to Leeds in time for school in Sep 2015. As I said she knows the ins and outs of the process and how to look reasonable in writing, while behind the scenes causing trouble and not co-operating.

Regards

Rajan

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
The simple fact that she did not tell you of her plans at the time she started choosing schools will be her downfall.
Stay calm - she is expecting you to start making applications and accusations - so do not do so.
If she tells you in August and expects to move in September she will be disappointed
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I expect her to get legal advice and give me the bare minimum notice of moving away that won't displease the court so 2-3 months notice. She could choose a school in Leeds this Sep/Oct, get it confirmed by March 2015 then give notice June/July 2015. I need to know ASAP what her school application will be so I can act. How can I get school admissions in Leeds to give me that information or keep me alerted?
I want to use mediation to try to help sort issues and concerns but she says no there is no agenda. Should I just go ahead myself as you have have tried mediation before going to court?
Thanks
Rajan
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
You cannot do so - and your attempts to do so will give her a lot of ammunition for the court - as will your constantly involving so many different people
The decision on the next school has to be made in October this year and you have the right to be involved in the decision.
As I said if you have not heard by the end of August then you should arrange medication
Stop trying to second guess NEXT years plans
Clare
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