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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35087
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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My partners ex wife moved 70 miles away from us 7 years ago

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My partner's ex wife moved 70 miles away from us 7 years ago taking their son with her. The issue with this is firstly, she never told my partner that she was moving away - he found out through mutual friends 6 weeks before they left - and secondly, she refused to do any of the travelling. My partner has, therefore, had to take a day's holiday entitlement so that he can travel to pick his son up when he finishes school on a Friday. My partner already works an hour in the opposite direction so it would not be practical for him to pick his son up after work on a Friday.

To cut a very long story short, everything has been on her terms, we see their son when SHE says we can. She refuses to speak on the phone and will only communicate via text message and often ignores messages and doesn't respond for up to 2 weeks. We find it impossible to make plans which involve their son as we never know when we can see him. She has also agreed in the past on certain dates when he can come over and has then changed them the day before he is due to be picked up.

This has been bad enough for my partner (and our own 2 children who look forward to seeing their brother but have been disappointed and let down on several occasions) but this weekend my partner received a message from his ex wife telling him that they had moved house again so when did he want to have his son next. There was nothing else in the message. My partner asked if they had moved far. He received no reply until the following day when she sent him an address. We didn't recognise the post code and when we looked it up we realised they had moved another couple of hours away. This would mean that it will now be a 6 hour round journey.

I have finally persuaded my partner to seek legal advice and get some kind of court order or SOMETHING that will hopefully mean that she has to share the travel and improve her communication but I do fear that he will back down and get on with it like he did last time through fear of her stopping him from seeing his son (now 13 years old).

Do you think the courts would look favourably on his ex wife as the mother and main carer or does my partner have a good case? Can she really be allowed to do this?

Thank you.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Does the child enjoy the contact - is he likely to want more contact?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He loves coming to stay with us as we entertain him and involve him in our family life. More than that, he tells us he enjoys coming. He loves the fact that we play cards/board games/football etc. with him as he doesn't get that kind of interaction at home. He has complained recently of being "constantly nagged" at home and having to "do chores all the time". He has said he likes coming over too because we get up in the morning rather than staying in bed and leaving him to his own devices until the afternoon which is what happens at home as his mum and step dad stay in bed until late morning. He has also mentioned that they (mum and step dad) argue all the time which is another reason he has said he likes coming over to us.


He spends a lot of time at his house in his bedroom with his Xbox/TV etc. His older brother left home in September to go to university and he hasn't seen him since - he didn't even come home for Christmas!


His mum holds a lot of information from him like the fact that his dad has asked if he can come over, she won't let him buy his dad birthday presents and has also in the past sent him with messages for his dad to buy him new shoes etc. despite regular and generous maintenance being paid.


She has lied to both of them and basically is as awkward as she can possibly be. A couple of years ago my partner was involved in a car accident on his way to pick his son up. He was OK but taken to a local service station as his car was written off. He called his ex wife who was only 14 miles away to ask her to bring their son to the service station so he could get a lift back home. She refused because she was due to go out for a meal! Instead, she left her 10 year old son unfed at a neighbour's house for him to pick up when my partner's friend had driven the 70 miles to pick him up from the service station, picked his son up from the neighbour's and then driven the 70 miles back home again.


Just a little insight for you! He is now at that age where he is realising what kind of a person she is I think...


Thank you in advance for your time.



The law says that a child is entitled to contact with both parents and the courts WILL enforce this if necessary
At 13 the wishes of this young man will determine the outcome of the Court hearing
Your partner should arrange to discuss matters with his ex using Family mediation (and a mediator trained to work with young people) to discuss new arrangements - including travel arrangements
If this is not successful then he can apply to the court for a Child Arrangement Order setting out when he sees the child and how the arrangements will work - and that order will then be enforceable
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. Can I ask who decides where this mediation would take place (I can't imagine her travelling over to have this discussion!)? My partner is concerned about having to involve his son directly as he doesn't want him to feel that he is under pressure or taking sides. What is the process? Does he get 'interviewed' as it were on his own so he doesn't feel he has to make on the spot decisions in front of both parents? I'm assuming the person dealing with his part of the process would explain that he would not be taking sides?


The especially trained mediator will see the child separately and will reflect his views back to the parents.
Realistically you should look for a mediator in her area
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Many thanks.

You are most welcome - good luck
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