I wonder if the legal team could give some advice on the following pls.
My ex wife and her husband are planning to move abroad in July 2011 with my eldest (8y/o)son because his job is relocating for a three year contract though it could possibly longer.
They are stating that my son will return to the uk once a fortnight to visit me and that i would be able to travel to them,they say they would foot the travel costs.They also say they that my son is the main priority and that he will be attending a private school whilst they are there and on thier return they will continue his private education.They are awaiting written confirmation from his employer.
On the face of it it seems reasonable,however should i get soliciters get involved ,no-one has legal residency although my son has resided with my ex and her husband for the last 5years.
I'm not sure of the position if there is no reisdence order, so I won't pre-empt the Children's Legal Centre response on the legal avenues. However, it does seem from your post that you have a good relationship with your ex, so my opinion is that whichever route you are advised to go down, it may be worth talking it through with your ex before you do anything to explain exactly why you are doing it - that way, it may be a simple matter of drawing up a consent order agreeable to both sides rather than the whole situation becoming confrontational.
Thank you for contacting the Childrenâ€™s Legal Centre.
If you and your ex partner are able to communicate and be reasonable at present then there does not seem to be a reason to get a solicitor involved at this point unless you believe that the mother may default on what is agreed.
For the mother to remove the child from the UK initially she would require your consent if you have Parental Responsibility. You will have this if; You were married to the mother at the time of the childâ€™s birth or married her at any time after this (regardless of any subsequent divorce); You are registered on your childâ€™s birth certificate and the child was registered after 1/12/2003 (this does not apply to children registered before this date); you have entered an official PR agreement with the mother, or if this has been granted by a court order for PR or residence.
If you do have Parental Responsibility and do not agree to the child being removed from the UK then the mother will require a court order allowing this or she would commit the offence of abduction.
If you do not have Parental Responsibility then the mother will not require your consent to travel abroad with your child.
With regards to the agreed contact that you will have, this is an agreement and therefore is not legally binding or enforceable. If once they have moved the mother decides that she is unhappy with this contact, or she will not fund this, then your options would be to attempt to agree something with her, or to make an application to court.
Making an application to court at that point could be difficult, as your son will be outside of the English jurisdiction, meaning that any application must be made in the country he is living in and under their laws and procedures.
Potentially a contact order could be applied for before the child is taken abroad, however the difficulty with this is that once they leave the UK it will also not be binding unless you can have this mirrored into international law by the courts in the country that they will be living. Should you choose to do this you will need a solicitorâ€™s assistance as it is a relatively new concept that a court order from one country can be mirrored by another country, although it is at the international countries discretion whether they will do this.
This course of action may also lead to conflict with the mother that you may wish to avoid.
You are not required to do any of these things, and if you believe that the mother will be reasonable regarding this arrangement then you do not have to. If you are unsure or simply want further information, you are able to speak to a solicitor informally without them starting any proceedings to see what options they believe is best in your circumstances.
We hope this information is useful to you. Should you require further advice please contact the Child Law Advice Line on 0808 8020 008 and an advisor will be happy to help you.