Relocating to stop ex seeing child

First published in Blogs St Albans & Harpenden Review: Photograph of the Author by

Hi there

Thank you for the question. You tell me that contact between your daughter and her father is not working and you want to move location to get away from him.

You need to decide whether contact is in the best interests of your daughter. She has the right to maintain a relationship with both parents unless doing so will put her at risk of harm. I’m not sure why contact isn’t working but you could try mediation services to discuss the problem with him. If you try to find a way of communicating the problem to him including via a lawyers letter, it may encourage him to reconsider his actions and improve the contact. Do let him know how his behaviour is impacting on your daughter and also suggest ways in which it can be improved. Your daughter will then benefit from a relationship with both of you if there are no risks of harm.

If at any time you are fearful and / or at risk of serious harm, please alert the police and think about injunction proceedings. It is difficult to give specific advice without knowing more about why you feel contact is not working.

If you were not married, if your ex is not on the birth certificate and if your child was born before 1st December 2003, it may be that he does not have parental responsibility for her. Parental responsibility is a bundle of rights and duties in respect of the child. Essentially, the right to be involved in her life and the important decision making such as where she should live. It is a criminal offence for one parent to remove a child out of the jurisdiction without the consent of the other parent with parental responsibility unless there is a residence order in place that allows removal for up to a month without consent. If he does not have parental responsibility, there is nothing preventing you from relocating abroad. You do not need his consent to move within the jurisdiction. Please note that he may apply to the court for an order to stop you moving or, for you to return with your daughter.

Parental responsibility is not difficult to obtain and it may be granted to your ex fairly swiftly by applying to the court. Your ex may also make an application for contact with your daughter. Most importantly, you cannot hide from government authorities. Even if your ex does not have an up to date address for you, he may still apply to the court for a contact order and parental responsibility. The court will contact government agencies for an address and serve you with the application accordingly. Your address will not be disclosed to your ex however, the court will retain it and order you to deal with the contact issue.

Moving away is tempting but it may not be the answer. Do not hesitate to contact your family law solicitor for specific advice.

I hope that helps

Best regards, Harjit Sarang

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