In an unusual case, a father had succeeded in applying for a Prohibited Steps Order to prevent his divorcing wife moving house – this was to facilitate Contact with his children as he lived nearby.
This has been overturned in the High Court as it has been recognised that the woman should have the right to move to seek employment, for example. She said she felt as if she was under house arrest.
The woman has been ordered to remain within England and Wales whilst Divorce Proceedings continue (it has been going on for nearly 2 years) and to facilitate Contact which is contained in a separate Court Order. There is a Contact Warning Notice attached to all Contact Orders now which threaten Parents with Care with Enforcement Action of they do not comply with the Order. The Parent with Care is expected to make the child available for Contact – normally it will be the responsibility of the Non-Resident Parent to collect and return the child after Contact.
It is probable that now the woman is free to move she will and my guess is that she will move quite a distance. She will need the father’s agreement to any change of schooling so it is unlikely that this case will cease litigating any time soon.
In my experience once one issue has been resolved another pops up.
In this tug of war between parents the only tactic I have seen which ends a one sided fight is to turn matters upside down. In this case it would be for the father to relax all attempts at control and accept what the mother does, or for the mother to move and offer the children to live with their father. If the mother is seeking to hurt the father his capitulation will remove the fire. If the father is seeking to control the mother – he will not want to have the children live with him and will back off. High risk stakes. If both are determined to fight then it will go on and on… What of the children in the middle of all this? Perhaps neither parent wants to fight and they have both been pushed into battle by their solicitors… Perhaps not… the woman was a litigant in person…
How do you tell which parent wants the fight? The parent who criticises the other to the children…