I’ve moved on and want to relocate with my new partner

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Dear Marcie

My ex-wife and I separated several years ago and my son spends more time with me each fortnight broadly 60 percent of the time. Both my wife and I have moved on with our lives and have new partners in long-term committed relationships. However, my partner has been offered a job some 50 miles away from where we live now and so we have discussed moving there as my role has a lot of flexibility built into it. I am naturally worried about how my ex-wife will react – we are on good terms but 50 miles feels like a long way to be travelling and I don’t think it is going to be practical longer-term.

How do you suggest I discuss this with my ex-wife, I would like us at least to consider whether this could work for us. After all, we are still a family.

Anxious father, Canterbury

Dear Anxious father.

Change is a bit like climbing over the edge of a mountain, you don’t know what the other side is going to look like, and that can be a bit scary. Sitting down with your ex and explaining your worries and fears and asking her to help you with the solution, could be an approach that will work. Especially if you explain that it’s likely to happen and that you want to make sure your child is going to feel safe and secure throughout the move and beyond.

Present it as a topic and a situation that you want input on, rather than something that has already been decided will make her feel more in control and less likely to escalate this into a conflict. Have in your mind some potential ways it can work but be fully present and open minded in listening to her ideas too. You don’t say how old your son is, but perhaps he needs a say in this too?

Take time to listen to all opinions and ask that yours are listened too also. Then lay everything out on the table and find the solution that best works for you all.

One legality to note is, that if your son is under the age of 16 and you can't reach an agreement, you will have to consult a family solicitor to fully understand your options. So, try to keep it amicable as it will be better for all involved. You may end up having to make a court application to move him and this is exactly the kind of intervention that can escalate conflict.

Take care, Marcie

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