PARENTS

The Semi-Detached Parent: Judge Rules Against Move

24/03/2011 15:52 | Updated 22 May 2015

Judge rules out moveI have spent a while this week mulling over a story about a mum in Australia who has been forbidden from moving away from her former partner, because it would hinder access to their four-year-old child.

The couple in question are lesbians, and the biological mum had applied for sole parental responsibility of the little girl on the basis her ex was not listed as a parent on the birth certificate.

But a family court judge ruled both women had 'equal responsibility for the child' and that moving would have an adverse affect on the relationship the child had with the second mother and her daughter, who the little girl considered her sister.

Tricky, isn't it, the whole business of moving post-separation?

On one hand, it could be argued that someone coming out of broken relationship should have every right to a fresh start, and the right to move wherever they wish (which, generally, in practice, they do). But on the other, there is, as always, the child to consider, and the further upheaval, disruption and upset a 'new start' could bring. Like most things during relationship breakups, what's the ideal solution for the adult, is seldom the best thing for the child.

Moving away is something I've been thinking of doing for a long time, but I wonder how much of that is actually a longing to run away, rather than move. Move away from the problems, rather than deal with them.

But if I did decide to go, how could I equip my son to adapt? To cope with living away from his dad, changing schools, living somewhere entirely new and different? And then deal with all the inevitable rows and further animosity between myself and my child's father such a move would bring in terms of access and visits?

Thinking about it in black and white like that somehow makes even the loveliest seaside home, closest to the best schools, lose all its appeal. Yet I wouldn't like to think a judge could step in and stop me if I wanted to.

What do you think?

Did you desperately want to move away after separation or divorce?

Did guilt or the fear of further upset make you stay put?

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