FINALLY heard from my lawyers this afternoon. They’re very calm: quite the opposite of how I was feeling as the deadline ticks closer.
Good chat with them on my options of getting all the to the Waikato:
i) Go for a ‘guardianship direction’ which is effectively going to the judge, saying very nicely “please sir, could I move the children 6 hours up the road”. Success rate: about 20%.
ii) Go more bolshevik, “I’m going no matter what, the kids ought to come to”. Success rate: maybe 40%.
It will be difficult, even with 5-pages of justification. My strongest arguments are that I’m here by chance (ie so he didn’t feel entrapped with my family) and that I don’t see a future here. Moving there is ‘for family and emotional support after a traumatic situation’ – and this separation is exactly that! But it will be an expensive fight that I am likely not to win.
Plan B is to move 40 minutes up the road. That, in itself, wouldn’t even really be considered ‘relocation’ in the court’s eye … except I want them to change schools. But it’s not as dramatic as moving all the way to my parents’. It could be viewed favourably as it gives sensible, affordable housing for the kids and me, and it’s not putting too much distance between the kids and AH. And the kids’ views will be considered by the court.
Do I call his bluff that he could actually look after them 24/7 if I said I leave no matter what and risk it all?
Or do I make a compromise that doesn’t get me next-door to my family, but keeps the kids happier?
I’ve done a list of pro’s and con’s. I think the thing that’s swaying it is the fact that the kids have all said they don’t want to leave here (I read that as they don’t want to be so far away from Daddy, rather than leaving HERE as such). I feel it could be beneficial to take a small step rather than a large leap. It might show the kids there’s nothing to worry about and they might be more open to a move closer to my parents after a few years.
No, it doesn’t satisfy our need to get closer to my family (and that need is HUGE!)…
But it ticks many other boxes:
⇔ I’m away from this shitty, small-minded community;
⇔ it gives AH and I distance;
⇔ a 4-bed house is attainable;
⇔ the kids go to a different school;
⇔ I’m an hour closer to home;
⇔ I have some friends there already (to go further north would mean I’d be lone wolf).
Had an estate agent come this morning to pick her brains: is it worth it to spend, say, $5k doing some basics? Glad to hear from my lawyer that we can tell AH now that this house will go for tender. Whatever I spend on improvements would return to me (I’m loathe to spend my time and money increasing his profits). He’d have the option to buy me out once the market dictated its worth … and I wouldn’t even have to subtract the real estate agent’s fees!
And, as he’s only renting, if he was to buy this place knowing that I’m looking to take the kids north, that wouldn’t reflect well on him!
I feel better after the call. I still have to receive their draft and get it to court, in between helping in Ms7’s class and counselling.
So no pressure then!!?
A mere coincidence that this came up driving home, as I’m actually starting to sniff it, ie the noose loosening/freedom:
- a night to myself – it’s been so long!;
- Mr Lee touching base, as I’d moved him down the priority list; and
- Pharrell. He makes me smile!