Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

T HE IMPACT OF A RELOCATION DISPUTE : P ARENTS ’ P ERSPECTIVES Megan Gollop Centre for Research on Children and Families University of Otago New Zealand.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "T HE IMPACT OF A RELOCATION DISPUTE : P ARENTS ’ P ERSPECTIVES Megan Gollop Centre for Research on Children and Families University of Otago New Zealand."— Presentation transcript:

1 T HE IMPACT OF A RELOCATION DISPUTE : P ARENTS ’ P ERSPECTIVES Megan Gollop Centre for Research on Children and Families University of Otago New Zealand

2 Relocation Following Parental Separation Study NZ study (2007-2009) Investigators: Nicola Taylor, Megan Gollop and Mark Henaghan (University of Otago) Qualitative interviews with 100 families where a parent had relocated (or sought to relocate) with their children Recruited through family lawyers (via letters or judgments) and community newspapers 114 parents: 73 mothers and 41 fathers 44 children: aged 7-18 years from 30 families Two lengthy interviews 12-18 months apart

3 Sub-sample Impact of a relocation dispute from parents’ perspective 60 families 67 parents (39 mothers and 28 fathers)


5 Successful Opposers 11 parents – 10 fathers; 1 mother Family Court involvement: – 1 none – 8 judicially determined – 1 settled by agreement at mediation – 1 Non-removal order 2 international relocations proposed

6 A fight “I couldn’t fathom it. Why do I have to fight and spend so much to love your child?” (14F) “I was just fighting for my right to father my own child. I couldn’t really see how I could let him go. It was all or nothing for both of us. We were prepared to win or lose at all cost.” (33F)

7 Protecting their relationship “I want to establish a relationship with my son. I want to take him to rugby and take him fishing all those things that I wouldn’t be able to do. … I just don’t want my son to grow up without me.” (80F) “I would have hated the thought of him going to the UK and not having him around. It’s just heartbreaking.” (33F)

8 Not in child’s best interests “I could see that if I was to walk away from my kids, I could see them much more likely to go down a path that I didn't want them to. So, I just thought, I can't walk away from my kids. I’ve gotta hang around and fight to do what I think’s best for them. … I reckon, if she was the best mother in the world I possibly would’ve let them go but she’s not. … I honestly believe I've always had the children's best interest at heart whereas she hasn’t. … the children are far better off with me, far better.” (74F)

9 In 7 (64%) cases the resident parent relocated without their children – resulting in a change in day-to-day care Majority had concerns about the other parent’s parenting competence Most did not want the full-time care of their children “I didn’t want sole custody … at best I wanted [mother] to stay in [town] and to have week about access, that’s what I wanted.” (74F)

10 “When she decided to go down there I wasn’t surprised, because I thought you’re not thinking clearly. But what I didn’t expect was for her to stay down there. I didn’t expect that. … I’ll never forgive her for leaving them behind.” (27F) “Watching her drive out of here because that was her choice. I was gobsmacked that she did it, ‘cos if it was me I wouldn’t have left, but she chose to do that and she packed her bags and drove away.” (01F)

11 A struggle parenting alone “I have no family here at all. Which makes it a bit of a struggle. Especially makes it a struggle when you’re on your own, you know like for a dad on his own, for a start with a little girl, it’s a bit of a culture shock to be quite honest.” (23F)

12 Work commitments “Tough at times because I have employed people on the farm to do most of the farm work now for the last three years but it is becoming very tight financially since then, to the point where I am actually considering selling up which will be unfortunate.” (74F)

13 Financial impact Legal fees $22,000-120,000 Contact costs “I can’t afford fuel much any more being on [a benefit] … I know that the child is paramount but I’ve got to give her food first, you know.” (14F)

14 Travel “… gets a clear weekend without kids – I don’t. I struggled with that decision by the court because it wasn’t my choice to go to [town] so why am I being penalised?” (23F)

15 Worth the hassle “From my point of view I threw everything at her and it’s been worth it. A big success. A lot of work but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just think stability is important and that’s what I believe has come out of all this for [child].” (01F) “Well, a lot of fathers would’ve probably, three quarters of the way through, gave up. Flee to Australia, or got six feet of rope, and made a noose out of it. … it’s such a waste of my life, ‘cos I’ve spent … 7 years … I’ve spent thousands of dollars. And like, the money’s really nothing, at the end of the day, ’cos I can see my kids now. They’re happy, they’re thriving, they’ll do well, and Dad will be there for them.” (05F)

16 Close & involved relationships “At the time, we probably didn’t have as bigger bond as what we do now. But I’m so glad she hasn’t gone away because gosh. … Like I say, we have a very close bond and I’d hate not to be part of her life.” (46F) “I guess it’s given me the chance to build a better relationship with him than I would ever have had if he’d gone. I mean for instance, I know the school people, the teachers, the principal, the office staff and the relationship I’ve got there is I can ring and email and get answers to things which I don’t think would have been as easy to establish up there. So, that side has been easier. I can be more a part of it. … I mean we just get on so well. … I think our relationship has got better and better.” (54F)

17 Unsuccessful Opposers 16 – 15 fathers; 1 mother 88% were judicially determined – 2 resolved during FC proceedings 4 international relocations 12 remained in same location; 2 moved to where children were; 2 moved elsewhere 2 families – children and mother returned

18 Characteristic Features Suddenness of relocation – lack of consultation Poor inter-parental relationship Poor co-parenting relationship Concern about resident parent’s parenting Contact difficulties – parent obstructive Orders not adhered to Relationships with child/ren compromised

19 Financial impact Legal costs up to $180,000 “The financial implications from this process are huge. They destroy a family’s backbone.” (03F) “I've lost $40,000 plus in legal fees trying to do what should've being done by the Court in the first place. I've lost a huge amount of money in child support, I've lost my lifestyle. I'm really stuffed for the rest of my life. … I'll never own my own home. I'll probably never ever be in a position where I can give the girls anything … when I go.” (28F)

20 Loss of relationship with their child “I would say that the relationships had gone, almost entirely.” (03F) “I’ve already lost the girls but I’ve told them I’ll always be there for them.” (35F)

21 Lack of input into child’s life “Ideally I’d like just to be able to parent her, be able to, you know, pass on my values and… well, she's in Germany - you can't do it.” (56F) “I don’t get any chance to influence her because I’m not living with her half the time. … I won’t see her school graduation. I’m not part of her house.” (64F)

22 Contact difficulties Obstructive ex-partners Orders in relation to contact were not adhered to or were impractical Cost of contact

23 Emotional impact “I was borderline nervous breakdown I suppose, yeah I was absolutely gutted, couldn’t believe it. … The saddest thing was seeing them off at the airport.” (24F) “I was pretty gutted about the whole thing … I felt like killing myself.’ (35F)

24 Emotional Impact “I pretty much had a breakdown over the issue. … Prior to the children coming [back] down it was at the point that I wanted to see them one more time and then cut ties really, because it was just too much. It's stuffed up my life. Not just with the children, but overall, globally.” (03F)

25 “It’s taken a huge effort for me to keep going … I used to think that these guys that took off to Australia were scumbags. I now have a lot of sympathy for them, because the toll for me has been enormous, both financially and physically, health wise.” (07F)

26 Grief “She was as much a part of the household as anyone. Had her own room and you know here you’ve got this room, and it’s like someone went that morning, you know the hairbrushes, dirty clothes whatever it is, and it stayed like that for years and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if I’d see her again or not. So eventually I decided to pack it up. And that was I guess a good thing eventually, because it was terrible walking past that room. … Because if you don’t see someone it’s almost like them being dead. … Actually death would be easier. Because it’s final you know.” (07F)

27 Grief “Yes it was very distressing. It affected my work, relationships with fellow workers. I couldn’t focus on work much … I was really spaced out. … It’s like grieving but it doesn’t stop because they’re not dead. It just goes on and doesn’t stop. And it’s been against your wishes. And someone that you trusted has done it deliberately. And it’s very, very painful.” (64F)

28 Conclusion Significant impacts for those who oppose a relocation Generally positive for those when the mothers stayed When resident parent moved with or without their children the impact was much greater – financially, emotionally and in terms of relationships with children

Download ppt "T HE IMPACT OF A RELOCATION DISPUTE : P ARENTS ’ P ERSPECTIVES Megan Gollop Centre for Research on Children and Families University of Otago New Zealand."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google