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Who should pay the travel costs re: making sure that child retains contact with non-resident parent?

(58 Posts)
legallyblonde Wed 12-May-10 12:41:14

Maybe I should have put this in the "Am I Being Unreasonable?" section instead but anyway...

My DH spends approximately £100/ month on train fares to go and collect his daughter (who lives with his ex partner) for her to spend the weekend/ holidays with us and then to take her back home again at the end of her stay.
He pays a big chunk of his income to his ex-P every month via in child support.
He and his ex-P didn't go to court to arrange residency/ contact and agreed everything amicably themselves without the need for a court order.
I know that his ex-P bears most of the burden relating to the care of the girl but she chose that and she gets all the money for it.

I am going slowly insane about the fact that legally (as far as I can remember from my family law studies - I am a solicitor but not a family law solicitor) both parents are responsible for making sure that a child retains contact with the non-resident parent i.e. not only would it be nice but also a court is quite likely to order that, every now and then, she should bring the child to stay with us and should bear some of the travel costs.

Just to give you an idea how that mother treats us: she now wants us to have the child for the whole summer holidays because otherwise she "would have to pay for child care." I'm not kidding!!
My partner refuses to challenge her on anything because she has threatened to stop him from seeing his daughter (Yes - really!)

Please can someone advise me what the legal situation is here and how best to resolve it because I am about to blow my top and give that mother a piece of my mind! Grrr!

nomes1975 Tue 10-Feb-15 02:10:51

take her to court the questions is who moved away if he moved away he should be responsible for paying the travel cost not her
child support only cover the expense of food and clothing for the child think your self lucky im going throw the court at the moment 3 time i have a disable child and hes farther has moved 100 kl away from me i reserve no help with the child or expenses to my son medical cost i have given up working to be his full time care person as he goes to school part time and i take him two appointments weekly yet this is not good enough and he think i should do the travel every two week there my son dose not like to go there why he there in the holidays he put in to child care at 6am till 6pm at night i think if he want to help my son he live closer im a reasonable person and i would let him see my child as much as he like to but i think he just being a dickhead and it his choice were he lives i also think why would you not take the child for the holidays if she offed it to you and if she threaten you to stop visitation take her to court she cant sound like you need to for the sake off the child

PatriciaHolm Fri 24-May-13 15:50:58

Another zombie thread! How do these things get found??

Sweetassugar85 Fri 24-May-13 15:17:27

What everyone is telling you is basically sit down and shut up! How dare you have feelings or thoughts!!
I on the other hand totally agree with you! And quite honestly if you are expecte to have her for the holidays and pay child ate And still pay child maintenance during this time it's absolutely taking the p*ss !!! And anyone that says otherwise is definitely the mother doing this kindof thing! Your husband needs to grow a pair and realise this can't go on!! You need to discuss this with him, if he is a family with you then you should be considered! And we'll if she stopped his child seeing him because of this he would be cutting her nose off to spite he face now would t she! As she would then have to pay for childcare over the summer and would also haveno one to have her every other weekend!

mjinhiding Sat 15-May-10 09:40:38

i thought about this more last night, i think that your fixation on 1 relatively minor thing is a symptom of your frustration at your lack of control generally, that dhs ex, through dsd is controlling so much of your husbands time and money

there are battles worth fighting, believe me, this isnt 1 of them

Webuyanycardotcom Sat 15-May-10 09:32:12

Going to court is just going to put a bomb in the middle of everyone's relationships. Given how you describe their parting, if you think it can happen without mud slinging then you are very naive. You're already aware that she may stop contact yet you seem determined to press ahead.

I don't understand it. I get that it's hugely frustrating when things aren't "fair" (although I think in this case it's not unreasonable for you to bear all the costs), I get that it's hugely frustrating when one party behaves badly, when there's no negotiation over things. I've been there. But you have to pick your battles and if it's not that important (and I don't think this is) you just have to let it go IMO. It doesn't help your dsd to have the most important people in her life fighting over her.

And I think it's really sad that after 8 years you refer to your dsd as "the child".

mjinhiding Fri 14-May-10 19:21:47

I came on here hoping to help, but tbh I cant see anything than you being unreasonable

I am a step mum - DHs ex is deranged, we spent 2 years in court fighting to see DSD, he would absolutely LOVE the opportunity to have her for the whole of the school holidays and would move heavn and earth to do so, including taking unpaid leave, and I would fully support him in that, even though we are broke.

It cost over 10k in the first year, he self repped in the second.

Imagine for example you are there with your £180 an hour solicitor, travel time, 2 hors in court with all the hanging around, thats half the travel costs for a year, assuming there are no further hearings.

I would say there is a lot more going on than you have posted in this thread, for you to be so bitter.

FWIW DH always collects and drops of DSD, hell would freeze over before her mother helped him see her.

You should count your lucky stars that your DH has an ok relationship with his ex because the things you are posting about are nothing compared to what some of us go through.

As mum to 3, step parent to 3, 1 of them part time, 1 full time and 1 estranged, I know that step parenting and all the encumbent emotions, are a lot harder to deal with than parenting your own child, come and join us on the step parenting forum, vent your frustrations away, honestly it has been my lifeline and saved me from a nervous breakdown.

I feel so sorry for your dsd. I can't believe that you are willing to risk your husbands relationship with her for the sake of £25 a week. I can't imagine he's too keen on that idea, and if £25 is more important to him than his daughter then why are you having a child with him? That poor girl, she probably already feels unwelcome in your home and that is only going to get worse when your child is born. If you can't accept that your husband has baggage and responsibilities outside of your relationship, why the hell did you marry him?

GypsyMoth Fri 14-May-10 16:00:13

again,how old id dd??

so,you'd go to court and pay all the expenses asociated with it,time off work,childcare etc...for the sake of saving £50 a month in travel costs????

try www.wikivorce.com forums where you'll see that its not common for an nrp to get this new arrangement you want.....particularly as its been this way for so long and now YOU want to move the goalposts.

prh47bridge Fri 14-May-10 15:54:51

Your DH moved away and seems to have done so voluntarily. It is therefore highly unlikely that you will be able to reclaim any portion of his travel costs from the mother. Trying to do so is a waste of time.

He may be paying more than he has to in child maintenance. The CSA formula, as I'm sure you are aware, is 15% of his salary after tax, NI and pension contributions are deducted. However, even if he is paying over the odds, from what you have posted it seems he is happy with this.

The mother of his DD is offering to let him have her for the summer holidays. Regardless of the mother's motivation, I'm sure he would want that. It seems you resent it and regard it as unreasonable.

As far as I can see you have not said that your DH is unhappy with the situation. Even if he is, pushing him into involving the CSA or taking legal action is a high risk route which may result in him losing contact with his daughter completely for several years. I'm not defending the mother and I certainly don't think she should stop contact but that is the risk you take. Who do you think he will blame if that happens?

You said that maybe you should have put this in "Am I Being Unreasonable". The answer, I'm afraid, is yes. You are being thoroughly unreasonable.

I doubt you will listen to me as you seem to have ignored all the advice on this thread that doesn't agree with your views. However, if you carry on down this route you risk damaging your husband's relationship with his daughter and destroying his relationship with you.

tortoiseonthehalfshell Fri 14-May-10 14:36:01

Apologies accepted, tanga wink

Tanga Fri 14-May-10 14:30:21

Perhaps we are ignoring the impact of her behaviour on the second family because, erm, there isn't one? Oh no, I was forgetting, you have to spend money to maintain the relationship between father and daughter because he moved away.

But I don't think we should worry about this going to court because clearly your husband ignores your resentment about him supporting his child and just gets on with the arrangment that he worked out like an adult with the mother of his child, has just got on with it for 8 years and will probably go on doing so no matter how many times you fill in forms for him (?) and have your little tantrums.

I must say, though, your behaviour is exactly what I would expect from my experience of solicitors, which is why so many delicate childcare cases become damaging ego-flaunting showdowns run by people who clearly don't give a toss about the welfare of children and are entirely motivated by the money they can get out of it as soon as they go to court.

My apologies to decent sols.

skidoodly Fri 14-May-10 14:03:59

We're not defending the mother. Not a single person on this thread has defended her. You're just pretending that we are to deflect what is actually criticism of you

"My DH spends approximately £100/ month on train fares to go and collect his daughter (who lives with his ex partner) for her to spend the weekend/ holidays with us and then to take her back home again at the end of her stay.
He pays a big chunk of his income to his ex-P every month via in child support.
He and his ex-P didn't go to court to arrange residency/ contact and agreed everything amicably themselves without the need for a court order"

There is NO problem here - a child sees her father, he pays for her (as he should) and it was all sorted amicably.

Hurray! Everyone's happy.

Oh, except a resentful stepmother who thinks is pissed off that her DH is paying for travel costs that have been incurred by HIS OWN move.

tortoiseonthehalfshell Fri 14-May-10 13:54:19

Are you really a lawyer? Because you seem to have a lot of faith in this impartial justice system that will see it your way. And most of the lawyers I know tend to be aware that judges are people too and will find ways to rule as they feel morally appropriate. If we're all saying something that you disagree with, has it occurred to you that the courts might just disagree with you as well?

Also, most of the lawyers I know have basic critical reading skills. I'll say this again slowly.

Nobody has defended the mother.

Nobody. No-one. Not one person has defended the mother.

Nobody.

legallyblonde Fri 14-May-10 13:48:43

I think the mother should move nearer to us - how selfish and unreasonable of her not to do that! (No, I'm just kidding!!)

<Sigh> I'm still shocked my the number of MNers who jump to defend the mother in this situation and completely ignore the impact of her behaviour on the second family- truly shocking! Thank God there is the neutral CSA/ courts to intervene.

If he moved away he takes the cost of travel as far am I'm concerned. None of it is about him or her it's about the child. It doesn't matter why he moved away.
My ex moved back to his home when we split, which is out of the country. He takes the cost of travel, having to fly of course means this can be fairly high, but neither of us have ever considered anything else, he moved so he takes that burden. He could move back here and not have those costs any time he likes.
It is not my responsibility to pay the costs for his choices, same goes for your DH's ex. Nothing else that she does is relevant to this.

Going by this thread, you are a typical example of with step mothers get a bad rep.

He moved away, of course he should pay to travel.

Look at it from the other side, if a woman was posting about how her ex was living off his new wife to avoid paying much CSA and on top of that wanted her to pay for travel costs despite him moving away. How many people would say he was justified?

tortoiseonthehalfshell Fri 14-May-10 12:45:39

Incidentally, throwing in the fact that the mother has friends who äll seem to be single mothers" isn't making you sound particularly sympathetic, here. Just so you know.

tortoiseonthehalfshell Fri 14-May-10 12:42:56

Legally, where did I say that it was okay for a mother to withhold contact? I didn't say that and nobody has said that. What I did say was that, if that is the situation you're in, then it's morally incumbent on you to act responsibility within those confines. You can't change her behaviour. You can choose to behave in a way yourself which lessens the impact on your stepdaughter.

If you go to court (and again, you don't have locus standi, so this is your husband that would be going to court) you will risk contact for the sake of a bit of money.

Look, there are women on here who, for one reason or another, have come under social services' radar such that they have to live up to unrealistic standards. I can have a messy home safely, they can't because they've been threatened with intervention as regards their children. It's not fair. It's the SS people who are being unreasonable. But as mothers, they can't say 'well I'm going to act as I see fair, and if they choose to take my children away well that's their CHOICE and it's not okay but I can't be held responsible'. The situation is what it is, and because we're talking about their children they have to act within those confines unless it's impossible.

Your husband can't control his ex's actions. But he does need to act in a way that maximises his contact with his daughter, as long as his other family isn't actually suffering.

Are you, in fact, actually suffering? Or do you just think it's not fair?

legallyblonde Fri 14-May-10 12:33:51

oops

Yes, every story has two sides.

For those who think it is relevant: My husband was brutally thrown out of his home by his wife's deranged sister. Having since had a few dealings with the mother, I'm pretty sure that she did it so that she could claim benefit and stay at home being "ill" which she couldn't do when my husband was there and bringing in money. When I first met my husband, he was often in tears when talking about what he had lost. I don't think that it was unreasonable for him to have moved away after being thrown out and returned to his home town (He and the mother had been living at her parents' house in her home town surrounded by her school friends who, from the sound of it, were all single mothers...)

Anyway there are two sides to every story... and I'm off to review the CSA guidelines and fill in the app forms for DH (he's keen to keep hold of whatever pennies he can - it's more to spend on DH DD when she's here if nothing else : )

legallyblonde Fri 14-May-10 12:32:26

Yes, every story has two sides.

For those who think it is relevant: My husband was brutally thrown out of his home by his wife's deranged sister. Having since had a few dealings with the mother, I'm pretty sure that she did it so that she could claim benefit and stay at home being "ill" which she couldn't do when my husband was there and bringing in money. When I first met my husband, he was often in tears when talking about what he had lost. I don't think that it was unreasonable for him to have moved away after being thrown out and returned to his home town (He and the mother had been living at her parents' house in her home town surrounded by her school friends who, from the sound of it, were all single mothers...)

Anyway there are two sides to every story... and I'm off to review the CSA guidelines and fill in the app forms for DH (he's keen to keep hold of whatever pennies he can - it's more to spend on DH when she's here if nothing else : )

Rumbled Fri 14-May-10 11:31:49

Who moved away? If your husband moved away from the area where his ex lives, IMO, he should be paying the travel costs, because moving was his choice. Why should his ex pay for costs that have arisen through choices she hasn't made?

I don't doubt that your husband's ex can be hard work and manipulative at times. But you (presumably) knew this when you got together with your husband, and so as hard as it may be, you took on this "baggage" and need to accept this with good grace and try to work with his ex - for his daughter's sake.

My ex treated me appallingly in the run-up to our separation. I'm sure I was pretty deranged for a few months afterwards and less than cooperative. But, now the dust has long settled, in spite of all that has happened between us, we work hard at parenting amicably and co-operatively and have never used the courts. There have been times when I've fantasised about my ex driving off a cliff blush BUT, for DS's sake, I don't bad-mouth his dad to him, I don't rock the boat, and keep everything as stable as possible. I find it bloody hard sometimes, but it's not about me; it's about DS. And in your situation, it's first and foremost about your step-daughter and her relationship with her dad.

I'd second someone else's suggestion of looking up CSA maintenance guidelines. It may be that your ex is paying over the odds, and he could look into adjusting his payments if it seems like the fair thing to do. This doesn't need to be done aggressively or through the courts though.

Oh and again, who moved away? And what does your DH feel about the situation?

Tanga Fri 14-May-10 11:16:28

I would also be very interested to know how old the child is, an can we assume that this terrible abusive behaviour by the mother is moving away from the father? Because you seem remarkably reticent on this point.

I can't see anyone saying the mother's behaviour is OK - but you seem to have an agenda regardless of what is said to you.

I would always speak up for a parent who was being unreasonably denied access to their child and I do think it happens a lot more than people admit to - even in threads on here you see people making comments along the lines of 'when he's only seeing his children once a fortnight he'll be sorry'.

If court action would result in the RP stopping contact until the courts compelled her to comply then I would still support the other parent in that action if in the long term the child would be better off, ie have a relationship with the other parent that is more protected from abusive'control' by the RP.

However, this does not appear to be the case here. From what you originally posted, your motivation seemed entirely financial, and you appeared to be objecting to the father and child having loads more time together in the holidays. Your approach was highly confrontational, although it may be that you are venting after 8 years of exemplary step parenting.

GypsyMoth Fri 14-May-10 10:31:17

who moved away?
how old is the child?
you'll be going to court to be £50 a month better off??

GypsyMoth Fri 14-May-10 10:26:30

you have no say though....yes,you nmay be accomodated a little in a cafcass report....but you cant take her to court,ask for anything or be listened to

remember,there are two sides to every story,and we're only hearing one here.

legallyblonde Fri 14-May-10 10:24:21

tortoise... - OMG! Are you actually suggesting that it would be ok for the mum to withhold contact? You think it is ok for a mum to do that just because the father has chosen to have the authorities review the existing arrangement? I'm shocked!

ILoveTIFFANY - how is it not my business? there is a second family here that is impacted by all of this. In family law matters, the whole picture is considered by the court and sometimes a mother is ordered to do something that she doesn't want to do but it is in the best interests of the child.

I am truly shocked that so many MNers could think that it is ok for a mother to treat her child's father like that. Truly shocking!

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