confused about 50/50 custody

(30 Posts)
lolathemagnificent Fri 15-Mar-13 16:59:14

Hi, not entirely sure of where to post this but hoping someone has some info

my exp claims he wants 50/50 custody of our 2yo DS and told me this morning he will be taking legal action, which to me sounds a little bonkers as for the last two years we have had an agreement where I have DS mon-thu, I drop DS at nursery every Friday morning, exp collects DS at 5pm from nursery, then I collect DS 6pm on Sunday evenings. (this works well for us both as he works mon-fri 9-5, I work all weekend, every weekend and we live 40miles apart)

At the time he was more than happy with this arrangement, and when he goes on holiday (usually three times a year) I am more than happy to take holidays from work or arrange for babysitters etc. AIBU to think that Fri-sun every week is an ok amount of quality time for exp to have with DS?

Anyway a bit of background info...exp was kind enough to leave me when I was 4months pregnant (with no where to live may I add, as it was 6 days before we were due to move in together into a house in his name) the reason....his exp who he had been cheating on me with told him to, yes he's just delightful. To cut a very long story short throughout my pregnancy he caused me no end of stress including telling me he was going to quit his job to make sure I would not recieve a single penny from him when I suggested csa (he has a number of properties he rents out which dont have HMO licence, he was scared of being found out) and that he wanted 50/50 custody in order to save making payments to me at all, which again is bonkers as the money isn't for me, it's for DS! So basically, if there's something he doesn't like, he begins the threats. Of course nothing came of that then when DS was born he again demanded that if I don't give him 50/50 access when DS reaches 6Weeks old he will be taking legal action. (even if I wanted to, DS was being breast fed so would've been impossible) plus he was over every day when he took paternity leave then 4 days a week after that, I began expressing when DS was 16 Weeks then exp had him overnight once a week plus visits then by 6 months it was the full weekend. I like to think I'm pretty reasonable!! I think I'm rambling now so will get to the point. Exp has been trying to get back with me since DS was about 7months old, the guy put me through hell, cheated, dumped me on my arse was incredibly mean and so out of order on so many occasions, as already mentioned very manipulative and doesn't like it when he doesn't get his own way so surprise surprise I'm not interested in ever being in a relationship with him. I must admit, he's extremely good looking, has a great job blah blah blah so thinks he is gods gift, and I think he is genuinely in shock that I won't take him back, so December came, he asked if we could go on a date I said no. come January he asked again I said no, (this has been since dec2011) so I think it's finally sinking in that it's not going to happen so low and behold he doesn't like it and is becoming nasty, this is why I think he's demanding 50/50, I think threats make him feel in control.

Soooo...my question is this, are his threats just that, threats? Or would he have a case? Would it even get to court?

I'm guessing 50/50 would be a week each with DS (which I hate the idea of, I personally think one home plus visits is more stable for DS than two homes, and of course this isn't about me but I would hate to be away from DS for a whole week) if it was one week each I would struggle for babysitters every single fortnight whilst I work, it would just be a complete nightmare.

exp is a great dad to DS which is all I ever wanted, but, he grudges paying maintenance, he has a warped idea that it's money for me, despite the fact I'm on a low income. A big part of me thinks that he just wants stop paying maintenance which is why he's going on about.50/50. Is this the case? even if I agreed to 50/50, which I really don't want to, would he no longer have to pay?

I've definitely rambled and no doubt put in plenty of irrelevant info so apologies for that! Does anyone know?

Dervel Fri 15-Mar-13 17:41:23

As I understand it his solicitor would advise mediation before going to court, and as it sounds you are extremely reasonable there is no reason at all that wouldn't turn out best for your DS.

The state of play is that they treat the finances as separate to access, although if the NRP has the child for a significant portion of time CM is reduced somewhat. I also believe that even in cases where time spent is 50/50 the NRP still has some money to pay to the RP.

Again I stress mediation is more often than not the way forward, you can tailor the situation to suit all parties, and whilst it sounds like he is being an ass for you rejecting his advances, you can be almost guaranteed that when he finds his next partner he'll become preoccupied with that.

The finances are a bit trickier, as it sounds as if he doesn't have the right attitude at all. I get a bit angry when people start threatening things, and am inclined to advise going the CSA route, but then again if he's trying to play hardball there is no reason you can't as well. I know it might sound harsh, but he needs to be disabused of the notion that he can pressure and threaten you whenever he wishes, and ideally this would be a lesson better learned before your little one will form memories of the inevitable stress and bellyache he's likely to cause.

Although I am the separated father now, I was also the product of a single parent family where my father bullied my mother over finances, and to be honest although his behaviour then has harmed the relationship I have with him now (I was 8 when they split). I would much rather that state of affairs than what godawful implications it would have for my adult attitude towards women had my mother kowtowed to him at every turn. In your case there is every chance this can be dealt with before any harm is done.

lolathemagnificent Fri 15-Mar-13 18:42:23

Thanks dervel. The thing is, it really is causing me a lot of stress and bellyache. The CM I recieve from him is just enough to keep my head above water with all the bills. If I was to recieve any less I really don't know what I would do. Which annoys me as he knows this, he also earns 50k yet deducted 40quid from CM because after being on a two week skiing holiday I suggested he have a few extra days with DS as I guessed he wouldve missed him loads, this involved him dropping DS off at nursery on the fri instead if me, and paying the nursery fee for that day, which is a one off, will never happen again occurence. How tightfisted can someone be! And he is so twisted and stubborn that I believe he will go through with it this time, I swear he wants to cause me as much stress as possible.

And as educated as he is, his attitude towards women stinks. He's very, very sexist, another reason why him leaving me was a blessing. Only a month ago he was telling me how women should only ever have sex with a man if she is in a fully committed relationship. Then followed up by saying I've slept with loads of women on first dates, had loads of one night stands and sometimes more than one girl at a time (yeah, in his dreams more like) but if a woman does that she's easy. (this conversation came about as I invented a fictitious date in the hope he would leave me alone, he asked if it was physical, which of course I told him to feck off and mind his own business, so he thought he would put his tuppence worth in) it actually scares me that DS could pick up on this

betterthanever Fri 15-Mar-13 19:12:49

Dervel has articulated things very well as he often does. This is a very good point * I know it might sound harsh, but he needs to be disabused of the notion that he can pressure and threaten you whenever he wishes, and ideally this would be a lesson better learned before your little one will form memories of the inevitable stress and bellyache he's likely to cause.*

OP, sadly there are many men who have had a good academic education who treat women like this, the thing is most know exactly what they are doing. You are the savvy one who sees straight through him, much to his annoyance.

The finances have to kept apart from contact but as you feel this is the motivation for the changes to current arrangements then I think it is right to raise them. He knows that will worry you too - please try and not let him know how much. My CAFCASS officer saw straight through my ex as being money motivated and said exactly that to me `it's all about money this'. So if (and I don't think it will) comes to court just be honest.

It is very easy for me to say don't stress but it would have to be seen to be in the child's best interest to make any changes to the current arrangements and to be honest as your DS gets older and gets friends they want to see and activities they want to do - his best interests will change and your Ds's best interests will change this will be a shock to your ex every step of the way.

The shared parenting, 50/50 whatever... is a wonderful ideal but the reality of work patterns, distance, other relationships, age of child and so many other factors make it difficult to achieve and it isn't all about over nights or physically being with the child anyway- the fact it has been in the press so much makes people think it's a given - it isn't and it has not been put in the children's act yet and even if it is, it would not be a given. It is all about the child and what is best for them. Each situation is so unique. Courts see when one parent has an agenda not in the child's best interest.

I can't believe your ex expected you to believe he would leave a full time job just so he didn't have to pay you - some do (my ex) but not those on £50k.

I am not a massive fan of mediation but in this case I think it would work very well in your favour if he takes `legal action' that I very much doubt he would pay for as it costs a fortune

You see the issues are his, you do sound very reasonable, insightful and a great parent. Please try not to worry - I validate everything you say as many, many other will - he will never see it that way, as it doesn't suit him to.

Tewa Fri 15-Mar-13 19:28:19

Please don't be concerned. It's an empty threat.

When someone starts demanding `50/50 custody' (it's called `contact' or `residence these days....`custody' stopped having a legal meaning in 1989!) my first thought is inevitably `Why is a strict equal division of time in the interests of the child?'

If he went to court it's one of the first questions he would be asked by a judge. Why is it in the best interests of the child that your child's time is split equally between both parents?

He's going to have a hard time answering that in a child-focused manner and if he's honest he's going to start shouting about it `being his right'. Which means nothing in court because parents don't have rights, children do. The courts use the Welfare Checklist* as a basis for their decisions and nothing else.

And as for `taking legal action' I wouldn't worry either. If he doesn't try to go to mediation first he's going to be asked why he went straight to court without trying to resolve it amicably. I would urge you to propose mediation however. It sounds like there are issues that need dealing with and something that you both feel strongly about and you should do everything you can to avoid court because it's far from pleasant or cheap.

Don't second guess him with regard to maintenance either. There's no link in law and you need to keep money and contact separate - it's something the courts take a very dim view on (if your or he does it).

So I would recommend you organise mediation. Or propose that he does. Chances are there are compromises you can come to which work for you, your ex and most importantly for your DS. Regardless of what was done and said in the past you both should do whatever you can to sort this out for his future because he deserves his mum and dad working together.

You really don't need to worry though, OK? grin

Piemother Fri 15-Mar-13 20:14:33

He sounds like a prize twit. The courts are keen on maintaining the status quo if it works well for the child and since you have an established contact schedule based on work commitments etc they will tell him it stays as it is. Besides there are 7 nights in a week and he already has 3!
Go to the CSA though grin

Dervel Fri 15-Mar-13 20:25:50

If I could toss in a little pyschology here in case it might help. He needs to be trained not to make asinine comments of the ilk you mentioned. By all means be 100% transparent and communicative about matters concerning your DS, but you don't have to tell him one iota about your personal life.

If he starts on a track of conversation you are not comfortable with, just firmly tell him you do not want to talk about whatever it is any further, and do your best not to let him know that anything he is saying is getting to you. Once he's in a position where he's not getting the reaction he wants, and like I said earlier has a new partner he'll move on.

It sounds like he may have some traits of the narcissist (difficult thing to diagnose even in a theraputic context, but it is more common in men than in women) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism but have a poke about online and see if anything fits. My reasoning for that guess is down to how he dumps you with nowhere to live with abolsutely no thought or consideration to how you will survive, only to then think he is obviously so damn amazing you'd have him back without complaint, which is delusional behaviour no matter which way you slice it. If my shot in the dark is at all accurate, it may give you insight on how to proceed in dealing with him.

I shouldn't worry about your DS picking up too many bad habits from him, I got a very good grounding in ethics and how to treat people from my Mum, and had a very good example in how men are supposed to behave from my Grandad!

lolathemagnificent Fri 15-Mar-13 20:31:18

Thank you tewa and betterthanever. I've stopped worrying :-)

His sister, brother in law and best mate are all lawyers, which he likes to remind me of, in a pathetic attempt to intimidate me I'm guessing, but I really am quite clueless about it all so it's nice to get a few facts, hear some opinions and offload. He also does all his threats via text or email, but when the discussion is face to face he is never quite as brave so I learned quickly he usually is all talk no action but I'm convinced the guy is bloody evil and simply enjoys trying to upset me!

Mediation is a good idea, although even the thought of that stresses me, hopefully we can sit down have a chat and resolve this, but will definitely be putting him in his place with the 50/50 nonsense, seems to be more about one upmanship, being tightfisted and trying to prove his authority over me than anything else. The man is 37 (I'm ten years younger) I would've thought by that age he would've grown up slightly but I doubt he will anytime soon so I will be looking forward to the day DS is old enough to travel himself to see exp. what a horrible situation to be in, would like it if we could be friends, but such is life :-( fingers crossed, maybe one day

Dervel Fri 15-Mar-13 20:38:55

Keep ALL those texts and emails, if things do get all lawyery he'll wish he hadn't!!

Tewa Fri 15-Mar-13 20:57:38

Being as his family are 'lawyers' they can't act for him. Furthermore unless they are Family Law practitioners they won't have the knowledge to assist him. They can't even act as a McKenzie Friend for him!

As Dervel says keep records of EVERYTHING.

Be amiable and willing to discuss your child with him but don't be bullied. Your personal life is none of his business however.

betterthanever Fri 15-Mar-13 21:12:25

At 37 he is not going to change. Agree, keep the texts and emails they may well be handy and his lawyer family are not that good at giving advice then or they would have mentioned not to do that. lol
I don't even like my own lawyer - they know process but judges call the shots.

it is a minefield at first you are doing the right thing to get information and advice. In your ex's world all that matters are his own opinions.

And by the time your DS is old enough to travel there himself I very much doubt he will want to go. They are not daft these little ones, in many ways they see the situation less tainted and therefore clearer than us. You sounds a lot more mature than he.

Agree with this:
My reasoning for that guess is down to how he dumps you with nowhere to live with absolutely no thought or consideration to how you will survive, only to then think he is obviously so damn amazing you'd have him back without complaint, which is delusional behaviour no matter which way you slice it.

I never thought this would be the case until I tried it, but Dervel is bang on again with this: Once he's in a position where he's not getting the reaction he wants, and like I said earlier has a new partner he'll move on. which is just really sad for your DS.

It took me a while to control that reaction but tis sooo true. You sound much better at controlling the reaction than me.

lolathemagnificent Fri 15-Mar-13 21:13:07

Hehehe piemother, hmmm I may well do! Or at least just tell him I will, then wait while he tries to come up with lots of new threats for me, but then I just don't have the energy for any mind game crap. Nice thought though :-)

Dervel I think you're right. When he ended it, I of course was a mess, absolutely heartbroken but completely dumbfounded at how he could be so uncompassionate. It was all I could think about, and thought a LOT about the reasons behind it. I know no relationship is perfect but in my eyes (obviously not his as he was off cheating) things were great. And without being too big headed here, I'm a catch!! grin anyway his lovely mother unfortunately has bipolar which if I remember correctly is hereditary, which although I don't think he is, there is something not right there. His previous relationship (with whom he was cheating with me) was a very unhealthy one, on and off for ten years, apparently involved some violence (on her part) very toxic and despite him having six properties, he chose to live in a flat where she lived also, directly in the flat opposite, in the same close! He opens his front door and can see hers, when they were split up, seriously not healthy.they were both very possessive of each other and I think he never wanted to move on from her, because surely otherwise he would just move. And did very well at hiding this information from me until I fell pregnant. Hmmmm...

So yes I'll look into the narcissistic thing, thank you. I am usually very careful about how and what I say to him, always keeping my personal life very private as if there was someone I was involved with, 1.) It's none of his bloody business and 2) he'd get jealous, plus I generally like to keep conversation with him to a minimum, polite and about DS only if possible, makes life easier and hopefully the less he is involved with me the higher chance he will get hooked on someone else. Plus he likes to start arguments, so always tell him 'im not biting, see you sunday' if ever if gets to that. Not so much anymore as I think he is slowly learning but he would often call and text me in,the middle of the night when drunk. I never answered or replied and the following day would ask tell him I'll only talk to him when sober, he thought it was perfectly acceptable to do this, and probably that I'd go running back into his arms so established some good boundaries yet still Sometimes feel like I am dealing with a child. Thanks again

Dervel Fri 15-Mar-13 21:56:00

To be honest it sounds like you had pretty much worked all of this out for yourself, which is a very encouraging sign. Yet it is nice to get some unbiased verification (I do much the same myself!).

On the Narcissism thing, as I said any armchair diagnosis is going to be very tricky, but as you said yourself something clearly isn't right there, and if you can zero in on what that might be you'll be better able to counteract whatever nonsense he comes up with, whereas he by contrast will have zero idea where you are coming from as he clearly has no empathy.

That said I feel quite safe to say that whatever may or may not be precisely wrong with him, he cannot function properly without constant female validation in his life. He doesn't fundementally sound as strong emotionally or mentally as you do. Seeing him as a child is a very healthy way of looking at this.

betterthanever Fri 15-Mar-13 22:13:49

something clearly isn't right there, and if you can zero in on what that might be you'll be better able to counteract whatever nonsense he comes up with, whereas he by contrast will have zero idea where you are coming from as he clearly has no empathy. wonderfully put

Seeing him as a child is a very healthy way of looking at this. and again.. you are becoming my fav poster Dervel.

lolathemagnificent Fri 15-Mar-13 22:24:38

I agree betterthanever. I can only dream of being as articulate as Dervel envy lol

Dervel Fri 15-Mar-13 23:17:01

Tish and tosh! I got it from my mother, and I dearly hope I can pass it on to my DS. Thanks!

betterthanever Sat 16-Mar-13 12:23:32

Your Mother sounds wonderful Dervel.

Wereonourway Wed 20-Mar-13 11:11:58

I know this thread is a few days old but stumbled upon it and read with interest.

My ex is trademark narcissist, was highly emotionally abusive and did very very little for ds.

He behaves in exactly the same way as op's ex. If I dare say no he threatens and bully's and generally behaves like a child.

He has the contact times he actually requested and I've worked around them. He asks weekly to swap his nights and since Xmas I've refused. Ds is 2, needs a routine and actually so do I.

He seems to think he is entitled to swap at his liesure and blames being self emplyed. I had my solicitor write to him last week reiterating the fact that he chose the times stated and to please stuck to them and not harass me to change on a weekly basis.

She also asked him to refrain from calling me a Benefit scrounger for asking for maintenance.( I work by the way, claim ctc and wtc only)

So I'm now awaiting a response, he hasn't been to a solicitor yet but this letter will probably prompt him to.

He is a bully and if he doesn't get his own way he kicks off, it's hard, so I sympathise with you op. hope you get things sorted.

I know all I want is peace and what's best for my ds

Tewa Wed 20-Mar-13 11:32:01

Sounds like you are doing the right thing Wereonourway.

Children need some routine. Some flexibility is fine of course but if you've agreed times and dates they should be stuck to unless there is a good reason to change things or such a change has been agreed in a reasonable time ahead of this.

Without this children will end up disappointed when Daddy doesn't show or else you'll be cancelling things at short notice when he does show up at short notice demanding contact.

Wereonourway Wed 20-Mar-13 11:51:58

I've really got no choice to be honest.

If we had done things his way he would cancel his Monday with an hours notice and ask for the Tuesday instead. Never allowing me to make plans.

He thinks because he is self emplyed this is his right. To be honest out of the times he has asked to swap(10 in total since jan) 3 have been because of work.

In his eyes I'm controlling and manipulative and "use ds against him".

In reality I'm sticking to the times he said were suitable for him- he agreed them in November. To me his work and life are his responsibility, as mine are mine. Ds is always ready for contact but I absolutely refuse all swaps as if u give an inch he will take a mile, as he has done all of his life.

If I swap one week it will become the norm. It's very sad and very very stressful indeed.

This is the very reason I stayed in the abusive relationship for so long, having to co parent with someone who was never a parent anyway.

I worry about what will happen if this escalates, the solicitors letters back and forth and court etc.

I hope people would agree that my firm stance is required and see through his bullying entitled behaviour

Pinkshaman Wed 20-Mar-13 12:41:01

I get where you are coming from. It's about setting boundaries and if you've been the one to always bend in a relationship then they don't like it when you start to be more assertive.

I apparently stop xh from seeing dd. what has actually happened was that I stopped bejng the one to ask him and encourage a relationship with dd. If I asked him to have her midweek he refused, if I asked him to take her regularly to a hobby in the week he would either refuse or not be reliable.

He told me that he wasn't going to be my babysitter. He didn't see it as me encouraging their relationship and me wanting him involved. So I stopped asking and left it to him to make the effort.

And when he hadn't seen her for four weeks it was my fault and I was only doing it to get more money out of the CSA (which he wasn't paying anyway!). All he needed to do was ask, but he didn't and when I asked him how much time he wanted with dd over Easter last year he refused to have her at all. It was part of the abuse - if I asked he could say no, if I didn't ask he could paint me as an ex who was stopping him seeing his child. He thought he had the power.

It was very liberating when i stopped expecting him to see that I was being reasonable and had good intentions. What is important to me now is that I know that about myself - he can think what the hell he likes. And if he wants to paint me as the vindictive ex to his new gf or anyone who wants to listen that's up to him, it doesn't affect me any longer. It was a journey to get to that point but I am really proud of myself for doing so.

Tewa Wed 20-Mar-13 12:46:31

Pinkshaman - you say`Ds is always ready for contact but I absolutely refuse all swaps as if u give an inch he will take a mile'.

Don't refuse swaps on a matter of principal or just to teach him a lesson because sometimes there are good reasons although I am not suggesting that your ex's job is one of them. Things do come up from time to time and it's likely at some point you you will want to change too at which point he'll do the same to you.

Be firm but flexible sometimes. Being flexible doesn't mean you are giving into bullying if you agree a change from time to time. Dropping everything every time to suit him IS bullying.

Pinkshaman Wed 20-Mar-13 13:01:50

Wasn't me who said that! And if I was able to I'd always do a swap if he asked.

Tewa Wed 20-Mar-13 13:03:17

lol - sorry!

blush

Pinkshaman Wed 20-Mar-13 13:21:13

I think wereonourway is right to not swap though while she is establishing the boundary.

Wereonourway Wed 20-Mar-13 13:29:47

I would love to feel I could be flexible, and for ex to be flexible in return. From August to Xmas I did this, I swapped his nights and times to suit football fixtures or social gatherings.

He would binge drink in a Saturday then wake up at tea time Sunday and demand contact, I'd drop what I had planned or was doing and take ds to him.

I would be driving him from work and because he had cancelle the night before he would demand I take ds to his for an hour. Despite it being 6pm and despite ds being shattered.

It was like this week in week out, it was a continuation of the abuse id suffered and by Xmas I'd had enough.

I will add that if I genuinely thought he couldn't shuffle his work around and it meant ds not seeing his dad I would swap in a heart beat.

He quite happily takes Mondays off if he has a hangover. I saw it week after week when we were together. He will just not admit that he doesn't prioritise and would rather blame me for his lack of responsibility.

Believe me I wish it were different.

lucyloo78 Fri 22-Mar-13 10:45:06

lolathemagnificent - how r things going?

Stumbled across this & v interested as my ex has put in court order for shared residence. Despite my pleas to return to mediation (we had one session but he left after not getting what he wanted.)He has written horrid lies in statements and is out to cause me most amount of stress and upset as possible.
I have a sol, it seems he's self-representing.

Any experiences of this and court process? Many thanks

Tewa Fri 22-Mar-13 11:00:17

lucyloo78 did he refuse mediation? Why was that? The court will not be very impressed if he has made an application without trying to resolve matters amicably and it's something I would advise you bring up in the first hearing.

What are his grounds for applying for a Shared Residence Order? A lot of people who apply for these seem to think it means the children will spend equal amounts of time with each parent usually because `it's my right'. Shared Residence does change what a parent can and can't do somewhat, but I find that a lot of people (both litigants in person and those with solicitors) wouldn't be able to say what they are.

Assuming it goes to court he will have to explain why a Shared Residence Order is in your childrens' best interests more than making no order at all. He will have to come up with examples that demonstrate this.

Also, in my experience of court someone who makes an application for an SRO without sufficient grounds very much risks the other party being granted a Residence Order - usually on the grounds that such applications will disrupt the childrens' routine and create a feeling of uncertainty.

I find myself `talking people down' from Shared Residence Order applications more and more these days for this very reason.

Fleecyslippers Fri 22-Mar-13 13:24:03

Lucy the fact that he is self representing is very positive for you. My narc Ex self represents, not because of financial reason but after parting company with 4 solicitors, he thinks that he 'knows' the system better than anyone else. The judge involved in our case deals with him very well - no matter what outrageous crap he comes out with, she constantly deflects it back at him (He has limited contact because of DV against myself and the kids)
He is doing himself absolutely no favours and his demands have largely been unmet during nearly 2 years of contact hearings. If you find a good solicitor, who is aware of how these mens brains work, you are in a great place.
good luck smile

lucyloo78 Fri 22-Mar-13 23:02:20

Any other experiences?? thanks x

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