Some advice about contact please....

(191 Posts)
SnowWhiteWinter Fri 30-Nov-12 21:19:39

Hello. I'm hoping someone here may have been in a similar position as we are and can perhaps help or give some advice in general.

I have 2 dsc, they are both young (3 and 5). They live with my partner and I 50% of the time and with their mum the other 50% of the time.

My partner is currently having a few problems negotiating contact arrangements with their mum. Basically they have agreed that the minimum number of handovers as possible is best for everyone, as there have been problems at handover time previously. Plus we don't live that close to each other so daily handovers would be difficult for them both. They have agreed the children will stay with each of us for a week at a time and this is already happening.

My partner and I think the children are still too young to not see their mum or dad for 8 days at a time as a permanent setup. They get really upset on handover days because they miss the other parent during that time. Their mum has agreed with this. My partner has proposed that they spend one midweek night overnight with the other parent the weeks they are not with them (hope that makes sense) so they only ever go 3/4 days at a time without seeing their mum or dad. However, due to her new work rota which she has recently had put in place as flexible working she works long hours most days the weeks they are with us and much fewer hours the weeks they are with her. She has said because of this she cannot have them for a midweek overnight the weeks they are with us. My partner has offered to be flexible and help facilitate it for her and change her day each time around her days off or even if she can't do it every week just some, but she has said for that reason she will not be agreeing to the children staying with us a midweek overnight as it's not "fair". Meaning it would not be exactly 50/50.

My partner has written to her and explained it is what is best for the children that counts not what is best or "fair" for the adults. She has said her decision is final and will not discuss it further. sad

So, do any of you fellow stepmums here (or other people on this forum) have any advice?

My partner is considering applying to court regarding this, something we can't really afford if we can avoid it. There is currently no court order at all regarding residency of the children, they have tried to keep away from courts and made informal arrangements until now. However, he strongly feels it would be better for the children and she won't accept that. Does anyone have experience of family court practices? Could he apply to court for this (specific issue order could be what he needs from what we have looked up online) despite there being no current residency order? Or if he applies to court for this issue will the court/Cafcass want to bring about a full residency case? He and dsc mum both agree 50/50 with each parent (roughly) is best for the children so neither would try and go for sole residency or a much greater share of time than they currently have, it's just this one night per fortnight.

Any advice greatly received x

ivykaty44 Fri 30-Nov-12 21:26:50

sorry but I doubt the courts will be interested in a case regarding one night a week - when it is all sorted out apart from this one issue.

As you say it is just this one night and you can't force the other parent to have the children, you can request access - but both parents already have access and equal access.

TBH from the very little I do know courts don't like 50/50 access and it could back fire if you take it to court - the judge could make an order to place the dc with one parent and the other have access at weekends, if that is what the judge sees fit and best for the dc

SnowWhiteWinter Fri 30-Nov-12 21:44:18

Thankyou for the reply. It is sort of all sorted, yes, but this issue of her not "allowing" the midweek overnights makes it not quite so sorted, if that makes sense. It was never agreed as a long term solution to have 7 nights in a row, but she told us she has put in and had granted a flexible working request based on it.

He isn't trying to force her to have the children an extra night, we just feel it's a bit rubbish for the kids that she refuses them the overnight with their dad because she can't give them an overnight with her due to the new work pattern she has put in place sad

ivykaty44 Fri 30-Nov-12 21:50:53

I guess if she has put in a new work pattern around the access of 50/50 then she is unlikely to want to start making changes now she has sorted work and got everything up and running so to speak. How would she change her work, she would be sitting twiddling her thumbs when she has arranged to have the dc.

How long have the dc had to get used to this pattern?

A lot of dc go to see the other parent every other weekend which means they go from Monday to the week on friday without seeing the other parents - not all dc have a mid week visit.

SoupDragon Fri 30-Nov-12 21:54:32

You're asking her to give up part of her contact time though.

Ray75 Fri 30-Nov-12 22:23:37

Hi, I do 50/50 with ex and we do the 5-2 rota, so he has DC mon/tues. I have weds/thur then we alternate the weekend Friday to monday. This means the longest away is 5 nights.
I agree keeping handovers to a minimum in the earlier days is best and I'm not sure your 1night in the week is such a good idea, it will mean just as they have got settled for a couple of days they have to change over and before they have time to readjust they are back again.
How long have you been doing this routine? It does take time to settle down, we had issues in the first year at change over, either tears or anger etc, we kept reassuring and being consistent and now DC goes between very happily and now we can flex around more if needed as the change over is no longer an issue.
Doing 50/50 and a job is tough due to changing routines and I would say she's been fortunate that her company have worked with her so she can achieve this, I thinks it's maybe a little unfair to be pushing her to approach them for even more flexibility, or the alternative of seeing her children less!!
It seems a little unfair to suggest she isn't putting what's best for the children first, some Dads could only dream of getting 50% time and the ex being financially independent, I think it seems a pretty fair/amicable set up to date, I would urge you to reconsider pushing this to courts and damaging that long term.

SnowWhiteWinter Sat 01-Dec-12 00:24:58

Thanks for your responses too Soup Dragon and Ray75.

IvyKaty44.....Yes, she arranged her new permanant work rota around the temporary pattern they had decided on whilst things calmed down a bit to let the children have some time away from arguing and shouting/abuse at handover times. It was always a trial, based on what is best for the children. She has agreed that it would be best if the children didn't have to go a whole week not seeing the other parent and tells us they say how much they miss the other parent and that they get upset a lot. But as she now doesn't have a free day to have them she states my partner also should not see them for a whole week. My partner is obviously frustrated as she shouldn't really have rearranged her whole work pattern around an arrangement they had agreed was only short term until a more suitable and permanent pattern was agreed on. As you say, a court might not agree with 50/50 and choose one parent to have majority care, we have heard this sometimes happens when it is clear to the judge that the parents don't agree. My partner and I would happily have the children more, if asked, but similarly if it was better for the children he would agree to them being with her more (although I know it would absolutely kill him (and me) to see less of them, if that makes sense).

Suopdragon.... He's asking her to change one night a week in the children's best interests. He sees it as the children's contact time, not hers or his.

Ray75.... I do see you have a point about just getting settled then one night away again, but they do now have two homes, both homes have everything they need and we both honestly believe a whole week away from mummy or daddy is too much, they are still really little. I can't agree at all with what you seem to be suggesting that my partner, as a man not a woman, should be grateful of having 50% with his children and a financially independent EX though! You are right it is a "fair" setup - for the parents, not the children. I can't imagine telling my children that they wont see me for a whole week!

Hmmm, I guess maybe we are being unreasonable, it seems everyone thinks we are. It just feels like she is doing what is best for her. She has just said it has to be equal nights 50/50 else it isn't "fair" (on her I believe she means). sad Perhaps we will just leave it as it is. Neither of us want arguments, conflict or the expense and stress of going to court.

Xalla Sat 01-Dec-12 04:48:15

My DH has exactly the same set up as Ray for his DSD6. We find it works as both parents are equally involved in my DSD's academic life and each gets to take her to the same extra-curricular activities each week. My DH takes her swimming each Thursday for example.

I agree that going 7 nights without seeing a parent is a long time but if that's the routine already in place and you are consistent with it then I think you'll DSC will become used to it with time. Plus they have the added bonus of having each other - a lot of step-kids go back and forth on their own - I think it must be a huge help if you've got 2 or more siblings doing it because they're 'in it together'!

I also with agree with Ray that Mum seems to have it accomodating this contact pattern very well worked out and that to ask her to change it would be unreasonable of you. The fact that she's been so forthcoming in allowing this contact pattern to become established with such young kids is something to be grateful for; it took my DH about 3 years to get to the point we're at now!

I think a court would probably see your DH as being the unreasonable party in this I'm afraid.

SoupDragon Sat 01-Dec-12 08:40:20

He sees it as the children's contact time, not hers or his

So he is asking the children to have one less day with their mother. Equally unfair.

ivykaty44 Sat 01-Dec-12 09:26:24

Sorry but I couldn't live with an arrangement that was always a trail and likely to change. I have to work and always base my work around my dc to suit their needs. To be told that the trail is on going and always likely to change would leave me in a right pickle - and I am sure it would plenty of parents.

It isn't a case of just dealing with what is in the dc best interests as you see it, other matters come into the equation - it is in the dc best interests that they have a working mothers providing a roof over their head and a working father providing a roof over their head, it is also in the dc best interests that both parents are happy, as happy parents make better parents. The list goes on.

The best interest of the dc would be for the parents to live together and be happy - but that isn't going to happen so you make the best of what you can as two parents living apart, with two different lives, two different work loads and two different ideas and you will probably if lucky get 70% there on what is best for the dc. There will be something that aren't agreeable as you see it - but you have to work out if they are really important or if the dc will get used to them in the same way that they have got use to their parents living apart.

How long as this particular trial been in place and how long have the parents been apart?

elliebellys Sat 01-Dec-12 09:41:15

Snow white have you name changed?.this sounds very familiar to alot of posts not to long ago.

NotaDisneyMum Sat 01-Dec-12 10:37:10

How long as this particular trial been in place and how long have the parents been apart?

Very good question - my DD took several months and sessions with a youth counsellor to settle into a 50:50 week-at-a-time routine; it's not something that is widely recommended for young children, although most children (and some parents) do consider it to be the fair way of doing things.

Have you got a copy of the book "Putting Children First" by the Centre for Separated Families? It has lots of useful techniques for progressing situations like this so that everyone, including the DC's, can live with the compromise.

SnowWhiteWinter Sat 01-Dec-12 19:38:45

Xalla... Thanks for replying, that's one of the massive benefits my partner sees about the midweek night, if it is the same one each time then he can take the children to a out of school club / activity every week. There are a few they would like to do but their mum won't agree to any and will not even take them to one or allow my partner to take them to one on "her" weeks, even though we have offered to pay the full cost, in case it's a financial problem.

Soupdragon... I see your point but surely what's best/fair for the children isn't always to spend exactly 50/50 time with each parent, from what we have read up, it's still not awfully common for children to have an exact 50/50 split of their time with each parent when their parents have separated.

IvyKaty44...She wasn't told it was a triel, that was what was agreed as they couldn't decide on what pattern was best for the children and they agreed to try this out for a few months and review it or change it if it wasn't working out for the children or them. She has told my partner that the children regularly cried cause they miss him and the eldest is having a few emotional problems at school especially around the end of the week when he is due to go to the other parent (we think it's because he is upset that he won't see that parent for another whole week). I do understand your point of it not always being exclusively whats best for the children, it has to work for the parents too. My partner is just frustrated that she has changed her work pattern, to try and force it to be a permanent set up when she agreed to it just as a temporary one.

Elliebelly... I am quite new here, have name changed as thought of a better one but I haven't posted anything in this forum or about the DSC at all, so it wasn't me smile

Notadisneymum... They have been separated about 2.5 yrs ish and this current arrangement has been in place about 7 months roughly, give or take a month. Do you mind if I ask how old your dd was when you started the week-at-a-time routine, was she under 5? I know they will get used to it, children generally get used to any situation over time, but getting used to it doesn't mean they wouldn't be happier if they didn't not see a parent for a whole week. No I don't think we have a copy of that book, can it be downloaded online?

Thank you all, it's really helpful getting outside views and experience opinions. It becomes quite hard to look at your own situation in a constructive and non biased way when you are stuck in the middle of it all.

NotaDisneyMum Sat 01-Dec-12 22:29:23

Why was the previous arrangement that had been in place for nearly two years changed to 50:50? Was it a big change? Introduced gradually?

When my Ex and I decided on 50:50 weekly shared care for DD it was against the advice of the professionals - she was 8 at the time, and the advice was that she was too young.

She did settle and is now thriving but in no small part due to the fact that both Ex and I both had jobs that meant we occasionally travelled/stayed away from home for weeks at a time when we were together so DD had previously been apart from each of us for that length of time.

I'll be honest, I'm struggling to see how it can work for much younger DCs, with different school/childcare arrangements and you say they you don't live close together?

Presumably, there is a reason why your DSC mum and Dad haven't considered the more traditional EOW arrangement which is considered more manageable for young DCs - the younger would have been a baby when their parents split but who was the primary carer of the older DC when their parents were together and immediately after the split?

Sometimes, one or both parents have to compromise their career in order to meet their DCs needs - this is equally true when parents have split.
Could your DP not change his work commitments so he can have residency of the DCs if their Mum is refusing? They seem to be packaged off a bit as an inconvenience at the moment hmm

SnowWhiteWinter Sat 01-Dec-12 23:00:07

Thank you Disney, you're really helpful!

Oh they are definitely not an inconvenience! But I can see why it reads that way from the basic facts of the situation.

I'm glad it worked for you dd and she had coped well with it. I suppose at 8 they understand more and you can explain things to them.

When they were together they both worked full time so there was no "primary carer". Then they separated and efore the week-at-a-time the children lived with my partner and his mum came and lived with them for a bit to help out whilst he worked, until we moved in together. The DSC stayed with their mum one or two nights a week but it was so difficult as she would try and drop them back early and cause all sorts of problems etc. She then said she wanted them more and that's when the week-at-a-time came in. I think my partner really regrets it but he knows it's good for the DSC to see their mum more than they were.

He has reduced his hours (slightly) at work and often takes a few hours annual leave here and there to be there to drop them off or collect them from school more. We could have them more and I would love to have them more to be honest, as would he obviously. Their mum doesn't want them any more, she wants them 50/50 week-at-a-time no more no less. We do think that the maintenance may have something to do with it as since having them 50% of the time her maintenance payments have decreased massively, but she knows that should she have them less she would have to pay more. So it may be money motivated, although she doesn't appear to have any money problems (is on a very good wage). I don't want that to sound like I'm saying she is a horrible person or all about the money, I don't think that at all, it's just a possible reason or one of many reasons she has for not agreeing.

As for school and the distance, we don't live that far from her, it's less than an hours drive from her house to our house and the eldest DSC goes to school about halfway between both our houses so it's easy for her and us. The youngest go to preschool right near our house. So practically there is no problem with the week-at-a-time getting the girls to school/preschool. It's just the emotional problems that have prompted my partner to try and change things.

SnowWhiteWinter Sat 01-Dec-12 23:05:21

Oh lastly, your last question. My partner would happily go to part time and have full residency, he could even stay working full time and have residency as I am a SAHM anyway. However, he is very aware of the fact that it is still very unusual for a court to award majority residency to a father, he solicitor has advised him as such (off the record of course). Their mother isn't abusing or neglecting them or any massive thing that means he would be likely to be awarded majority residence.

Their mum definitely doesn't want majority residency, she has said so in person and via solicitors many times. In fact she has previously told us she is going to apply to court to have the week-at-a-time arrangement put into a court order (although our solicitor has said this wouldn't be done and would likely be "no order"). However she may change her mind about that if my partner applies for majority residency. sad All so difficult isn't it!

Xalla Sun 02-Dec-12 06:02:47

Could you try implementing the 5 / 2 rota? It's still an exact 50/50 split...wouldn't make and diff to maintenance if that is her motivation.

So one parent has every Mon & Tues, the other has every Wed & Thurs and the weekends (Fri - Mon) are alternated?

My DH does that during term time, takes it turns to have half terms and splits the big hols down the middle (as far as possible so DSD alternates spending Xmas and Easter with each parent).

Works for us!

NotaDisneyMum Sun 02-Dec-12 08:31:56

snow I don't understand.

Your DP won't go to court to secure residency because he's worried that the court will award his ex primary residency instead - even though she doesn't want it?
Is that the legal advice he has been given? I honestly can't believe that any magistrate or judge would place DCs in the primary care of a parent who says that she doesn't want them, surely?

Sounds like both parents have lost sight of the DCs here - your DP through fear of losing what he currently has and their mum through a desire to maintain 'fairness'. hmm Perhaps you could encourage your DP to seek legal advice about securing residency?

SnowWhiteWinter Sun 02-Dec-12 09:28:47

Xalla... Yes, I think the 5/2 rota does sound like a great idea. will explain it to my partner and perhaps he can suggest it to her. It wouldn't solve the fact that she's already changed her work rota for the next 12 months to be about 60 hrs the weeks the DSC are with us and only 1-2 short days the weeks they are with her. But it's worth a try, wish they had thought of that pattern before weel-at-a-time.

Notadisneymum... He is very reluctant to go to court because we know that most professionals do not agree that week-at-a-time is the best pattern for the children. She has stated she doesn't want them any more than 50/50. However, his solicitor (who really is very good and quite senior) has told us that in her experience a father going for primary residency can often result in the mother changing her mind and also asking for primary residency. I guess there is a stigma attached to being a NRP mother, also that sometimes one parent doesn't really want it but will fight for it just to stop the other parent getting it. (sounds childish and silly but our solicitor has said she has seen it many many times over the years).

The way things are going though, court will be unavoidable at some point in the new future... sad

NotaDisneyMum Sun 02-Dec-12 10:21:40

IMO, if it leads to the DCs being more settled, then it doesn't matter who gets sole residency, surely?
Your DP shouldn't be fighting for something he wants, he'll be fighting for what's best for the DCs, which is a settled routine that allows them to have a meaningful relationship with both parents..

A good barrister could easily undermine your DPs ex if she suddenly says that she wants sole residency - you say she has written via her solicitor that its not what she wants - I really don't understand the legal advice you've been given, particularly as shared-residency orders are becoming far more common.

With regard to money that you think may be a motive - I assume as you mention Child maintenance being paid previously that for the purposes of benefits, your home is still primary residence and received CB? Is your DP claiming CM for the DCs from his ex through the CSA as well? What parenting agreement is in place financially?

I think your DP should seek a second legal opinion - based on what you've said here, it sounds like he could do a lot more for his DCs if he was reassured that the court is there to support them, not steal them from him.

CatchingMockingbirds Sun 02-Dec-12 10:30:18

Can't you just do handovers through school/nursery - one parent drops of at nursery and the other picks up. This one week at one parent and one week at the other doesn't seem too fair on the children if they have to go a week without seeing the other parent.

pinguthepenguin Sun 02-Dec-12 11:12:52

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elliebellys Sun 02-Dec-12 16:45:18

Pingu,glad someone else has noticed.,far 2 similarl

CatchingMockingbirds Sun 02-Dec-12 17:08:23

I'm so confused confused, do you think I'm piratecat?

elliebellys Sun 02-Dec-12 17:19:34

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NotaDisneyMum Sun 02-Dec-12 17:32:45

I don't think it matters if the OP has posted before under a different name or whether she just has a similar set of circumstances - the overwhelming advice is always the same.

DCs are the ones to suffer if separated parents can't compromise and agree - and in cases like this, when both parents are entrenched and can't see beyond their hatred for each other, the best course of action is to involve an advocate to speak for the children; usually CAFCASS, and the decision as to what is actually best for the DCs can be made by the court.

elliebellys Sun 02-Dec-12 17:42:23

Yes nadm,trouble is even after really good advice some parents wont act upon it nd the problems go on and on for years.as you say its the kids that suffer the most.

pinguthepenguin Sun 02-Dec-12 20:32:21

Yes exactly. And on that basis, I fail to see why the OP should be advised to go for residency when mum is complying with the 50-50 arrangement originally set out by both parents 7 months ago. The fact that OP and her DP now want to change arrangement that in the interests of the children isn't altogether unreasonable in itself, but its certainly unreasonable to suggest that the mother is selfish for not wanting (or being able) or accommodate this- or that she should lose residency of the children because of it.
Staggered to be honest.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 02-Dec-12 20:48:41

pingu my reading of the OP is that the DCs are unhappy, but Mum is unwilling to consider either becoming resident parent or renegotiating the current arrangement as it would interfere with her career.

In that situation, I don't think Dad has any choice but to apply for residency himself - the current arrangement cannot continue, but if Mum is refusing to compromise, then who else is there to look out for the DCs?

Of course, if Dad did get primary care, it would be totally inappropriate for him to delegate care of his DCs to the OP and he'd have to make sacrifices in his own career - if he didn't, it would give the
DCs the clear impression that neither of their parents cared about them!

Taking this OP on its own, then Mum seems to be the unreasonable one here.

I know it's tempting to speculate that this is about the same family as has posted previously under a different name as circumstances are similar - but if it is, then the OP is not seeking genuine advice anyway and is only looking for validation of a decision already made.

elliebellys Sun 02-Dec-12 21:35:40

Nadm why is it the mum thats being unreasonable here?.in all honesty she changed her work pattern 2 accomadate the every other week,nd that was agreed by both parents.it should have been thougherly disscussed i.e possible problems before changing it.to be honest given the dcs ages 50/50 split wasnt in their best interest at all.they were only thinkin of themseves.

OptimisticPessimist Sun 02-Dec-12 21:57:44

I really don't see how the mum is at fault here - she and her XP arranged a pattern for the split of the children's time and she adjusted her working hours accordingly, she can't just change them again because the father thinks it's not working and has decided on a new way of doing things instead. Regardless of whether it was a trial, she still had to work during that time and it sounds as if she was given the chance of a good solution to do so. TBH, if it is the poster from before I suspect the reason the mum won't accept the father having the extra evening when she can't have one herself (because of her working arrangement) is the same reason as given by many responders before - that she is well aware of the attempts of the father and his new partner to push her out of the DCs' lives and is doing all she can to prevent it.

pinguthepenguin Sun 02-Dec-12 21:59:06

Disney, I take your point about not assuming the OP is a previous poster- you are right.

However, I don't believe at all that the mum in this scenario should be punished for not conceding to the wishes of the OP's DP when it was an agreement that they both put in place. All that stuff about how 'it was only temporary' is a smokescreen, and even though I agree in principle that the OP is right that the children should not wait a week to see each parent- the fact remains that the original arrangement is one that BOTH parents agreed to. Why now, is the mother, after seeking flexible employment ( which as we all know, is no easy feat) a selfish woman who sees her children as an inconvenience?
We might not agree here that this mother does not want more than 50-50, but taking that away (because it's totally irrelevant to be honest) the mother has stuck to the agreement and not only that, has reorganised her working life to be able to care for her babies. Those are not the actions of a woman who is prioritising her career over her children- she would agree to seeing the children less if that was the case.
Let's be honest here... the mother is about to be sorely punished for daring to disagree with a change to a system that suited both of them a short time ago. Add in the OP as a willing SAHM ( how convenient) and you have this mother relegated to weekend parent.

sad

SnowWhiteWinter Sun 02-Dec-12 22:36:56

I have name changed once before, but I have never posted on this forum or about my family or my partner and DSC. Whoever you are referring to, it wasn't me.

Pinguthepenguin... Yes, she is complying to the week-at-a-time arrangement, and I am not saying she is selfish for wanting to keep to it and I also never said she treats them as an inconvenience. She increased her hours at work by about 30% when she started having the children 50/50, before that she only worked p/t, we assumed this was so she could pay for things for them. However, she then made permanent changes to her work rota when it was only ever agreed (by them both) on a trial basis. Before this week-at-a-time pattern, we had the DSC the majority of the time and my partner wanted to see how the children would cope not only with week-at-a-time but also with spending considerably more amounts of time with their mum and less time with him/us. She agreed to it being a trial and never at any point said it would make her work difficult or that she would need to change her hours. I think my partner now feels he's been put into a situation where he has no option to discuss how it is working for the children as she has made her future plans based on it staying the same whether it works for them or not.

noadisneymum... To answer your question from earlier about money, not sure what you mean when you say "What parenting agreement is in place financially?" She was paying through CSA before the week-at-a-time arrangement. Then when it changed to 50/50 she stopped paying, she increased her hours at work around the same time she started having the children 50/50. We assumed she didn't have to pay and accepted that we would still be paying for most things they need without any maintenance from her. However, they told my partner that she is now still supposed to pay via CSA even with 50/50 but she has been avoiding them for 4 months, they have sent "schedule of payment" and other letters but she ignores them, CSA have said they will shortly be deducting it direct from source, it is only a very small amount. The reason being is that we pay for almost everything for them, clothes, shoes, coats, school uniform, school milk money etc.

As for residency or the chances of him being granted majority residence if he applied for it - My partner has no "serious concerns" as it were, as I said she isn't abusing or neglecting the children, she just has a very different style of parenting to my partner and to me and some of these things cause my partner concern that she either isn't coping with the children 50/50 or that she isn't putting them first in all aspects. I am not saying she is selfish or a bad mum, I just think she doesn't realise how important some things are. For example, the eldest is regularly late for school. Not just a few minutes but 30-40 mins late, no particular reason is given except "traffic" etc. She's considerably late for school almost every Friday that she takes him (every other week). We have already been called into the school after a teacher told my partner and I that some mornings the eldest DSD seems very withdrawn and quiet and it's mornings that she is with her mum the night before. My partner has written to her numerous times (he does an email to her at the end of every week the DSD have been with us to update her, info about school etc) but she ignores any questions he poses and any concerns he has. This is sort of a side issue to the week-at-a-time/midweek overnights situation though.

Wow, that's much more detail than I originally planned to go into, but it's good to write it all down and hear other peoples views. If she is on this forum she will obviously recognize the situation even without names etc so I can only hope she realizes I am only posting here as my partner and I want what is best for the children and don't know any other step families to ask in person. I honestly hope she doesn't feel like we are trying to push her out of DSD's lives sad in fact it's the opposite, my partner and I have done everything we can to include her, even when she hasn't really wanted to be included or shown interest in something to do with the DSD's and we have done our best to help her out when she had childcare problems etc.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 02-Dec-12 22:43:16

I am not suggesting that Mum should acquiesce and go along with whatever is proposed - but the OP states that the DCs Mum is phoning their Dad telling him that his DCs are crying for him, and yet (according to the OP) Mum is refusing to even discuss or consider how any alternative arrangement for the DCs can be reached. Perhaps it's just me, but I was ready to do anything, even hand over primary care of DD to her Dads if that had meant she was happier and no longer a pawn in his power games.

The OP has presented her DSC Mum as totally uninterested in discussing how an alternative solution can be found.
Perhaps the OP and her DP would be willing to transfer CB and tax Credits in order to allow Mum to reduce her hours - there are all sorts of options that could be put on the table, but the OP has made it clear in her posts that her DPs ex is not willing to discuss it.

Of course, if the OPs DP has presented his solution of a weekday night as the only option, then he's not putting his DCs first either.

All the more reason for it to go to court, especially as the OPs DP has been strongly advised that he is unlikely to secure sole/primary residency, which suggests to me that there is a great deal more to this than the OP has explained in this thread. wink

NotaDisneyMum Sun 02-Dec-12 22:47:16

Why don't you stop the claim via CSA so she's no longer being chased by the CSA?
Unless there is a parenting agreement in place that sets out the financial responsibilities of each parent it seems rather greedy for a household which has the luxury of being able to support a SAHP to take money from a p/t working household!

SnowWhiteWinter Sun 02-Dec-12 23:08:57

Notadisneymum... Fair point about the CSa and greed. However, she works f/t now and her household income isn't much less than ours, plus we have two more children to pay for (mine). Being a SAHM isn't my 1st choice but with 4 young children it's cheaper for us than paying for childcare. Plus we pay for almost everything for DSD's as I listed above, all things she then doesn't have to pay for. We did suggest paying 50/50 for things when she started having them 50/50 but she just didn't pay, and left us to pay for what she was supposed to -so the small amounts from CSA make it a little fairer. Not that she is paying that either, but we just cope, what else can we do.

She could reduce her hours and we could transfer the child benefit to her, but I would guess from previous experience of the way she is about money and paying for things for the children that we would still end up paying for most things and she still wouldn't agree to the midweek overnights. We have two other children to consider too.

She is very business like in her approach about the children. This works well for her and my partner as it minimizes conflict. However, she does refuse to discuss any change to the week-at-a-time. He hasn't ever told her that this IS the solution, he has proposed, asked for her opinions asked what she thinks etc, all ignored, expect for her agreeing that she thinks more regular contact would make the children happier but has said she will not discuss any change to the arrangements.

My partner wasn't strongly advised that he would be unlikely to secure primary residency. He was advised that without being able to prove she is a serious threat or risk to the children that he wouldn't be sure to be awarded it and as someone else pointed out the court could decide that their mum has primary residency especially if she decided to change her mind and ask for it even though she has said she doesn't want more than 50%. He was also advised that many judges still favour awarding residency to the mum over the dad when there is no real way of choosing either way. He does want what is best for them but the thought of not seeing them at least half the time scares the hell out of him, especially as they lived with us the majority of the time until recently. He is so torn, however I agree with your earlier point about having to do what is best for them sad

pinguthepenguin Sun 02-Dec-12 23:13:25

Good point Disney..not just in suggesting they think more about the financial reasons for mums long working hours but that there may be more to this story than meets the eye. If mum is working all the hours, you are not helping matters by asking for maintenance when you already have a 50-50 arrangement. Let me guess- your partner gets the CB as well, am I right?

Also- for reference, you havent been called into school about the children. Your partner has.

pinguthepenguin Sun 02-Dec-12 23:18:52

Wtf?? What things? Do you pay for her Childcare on her week? Do you pay for her care of the children when she has them? What do you mean 'things'?
Your DP takes maintenance from her when you have a 50-50 arrangement and you get the CB? Why?

SnowWhiteWinter Sun 02-Dec-12 23:30:42

Pinguthepenguin... My partner is really not trying to make things difficult for her by asking for maintenance, not at all. I am a mother too and would not try and make her life difficult or make her feel "pushed out" as you said in a previous post. My partner works long hours too, she earns almost as much as he does, there's very little difference in the household incomes. Yet, in our house we have 4 children to buy clothes, school dinners, school milk, shoes, uniform, coats, trainers etc and she pays for none of the above for any children.

Should she not have any expense for her own children? Both parents have the DSD's 50/50 so we feel costs should be split 50/50, especially as their incomes are similar. But she wouldn't pay half of anything so we had to pay it, hence the CSA claim. Yes, he does have the child benefit, she passed it over to him when they separated as he had majority care of the children until about 6/7 months ago. As we have since then continued to pay for almost everything for the DSD's he kept the CB, are you saying you think that is wrong and that she should get CB and not pay maintenance and we should pay for everything for the DSD's?

I'm not sure why you seem to be attacking me or accusing me of somehow bullying this woman. Perhaps my style of writing leads you to believe that, but honestly, it is far from the truth. We did both get asked in to the school. It was a meeting about eldest DSD and the head teacher called my partner and asked for him and I to come in for a meeting. Her mum has been asked to go in too, although we don't know if she has or not yet. Again, I'm unsure of your point though? Is it a bad thing that I show an interest in emotional welfare of a child that is not biologically my own? I'm getting quite offended by your comments sad

NotaDisneyMum Sun 02-Dec-12 23:35:42

the thought of not seeing them at least half the time scares the hell out if him

And therein lies the fundamental problem.

What does your DP think will happen if he doesn't see them for at least half of their lives? Will they love the parent they see more than the parent they see less? Will they forget about the parent they are with less? Will they somehow consider that he plays less of a role in their lives?

Why is his relationship with them so fragile that it has to be maintained through a minimum amount of contact?

There are men and women in the armed forces and other jobs across the world who don't see their DCs for months at a time. They have some of the closest parent/child relationships I've seen - because they work at it and make every moment count. That takes effort; it's a lot easier to rest on your laurels and assume that because you spend a significant amount if time with your DCs, that relationship will automatically develop. It won't. My DP didn't see his DD for *2 years*; because he chose not to fight with his ex and put the DCs in the middle. He and his DD are now closer than they ever would have been had his actions forced her to choose between her parents.

If your DP is scared of what will happen if he sees his DCs less, then ask yourself why that is?

SnowWhiteWinter Sun 02-Dec-12 23:44:01

Pingu - Our last posts crossed there. There are no childcare costs for either of the DSC. The youngest goes to preschool for government funded hours. What do you mean "what things?" all the costs and items the children need. Uniform, school bags, coats, hats, shoes, trainers, little extras like school nativity costumes, dinner money, milk money, new clothes, club fees etc.

My DP (that's my dear partner isn't it?) claims maintenance as otherwise we pay for everything else the children need apart form food at her house and she happily lets us. It doesn't matter to be honest though as she refuses to pay it and hasn't paid any since the 50/50 care started 6/7 months ago.

If she agreed to pay 50% of things for the children then DP would have no reason to claim maintenance. They had talked about 50/50 costs when 50/50 care started but she didn't pay for anything.

What do you think the alternative is Pingu? Honestly I am interested, I am not being arsey.

pinguthepenguin Sun 02-Dec-12 23:58:23

So do you not think that seeking maintenance from her in a 50-50 arrangement is slightly inflammatory? That it is likely to make her more guarded about what she is paying for given that A) you are already getting nearly 40 pounds per week from the state for the children and B) if you were getting maintenance on top of that- what more should mum be paying for anyway???

Ok, so in terms of uniform- do you supply a weeks worth for both children when with mum?
Do you pay for dinners when with mum?
Do you send both children with a weeks worth of clothes and shoes? Are you saying mum literally refuses to provide a thing for these kids?

Xalla Mon 03-Dec-12 06:35:47

I agree - why are you persuing a CSA claim? That is nuts.

My DH has a 50 / 50 arrangement. His ex claims the CB, the tax credits AND my DH pays maintenance (not loads - £5 a day for the days DSD is with Mum). He also pays for all school dinners and extra-curricular activites.

As far as uniform / clothing / food and whatever else goes; we provide for DSD when she's with us and her Mum buys her whatever she needs for when she's there.

Do I think the system is fair?? No! But it isn't in DSD's interests for us to fight it either!!!

DH isn't rolling in it, in fact he's self-employed and like most, has struggled this year. We also have 2 other kids to pay for.

I really don't think there should be a question of maintenance at all when there's a 50 / 50 split of care.

Unfortunately it is the way the system works at the moment but I don't see how it can continue indefinitely what with the increase of SRO's being awarded and shared care arrangements becoming more common. It's fundametally flawed and indefensible.

I'd give up that fight pronto and just agree that she covers the kids' costs when she has them and you DH covers them when you have them.

pinguthepenguin Mon 03-Dec-12 06:36:39

Not sure exactly where I said you were pushing her out, or that you are being attacked- I disagree with much of what you have posted, this is a forum and it happens. I don't believe that the school specifically requested your presence tbh, or that the children's mother won't provide them with clothing or anything else on her week- that just doesn't compute.
It isn't at all a bad thing to show an interest in a child that isn't yours, but you don't just sound interested, you sound over invested.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 03-Dec-12 07:17:57

snow The picture you are painting now is very different from the one in your OP.

You mentioned that paying less money to you is a motivator for your DSC mums behaviour, but it appears that your DP is equally motivated to ensure that your household income is maximised due to his commitment to 2 other DCs and you as a SAHM - which you only do in order to care for his DCs part of the time.

You have said that your DP can work flexible hours, so it should be possible for you to work part time around his hours if things are that tight? In fact, if your DSC mum has managed to adjust her hours to suit the 50:50 care arrangement, them surely you could do the same? The cost of Childcare for your other two DCs during the weeks you don't have the DSC would be manageable, and you may well get tax credit help towards them.

Uniform, costumes and clothing need not cost much, especially for young children; try school sales, eBay and charity shops - and hand-me-downs of course as you have younger DCs.
Most schools offer payment plans so trips and costs can be paid in instalments - although as your DSC are so young, those costs will be minimal at the moment. Packed lunches are cheaper than dinners, and you can opt out of the school milk scheme (isn't it free anymore?).

There are lots of ways that you could manage without the CSA money from your DSC mum - and tbh, it's never a good idea to depend on it to feed/house the family anyway. My DP was made redundant and his ex was left with minimal payments for the 11 months that he was unemployed.

If your DP drops the CSA claim and accepts that less contact with him won't affect his DCs relationship with him, it would reduce conflict between him and his ex, and he could make such a difference to his DCs lives.

How do you feel about his insecurities and his materialistic approach? Your relationship is fragile - 80% of second-partnerships fail when there are children from a previous relationship involved - so you need to be honest about your feelings and motivations to.

Xalla Mon 03-Dec-12 08:17:46

School milk is free for kids until they're 5 at the moment I think.

CatchingMockingbirds Mon 03-Dec-12 09:16:10

Surely the child tax credits and child benefit for both children would be to cover the extra expense you feel that you have. You and the father claim the benefits for the children so it makes sense that you pay out extra - forcing maintenance money from her despite a 50/50 split isn't fair.

allnewtaketwo Mon 03-Dec-12 10:22:43

I don't believe for a minute that the school asked you to come in. Do you have parental responsibility for the child??

And personally I think that persuing a csa claim against her is disgusting in a 50:50 situation where your DP gets the child benefit and tax credits. You keep mentioning your other two children - am I right in assuming they're not your partner's children? If not, then he is subsidising you already to be a SAHP, and at the same time expecting his ex to fund this imo

SnowWhiteWinter Mon 03-Dec-12 10:42:58

I will try to respond to everyone of I can. It appears what my DP has decided to do re maintenance is an unpopular decision. However there are reasons for it and background and he (and I) feel it is perfectly justified given the background.

A large proportion of the CB goes into trust funds for the DSC, this has always been the case, when they were together and since separation. They both earn a good wage and don't "need" the money as such. We aren't entitled to tax credits, so that's not in the equation.

Xalla Yes, I agree, each parent should pay for the children's costs when they are with them. I certainly don't see why your DH should be paying so much, unless he earns considerably more than his EX and to not do so would disadvantage his DD? DSD's mum used to pay maintenance when we had the DSD's for the majority of the time. Then when 50/50 care started they agreed each parent pays the week they have the children and other costs are halved and no maintenance. However, that never happened, she wasn't paying the school dinner money and we had to pay it off after 8 weeks as she was ignoring the schools' requests to pay. Oh and yes, milk is only free til they are 5.

Pinguthepenguin... They were sent to school/us in really old clothes, trainers had holes in one week so we had to go buy new ones, no hats, etc. Also often things we send them to her in just aren't ever seen again or returned months later - big things like trainers and coats. Just last week I went and bought new uniform for the eldest and packed in all in his bag to take back to his mums. She is not without money, she earns what most people would consider a very good wage. She just doesn't feel she has to pay for things and that DP and I will always pay for what she doesn't. If she wasn't working or had a low wage or struggling financially then of course we'd be happy to pay the majority share, but that's simply not the case. This isn't because she doesn't have the money to pay for things, she just chooses not to. Just to add, she isn't actually paying any money to the CSA right now, she is ignoring them.

I don't think I am overinvested in DSD's. These two little girls lived with my partner and I since we started living together, 5/6 nights out of 7, it's only the last 6/7mths that they only live with us 50% of the time of course I am emotionally invested in them.

This seems to all be about money now, when it really isn't. Neither us nor their mum is struggling financially. I was asking about the midweek overnight stays and whether DP could apply to court for a specific issue order to have the overnight stays ordered by court whilst keeping the week-at-a-time pattern even in the absence of any prior residency orders. I have no idea if money is motivating DSD's mum to say no or not.

SnowWhiteWinter Mon 03-Dec-12 10:49:36

Allnewtaketwo - Why would I lie about a school meeting, it's not an important point or really very relevant anyway. The school wanted to discuss DSD's emotional welfare, what we could do to help her at home, ask us information that may be useful to the school, etc. They know that I am a SAHM, they know we well as I often do the school run and know I spend considerable amounts of time with DSD too. I'm not sure why that matters really though? Surely the more people trying to help her the better.

My two other children are not my DP's. He is not "funding" me to be a SAHM at all. As a family we decided that it was best for me to not work at the monmet as he has a good wage and a good career. His EX isn't funding anything. All he wants is her to take responsibility for half the costs of their children and he will take responsibility for the other half. How they both spend whatever they have left is up to them surely.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 03-Dec-12 10:53:33

A specific issue order does not deal with contact/care - a residency/contact order does that.

If you are both as comfortably off as you say it makes even less sense to pursue your DSC ex through the CSA - when it causes bad feeling and resentment - what principle can possible justify causing distress to two small children?

It is sad that you are supporting your DP in this - he is clearly still emotionally invested in his ex and is behaving this way in order to prove a point, to the extent that he is allowing his DCs to remain distressed.
A decent Dad would sort it out, through court if necessary, and accept that his needs to have his DCs for exactly half the time come below their needs for stability and regular contact with both parents.

I stand by my earlier comment - if your DP has been legally advised not to go to court to secure a stable environment for his DCs, then there is more to this than you have explained here. No court will force a mother to be primary carer for her DCs if she has stated via a solicitor that she doesn't want to.

pinguthepenguin Mon 03-Dec-12 11:02:30

I don't see why op's ex should be encouraged to seek primary residency simply because she won't bend to their will.
Also, sorry snow- but none of the 'expenses' you just listed justify the pursuing of her through the CSA. Milk costs 16 quid a year...coats and shoes, she will have to supply those in her weeks as well, hats and a small child's uniform? Nope, sorry. If you were talking about a teenager, i could understand because they are expensive- but you say there aren't even any childcare expenses for these kids, so you aren't exactly paying hand over fist for them- unless I've missed something else?

pinguthepenguin Mon 03-Dec-12 11:03:29

That should say 'op's DP, not ex

SnowWhiteWinter Mon 03-Dec-12 11:04:33

NotadisneyMum... DP claiming maintenance through CSA due to their mum not contributing financially is not distressing DSD's at all. I very much doubt that DSD's mum would allow them to have midweek contact if he dropped the CSA claim so I don't think that it is her sole motivation to refuse, although it may be part of it.

I very much believe all parents should be financially responsible for their children, we always here about dad who refuse to provide financially for their children, well sometimes it's mums too, as hard a sit is to believe. Ideally she should just pay for things for the DSD's whilst they are with her, but she won't. So we should have to pay for everything because she doesn't want to? Her expecting us to pay for everything causes bad feeling and resentment sad

My DP hasn't been advised not to go to court, he has been advised that if he did it is possible that she may change her mind. But I see your point about us already having in it writing and how it would look very obvious is she changed her mind at court. He is seeing his solicitor this week. Hopefully she will give him some advice on how to move things along and secure a permanent and stable routine for the children. I am more than happy to have the children in our home more often, or even just the same amount of time but in a different pattern that is better for them. There isn't anything more to it, all quite simple really.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 03-Dec-12 11:04:33

As a family we decided that it was best for me to not work at the monmet as he has a good wage and a good career. His EX isn't funding anything. All he wants is her to take responsibility for half the costs of their children and he will take responsibility for the other half. How they both spend whatever they have left is up to them surely.

That makes it even easier then! If your DP gives up the CB for his DC's, and drops the claim for CSA, then it won't affect you or your family at all, because he has the disposable income to make it up!
Of course, neither you or your DP actually "know" what her financial circumstances are, and I hope you haven't implied to her that you do. I remember how much bad feeling it caused when my ex assumed to know what my financial circumstances were post-split, based on assumptions, historical knowledge and gossip.

The best thing for the DC's is to reduce conflict as much as possible, and if that means biting your tongue, accepting that some things aren't "fair" and acknowledging that your DSC mum is doing her best (just as your DP is) then their lives will become a lot better straight away. I know it's tempting to point score and stick to your guns (I've done it myself), but it really isn't good for the DC's and really, what difference does it make if you pick up a few second-hand clothes for the DC's now and again? Or go without a bottle of wine at the weekend so they can have milk at school on the weeks they are with Mum?

You have said that your DSD has emotional problems that she needs support with; isn't that an indication that the current situation isn't good for her?

NotaDisneyMum Mon 03-Dec-12 11:06:06

I am more than happy to have the children in our home more often, or even just the same amount of time but in a different pattern that is better for them. There isn't anything more to it, all quite simple really.

What about having them in your home less? I have asked why your DP fears that set of circumstances; have you thought about it at all?

NotaDisneyMum Mon 03-Dec-12 11:07:48

DP claiming maintenance through CSA due to their mum not contributing financially is not distressing DSD's at all.

If it is causing you (and her) resentment, then it is affecting the DSC - teachers at the school are talking to you about your DSC emotional wellbeing, so surely it makes sense to reduce conflict between her parents? Children are not stupid and will pick this up.

allnewtaketwo Mon 03-Dec-12 11:12:19

"My two other children are not my DP's. He is not "funding" me to be a SAHM at all. As a family we decided that it was best for me to not work at the monmet as he has a good wage and a good career"

If you don't work, and any maintenance you receive is not sufficient to cover all the costs for your own 2 children, then he IS funding you to be a SAHP, end of.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 03-Dec-12 11:14:48

we always here about dad who refuse to provide financially for their children, well sometimes it's mums too, as hard a sit is to believe. Ideally she should just pay for things for the DSD's whilst they are with her, but she won't.

I have never seen a Dad being castigated for not financially contributing when they have their DC's 50% of the time and their ex receives CB and tax credits. In fact, I have seen several single mums criticised for expecting CM in that situation over on the LP board.

SnowWhiteWinter Mon 03-Dec-12 11:16:22

Pingu - I don't know if DP will seek primary residency, it's not something we have discussed in full before certainly nt something he would rush into, just from advice on here of course. Recently we have just been working on the DSD's building a relationship with their mum who previously was only having them 1/2 nights a week. He certainly doesn't expect her to bend to DP's will, but she was in agreement that alternate weeks 50/50 was only a trial and that it would be reviewed and discussed. The concerns raised by the school and the fact the eldest is often being taken to school late added to the fact she agrees the kids should have more regular contact and miss the other parent lots and it's upsetting them are reasons to change week-at-a-time, her new work rota is her reason not to.

We buy everything for the children! As I said, I just bought new uniform for the eldest last week to have at her house and sent it back with them. School dinner money alone for the eldest is £40 a month. Last month it was wellies and umbrellas, new hats and gloves, two months ago we bought their new winter coats. Oh and this month their also need new trainers, we will be buying those. We also pay for the youngest to go to toddler football once a week. All the little things add up and really as their mother she should be covering half the expenses of her children as should my DP as their father.

I don't know you as a poster as I haven't been here long but you seem very defensive of their mum and so I assume you may have children and be separated and they have a step mother too? I do understand your points and believe me I would never stand in the way of a mother and her children, I do my very best to be a good step mum and help their relationship too.

allnewtaketwo Mon 03-Dec-12 11:16:43

OP you have just posted on another thread that your DSCs will get 2 christmases with 2 stockings and 2 sets of presents. This doesn't sound like a situation where the mother doesn't buy her children anything

allnewtaketwo Mon 03-Dec-12 11:18:22

tbh if I was their mother and was being pursued for maintenance in this situation, then I wouldn't be buying the trainers, coats etc either

SnowWhiteWinter Mon 03-Dec-12 11:24:39

I agree with your points Notsdisneymum. Believe me I often have to bite my tongue and walk away and sometimes it is really hard. We don't get tax credits and most of the CB is put into trust fund for the DSD's. Their mum and my DP agreed this years ago, perhaps she might agree to changing that and we drop the CSA claim and use the CB for expenses for the children.

We could easily transfer the CB to her but I strongly guess DP would still be paying for everything for the children. It is also possible she would stop the CB going into the trust funds and DP would still be paying for everything. Surely her refusing to contribute financially to her children shouldn't be rewarded with DP passing her the CB. He is trying to encourage her to be responsible for the children, not just drop them back early after contact because she has social plans and expect us to be home for her (she used to do this and of course we used to make sure we were there to take them back) and be financially responsible for them too. DP does know some about her financial situation as he is still good friends with her parents. They would tell him straight away if she were struggling and she isn't, at all.

Allnewtaketwo - Maintenance I receive for my two children does cover all of our costs. he is not "funding" us at all.

SnowWhiteWinter Mon 03-Dec-12 11:27:26

Allnewtaketwo.... She doesn't pay for or buy them any of the day-to-day things, we do all that. She is not some horrible monster who refuses to buy her children Xmas presents, there is a big difference, of course she buys them toys for Xmas.

Secondly, she is being pursued for maintenance, yes, but isn't actually paying it! What do you think is a fair solution then? She pays for nothing and we pay for it all? sad

allnewtaketwo Mon 03-Dec-12 11:27:32

Well in your own ex's case then I would be very aggrieved. Why should he alone be financially providing for your joint children? You and your DP sound like you are very well suited.

pinguthepenguin Mon 03-Dec-12 11:32:00

OP to be Frank, I don't believe you are being completely truthful, hence the tone of my posts. Sometimes when you canvass opinion on a scale like this, you are going to get people disagreeing with you- there seems to be a unanimous voice here telling you that your DP's decision to pursue her for money is wrong, but you aren't listening.

SnowWhiteWinter Mon 03-Dec-12 11:33:27

Because that is what my EX and I have agreed for our children and we are both happy with the arrangement, it's informal and not via CSA. That isn't anything to do with my partner, his Ex or their children though, I was just trying to point out that my DP doesn't fund my children.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 03-Dec-12 11:34:12

I just bought new uniform for the eldest last week to have at her house and sent it back with them. School dinner money alone for the eldest is £40 a month. Last month it was wellies and umbrellas, new hats and gloves, two months ago we bought their new winter coats. Oh and this month their also need new trainers, we will be buying those. We also pay for the youngest to go to toddler football once a week. All the little things add up and really as their mother she should be covering half the expenses of her children as should my DP as their father.

Well, you didn't really buy a new school uniform did you? "We" didn't buy new coats, "we" won't be buying new trainers, and "we" don't pay for football club. you aren't earning, so it is their Dad who is paying for these things, and if he is choosing to buy new, pay for extras etc, then that really is an issue you have with him - not expect his ex to cover half the costs of whatever he chooses to buy.

I remember my ex demanding that I pay half of the cost of something he had bought DD; when I had just won an ebay auction for the same item, so I refused to pay for it. Your DP and his ex need to communicate if they are going to split costs 50:50; but in these circumstances, it really sounds that it is causing too much conflict - unless she is earning a ridiculous amount of money, the financial gain is minimal so this is about the principle (and as you have said up-thread, you consider a parent should contribute towards their DCs) but it is really worth the upset it is causing the girls?

The fact that your DSC mum wasn't able to be primary carer for her own DC's when they were very young/babies after the split is an indication that she has been through some difficult times - either she is unwilling to be a part of their lives, in which case they will be better of in their Dads care, or she is doing the best she can in difficult circumstances; in which case your DP should be supporting her to maintain a relationship with their DC's, not making it difficult for her by sticking rigidly to principles.

SnowWhiteWinter Mon 03-Dec-12 11:34:54

Pingu....I am listening, totally, and I am very appreciative of all your opinions and time taken to post here. I totally understand most of you don't agree and I can see why too.

pinguthepenguin Mon 03-Dec-12 11:38:15

You don't pay for everything though, you just don't! Are you saying they wear plastic bags for the week she is with them? Who clothes them then? Who pays for childcare for them when she goes to work for one or two days then? Seriously, the things you say you are paying are normal expenses, perhaps a bit more than you'd like but that's because you get 160ish quid a month for them in CB. Are you saying that those kids cost more than that every month? (given that there are no childcare costs?)

allnewtaketwo Mon 03-Dec-12 11:38:25

OP, in a post above you stated "Yet, in our house we have 4 children to buy clothes, school dinners, school milk, shoes, uniform, coats, trainers etc"

Now you've said "Maintenance I receive for my two children does cover all of our costs"

You have contradicted yourself here

elliebellys Mon 03-Dec-12 11:38:50

Snow you say both parents should provide,if your a sahm nd your ex is paying maintenance for your dcs,then how are you providin your share.?.

allnewtaketwo Mon 03-Dec-12 11:40:57

Also, you said that "CSA have said they will shortly be deducting it direct from source, it is only a very small amount"

Yet you say she is on a very good wage (and earns pretty much the same as your DP who doesn't quality for tax credits)

How can the csa claim be a very small amount in this situation?

NotaDisneyMum Mon 03-Dec-12 11:43:29

Once a couple are split, there isn't always the luxury of trust funds etc - the CB is there for the good of the DCs - and at the moment, your DP's choice to put it in trust and pursue their mum for CSA monies instead is anything but good for them.
What will your DPs ex do if he chooses to use the CB for things for the DC's instead of putting it in trust? She doesn't have to agree - legally, he has financial responsibility for his DC's because he is receipt of CB and is entitled to CM. If he wants that responsibility, he should do what is best for the DC's, not try to negotiate with their Mum who you have presented as being disinterested in their wellbeing.

DP does know some about her financial situation as he is still good friends with her parents. They would tell him straight away if she were struggling and she isn't, at all.

This is crap (excuse my language) - I've been on the receiving end of this and it's horrible.
I needed years of counselling and have become estranged from my parents because they remained good friends with my ex. I soon learnt that anything I told them got straight back to exH, so I stopped confiding in them - I doubt very much whether your DP exIL have any idea what is really happening in their daughters life.

What a mixed up, emotionally damaging situation for everyone. the adults can make choices, but the DC's have no choice, and it seems there is little likelihood of any of the adults involved putting the DC's first.

Xalla Mon 03-Dec-12 11:44:29

Sorry, got to ask, but are you buying all their stuff because of the 'control' it affords you?
I can't belive that a woman with a decent career would send her kids to school with shoes that are worn through.
I say this because I've seen it happen in the 'bad old days' with my DH and his ex.
No mother really wants to see their kids poorly dressed. The ones that are really, poorly dressed are usually the ones who's Mums have BIG problems of thier own - problems that would prevent them from having a successful career!

SnowWhiteWinter Mon 03-Dec-12 11:47:31

Pingu.. DSD's CB goes into trusts funds, well I think about 90% of it. This was agreed by both parents and always has been the case. We get no tax credits. She has no childcare costs, friends and family babysit when she works the weeks they are with her. DP pays for clothing items, uniform and coats trainers etc for them to wear at her house as well as ours.

Elliebellys.. My Ex and I decided we would rather one of us be a SAHP than full tiem childcare. I provide my share by looking after them full time and he provides financially. I could work and he could reduce his hours but we choose not to. This is a totally different scenario to my DP and his EX.

Allnew... It's a very small amount as there is a massive reduction as she has the children 50/50.

This is not all baout money though, this is about contact arrangements, the money thing is something everyone seems to have an issue with but isn't really a huge (if any) part of the problem.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 03-Dec-12 11:54:30

This is not all baout money though, this is about contact arrangements, the money thing is something everyone seems to have an issue with but isn't really a huge (if any) part of the problem.

It's going a have a HUGE impact on the ability of your DP and his ex to communicate though -you say that he (and you) resent the fact that his ex is not supporting the DCs the way you believe she should, and she is undoubtedly just as aggrieved that your DP expects her to contribute. Both think that the other is being unreasonable, and until they get past that, negotiating about anything else will be impossible.

I assume mediation has not been successful - if it has been tried? I suggest that your DP asks his solicitor about the Separated Parents Course - it is designed to help high conflict separated parents communicate. Your DP could pay to attend privately, but if the case goes to court, it may well be court ordered.

elliebellys Mon 03-Dec-12 12:14:00

Snow it is exactly the same.im sure his ex might like 2 have been a sahm given half a chance.hell im sure most mums would..its double standards and so very wrong.

allnewtaketwo Mon 03-Dec-12 12:25:52

OP - a very high amount divided by 2 is still not a very small amount hmm.

If she earns say £2500 net per month (I have no knowledge of your definition of very high salary, so finger in the air and probably on the lower side of reality). 20% for 2 children would be £500. She would get what, 3/7 reduction, making cm £286 per month. Not a very small amount by my definition. And if she is being chased for DEO then that will make a lot of arrears.

And you're right, your DP is not fully funding you to be a SAHP, he is sharing this with your ex as, in effect, you now have 2 men funding you not to work

SnowWhiteWinter Mon 03-Dec-12 12:29:04

Disney... He has inquired into the separated parents course and is considering attending. They have not done mediation as she has refused (again in writing via solicitor) bvecause she doesn't think it will help the situation.

Elliebellys...No it's not the same at all. I have always been a SAHM, even when I was in a relationship with my EX. We decided together that was the best choice for us and our children. When were separated we had to again decide what was best and we agreed I would continue to be a SAHM.

MY DP's ex has always worked. When they separated she continued to work and had the children 1/2 nights a week. When they changed to 50/50 care she increased her hours and now works full time. She has never been a SAHM and I have no idea as to whether or not she would want to. Not double standards at all, I am just lucky that my EX is very wealthy and that we have an amicable relationship and similar ideas on parenting. He is more than happy for me to have primary residency (informally, we have no formal residency agreement) and he sees the DC as he wishes.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 03-Dec-12 12:34:30

Disney... He has inquired into the separated parents course and is considering attending.

I can highly recommend it!

My DP has done the full course, and I've done several short workshops (one led by Karen Woodall herself, which was excellent) and it makes a huge difference. DP's ex didn't attend but even so, DP learnt techniques to diffuse situations and communicate in a way that moved things forward rather than created conflict.

At the last mediation session my ex and I went on, the mediator broke the rules a little and gave us both a copy of the workbook from the CAFCASS course; although I'd seen the material before, it was great to be reminded and it certainly changed my exH approach to communication too, which has helped no end!

elliebellys Mon 03-Dec-12 12:42:34

But again you are not financially supportin your kids yourself,nd your beratin the ex for not her kids.your only able 2 stay at home cos 2 men are keeping you..at least she is working hard 2 keep a roof over the kids head.nd im sure she is providin clothes for them.i feel truly sorry for her cos i think no matter what she does it will never be good enough for you and your partner. Im trully sickened.these 2 dcs are goin to be very damaged in the long run.

SnowWhiteWinter Mon 03-Dec-12 13:05:10

NotaDisneymum.. That's great to hear, thank you, I will tell DP that it comes highly recommended!

Elliesbellys.. I'm not sure what to say to that. I do not have two men "keeping me" how odd. My EX pays maintenance that covers the financial cost of our DC and the cost of me not working so I can be a SAHM to our children. That is our choice and one we both agree on. My DP financially supports his DC as he works and expects his EX to do so too as she also works. What exactly is it that sickens you about that?

My EX's money makes the difference here, me being a SAHM doesn't mean she "should" be too - I don't even know if she would want to be. Should my EX lose his job or not be able to work then I will have to work as he wouldn't be paying maintenance.

How can you say "and I'm sure she is providing clothes for them"? It is because you can't believe that a mother would not want to see their children well dressed in clothes that fit? Well, no actually, she doesn't. As I said just last week I went out and purchased (with DP's money) new uniform for the eldest and sent it back to her house with him in his bag because he needed some and it was clear that was she wasn't going to buy any! They both need new trainers as the ones they are wearing (that my DP bought) are getting too small, but she won't replace them and if he offers to perhaps split the cost (given she is not paying any maintenance at the moment) she will ignore his request, so we will have to go and buy them.

SnowWhiteWinter Mon 03-Dec-12 13:07:20

Damn, looks as though I am going to have to get off my lazy arse and a job smile

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Mon 03-Dec-12 13:10:23

So, do you send the SCs to their DM's with a suitcase full of a week's worth of clothing? And this is then returned to you at the end of her week?

NotaDisneyMum Mon 03-Dec-12 13:14:58

snow Who cares who actually buys the DCs shoes and clothes though, as long as they have what they need?

It's not as if its a financial hardship, is it? Your DCs are not missing out on things they need (your ex pays for that)? So why does it matter so much? It's an ideal - but we don't live in an ideal world.

Let it go. Your DSC mum isn't perfect, but I doubt their Dad is either - no one is! Use your energy to focus on what is important, a little girl who needs emotional support and DDs who are crying for their Daddy. Who (other than you) really cares who paid for the clothing they are wearing when they are doing so?

Lookingatclouds Mon 03-Dec-12 13:17:19

I agree with NADM. If you really want things to be better for everyone I would suggest you drop everything. Call off the CSA, stop pushing for contact to be different, buy what the children need when they are with you and let her do the same when they are with her. The last thing these children need is the people who are the most important in their lives constantly being at war with each other. I think court is the last thing you should be thinking of here. It's an horrendous process, expensive and stressful for everyone involved.

It sounds like she has negotiated a really good deal at work if she can change her hours like that. It means she can really concentrate on work one week, and concentrate on the children the next. I really can't see what would be achieved by upsetting that arrangement by switching homes midweek. I would have thought that would be even more unsettling, especially if handovers are problematic.

My dsd didn't see her Dad for 3 weeks between contacts at one point, yet they had a great relationship. I have gone 2-3 weeks without seeing my dd when she has been with her Dad or friends during school holidays, or if I have been ill - and dd has been absolutely fine with it.

And being unsettled just before or after a contact is perfectly normal and just the children IME going between different homes. The less often that happens the better I think, if things are acrimonious.

elliebellys Mon 03-Dec-12 13:17:30

Snow,thats what a lot of mums do yes.we get off are arse 2 work hard nd still juggle child care,as a neccessity not a choice.

allnewtaketwo Mon 03-Dec-12 13:26:45

OP you keep saying she's not currently paying cm so she should be paying for this, that or the other. Yet above you say "CSA have said they will shortly be deducting it direct from source". If they do this, they will also deduct the hefty arrears. And it sounds from her income that this will be a considerable sum. And so near christmas, lovely. Well done you.

SnowWhiteWinter Mon 03-Dec-12 13:37:13

Elliebellys... It was tongue in cheek. I do not need to work as I am very lucky and fortunate that my EX has a good career, a very good wage and that between us we decided I would be a SAHM to our children, even after separation. I also appreciate lots of people have to work, I am well aware of what it is to work hard and understand lots of people have to juggle childcare.

Allnewtaketwo... Yes, they will deduct arrears. Had she kept to the agreement of sharing the costs for the children when she eventually started having them 50/50 then my DP wouldn't have applied to the CSA at all. The money he gets in arrears will be the money she would have paid at the time. I very much doubt it will be before Xmas, from what I've heard the CSA often take ages to sort things out due to their volume of work!

Bunchamunchycrunchycarrots... Up until recently, yes. The children would take a small suitcase or bag of clothes with them, spare shoes, coats, etc. Lots of things never got returned and we have replaced them. We send some things now but not as much as she has lots of things DP has previously bought.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Mon 03-Dec-12 13:50:37

It seems like a very unusual set up you have OP. You receive enough in maintenance to pay your own way, and I assume you mean your % towards rent/mortgage, bills, food shopping etc. as well as the costs involved in raising your 2 kids meaning you must receive a significant amount in maintenance. That's a pretty unique and privileged position to be in. Your DP also gains from that as you are a SAHM, so provide free childcare for your SCs, thus saving your DP money in terms of childcare costs. Your presence in this set up means that your DP gains in terms of costs he has to pay alone for his DCs i.e. he doesn't have a mortgage/rent to pay alone, he doesn't have childcare costs, has someone to split his bills with. And yet, despite this advantage, he is pursuing a 'small amount' of maintenance from his ex, in a 50/50 care set up, on a point of principal as he thinks his ex should 'show willing' to contribute to their DCs costs, while the ex here will have her own costs involved when she has the DCs as she also has to fund a home for them to live in, feed them etc. while in her care. If a perfect split of everything seems so important, why not the CB as well?

allnewtaketwo Mon 03-Dec-12 13:59:35

If he earns such a high amount he will have to pay back the child benefit in any case from next month, not just for his own dc's but for OP's dc's as well? I wonder whether this factored into his decision to chase maintenance from his ex?

OP I wonder whether your ex's current/future partners will be so willing to continue with a situation whereby he funds your lifestyle. Ditto when your children no longer require full time childcare

elliebellys Mon 03-Dec-12 14:07:14

Xmas is csa,s favourite time 2 take extortionate amounts,up to 40%..the poor woman will get shock of her life..mayb she might decide 2 be a sahm,cos it sure as hell wont be worth her workin..

SnowWhiteWinter Mon 03-Dec-12 14:18:39

Ellie, are you suggesting the CSA favour Xmas time to take money from people who ahve been avoiding them and thus avoiding paying maintanance for thier own children?

She does not pay for things for her own children, she has gone back on the informal agreement that she and my DP made that they would split all costs associated to the children 50/50 when she stopped paying maintenance. She hasn't, she refuses to but them new clothes, new uniform or shoes, she refuses to pay dinner money etc. He is not trying to do her out of her hard earned money, just wants her to take financial responsibility for the children.

Decide to be a SAHM to avoid having to spend some of her wages on things for her children? I don't think she would do that and how could she? She is a single woman with children, she needs to work to support them, if she quit her job she would get job seekers allowance but would be expected to get another job wouldn't she.

Allnew.... my Dp doesn't earn that much! We are still entitled to CB.

My EX has a new partner and they have a DC and she is a SAHM too. He isn't funding my lifestyle, he is paying for our children - we aren't rich, we don't have a big house, don't have nice cars, don't have expensive holidays or anything like that. We have already decided that in a few years I will go back to work and of course then the maintenance he pays will decrease massively, we are both happy with that and believe that is best for our children.

allnewtaketwo Mon 03-Dec-12 14:22:35

"She does not pay for things for her own children"

Really - you send food to her house, pay a proportion of her rent/mortgage, bills etc?

allnewtaketwo Mon 03-Dec-12 14:23:52

Incidentally, if no-one is funding you, then who pays for your food/clothes/bills etc?

elliebellys Mon 03-Dec-12 14:26:47

Csa are ruthless,u will soon learn believe me.they do big up payments usually a week before xmas.all they leave you with is protected earnings which usually isnt much more than what ud get on income support.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Mon 03-Dec-12 14:29:04

OP I think you have a very unfortunate attitude towards your DP's ex. She pays nothing towards her own children? So she doesn't feed them, doesn't have a home that's big enough to accommodate them? She is on her own, funding herself, looking after her kids 50% of the time with no CB, no tax credits, no partner to share her bills/rent etc. and her ex is pursuing her for a 'small amount' of maintenance as well?hmm

pinguthepenguin Mon 03-Dec-12 14:57:09

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bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Mon 03-Dec-12 15:47:00

I'm imagining a spreadsheet system here, keeping track of all expenses incurred, with demands for half from the ex, while ignoring the fact care is split 50/50, only one parent receives CB while at the same time that same parent has the luxury of having a partner fully financially independent yet able to stay at home to provide not only free childcare but a % towards the household expenses. We are not really talking about equal households are we? hmm

NotaDisneyMum Mon 03-Dec-12 16:58:31

pingu there are certainly similarities between the OPs situation and several previous posters; none of them were prepared to answer the same question that I asked them either:

OP, why is it so important that your DSC mum pays her way in your opinion? You've made it clear that you're not going without as a family and she is only liable for a small amount. Why is this so important to you, who won't financially benefit - especially when there are far more important issues, like the emotional welfare of your DSC?

You asked for advice about whether a specific issue order could force your DSC mum to agree to your DPs proposal for contact. You seem to think that this is a way of bypassing a Residency/contact order. You say that your DP is not prepared to risk less than 50% of his DCs time but their mum won't agree to more. Can't you see how damaging this is for the DCs?

I'll say to you what I've said to other posters in similar situations - I hope this goes to court sooner rather than later because the court will act in the DCs best interests which is something that none of the adults in their life seem to be able to do angry

brdgrl Tue 04-Dec-12 01:39:26

her again?

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 09:59:10

Sorry for delay replying! I have no idea what or who piratecat is, I only joined here less than a week ago, namechanged once as I didn't like the other one but have never posted in this forum with it either.

Bunchamunchycarrots.. You are blowing it out of all proportion. We are not some wealthy family laughing and chasing the poor financially crippled mother. She does feed them and she does have a home to accommodate them (finally) but so does DP! She shares her rent and bills with her new partner too, nobody gets tax credits and the CB goes into trust funds. Neither home pays for any childcare costs. Our homes are pretty equal. Me being a SAHM doesn't really make any difference to things, it certainly doesn't make us any more well off than she is! The whole issue is that she can afford to pay for things for them but she chooses not to. So yes, my DP is pursuing her for a small amount of maintenance since she decided to back out of the agreement that all child related costs are split equally (once agreed on of course) he has never demanded anything from the ex, all optional costs would be agreed by both parties beforehand, well that was what was supposed to happen.

Notadisneymum.... Why is it important to me? It's hard to say exactly. We have had a pretty rough ride of things over the last two years, there have been many times when we (my partner or I) have had to pick up the slack for his EX, do things for the DSD's that she was supposed to have done, change our plans to be somewhere to collect them at very short notice because she decided to give them back early (Christmas last year in fact) or when she hasn't turned up for handover or turned up really late without warning. We do it all to make sure the DSD's don't notice and it doesn't affect them. We've put up with abusive from her, which is often in front of the children, hence the decision to take week-at-a-time until things settled down. After all that has happened we have been doing as much as we can trying to encourage her to take responsibility for her own children, to have a proper relationship with them and do whats best for them. I can honestly say I believe that I have done more for with and in the best interests of he children (especially the youngest) than she has. Not for "control" as another poster asked, but just because I've sort of had to, and that just isn't right. The money thing just seems like one last way she can exercise her right to "choose" to not be responsible for her own children, and frankly, it pisses me right off but I would never say that, I just smile and bite my tongue, over and over again.

Thanks for the info that a specific issue order isn't want DP needs, he really was hoping to not have to go to court, perhaps not for the right reasons but for reasons that feel right to him, if that makes sense. Plus it's going to cost a small fortune that we can't really afford, however, we would find/borrow the money if it needed to be done. I honestly can see how far from ideal this current situation, honestly, hence why I joined here and posted here for some advice.

We have no "big" reason why the children should live primarily with DP (and I) and we have been told a court don't want to hear about little things, don't want to hear tit for tat (quite rightly). Are a court really going to be interested in the small things like the fact that she regularly takes the eldest into school 30-40 mins late, nearly every Friday morning, that she assured us she would take her to her school meeting (the one before they start where they meet the teacher and spend a couple of hours there) and then didn't and didn't even let us know (we re booked it and took her the next week) Do a court want to hear that she sent the youngest to pre school in below zero temperatures without coats or jumpers and we have no idea why? Do they want to hear that she refuses to communicate anything about the children with DP or is that all "small stuff". He doesn;t want to go to court without a chance in hell or to be told he's moaning about small stuff. Neither of us have any experience of court of any kind, especially not family court, we don't know how it works or what likely outcomes there are (apart from what we read on here and other similar forums).

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 10:04:55

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SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 10:09:59

I'm not smug and/or arrogant at all. In fact your quote was missing the sentence directly after that one which was

"Not for "control" as another poster asked, but just because I've sort of had to, and that just isn't right."

I'm not lording anything over her at all, or being superior. If I worked too then would I be less smug and arrogant?

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 10:13:26

That sentence makes no difference at all. If your superior attitude is coming across on a thread to a number of strangers, then I can only imagine how it is for your DSC's mother in real life.

Saying you do more for her children than she does is wrong on so many levels. Nothing to do with whether you work or not. She is their MOTHER. You are not. Yes she does work to support and provide for her family, yet you insist repeatedly that she doesn't provide for them.

OptimisticPessimist Tue 04-Dec-12 10:30:41

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SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 10:30:47

Allnewtaketwo -

I obviously don't say that to her! I never speak to her and very rarely even see her. I said it here on a step parenting forum, I bet many step parents feel that they do more for their DSC than one of their real parents do. The only reason I do those things is because she doesn't, she chooses not to do things for her children that need doing and therefore either myself of my DP do them. You are right, it is wrong on so many levels, I agree. The other option is not to do them and the DSD's lose out, not an option for me I'm afraid.

We will have to agree to disagree because to me having job and providing a roof over your children's head is not the end of responsibilities as a parent. Children need more than a roof and a bed both emotionally and physically. Yes I insist she doesn't provide for them, she lets my DP pay for everything for the children, apart from her rent and food in her house, because she has decided that's the way she wants it and I absolutely disagree.

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 10:32:27

Optimisticpssimist - I have absoluely no idea who "piratecat" is I have never psoted on this or any other forum about my DP or my DSD's.

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 10:33:18

You are not putting your DSCs emotional needs first at all by consistently undermining their mother, taking a superior attitude and making life difficult for her by landing her with csa arrears. Don't kid yourself.

But of course you will disagree because you are right - I am wrong, all the other posters on here are wrong and the children's mother is wrong too. Whatever hmm

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 10:36:19

"consistantly underming their mother" I said it once, on the internet -it's words on a page. I don't say it to her, or anyone else, I do not undermine her in real life in any way.

My DP is not landing her in CSA arrears he is claiming maintenance through CSA as she will not pay for things her children need as she agreed, her ignoring the CSA is landing herself in arrears.

Do you think that one parent should cover all costs for the children if the other decides they don't want to?

NotaDisneyMum Tue 04-Dec-12 10:38:38

We have no "big" reason why the children should live primarily with DP (and I) and we have been told a court don't want to hear about little things

Yes, you do. Your big reason is that the current arrangement isn't working for them, there is evidence from the school to back that up, and their mum is refusing to be primary carer. If that isn't big, I don't know what is.

You don't need to understand the court process, that is what your DP's solicitor and barrister are for. His DC's are unhappy, their Mum is (based on what you have said here) refusing to address it, and your DP is tiptoing around the issue.
As I said upthread, either there are other things going on that mean your DP has received accurate legal advice, or he really doesn't have his DC's best interests at heart. Only you know which it is.

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 10:39:32

For the last time <<bangs head against brick wall that is the OP>>, your DP is not covering all the costs for the children. Their mother puts a roof over their head for 50% of the time, feeds them, keeps them warm etc etc, for half of the time, with no state support.

And I fail to believe that such a superior smug attitude on here does not seep into real life.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 04-Dec-12 10:48:01

The only reason I do those things is because she doesn't, she chooses not to do things for her children that need doing and therefore either myself of my DP do them. You are right, it is wrong on so many levels, I agree. The other option is not to do them and the DSD's lose out, not an option for me I'm afraid

Welcome to the world of step-parenting.

You have chosen to take on responsibility for these things, because to you, the DSC missing out is not an option - and yet your choice to do this means that they experience tension and resentment between their parents.

Eventually, many step-parents come to the conclusion that the DSC losing out is the lesser of the two evils - the fallout when the step-parent does those things is too distressing and damaging for the DC's.

You can continue to take the moral high ground, step in and act as a substitute when their mum doesn't do everything you believe should be done, or you can accept that their mum is who she is, and is doing the best she can.
I used to think that the best thing I could do for my DSC is provide them with everything I would want for my own DD. I learnt the hard way that the DSC are not my children and their parents are responsible for their care and welfare. If I interfere, I make things worse for the DSC - just like you are.

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 10:56:45

Allnewtaketwo, Ok, DP covers all cost apart from her rent and bills (shared with her partner) and food at her house. As for feeding them and keeping them warm, (not when they are at school for lunch) and yes she pays her heating bill but coats and other warm clothing is paid for by DP!

DP has to pay for school dinners, all school & preschool related items - uniforms, shoes, bags, lunchboxes etc home things like clothes, trainers, coats etc. Clubs and activities (that she agreed to). It amounts to quite a bit. There is no reason she shouldn't pay half of those things and she said she would when 50/50 time started, but she decided she'd rather not.

Thanks Notsdisneymum, you're right, it is a big reason in it's own right. I suppose we were always thinking residency gets awarded one way if the other parent has major problems, alcohol, drugs, abuse and neglect and perhaps smaller things are ignored. Yes, their mum will not address it and yes, I'm afraid DP does tiptoe around her more than the issue. His appointment with solicitor is later this week so he is going to chat things through and see what she says. He was also told before to keep a log of everything, every email that is ignored, every time she doesn't turn up to collect the DSD's or turned up an hour late, any problems there are, which he has done, plus we have all the solicitors letters that have been ignored and we have stuff in writing from the school about problems there and her lateness too.

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 10:58:18

He receives state support towards this expenditure. His choice to put it in trust funds. But the bulk of her 50% costs will be housing and bills/food etc while they're there, it's hardly marginal.

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 11:01:32

I used to think that the best thing I could do for my DSC is provide them with everything I would want for my own DD.

This is exactly how I feel. I've only lived with them less than two years but the majority of that time was when the youngest was just a baby and when they only saw their mum once or twice a week so I do feel responsible for them. It's hard to remember I am not responsible for them.

I think it would be easier if I knew that their mum was doing the best for them that she can, she's really not, and that's not me being a bitch or just making things up about her, she's not, they are simply not no.1 priority in her life. sad

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Tue 04-Dec-12 11:02:54

She is a single woman with children, she needs to work to support them

^^This suggests she lived on her own, no partner to share the financial burden with, yet now she has a new partner to share the burden with? hmm

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 11:02:55

It's not his choice, it's a choice they made for their DSD's and it has always gone into their trust funds. I suppose he could cancel it and keep the CB but then it's the DSD's losing out again.

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 11:03:29

You lived with them when youngest was a baby? Had their parents just split up? That was very quick.

pinguthepenguin Tue 04-Dec-12 11:04:19

Aww Disney please don't encourage them to go for primary residency. They don't need another reason to get rid of the mother completely

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 11:04:55

Bunchymunchy - I mean she is a single parent, her partner is not "step dad" he doesn't take that role and he has no children of his own although they have only lived together for about 6 months I think. Single in marital status rather than living alone is what I meant, separated from my DP and solely responsible for her children when they are with her.

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 11:05:38

"It's not his choice" - so you DP has no choice as to what to do with money he receives into his bank account - yeah right.

"I suppose he could cancel it and keep the CB but then it's the DSD's losing out again" - and you think they won't lose out when their mother gets stung for hundres potentially thousands of csa arrears?

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 11:14:06

Pinguthepenguin...

"Get rid of the mother completely" My DP and I have done everything we possibly can to encourage and facilitate a relationship between the DSD and her. We have encouraged her to have them stay more than one night a week, encouraged her to turn up on time to collect them, driven them to her rather than have her pick them up etc. We have had to deal with crying DSD's when she hasn't come to get them! Nobody is trying to get rid of her at all sad

As for Disney encouraging DP to go for primary residency. Well of course he wouldn't do that from internet advice (no offense meant) he will seek sound legal advice too if he decided to take that course of action. However, if everything I say here is just to make her look bad, all untrue and we have no evidence to show a court that my DP having primary residency would be best for the DSD's then there is no problem is there, he will just get laughed out of court.

Allnewtaketwo... Yes I suppose it is his choice right now, I meant it wasn't his choice historically. DP is quite honest and believes that the agreement they made that CB would go into trust funds should stand, she has never disagreed with this since or asked him to cancel the trust fund direct debits and use the money instead of maintenance.

pinguthepenguin Tue 04-Dec-12 11:16:42

What this is coming down to is:
A winter coat for each child per year
A uniform for one child per year
A pair of shoes and trainers per child twice a year
School lunch for one child £40 per month.
1 activity per week for older child at what- £5 per week?

Unless you are telling us that you pack a suitcase for those kids for the week at mums and provide literally EVERYTHING in that week, then apart from your usual day to day expenses, what else could there be that, in your mind justifies your DP's actions here?
Are you seriously telling me that the above costs (if its true) outweighs what you get in CB? You are hounding this woman for the cost of the above items. Yes you are...put it any other way you like. but you are. These are mere babies, not 16yolds!

NotaDisneyMum Tue 04-Dec-12 11:17:10

her partner is not "step dad" he doesn't take that role and he has no children of his own although they have only lived together for about 6 months I think. Single in marital status rather than living alone is what I meant,

Ok, now I'm confused.

What is the definition of a step-parent? I know that there isn't one in law - although marriage or living together as a family for over two years does secure some minor additional legal rights, but other than that?

If her partner lives with them as a family, why isn't he a step-dad? I'm not married to my DP either - does that mean I'm not a step-mum? My DSC certainly think I am! Is it the length of time they've been together? Is 6 months not long enough - in which case, when will he become a step-dad?

Presumably, if he is living in the family home, he is contributing in some way, just as you are to your own family.

Bewildering!

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 11:17:29

I wasn't expecting such a grilling on here! sad i do appreciate all your advice, even advice that says you think I/my Dp are wrong.

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 11:17:46

"My DP and I have done everything we possibly can to encourage and facilitate a relationship between the DSD and her"

It's not for YOU to encourage her to do anything. On the one had you say you've barely seen her, yet on the other you've taken all this effort to encourage her to do this, that or the other.

Your posts are so conflicting that what you say holds no credibility at all.

How did the situation come about whereby you were living with them when the youngest was a baby?

pinguthepenguin Tue 04-Dec-12 11:21:37

How does the baby get to pre-school every day and the older one get to school when there is an hour between you?

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 11:22:28

Disney. I know there is no legal definition of "step parent" as such.

I can obviously only go by what the children (small so unreliable) say and what she has said to DP on occasions and what her parents have said to DP. Her Dp doesn't do "dad/step dad" things with the children, doesn't take them places on their own without mum, doesn't cook for them, read them a bedtime story, iron their clothes, do other day-to-day things, he doesn't come to the school or preschool, doesn't ever do the school run etc. I don't know why or if it is his choice or their mums. He is still "mums new boyfriend" rather than step dad if that makes sense. Perhaps I am not wording it very well.

My Dp and I are not married either, but I do consider myself step mum and so do the children due to the relationship I have with them, not the length of time we have been together.

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 11:24:42

All new - It takes 5 seconds to hand a child over to someone at the door, many of the times I have seen her have been for 5-10 seconds, we don't talk, she doesn't even look at me.

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 11:27:00

So if you don't talk then how come you've done so much to "encourage" her?

NotaDisneyMum Tue 04-Dec-12 11:33:00

Her Dp doesn't do "dad/step dad" things with the children, doesn't take them places on their own without mum, doesn't cook for them, read them a bedtime story, iron their clothes, do other day-to-day things, he doesn't come to the school or preschool, doesn't ever do the school run etc. I don't know why or if it is his choice or their mums.

I don't do a lot of those things either - because if I did, the DSC's mum would get very upset, and take it out on the DC's, so I avoid creating that unpleasantness for them.

Given the high-conflict nature of your DP relationship with his ex, perhaps her partner is keeping his distance out of consideration for the DC's. Maybe he thinks doing those "Dad-things" would lead to a negative reaction from their Dad.

Bedtime stories, going to school/pre-school etc are activities that many parents consider to be overstepping. You may well be comfortable with your DC's SM doing them, but not everyone is the same, and if you are trying to establish a good co-parenting relationship, sometimes a bit of consideration for the views of the other parent (no matter how unreasonable you think they are being) goes a long way.

I know you don't believe it, but your DSC Mum really is doing what she believes is a good job, and the very best she can. She may not be meeting your standards or expectations of a Mum, but I'm sure the same could be said about many of the parents of the children at your DC's school, or even other MN'ers. The difference is, you can act on your disappointment in their Mum, and affect the lives of your DSC. you may see this as a good thing, but I can assure you, through bitter experience, that in the long term, your endevours to make the DSC's lives better will have the opposite effect.

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 11:39:43

Why are you doing so many of the drop-offs when they're so hostile? This won't be good for the children at all.

And again, why where you living with them with the youngest was a baby. You're quite reluctant to answer this question, but it may well account for a good deal of the hostility here

Daddelion Tue 04-Dec-12 11:53:23

My ex's partner is not my children's step-dad.

That's from my children, he's ex's partner.

CatchingMockingbirds Tue 04-Dec-12 11:53:50

Do you think that one parent should cover all costs for the children if the other decides they don't want to?

Yes I insist she doesn't provide for them, she lets my DP pay for everything for the children, apart from her rent and food in her house, because she has decided that's the way she wants it and I absolutely disagree.

The money thing just seems like one last way she can exercise her right to "choose" to not be responsible for her own children, and frankly, it pisses me right off but I would never say that, I just smile and bite my tongue, over and over again.

Doesn't your ex pay a considerable amount of money in maintenance so you can stay at home and not work? You complain that your DP is paying everything for the children yet your ex pays everything for his children too. Is that your way of exercising your right not to care for your children too? If it's 50/50 care then she cares for her children for the same length of time as your DP cares for the children too, he just pays for extras since he gets the child benefit (but choses to put it in a trust fund and use his own money to cover these extras).

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 11:56:59

Why did I do handovers? Because my DP works and often pre-planned handovers wouldn't happen as she wouldn't arrive or turn up late or demand to drop them back early, so I would collect or drop them off so he didn't have to leave work or be late for work to do so. The handovers are not hostile generally if it's just me then we just don't talk, it's normally when it's DP that she becomes very abusive, hence why now almost all handovers are done via school drop off and pick ups or sometimes via her parents if they have had the DSD's stay over for a few days.

Why were we living together when the youngest was a baby? I wasn't reluctant to answer, just missed your question further up. Must be the reason she is so hostile because it obviously means he was cheating on her with me. Not at all. I just happened to meet DP soon after they separated and their youngest was still a baby. We were both in a situation where we needed to move for different reasons and it made sense for us all to move in together. It was very quick, you are correct, much quicker than ideal for most, but it worked well for us and the children too and I think we made the right choice.

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 11:59:31

Catchingmokingbirds... My EX earns avery good wage and I have always had an agreement by which I am a SAHM and he works and provides financially for the children. He agreed for that to continue once we separated as he also didn't want them in long hours of childcare. That's a choice we both made together. Once they are a bit older I will work full time and he will not pay for everything for them.

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 12:00:46

"we don't talk, she doesn't even look at me" - you think that's not hostile hmm

If you moved in so quickly upon meeting DP that the youngest was still a baby, then you really cannot take the moral highground about putting their emotional needs first.

And again - if you two don't speak, then how do you "encourage" her to do stuff?

NotaDisneyMum Tue 04-Dec-12 12:05:33

snow Do you understand that the right choice, to move in together so soon, may well have resulted in an increase in tension and hostility that is affecting your DSC?

It doesn't mean that your decision was wrong, but you seem reluctant to acknowledge that any of the choices that you and your DP have made could have negative as well as positive consequences. It's OK if things you do sometimes upset people, it's even OK to admit that sometimes, you make mistakes!

Every choice you make will have both positive and negative consequences. You can't avoid it. All you can do is weigh up the benefits and disadvantages of each at the time. But by acknowledging and understanding the disadvantages, you are far more likely to be able to overcome them.

pinguthepenguin Tue 04-Dec-12 12:09:50

Yes quite, it's a bit of a contradiction to bleat about her neglecting their emotional needs when you moved into their lives like that as mere infants. Seriously, can't you see the irony of everything you are posting? Your EX ( not your actual DP!)
supports not only your children but YOU as well, yet you are suddenly principled about making this woman 'pay her way'?

Hahhahahahahahahhahaha

I have 50/50 shared care with my ex husband. We have two children together.

There is no way I would chase him for CSA. He provides everything the boys need whilst they are there. He keeps a roof over their heads, heating, food on the table, petrol costs to and from school, days out, etc etc

I may buy school uniform and shoes - but this is why I have child benefit and child tax credits.

Child benefit is a gateway benefit and has so much power. Looking at schools for my ds1 - it came down to who claimed the child benefit in the event that we couldn't agree.

Why don't you give her half the child benefit and half the child tax credit?

I would be claiming it straight back if I was her.

I would also be making a CSA claim for the time the children spent with me (can she do that without child benefit?)

On paper it seems that I actually have the children 2 nights a year more than exH. Which makes me the main resident parent. Even though exH and I get on fine I wouldn't give up my extra 1% (or whatever it is) as I would feel vulnerable in regards to losing child benefit and the rights that it gives me.

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 12:23:45

Pingu... Actually both DP and I feel that trying to blend two families would have been much harder if the children were older rather than younger. You of course have your own opinion, which is fair enough but it doesn't mean ours is wrong.

My EX and I have an agreement around our children. I am extremely fortunate that my EX earns a lot and he and I are very amicable and have agreed about our children. What my EX and I agree financially for our children has no relevance to what my DP and his EX agree (or disagree).

Allowing my EX to pay for our children because he can afford it and because we both agree we would like one of us to be a SAHP is not a bad thing.

I don't "bleat" about her neglecting their emotional needs. When I met DP he was struggling to get her to have the children 1 night a week overnight!

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 12:26:41

OP why did you actually post on here? You won't listen to a word anyone says and insist that "My partner and I" are right all the time.

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 12:33:20

Dinosaurs, thanks for your post and for sharing your situation.

We don't get tax credits. My DP has said he is going to ask her if she agrees for him to use CB for the children's clubs, clothing, uniforms etc and no longer pay it into trust funds, we shall wait and see what she says.

You can only claim via CSA if you have the CB (or so my DP was told). When they agreed 50/50 my DP contacted CB to find out which one of them should have it in their name. Every single one of the "ticky boxes" was ticked by DP and none by her. He didn't just keep it, he made sure to check who it should be with. When children have two homes then who gets the CB is based on criteria like who pays for clothes, uniforms, haircuts and pocket money, who's address is their primary address (doctors, school, preschool) etc.

Plus, even if we he did transfer CB to her, what's to say she would pay for things for them with it or keep it going into their trust funds? Dp might be left still paying for everything and the DSD's not getting their trusts funds increased.

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 12:35:15

Allnew...I have taken on board all of the advice, thank you. I never actually asked about money or what is right and wrong about me being a SAHM, although I appreciate an open forum often leads away from the OP. My DP will read this all later and decide what he is going to do later this week as he has a meeting with his solicitor booked.

Lookingatclouds Tue 04-Dec-12 12:37:28

One of the most important things I have learnt from my many years as a stepmum is that you cannot listen to what the children pass on. Some of it will have their interpretation/understanding of it, some of it will be what they think you want to hear. I'm finding it hard to understand how you know so much about her and her motivations, and what goes on at her house when you don't seem to actually speak directly to her.

Why did they split up, and how come he ended up with both children and she barely saw them?

NotaDisneyMum Tue 04-Dec-12 12:41:26

<I'm going to keep trying even though I suspect I'm typing in invisible font again, as my most recent posts have gone unacknowledged>

Plus, even if we he did transfer CB to her, what's to say she would pay for things for them with it or keep it going into their trust funds? Dp might be left still paying for everything and the DSD's not getting their trusts funds increased.

I know I've asked this before -but so what? So what if things aren't fair in your opinion?

You have made it clear that neither you, or your DC's are in any way financially impacted by your DP's finances, and that your DP is on a decent wage so it isn't a hardship for him to pay for new things for the Dc's every few weeks.

So what if this gives his ex the control she needs? Surely, the DC's will be happier and more settled when their parents eventually stop bickering. you have such an opportunity to make a difference to your DSC's lives; but to do so, you need to have some hard conversations with your DP, take ihm off the pedestal and recognise that his actions (which you are currently supporting) are contributing to the set of circumstances which are damaging the DC's.

pinguthepenguin Tue 04-Dec-12 12:44:38

I think OP must have a camera in mums house as she is remarkably well informed about mums comings and goings, oh and lets not forget that she has two VERY credible witnesses in her 3 & 5 year old DSC.....

Honestly OP, you've no intention of taking this thread to your DP or taking any of it on board. You cannot see the irony of yourself as a kept woman ( and yes you are a kept woman, however you paint it) seething about the mother of these kids because she owes your DP the price of a coat for the kids. sad

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 12:47:00

Not just a camera - but a telepathic signal "encouraging" mum all the way.......

Lookingatclouds Tue 04-Dec-12 12:49:31

I'm right with you there NADM.

millie30 Tue 04-Dec-12 12:50:34

I think that putting CB in a trust fund is a luxury your DP can't afford if he feels the need to get the CSA involved. Why doesn't he just use the CB for the expenses that it is designed for?

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Tue 04-Dec-12 12:50:35

When children have two homes then who gets the CB is based on criteria like who pays for clothes, uniforms, haircuts and pocket money, who's address is their primary address (doctors, school, preschool) etc.

So, your DP has the CB on the basis of the above criteria i.e. he buys these things, yet is pursuing maintenance in a 50/50 split care set up for clothes, uniform, shoes etc. as he wants his ex to contribute towards these things? He receives however much CB is for 2 kids, chooses to put that money in a trust fund, and then pursues his ex, in a 50/50 split care set up, for the 'small amount of maintenance', and thinks this is in those kids' best interests?

FFS, this 'D'P of yours is a charmer isn't he?

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 12:54:31

bunchy ... Dp and his EX BOTH agreed CB would go into trust funds.

DP EX agreed to split all costs for the children 50/50 then decided she'd rather not.. She has never "said" this or anything about CB or money etc. She just ignored anything he says about money. I packed the eldest new uniform I had gone out and bought, washed, ironed and put name labels in, she has accepted it but will never mention it.

He is going to email her later and ask her agreement about stopping the CB going into trust funds and him using CB to pay for all the children's things and clubs and cancelling the CSA claim - and we will see what she says.

I thought you had to be earning over £50,000 a year to not get the full amount of child tax credits and then a reduced amount for salaries over that, so you must be on very good money to not qualify for any at all. (I'm not sure if this is correct though)

Your dp gets the child benefit and therefor gets to have his address as the primary address for the children. So everything (doctors, pre-school etc) is based where you live. Does the mother have to drive an hour there and back twice a day to take her child to school when she has them?

Why did your DP end up with the children for such a lot of the time when they split? Why did they split?

If you don't need the child benefit you should really transfer it back - she probably doesn't see why she should be buying uniforms etc when her ex gets extra money to pay for it (its not her fault it just goes into a trust fund) She seems to be paying all her rent, bills, food, everything out of her single salary with no help and no recognition as a parent.

Your DP sounds quite controlling although I can't put my finger on why I feel like that. I would be very careful though if you ever had a child with him and then split up.

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 12:58:11

So he's willing to go along with what she said about the CB money (how long ago?), but involving a government agency with respect to replacing it?

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 13:01:23

They both sound controlling and actually very well suited. How convenient for him to find himself a fully funded SAHP for his children, so willing to replace their mother.

I really feel sorry for the childrens' mother.

millie30 Tue 04-Dec-12 13:01:56

Agree with allnewtaketwo. Contacting the CSA is far more provocative and likely to cause conflict than simply explaining to his ex months ago that the trust fund arrangement is no longer feasible.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 04-Dec-12 13:05:52

Snow I remember that feeling of righteous indignation only too well; it's so easy to fall into when a DC's other parent (in my case, DP's ex and my exH) has such a opposing approach to parenting than you do. It was me and my DP against the world for the good of the DC's.
It is only with experience, talking to others in similar situations and professional support/training that I have accepted that my DP isn't perfect, neither am I, and that our respective ex's are just as entitled to their opinion and views as we are.
I came across an old legal folder of mine the other day - OMG, some of the emails I sent my ex were totally unreasonable and so superior - but I remember at the time feeling that I was totally justified!

We all do the best that we can. That doesn't mean we always agree - but that is when parents have to negotiate and compromise in order to do their best for the DC's - even if we feel that our own position is so obviously right (such as your DP's ex paying towards her DCs clothing) that compromise sticks in our throat.
As step-parents, we have to sit on the sidelines and accept that it is not our role or responsibility to get involved in those negotiations.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 04-Dec-12 13:09:04

It's hard to remember I am not responsible for them.

Remember it. Really, remember it. If you need counselling, workshops, CBT, hypnosis, whatever it takes, change your mindset so this becomes your reality.

Every second you do not - you are inadvertently and silently contributing to your DSC's emotional distress.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 04-Dec-12 13:11:01

I thought you had to be earning over £50,000 a year to not get the full amount of child tax credits and then a reduced amount for salaries over that, so you must be on very good money to not qualify for any at all. (I'm not sure if this is correct though)

This changed in April of this year to about £26,000 I think, so not that surprising that a household with a F/T earning professional is over the limit. (A lot of professional single parents were also affected).

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 13:14:44

Although I think OP said that neither her DP or her ex had ever received tax credits. Which again makes me doubt the "very small amount" of csa he was chasing her for

Wait til OP's generous maintenance stops and see how charming he is then eh?

OP it seriously sounds like the dsc's mum may have had a bellyfull of your partners controlling, manipulative ways and has decided to not bow down to his wishes anymore. Hence the 50-50 'agreement' a few months ago etc.

Its like reading a script but one written from the perspective of the next victim partner who hasn't yet realised sad

OptimisticPessimist Tue 04-Dec-12 13:42:54

This changed in April of this year to about £26,000 I think, so not that surprising that a household with a F/T earning professional is over the limit. (A lot of professional single parents were also affected).

It depends how many children there are - the OP's household is claiming for 4 children so at £40,000 they'd still get £40pw, this would be gone by about £45,000.

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 13:50:30

So if say he earns £45k, and apparently the ex earns the same, then the csa monthly payments would be £311 (taking into account 3/7 reduction for shared care). If she claim is being pursued by deo and the application went in say 4 months ago, she will be hounded for over £1200 by the csa. And yet the child benefit (which he claimed as he was paying day to day expenses) will be sitting in a trust fund.

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 14:02:59

Dinosaurs, no, dsd's primary school is about halfway between our house and her house, so neither parent does a long drive. Youngest dsd's pre school is near our house, purely because when we applied dsd's mum had no interest in choosing it, didn't want to visit or anything, Dsd's were only staying with their mum one night a week and it wasn't looking likely to change so we enrolled her in a pre-school near us given that it was DP or me taking her there and back every day and dsd's mum never actually did it. I'm not sure the reasons they split are relevant, so long ago now. She told him she needed some space to be herself, so she ended it, walked out and wen ton holiday with a new man she had met. She went to Spain for 2 weeks on holiday with him to "clear her head" and then came back, he was never mentioned again. During that time DP moved out of their rented home and as she had gone to Spain, he took the dsd's with him (but left all of the girl's things in the rented property) and waited for her to return. She got back and asked him to come and take the rest of his stuff and the girl's things, and it went from there really.

My DP is in no way controlling or manipulative, he is always careful to be fair and reasonable- part of the reason he is a bit of a pushover and has so often given in to her last minute changes of contact arrangements due to social events she has planned.

The more I hear it said the more it seems a good solution to cancel the trust funds and use CB rather than chase her for money via the CSA. As I said, DP is going to propose it to her by email and we will see what she says.

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 14:06:44

Why is he so willing to 'propose' about use of CB money and get her approval, but at the same time is happy to involve a government agency to hound her for money? It doesn't make any sense. And sounds controlling. Like 'I'll pretend to engage with you, but punish you if you don't agree"

sanityseeker75 Tue 04-Dec-12 14:19:20

I have been quietly reading through this and a thought for me is - what are the contact arrangements for your children to see their dad?

Oh Snow I think its fairly safe to say that he is. Your defence of him only confirms that ime.

At best, he removed two small children away from their mother whilst she had a breakdown "cleared her head" and then far too quickly shacked up with another mother for them woman with children.

At best that is.

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 14:21:28

She was happy to walk out on her kids, she was happy for my DP and I do do almost everything for them until 6/7 months ago, when she moved in with her new boyfriend and decided now she was ready to assist in looking after her own children. She agreed the 50/50 was a trial as all new for the kids and now it's not working for them she states she refuses to agree to any changes to it as she's changed her work pattern permanently. She agreed to go 50/50 on all costs for the girls but has now decided not to (this was before DP put the CSA claim in of course) The CSA aren't "hounding" her, they've sent a few letters, which she has ignored.

It's not "I'll pretend to engage with you" she ignores almost all communication from DP, which is always and only ever about the DSD's. She never communicates with him about them. "punish you if you don't agree" It's not punishment, paying towards the upkeep of your children isn't a punishment is it?

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 14:24:54

MrsKeithLemon. Of course, we often get the same response... there is no way a woman could possibly walk out on her children unless she was mentally unwell. Well, there is ... She left, then she came back and asked him to take the children. She refused to see them for a while, then agreed to one night a week, sometimes two (but then dsd's usually spent at least one night at her parents). We had to drive them to and from her house mostly, she'd often not turn up and we'd rearrange our plans to have the handover the next day, or she'd turn up as late as she liked.

BUt my DP is the bad man, he "removed two small children".

pinguthepenguin Tue 04-Dec-12 14:27:49

Ahhhh how many more times? she IS contributing to their upkeep- for 50% of their lives FFS! And you cannot take the moral highground as someone else pointed out, about why she went on holiday. YOU shacked up with him when the youngest was a small baby, and YOU moved your own kids in with a man they hardly knew

Double standards much? Argggghhh!

She might have been told that the only way to rid herself of his control is to not engage with his mindgames Snow.

Like I said, its like reading a script but from your perspective as the new victim partner rather than the dw/dp/ex of a controlling twunt.

You should step back and really look at your life and how much control of it you have handed over.

If your ex withdrew his generous maintenance tomorrow, what would happen? Who suggested that you should 'blend' <<yuk>> your families so soon after meeting? Do your children see their dad only when his are with his ex? Why are you doing so much of the running around for the children of such a devoted father?

If finances are all so tickety-boo and no-one wants for anything, then how come we have pages and pages of you defending his finances? Why not concede that money only matters when one or another of the parties doesn't have enough? Why so strenuously deny any wrong doing by pursuing a claim for csa deducted maintenance if there is enough money to go round for everyone?

It all sounds like he has you hook, line & sinker.

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 14:37:59

I give up.

And now your use of the word we has crept in to the story of how it was when she allegedly abandonned her own children.

If you were around soon after they split then you are part of the problem I'm afraid.

May help you to understand the behaviour of his ex more if you could only see that and acknowedge tbh.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Tue 04-Dec-12 14:49:48

he "removed two small children"

Actually, what he did do was pretty awful looking at it from the childrens' prespective. Their mother disappears on holiday for 2 weeks, and then he uproots the children in her absence, from the place they understood was home. What on earth possessed him to think that was the most logical, considerate thing to do when the childrens' mother disappears for 2 weeks? How fucked up does a father have to be to think that he should just clear out of the only home his kids have ever known, after their mother has disappeared without contacting those kids? This happened right at the beginning of all this mess, and yet you OP still have nothing but rose tinted views of him and his 'intentions' when it comes to what is best for those children. You aren't the only one who 'gives up'. <shakes head>

pinguthepenguin Tue 04-Dec-12 15:00:37

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SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 15:50:34

Bunchy - I don't see what else he could do. She ended their relationship, she left the home and went (she came back after 2 weeks holiday) but she hadn't told him where she was off to or how long. He couldn't just sit there, take some time off work and wait for her to come back, he had to put things into place for himself and the children. He took them to stay with him, as their mother wasn't around. He didn't take their things from their home at that time. When she got back she told him to come and get the kids stuff and take it.

Pingu - WTF? I have no idea who piratecat is! I give up means I give up.

Petal02 Tue 04-Dec-12 15:59:26

Does it really matter if this poster is/isn't/never has been Pirate Cat? Sorry if missing the point here.

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 16:03:03

I guess it does matter if she/he was someone awful who nobody liked. But I have no idea who piratecat was or is!

Thank you for all your opinions here, as I said DP is emailing EX tonight so hopefully we will get some sort of resolution pretty soon. Not sure whether it's the done thing to come back and update? I have some other questions to pose to mumsnet but I think I'm a little scared now! smile

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Tue 04-Dec-12 16:09:53

How about not move out from the home he and his children lived in, just because his now ex disappeared for 2 weeks? Seriously, you can think of nothing else he could have done when she disappeared for 2 weeks? You don't think he should have continued life with as much normality,familiarity and stability as it's possible to give your children when one parent disappears?

OP you really do have some weird ideas about parenting, and thats pretty something considering you paint yourself as some stepfordwife/mother earth type. You and your 'D'P seem so very focussed on just how awful a mother this woman is, no doubt you 'dine out' on the drama this all creates, wringing hands at every perceived sign of her shortcomings as justification for your 'D'Ps awful behaviour himself. It's pretty sickening to read tbh.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 04-Dec-12 16:47:43

Hello

We know this can be an emotive topic, but please be careful to stay within the Talk Guidelines and not launch personal attacks (including implying that posters are lying about their posting identity - which we have no reason to think this OP is).

Thanks
MNHQ

NotaDisneyMum Tue 04-Dec-12 16:58:56

Nope - confused again!

snow if you can see this, can you clarify?
Had your DP already left/moved out the FMH when his ex went on holiday?
Otherwise, how could he move the DCs to where he was living? In which case, wouldn't they have been familiar with it?

I appreciate that you don't think it is relevant but it makes a great deal of difference to the advice people give. Some of us can relate to the experience if your DPs ex and it can only help if your DP has an understanding of where she is coming from.

Daddelion Tue 04-Dec-12 17:26:14

So posters are saying:

If it's a 50-50 split, the parent who gets the child benefit pays for everything and the other parent shouldn't contribute to anything. As they're paying for their own living costs?

They shouldnt contribute to school uniform, school trips, hobbies etc. ?

Doesn't that mean if a NRP pays full CSA they should not contribute anymore but just pay their percentag, as that's fair, that is a view I've rarely heard on MN.

MsCellophane Tue 04-Dec-12 17:36:15

It doesn't matter how the split happened, it happened.

If this was reversed, there would a completely different set of replies

mum and dad do 50/50, mum gets CB and CM which the dad doesn't pay for 6 months. mum pays for all extras for the children, dad pays to keep and home and feed the children on his weeks - would there really be these questions????

Of course there wouldn't

Some mums don't want the day to day with their children, it happens. They should also pay their way when the Dad is the main carer

I know of one mum who walked out on the children aged 11 &14, she left for another man, She has never paid CM and has little interest in them, seeing them sporadically. Some women do this and when they do, we should show the same support for the family left behind regardless, this is a nasty thread

NotaDisneyMum Tue 04-Dec-12 17:54:54

Actually if the situation was reversed, the DCs mum would be encouraged to apply for residency as their Dad had proved to be unreliable in terms of drop offs/pick ups etc AND he uant paying CM.

Let the court decide (based on all the facts from both parties) what will be best for the DCs.

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 18:07:31

Mscellophane my opinion would be the same. What is the point of the 'resident' parent receiving child benefit if the cost of extras is be shared equally?

So in the case of the OP's DP. He is receiving say £135pm in child benefit. I would have thought this would cover clothing costs etc adequately. If he insists in claiming cm, he gets say an extra £311 pm. Really, all these extras require that much money?

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 18:31:11

Dadelion (and others) Actually the CB would pretty much cover the extras that we (DP) pay for the children, which are in addition to the normal; rent, bills, food etc. Hence why he is emailing his EX tonight and asking her agreement to no longer pay the CB into trust funds and to use it instead of her paying maintenance. The problem up til now is that they both wanted it to go into trust funds, she agreed to pay half of all "extra" costs for the children and then decided not to, leaving DP not sure what to do but pay for it all.

Disney... Bloody confusing isn't it. She told him she wanted to separate, she told him she needed to "clear her head" and didn't want to be with him anymore (short version I think this happened over a space of a few days rather than just one conversation). They agreed that he would move out. She packed some suitcases, lots of stuff but not all of her stuff, and left one night. After a week he hadn't heard from her at all. He packed up his stuff and went to stay at his mothers house (children familiar with this house and he needed some help with childcare as such short notice). Nobody knew where the hell she had gone, if she'd gone for good or if she'd be back. DP took staff for the kids to stay with him at his mums but left most of the stuff at he rented family home. Then she came back and announced she'd been in Spain for 2 weeks. She told him to come and get the rest of his things and to take the kids stuff to his mums. So he did, hence how they came to live with him.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 04-Dec-12 18:57:06

snow your DP seems very inconsistent with his decision making - do you find this challenging?

On the one hand he has been reluctant to renege on the agreement made with his ex while they were still a couple regarding saving the CB, but on the other hand, he decisively moved himself and his DCs out of the family home within days of his then (presumably D) W telling him that she wanted to separate and doing a flit to Spain!
Most men wouldn't have needed to move in with their Mum to provide childcare in that situation; they'd be so shell shocked that they'd be given compassionate leave from work and want to keep the DCs as close as possible.
Whatever he may have told you, I would be prepared to place a lot if money on there being more to that particular story - and unless you were involved, you wouldn't know, would you?

Snow, I don't agree with posters being nasty which seems to have happened further up. I don't know or care if you are another poster, and as MNHQ seem to have verified your not - I care even less.

What I do care about though is women being decieved by manipulative men who play the 'I'm the best daddy ever' top trump card to enable them to carry on controlling the woman/women in their lives.

In the long run it is nothing but damaging to the dc. I know this from personal experience and in the end the losers are the children who will eventually come to realise that their father is an arse.

Your posts are screaming such a scenario to me I'm afraid. From all you have said it seems that you are right where he wants you fighting his constantly-shifting battles with his ex over care of his dc's.

You haven't answered about exactly how long it was before you were together with him which also makes me think that it was too soon and you know it

All the drama around the awful way she literally allegedly left her children yet he can't/won't go to court to protect his own 100% devotion to his dc's?

All very shifty. I think you are not being given the whole truth.

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