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To consider paying for Ex's train tickets so he can see ds?

(45 Posts)
KenLeeeeeee Wed 05-Sep-12 11:52:04

This may be long so I can avoid drip feeding...

Ex and I split up when ds was 10 months old. Since then, I have moved away from my home town and am about an hour's train journey/hour and three-quarter's drive from the ex.

Ex has never been reliable at keeping up contact with ds, neither does he pay any child support (not relevant to the contact, but forms part of the bigger picture) as he doesn't have a job and insists that he doesn't qualify for JSA because of his wife's earnings. However, he also says that he can't afford weekly phone calls to ds unless we ring him and because of the travel costs has only seen ds once this year.

A couple of months ago, ds said he wanted to spend his birthday this year with his dad (it's on a Saturday so no worry about needing time off school). He asked his dad, was told this was a great idea and they were looking forward to seeing him. When they spoke again at the weekend, however, ds brought up his birthday again and ex now says that it's possible he won't be able to afford to drive/get the train down here to see him and/or take him back home for the weekend.

This is where I'm torn. On the one hand, ds's birthday isn't 'til early December and I'm sure that must be enough time for ex to save up for train tickets, bearing in mind that if you book in advance and get trains at specific times rather than open returns, it can be as little as £10. Then again, I'm not privy to nor am I interested in his financial comings and goings; if he says he's broke, then he's broke. For ds's sake, a big part of me wants to offer to pay for ex's train tickets each way so ds can still go up to see him for his birthday weekend, but when I asked my mum for advice about this, she was adamant that it's not my place to chase round after ex and make up for his lack of effort and that we should plan a back-up birthday treat for ds in the event that his dad does let him down (which he has done repeatedly for previous visit arrangements).

I really don't know what to do!

LisaD1 Wed 05-Sep-12 11:58:49

Tricky one, I can see your mums point, it really isn't down to you to sort this out, your ex should want to sort it himself and make more of an effort.

However, if this is something your DS really wants and you could make that happen by paying for the tickets I think that would be really lovely of you and totally selfless/putting your DS first.

My concerns would be, would the ex STILL find a way to let him down? and if not would it then become expected of you to pay for contact visits?

DorisIsWaiting Wed 05-Sep-12 12:03:22

I can see why you're torn.

I would look at the cost of tickets if booked now, ask your ex when he would like and buy the tickets (don't send the cash). I don't know how your DS is but he needs to be prepared to be let down again....(agree with a fantastic back up plan)

mishymashy Wed 05-Sep-12 12:04:18

I feel your pain having been in the same position, except Ex made a promise to DD3 that he would pick her up to spend the weeks hols with him then phoned to say he didnt have the fuel money. Its an 8 hour round tripshock

DD would have been devastated so me and Dh did the 8 hour round trip to drop her off and gave him 50.00 cash to drive her home.

He has never paid any maintenance but it wasnt about our feelings, we put DD first through gritted teeth!

Fast forward to now, 7 years later, ex has thankfully met a great woman who organises him and DD adores her and has a much better relationship with him than she did. I sit back and think hopefully we have played a tiny part in that by putting up with his twattishness.

Your Ex sounds like fool but sometimes i think its better to do your best in keeping that relationship going for the long run even if you do have to part with a bit of money.

I'm sure others will disagree!!

KenLeeeeeee Wed 05-Sep-12 12:04:47

I really don't know, Lisa. Part of me does worry that once I set a precedent for paying for his visits, I'll have to do that each time. Gah, it's so complicated!

KenLeeeeeee Wed 05-Sep-12 12:10:54

Thanks, DorisIsWaiting and mishymashy. Glad to know I'm not mad for even considering covering the cost!

NameGames Wed 05-Sep-12 12:15:00

Ken if you paid would it actually make a difference? Because as you say, it could be as little as £10, so is it really the money that makes him flakey?

There is certainly an issue with setting a precedent, though since you moved away it isn't unreasonable that those costs fall on you if you can afford it and he can't. But really it doesn't sound like it's the train fare that's the cause.

Whatever you decide I think it would be sensible to have a backup plan for your DS's birthday.

anditwasallyellow Wed 05-Sep-12 12:16:52

Personally I wouldn't. He has adequate time to save fgor travel costs and it sounds to me like an excuse. It's sad when a parent lets their child down but imo it isn't for you to carry him. It may well be the case that even if you pay for the tickets he lets ds down anyway.

TheQueenOfDiamonds Wed 05-Sep-12 12:22:35

Assuming he lives with his wife, i thought CSA take household income not just his personal income into account?

KenLeeeeeee Wed 05-Sep-12 12:25:04

What do you think to me asking ds's opinion on the matter?

He's only 7 but very aware of his dad's shortcomings and talks about how he thinks ex doesn't try hard enough (his words). If it was the case that me paying the travel costs still meant that ds felt let down by his dad, then it wouldn't really resolve the problem. But then again, I don't really want ds to have to think about this sort of stuff, it seems too big for a 7 year old to have to process.

KenLeeeeeee Wed 05-Sep-12 12:26:10

TheQueenOfDiamonds - according to the letter from CSA, they only asses his income, not his wife's. They don't have any children (no idea if that makes a difference).

valiumredhead Wed 05-Sep-12 12:27:37

I would pay for the ticket, because it will benefit ds.

I would not discuss anything of this nature with him though.

McHappyPants2012 Wed 05-Sep-12 12:28:07

if i could afford it I would. DC happiness is important

NatashaBee Wed 05-Sep-12 12:31:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NicknameTaken Wed 05-Sep-12 12:43:06

If you're worried about setting a precedent, you could pay for the ticket and tell your ex he can pay you back when he is able to. For your own peace of mind, you might as well write off the money, but don't tell him that. If he does pay back, great. If he doesn't, then you have your answer ready the next time he expects you to pay.

KenLeeeeeee Wed 05-Sep-12 12:44:30

That's a good idea, NicknameTaken. I don't want to be a doormat, but that seems like a good compromise.

WilsonFrickett Wed 05-Sep-12 12:47:49

Could you take DS to XP's in any way? That way you've made the trip happen (good for DS) without pandering to XP. Although I admit you're still enabling him. What a frustrating situation OP.

You really sound like a lovely person though, your DS is lucky to have you.

KenLeeeeeee Wed 05-Sep-12 12:53:13

That's the alternative I'm looking at, WilsonFrickett. Just trying to work out if me taking ds on the train in the morning, spending the day catching up with old friends, then taking ds home in the evening might work better. Hmmm...

OptimisticPessimist Wed 05-Sep-12 12:53:45

YANBU to consider it, I understand why you are, especially given that your DS has specifically requested this visit himself.

Can you talk to your ex directly? I think I would email him ask for clarification of his plans for DS's birthday. If he says he wants to come but can't afford it, I would probably offer to buy train tickets (do not send money!) but make it clear it's a one off. If he continues to bluster and make excuses then you know it's not the money and you can let your DS down gently (keeping up the unaffordable excuse if need be) and make other arrangements.

There is a danger of setting a precedent I agree. I think next time, if there is one, you would need to hold firm and not pay.

(It's Gruffalo from Over There btw. I may be slightly biased by knowing what a dick your ex is grin)

ClippedPhoenix Wed 05-Sep-12 12:56:34

I'd pay for it OP purely for my DS too.

I split up with my DS's dad when he was a baby and yes, I did all the trips from London to Wales etc. knowing full well if it was left to my ex contact would be practically non-existent and peter out to nothing.

It was the right thing to do for my child. I'm so glad I did as now my DS is a teenager he has a, not ideal, but a good enough relationship going with his dad.

KenLeeeeeee Wed 05-Sep-12 13:03:39

Oooooh, hello OptimisticPessimist!! I did speak to him myself on Sunday & he just repeated what he'd told ds, that he can't find a job, has no money & might not be able to afford the travel costs. He is a dick, in so many ways but I'm working very hard to separate my feelings on that from dealing with ds's birthday.

Thanks, ClippedPhoenix. It'd good to hear from people who've experienced similar situations.

NCForNow Wed 05-Sep-12 13:14:05

IS he also worried about not being able to treat DS on his birthday? Could be thinking about how he will afford a gift and all that..

WilsonFrickett Wed 05-Sep-12 13:17:35

Well, if you'd get a nice day out with old friends too, then I'd be inclined to do it as a one-off.

KenLeeeeeee Wed 05-Sep-12 13:20:59

I don't think that's the case, NCForNow. DS asked if they could just have a little teaparty at ex's house with ex's family. He very sweetly said he didn't want to do anything expensive. Tbh it breaks my heart that he's thinking about money stuff so much at 7 years of age.

MrsTomHardy Wed 05-Sep-12 13:23:58

Tough one but i wouldn't pay.

If he wanted too see his son he would find the money. His wife works so there should be no problem!
I think if you did pay out for a ticket he'd find another reasen not to see him.

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