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What's fair for contact arrangements?!

(67 Posts)
hungryhippo90 Wed 04-Jan-17 11:05:33

Been through the wringer a bit lately, whilst trying to find somewhere new to live and breakdown of relationship.

I'm rebuilding my life, I've recently found somewhere new to live, with my low income I'd need Housing benefit- no one accepts Housing benefit, so ex has been helpful enough to say that he will sign the rental agreement with me and pay half the rent instead of maintenance towards DD. (More than he would be expected to pay, but I think it's partly guilt that I ended up without anywhere to live because he fucked up so badly when we were together)

Which I think is very fair of him. It's £500 a month he will be paying.

he is living with his parents, and hopefully getting a grip of his financial situation- he really needs to. If he can sort out the things he needs to, and accepts to be more financially responsible, and go to relationship counselling with me, we may be able to avoid getting divorced. (I've given him 3 months from signing the separation agreement I've written up to deal with creditors+ OR of his bankruptcy which he's in the second year of now! Plus paying all his (meagre) living expenses + maintenance to deal with, and keep up with the payments on)
Must also point out, he's not hard up. His income has dropped, but is still £2800 take home per month.

Now I've set the scene, I'll get to my question,

For contact I'm going to propose that he can see DD for two evenings per week, which he can choose.
1 of which, I would like him to ensure she gets to see his parents. She is close to MIL, and without me specifying this he may not ensure they have a continuing relationship.

2nd night he can do as he chooses, but if he wants to, he can come to the house and cook for himself and DD, I will either go to my room or go out. I don't want to get in the way, but I'm also aware that he wouldn't be able to make meals at his mums because she's the one who cooks in their house and would feel a bit upset if they were eating but not with his parents if that makes sense.

At the weekends, pretty much the same drill. One day plus the night. He can stay if he wishes. I would like 24 hours notice if he plans on staying here so I can go and stay at my dads or something.

I don't want to cause the friction that will happen if he tries to parent differently under his parents roof. Their relationship is already strained. The debts, the gambling, and now he's home because his marriage has broken down, have all made them disappointed in him.

I've also offered to almost share my car with him, he drives a 20 year old, damp and smelly Honda, I worry about the safety of it and don't want my daughter travelling in it. So when he has contact, he is also able to use my car.

Am I being reasonable? I feel like I'm being really controlling. I hope not, because I'm just trying to make things easiest for him, and best for DD.

AIBU?!

Manumission Wed 04-Jan-17 11:10:42

Won't a joint tenancy agreement cause you problems with tax credits? And possibly LL?

hungryhippo90 Wed 04-Jan-17 11:14:09

Manumission- I don't know. I hope not! I've not particularly got any other choice. Tax credits will be aware of it, as I'm undergoing a check of the claim before I get any money from them. It'll be listed in our separation agreement under maintenance.

I only earn about £600 a month, and without someone to sign the agreement with me, no one will rent to me, and as I was facing homelessness, hoping they'll appreciate that.

AverageJosephine Wed 04-Jan-17 11:15:52

Gosh, I think you are leaving yourself vulnerable to a whole host of problems, like what if you have a disagreement and he doesnt pay the £500? I promise you, there will be fights and resentment about everything from money to how to parent your child and even the most even minded person can do awful things like not pay the money they once promised. In response to your OP, I think you are being both too controlling and too helpful if that is possible at the same time! Are you planning to get back together with him?

Presuming your daughter is safe with him and he has somewhere safe to stay, albeit his parents home, I think you should discuss what contact he would like, what you would like and then work from there. Of course the contact shouldn't cause you problems (beyond missing your daughter when she is with him) and should be regular (to avoid both disruption to you and more importantly so your DD has some routine). But going forward you will need to respect his decisions as a parent and he will need to respect yours. They wont always match.

Manumission Wed 04-Jan-17 11:16:34

How old is your DD?

A few points - contact under PWC's roof is a minefield and screws with the moving on process.

That pattern sounds a bit finicky and complicated.

If you don't have a car during contact won't that limit you?

The DGD being there for the whole family to interact with will probably sweeten things considerably in that household. At least you know she's not in a grotty bedsit for contact too.

Unless DD is very young, I'd be inclined to simplify the whole thing, drop the "contact at your house" idea and back off considerably.

allowlsthinkalot Wed 04-Jan-17 11:16:59

It shouldn't do manu. When couples separate they can still claim benefits separately if they are living under the same roof (but not as a couple).

Ilovecaindingle Wed 04-Jan-17 11:17:11

This will likely go tits up when someone meets someone else....

Manumission Wed 04-Jan-17 11:19:14

Manumission- I don't know. I hope not! I've not particularly got any other choice. Tax credits will be aware of it, as I'm undergoing a check of the claim before I get any money from them. It'll be listed in our separation agreement under maintenance.

Sorry but that is a whole pile of snakes. They're a nightmare for disbelieving separating women anyway. Signing a new joint tenancy is like signing away your tax credits.

Also it means that you're not getting CM, in effect, (which you would have been able to keep on top of TCs and HB).

You'd have done better to move together then separate and claim HB.

selsigfach Wed 04-Jan-17 11:21:32

Don't have sleepovers. My husband's separated parents did this at Christmas, the kids thought 'wow, daddy's come home, he does love us after all' and then he'd leave again. This still gets my husband 30 years on.

Manumission Wed 04-Jan-17 11:21:35

It shouldn't do manu. When couples separate they can still claim benefits separately if they are living under the same roof (but not as a couple

I know but that's not signing new joint tenancy agreements on new homes.

HMRC have a special unit working overtime ATM to frustrate the legitimate claims of single women. Giving them ammunition is not a good idea.

Manumission Wed 04-Jan-17 11:34:34

You okay OP?

Have you considered giving it another go with him for a trial period of say 3 months?

hungryhippo90 Wed 04-Jan-17 11:40:18

I knew I would get so many different points of view, that would point out so many things I haven't even thought of.

I know there's a likelihood that he won't pay. With tax credits I'll just about be able to scrape through with the bills, and my rent. It'll be hard!

I had no one else I could really ask to consign with me. No one who had a vested interest in me or my daughter having somewhere to live, who had the money to help if I got in trouble.
My dads on out of work benefits, MIL and FIL don't have the funds. He was the only one.
All the bills are in my name, as is council tax.

I just felt like it might have made things somewhat easier if he had access to the house for contact. Despite the fact that it is and would be a pain in the backside for me, because I have anxiety in regards to going out. Same with the car. I just thought it was all helpful in facilitating contact and a settled kind of routine for DD, after the upheaval of the past few months.

She's 9 by the way.

And yes, if he meets someone, could you imagine him trying to explain the whole thing to a new girlfriend? It would go one of two ways, gf and him would end up staying here with DD or gf would try to get in the way of him seeing DD. Not a good long term plan.

Thanks ladies.

harderandharder2breathe Wed 04-Jan-17 11:40:19

I don't think you can force him to spend his contact time with his parents as well

It contradicts you then saying he should have contact at yours instead of his parents where he's living.

I think you'd be better leaving it up to him what he does and where he has contact. You could offer to have it at yours if you're happy with that, but he may prefer to have it at his parents house where he's living.

Manumission Wed 04-Jan-17 11:43:51

And yes, if he meets someone, could you imagine him trying to explain the whole thing to a new girlfriend? It would go one of two ways, gf and him would end up staying here with DD or gf would try to get in the way of him seeing DD. Not a good long term plan.

Never mind him, what about you?! smile

But, of course, securing housing is your first concern and it's hard.

Don't just accept that you have to forego HB, TCs etc and make your roof reliant on him to HAVE a roof, though.

hungryhippo90 Wed 04-Jan-17 11:45:15

ive given him time to get himself together, and if he doesn't I'm applying for divorce. He's put me through so much. I just couldn't let the stuff happen as it was anymore. I do think we will end up divorcing, but I've still got a small bit of hope that he will sign this separation agreement. See I mean business and sort himself out.

hungryhippo90 Wed 04-Jan-17 11:48:13

He can have contact wherever he wants. Honestly I've no issues with him choosing. I'd like him to agree that he will take her to see his parents, but if he chooses not to, that's his call.

I'd also not specifically want him in my home, but I was going to make it available if he wanted that.

I don't know what's best. That's why I asked.

Petalbird Wed 04-Jan-17 11:50:37

I think it would be easier if he chooses what he does with his kid when it's his contact time especially if this becomes perminate. You also need to agree on what will happen during half terms and holiday especially the summer and Christmas before they occur

Manumission Wed 04-Jan-17 11:51:17

Why don't you offer his parents one evening a week of contact of their "own" so to speak and offer him one evening a week and EOW?

That way you know she'll see her DGPs once a week whatever happens and he gets a decent chunk of time with her on "his" weekends but never goes more than a week without seeing her (and you get EOW to do things that are just for you)?

PigletWasPoohsFriend Wed 04-Jan-17 11:54:13

Won't a joint tenancy agreement cause you problems with tax credits? And possibly LL?

Could it get him into bother with his bankruptcy order also.

VimFuego101 Wed 04-Jan-17 12:00:02

I think your plans for finances are going to cause big problems TBH. Firstly if you have him listed as a joint tenant it will make any single person claim very difficult as they will question whether you're secretly living together. He could also decide just to move in with you. If he's bankrupt, he is unlikely to pass the rental checks anyway. The official receiver is unlikely to let him agree to pay over the odds for maintenance or spousal support, their job is to ensure his creditors get a fair deal. I would plan for the minimum amount of child support and ensure you can get a rental on your own - plan for the worst case scenario.

Eevee77 Wed 04-Jan-17 12:05:48

That all sounds really messy. Him paying your rent is a stupid idea, sorry. You're need to figure someththat by else out. Also having his time with your LO at your house might be okay short term but it really isn't ideal, especially overnight. And you can't dictate how he spends time with his DD re grandparent visits etc. I think your arrangements will end in disaster tbh and it could trash any chance at being amicable co parents.

harshbuttrue1980 Wed 04-Jan-17 12:12:15

You think he needs to sort out his financial problems, but on the other hand you need him to pay your rent?? I'm wondering what his side of the story would be about who is worse with money.

hungryhippo90 Wed 04-Jan-17 12:47:15

Excuse me harsh but true, but you have no idea what I've been through with or because of him.
I need help paying my rent because I'm a disabled person, my illness restricts what jobs I can do = a low income, which doesn't signify being bad with money. It signifies lack of money.

He got me evicted from my home because he was so shit with money. I've been left in an absolute shit state by him.
I had to get him to leave because he would squander his money, which was the bulk of our income, then borrow money off me. Even after I'd spent all my PIP on his car. The car that he convinced me he would pay for if I got it in my name because the finance was lower that way.

Why shouldn't he have to pick up some of the pieces of the absolute state I'm in? Why not?
Why is it fair that I've got 20k of debt accrued by bills that he never paid when he was the sole earner in our house? Why should I be left without somewhere to live when he could easily sign a contract to say that he will pay some of the rent to my landlord instead of directly to me? Why shouldn't he be partly responsible for where our daughter lives?

Seems to me, as the only person who knows what it's like to deal with his bailiffs, his creditors, sit in a freezing cold house with no electric, whilst he's taking the whole site out for breakfast that I'm the one who's been severely shafted by this situation.

And I need help out of it.

Stripyhoglets Wed 04-Jan-17 12:59:27

You would both be liable for all the rent so him signing you pay half if pointless legally. Go to the council they should help you find a LL who accepts HB tenants. And then claim CM separately. Your plan is too messy and as others have said risks you losing benefits.

allofthestress Wed 04-Jan-17 13:16:26

Go to the council - you will either get a list of landlords and agents who will take housing benefit or they can assess you as being homeless and put you on the waiting list for a council house (different areas do this differently - some give you priority points and let you choose which houses to bid on, here they put you in temporary housing and you're on a list - when you reach the top you get the next house but you can't refuse it)

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