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about ex's demand

(60 Posts)
bibliomania Mon 11-Dec-17 10:45:59

DD was with him for contact at the weekend and he has got her all excited about this overnight event in January in a city that's 2 hours from where we all live. He's in that city for something different on the Friday, so instead of coming back here on Saturday morning for the usual handover, he's told her that I can take her by train to that other city on Friday night so he'll then take her to the event.

This, he informs me by email, will be at my own expense as he can't afford to pay the train fare (over £80). It comes from a man who, under duress, is paying me £30 per month child maintenance when the CMS calculation is that he should be paying £350 per month (I'm following up separately with them. He works short contracts so by the time they catch up with his earnings, he's finished his contract and back on benefits, so it ends up being a backlog of payments that I never get).

What's really getting to me is that DD(10) is feeling torn between us - she really wants to go and I'm the bad guy for being too mean to pay, and she totally believes his line that it's unfair for him to pay child maintenance because he'd have her more often but I'm cruelly refusing. (Contact was reduced by court on the basis of concerns about him acting in an emotionally abusive way to her).

I'm unreasonable to be indignant about this because it's who he is and he won't change now. I need to rant here so I can appear unperturbed in my communications to him.

Oh, the event is free, by the way. It's not like he's forking out a huge amount for DD's benefit and the train fare would be a fair contribution from me.

Tinselistacky Mon 11-Dec-17 10:48:29

Ask dd what clubs /activities she is willing to forfeit for you to contribute £40 and tell ex he needs to pay the rest.
Non negotiable.
At 10 your dd should have some value of money and should understand how he is being unreasonable.

clippityclock Mon 11-Dec-17 10:51:04

I’d explain if he wants to take her then he needs to come and get her. She’s 10 so should be able to understand it’s not up to you to make his contact happen.

bibliomania Mon 11-Dec-17 10:55:16

Not a bad idea. Dd does have £50 of birthday money she could put forward for it. Ex has refused to pay anything though. He says he just won't do the contact and I need to agree a different date.

Dd is good about money - she's not the type to ask for expensive gadgets or outings at all. At a certain level she does get it, but ex is very manipulative and she feels guilty and sorry for him.

bibliomania Mon 11-Dec-17 10:57:02

clip, true, he could come here.

The thing to understand is that he doesn't necessarily want a solution: he wants a situation where DD sees me as the bad guy. That's much more satisfying to him than time with DD.

Eltonjohnssyrup Mon 11-Dec-17 11:01:05

£50 of birthday money is a good idea. Don't make her give up an activity though, it's not her fault her Dad is a dick.

Tinselistacky Mon 11-Dec-17 11:04:21

Help dd make an expensive itinerary!! He won't be expecting her to go would be my guess!!

deepestdarkestperu Mon 11-Dec-17 11:04:51

Ask dd what clubs /activities she is willing to forfeit for you to contribute £40 and tell ex he needs to pay the rest.

No, don't do that. It's not DD's fault her dad is a dick - don't put her in the middle of this.

I would say to DD that neither of you can't afford it this time. She's 10, I don't think you need to give her more information than that.

Homemadearmy Mon 11-Dec-17 11:08:14

I don't think it's fair to use her birthday money either. Plus is a 4 hour round trip for yo. Do the train times match up? Is it a event she will enjoy

bibliomania Mon 11-Dec-17 11:15:10

Re the birthday money, I forgot to add that he didn't give her any present, didn't acknowledge the day, didn't as much as say happy birthday. So making her spend her birthday money (from my relations) to save him from spending anything does gall.

The trip would be a pain for me - at best I'd be getting home at 2am.

bibliomania Mon 11-Dec-17 11:16:21

Help dd make an expensive itinerary!!

There isn't the faintest possibility that he would pay attention to anything she wants to do. The itinerary will be entirely decided by him.

Killerfiller Mon 11-Dec-17 11:17:45

isnt this whole thing just another incident of him emotionally manipulating her.

Oh I will take you here and there. Oh wait your mom won't pay for it I'm good she's bad.

I would just email him back saying unfortunately due to the cost of the train along with the fact it's your event and your time. I cannot afford to take dd.

You need to keep to boundaries . He is manipulating you both, again.

Cantuccit Mon 11-Dec-17 11:19:27

YANBU at all, OP. Does dd know he only pays you £30 per month?

bibliomania Mon 11-Dec-17 11:20:59

Yes, Killer, you're absolutely right. I'm really just looking to rant rather than for practical solutions, although normally I'm all about the practical solutions so I have to rein that part of me in.

He wants to be lord and master and click his fingers so the female minions rush around and find ways to make it work. I'm not going to play, but I'm finding it hard to explain to DD why she shouldn't play too, without coming across as badmouthing her father and making her feel torn loyalties.

imokit Mon 11-Dec-17 11:24:53

Don't put your kid in the middle, that brings you down to his level.
If you can't/don't want to afford it, tell her that you and her dad can't afford it and didn't realise until now.
Do NOT make her pay for doing something fun with her dad. Parents are supposed to be unconditional, if you make her pay for it, it would be seen as you putting conditions on her dad (regardless of the fact it is him putting you in that position, the discussion would be coming from you). Making her choose between her dad or money/material things/hobbies is completely inappropriate.

She's 10, she can learn about money in the context of sweet and toys and clothes. She doesn't and shouldn't learn about it in the context of maintaining a relationship with her parents or her parents fighting over it.

You don't have to take her if you don't want. But don't put her in an awful position of making choices a child shouldn't be making.

Pannacott Mon 11-Dec-17 11:25:23

Well it's the truth, so I'm not sure it's badmouthing.

Don't protect him, it is important for her to see him as he is - otherwise she might make a habit of feeling protective and like she owes something to manipulative narcissistic men.

bibliomania Mon 11-Dec-17 11:27:46

Can, I'm not sure how much to talk about finances. I don't want her to feel we're wrangling over how much she costs.

I opened a letter from the CMS while she was beside me which said he'd been in work for several months and payments should now go up from £30 to £350 and involuntarily said "Oh good", so she wanted an explanation. She thinks she can't possibly cost that much. I tried to say that I don't resent a penny of what I need to cover her costs, but if we do the sums....I'm not sure I quite got it right.

I hate her being dragged into it, but he'll misrepresent the situation to her if he can. He hasn't started paying the £350, so it will be up to CMS to see if they can get anything out of him. He'll definitely dispute the amount and I've a feeling I'll stop getting any payments. He'll prolong it till his contract is finished if he can, and once on benefits, you can't deduct more than a set amount as the person can't be left destitute.

Lemonnaise Mon 11-Dec-17 11:28:42

YANBU. I don't think it's fair to use her birthday money though. Tell DD you'd love for her to go to the event but her dad has to pay her train fare, put it all on him.

RatherBeRiding Mon 11-Dec-17 11:29:26

At 10 I tend to think she is old enough to understand certain facts - her dad only pays £30 a month. You can't afford the train fare. These are unarguable facts. She may feel bad you can't afford the train. She may feel bad that her dad barely contributes but you're not telling her anything that isn't true.

There's a distinction between telling the unadorned truth and badmouthing him. The truth paints him in a bad light - but it's a bad light of his own making.

It's a hard lesson for a young child to learn, but sometimes being honest and allowing children to process the truth is better than trying to "protect" them so that (as in this instance) one party can manipulate the situation to make it look as though the other party is being mean.

bibliomania Mon 11-Dec-17 11:31:19

imokit and Panna, the thing is that I agree with both of you!

I feel like I've played into his hands by making it about money, when it's about him demanding that we suit his convenience, and any inconvenience to dd or me counts for nothing.

CruCru Mon 11-Dec-17 11:31:35

I agree with Killerfiller. Getting home at 2am is ridiculous - it will wipe you out for the next day. Be really matter of fact in your email.

FluffyWuffy100 Mon 11-Dec-17 11:34:54

Oh gosh don't use her birthday money. She shouldn't have to be paying to see her Dad.

I do think that at 10 she could be told calmly and factually that her dad only pays [x] in maintenance. Ex is refusing to pay for her train fare to facilitate contact that weekend. You can not afford the train fare. Can we find another weekend when her dad can pick her up?

Fanciedachange17 Mon 11-Dec-17 11:35:54

His contact with DD is his expense. Mine used to demand presents for parties that happened in "his" time. He also wanted me to pay him for "babysitting" if I needed to work.

Be truthful with DD. If there is a Court order restricting contact because of his behaviour then she is old enough to be aware on some level. Don't make her use her birthday money. that's not fair. Explain you cannot afford it, not that her Dad is a dick. Perhaps have an alternative fun thing to do that weekend? Sleepover with her friends? If he doesn't want contact unless you pay to take her to a different city. He sounds an arse.

FluffyWuffy100 Mon 11-Dec-17 11:35:54

You need to keep to boundaries . He is manipulating you both, again.

This is very true.

bibliomania Mon 11-Dec-17 11:38:15

Thanks all. Okay, that's reinforced my position that I'm not taking her. I need to think carefully about how I explain it to her.

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