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Maintenance and access questions, I probably ABU. Long sorry.

(22 Posts)
Ideaswelcome Sun 21-Jun-09 12:15:59

Would like to know if AIBU but also would like some ideas if possible on what to do, any suggestions would be gratefully received. There are 2 main issues, 1 is money and 2 is his general crapness. Our DD is 4. Its long sorry, trying to ensure I dont do an AIBU by stealth!

My ExH used to pay maintenance. He was made redundant 4 months ago and has not paid for a month (his redundancy money has run out). The money he pays is a fair amount £330 a month, court agreed maintenance. I work but we also rely on this money to help pay the bills, food clothing for her etc and mainly childcare so I can work. I do know that some fathers pay nothing and I personally feel they should be shot. I do not feel 'lucky' that he has been paying, I see it as his responsibility to pay half towards HIS DD.

Since being made redundant he has gone on holiday with his (now Ex) girlfriend and her 3 yr old daughter to Butlins. Bought an iphone, new clothes etc etc.

He has always been rubbish with money, he got us into a lot of debt while we were married which for various reasons I am still paying off.

He is pretty crap in most areas actually, doesn't phone DD when says he will, changes agreed visitation dates because of mates parties / wants to go out drinking etc, doesn't really understand DD and is quite shouty with her when he does have her (or sticks her in front of DVDs).

His car is often untaxed and mot'd and quite frequently uninsured. When this has happened and I have found out I have refused to let him take DD in the car. His car seat for her is the age below what it should be and I have told him several times to buy a new one but he hasn't.

He was supposed to visit DD two weekends ago but said he couldnt afford the petrol so didnt come. The next weekend he went away for a stag weekend. I feel he has got his priorities mixed up totally.

I have been asking for the last month about the maintenance. He wont talk about it, till he finally said last week that he couldnt 'magic money out of thin air' and I would have to 'deal with it'. There was no suggestion as to what he could do to help or when he might be able to find work or anything. I feel this is unfair as I cant say to my childcare provider (when I cant afford to pay them) 'deal with it'.

His work is quite specialised but I cant see why he cant have found agency work, any work in the last 4 months just so he could pay some maintenance for his daughter. Is this unreasonable of me?

He wanted to come up this weekend because his dad apparently said he'd lend him the petrol money. I said Id rather he gave me that money towards the maintenance money he owes me so that I can pay her CM. He said no. I said no he couldnt come up then (childish I know but I couldnt bear the thought of him coming up buying her stupid presents taking her to expensive theme parks and then dropping her back off when I'm struggling to pay the CM and for groceries!). He has now said hes taking me to court over access.

I know maintenance and access arent linked but how do I take this forward in a way thats best for everyone? Is it really ok for him to not pay a penny, spend the money he does have on stag weekends and let his dd down over phone calls / visits?

I know I'll get flamed but Id really appreciate words of wisdom from people who have been there on how I handle this and how I deal with the situation to make it as good as possible for our DD.

flatcapandpearls Sun 21-Jun-09 12:23:00

I don't think you should link maintenance and access. Of course in most cases the Father should pay money but children also need to see their father's and it is father's day.

moomaa Sun 21-Jun-09 12:25:56

It seriously sucks but I think you have to be the better person and allow access (and continue as you have been nagging about money, car etc).

Ideaswelcome Sun 21-Jun-09 12:26:46

I know Flatcap but seriously he is a pretty shit father. Hes not interested in her in the slightest normally.

Ideaswelcome Sun 21-Jun-09 12:29:41

Moomaa - I thought, and I know I'll get flamed for this, that it was the 'only card' I held. Ie, I can't make him get a job, sort the car, etc etc but if I witheld access then he'd have to sad

I know it shouldnt be a 'card' and I know I need to put my DD first but how on earth can you do that when your ExH is not contributing at all to your child? Im starting to get really bitter.

Also something I forgot before, he owes me £500 (nothing to do with maintenance) and has done since December. I'm now thinking of taking him to small claims court.

RealityIsMyOnlyDelusion Sun 21-Jun-09 12:29:59

Message withdrawn

flatcapandpearls Sun 21-Jun-09 12:30:22

I don't doubt he is a shit father but when you choose to have children with someone you have to work together to be the best parents you can.

I am assuming your dd wants to see her father.

flatcapandpearls Sun 21-Jun-09 12:34:30

"Anyway, my advice would be forget him, learn to do without his money and let him drift off. It will be better for your DD to have an absent father than having a fuckwitted occasional father flitting in and out." RealityIsMyOnlyDelusion

I think there is something in this, I sensed that my ex was still controlling me though money a few years ago and said to him I dont want to stop you being involved in pour dd life but I don't want your money and I am not going to chase you. But if you want to be in dd life we need to work togther and it needs to be pleasant. It would be hard to think of a more unpleasant divorce than ours. Roll on a few years and we all work together very well for dd and there are never any conversations about money which is often at the heart of lots of fall outs between separated parents.

racmac Sun 21-Jun-09 12:36:47

What does your dd want? Does she want to see her father? If so then i think you should do everything possible to allow her to see him.

As far as Court goes - yes he would get access even if not paying maintenance. I understand your frustration that he is ok to go on stag do's etc and i completely understand BUT the Court will take the attitude he has been made redundant and therefore how can he pay you anything.

I suggest you contact the benefits and make sure that as he is now not paying anything that you are getting exactly what you are entitled to.

HAve you tried mediation? Try to work things out between you for the sake of your dd - at the end of the day he may be in your life for the next 10 years - its better to try and get things sorted now

Ideaswelcome Sun 21-Jun-09 12:38:07

Hi Reality

Yeah that was me. It got better for a bit but he only kept it up (the visiting when supposed to, phoning when supposed to etc) for about 3 weeks then back to normal. Thanks for sharing your story its helpful.

DD doesn't seem particularly bothered either way. Shes used to seeing him for the day perhaps once every month / month and a half. She looks upon my DP as her father (has been since she was about 1ish).

Thing is hes taking me to court so I suppose they will decide he can see her? Will they ensure the car / car seat is safe?

I did choose to have a child with him, unfortunately he was fairly normal up to that point, it was after she was born that he said 'i'm not ready for a wife and child' shock ooops. Nice.

Lovesdogsandcats Sun 21-Jun-09 12:39:16

Ignore the money, because you have far more on your side to back up how he does not put dd first seat, not tax/insurance etc.
I know the money is linked in your mind to how much he cares,and to a degree the courts do look at this as it is one of their criteria for attachment of father to child..they look at maintenance, degree of contact and support of the child etc.

I would not let him take her in his car again anywhere, unless he can prove its legal.
And let him take you to court. What have you got to be worried about, being the one who puts dd first?

In fact, I would communicate that to him - 'I hope you do take this to court, because finally we can let the professionals see how unreasonable a father you are, and maybe the courts can at last, get you to behave like a real caring father SHOULD!'

flatcapandpearls Sun 21-Jun-09 12:41:50

I totally sympathise, I had a child with a man who was a complete twat and it is hard. He also said that he was not ready for dd when she came along and kicked us onto the streets. It has only been in the last year maybe 2 that we have all got along well. My dp is also more of a father to dd than her father.

Maybe just say to him I want this to work but I am not going to chase you anymore you make the choices and leave the door open.

flatcapandpearls Sun 21-Jun-09 12:43:08

Why is he taking you to court?

Ideaswelcome Sun 21-Jun-09 12:49:51

Because I said he couldnt come up and see DD this weekend (I wanted him to use the money he'd spend on crap towards the outstanding maintenance instead, he said no). We've had access issues before, I told him to stop contacting because:

he often said he would and didnt, leaving DD totally confused
he let her down on boxing day
he then picked her up the day after boxing day saying he'd had his car fixed (it allegedly 'broke down' boxing day), unfortunately I found out later that he'd never had it fixed at all (until 3 weeks later) and was therefore driving her around in an unsafe car
makes fun of her accent. We're from the West Midlands, hes from down south and he always says (to her!) that hes going to pay for elocution lessons and that she doesnt 'speak properly'
picked her up in a car with no insurance / tax / mot
DD had said she didnt want to see him anymore (I think on one visit he'd shouted at her and upset her), shes since said she does want to see him now
when he did pick her up from my house he would often shout and swear at me even though DD was in next room, and my DP had to ask him to leave

Amongst other things.

Ideaswelcome Sun 21-Jun-09 12:52:02

Lovesdogs - thats a good point. I actually think he likes threatening me with court, he does it all the time. He even said to me that the courts would consider what I'm doing (stopping access) as 'child abuse'.

Is that true?? Its really freaked me out.

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 21-Jun-09 13:02:29

Message withdrawn

Ideaswelcome Sun 21-Jun-09 13:05:24

Thank you SGM, that's sort of what I got last time, all about the fact I was lucky he paid anything.

I think I will suggest the mediation thing. I think courts prefer you to do that before court anyway.

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 21-Jun-09 13:10:30

Message withdrawn

Lovesdogsandcats Sun 21-Jun-09 13:26:12

Absolutely no way is it child abuse, what a load of rubbish.
I have been through the courts, and there is nothing you have done that they would be remotely interested in. Certainly, the reason you have said no contact is because of his unreliability and unreasonable behaviour.

In your shoes I would be welcoming court process, as it may make him change his ways.
I cannot though, understand his unreasonable thought process - its ok for him to let dd down, not turn up, give her no money yet spend it on stag weekend, think its ok to drive her in an uninsured car with dangerous car seat YET say you are not putting dd first!!!

The courts will see him as in the wrong, not you.

Ivykaty44 Sun 21-Jun-09 13:26:20

It is none of your buisness whether your ex travells first class to timbuck too, talks all night and day on the phone and has the latest gagets. It is also none of his buisness if you go on holiday abroad or with a man or with friends - you are no longer together and can lead your own lives.

He is rubbish with money - best off that he is not with you and spening yours aswell. His problem cos in life he will go nowhere - but its his life.

Get a note down of regular contact every other saturday and sunday then stick to it, explain that if he doesn't tune up then you are not chaging times he wil have to wait till the next arranged contact and you will have dd for the weekend and have a great time with her. If he phones and cancells - fine jsut say ok me and dd will have a great ime and leave it. If he doesn't phone don't say anything leave it dont say a word to either dd or him

Tell him you will call the police if his car is illegal or the car seat is not correct and could cause injury.

It is up to him where he puts your dd - you put her first he puts her where ever he wants - tis his sad loss. Make sure your dd and yourself have a good relationship and let him worry about his relationship with your dd.

When he gets a job - ask for maintenecne or go via csa - if you must. Dont put contact and money together however unfari you think it is not to.
If he doesn't want to work there is nothing you can do about it.

Stick to regular contact suggest in writting regular contact ideas - then if he wants to spend money he doesn't have on taking you to court for access he will be laughed at when you have suggested acccess.

He can spend money he doesn't have how he likes - when he gets a job go to the csa or back to court.

It is really really hard to seperate the two - it is unfair but you have to do this and stop worrying about how and what he is doing.

Get contacxt suggestions in to him and ask for him to stick to them.

Ivykaty44 Sun 21-Jun-09 13:28:14

From my own point of view - he is a twat and yanbu *but8 have to and need to act to save your own sanity and not let his actions rile you all the time.

Lovesdogsandcats Sun 21-Jun-09 13:37:07

Agree with ivykaty. This is a very logical way of looking at it, and will give you the least amount of stress.

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