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Separated parents- who is the contract with?

(34 Posts)
oldsoaksally Fri 25-Oct-13 18:10:23

Please could someone tell me, when in the case of two parents who have split, who is the one that the childminder 'refers to', so to speak.
There is a very long story, but the short of it is, that I employed my lovely cm 3,5yrs ago to look after my dd before and after school. I signed the contract, and I pay her. My ex did go to see cm after I hired her to meet her etc but it was me who sorted it all out. The problem I now have is that ex's wife has fallen out with my cm over a pick up/drop off issue and screamed that the cm was employed by all of us and is answerable to all of us. She has also now reported my cm to ofsted. My CM is devestated and I fear she will let me go because she cannot handle the conflict of our situation. I do not involve her in anything btw- she just doesn't want to be treated this way.

I feel so trapped by my situation. Ex's wife also gave my very first cm a hard time. Her dislike of me knows no boundaries and I don't know what to do. Does my cm have any rights here? Is she answerable to my ex even through I pay her?


longjane Fri 25-Oct-13 19:04:59

Cm works for you . Don't let SM or birth dad near.

oldsoaksally Fri 25-Oct-13 19:20:39

Her dad is very involved in her life, there is a court order for shared residency, (although I am primary carer in the sense that she is with me more). He is a good dad in most ways but ruled by his wife and I'm sorry to say but she is a very very mercenary woman. He does everything she says and so tensions between us are high. There are a million other things she does that are crazy but this is the latest. We are considering legal action against sm, or at least to send a letter to sm to say she cannot go near cm. Cm wants her kept away now but I am worried that my ex will say I cannot dictate who collects dd. I'm also worried about the possibility of them withdrawing dd from my cm for the day that dd is with them. They only have one mid week and every other weekend, so don't use a lot of childcare if you like, but do need my cm on their every-other-Friday pickup and the Monday morning respectively.

HSMMaCM Fri 25-Oct-13 19:26:26

Your ex and you both have parental responsibility, so you both have a say. Not sure whether SM comes under parental responsibility as well.

I used to look after a child whose mother asked me not to let his father anywhere near him. There were no court orders or anything, so I couldn't stop him, but I would still have kept the child with me and called his mum quick smart.

Twinklestarstwinklestars Fri 25-Oct-13 19:27:58

You don't employ her, she's self employed and you use her service.

If the contract is with you she deals with you dad cannot give notice etc as it's not his contract to end, if he chooses not to take your dd that day then you/he should let the cm know but if you don't need that day anymore you should give notice not him.

If you say only you and dad can collect that's what goes, dad can't change that either as permission would have to come from you. You couldn't stop him collecting if he has parental responsibility.

The complaint now will trigger an inspection for the mx which I'm sure she won't want many of if its due to a malicious report, I've had 2 malicious complaints and it really puts you me off the job as people could accuse me of allsorts.

oldsoaksally Fri 25-Oct-13 19:28:59

Thanks. I don't intend to try and stop her dad being near the cm. He is her dad and theres no issue there- other than the fact that he lets his wife treat everyone around him like crap.
What I need to find out is whether I have any legal right to keep sm away and whether the cm herself can insist on this. I would also need to know if ex arrange his own care for the morning he needs a cm. This would be awful for my dd:-/

oldsoaksally Fri 25-Oct-13 19:37:04

I am gutted that this could cause the end of my dd's relationship with her cm. The woman is a saint and I actually love her like another mother.

The worst part of all this is that it's my dd's sm who is doing it:-/

I could cry.

Nomdeclavier Fri 25-Oct-13 19:41:01

He could arrange his own care but you'd still have to pay your CM for the space.

Your CM can refuse to hand over your DD to your ex's wife unless you've specifically authorised it.

In this case it dies sound like the contract is with you, but the shared residency etc complicates things.

I hope your CM cones through the inspection okay. OFSTED can be utter bastards but depending on what the complaint is they can be reasonable too.

MsPickle Fri 25-Oct-13 19:44:16

I like the point about the contract being with you. As it is, I think your cm could say that she doesn't want sm doing drop off eta but she's happy with her dad doing it. Speak to your ex in a very calm, rational way. The arrangement works, you want him to be involved but your cm doesn't want to deal with people that scream at her/make malicious complaints. Also, as it's the sm that's put the complaint in she surely needs to keep her distance through any investigation. I don't know how it works, but can you contact ofsted to tell them how happy you are with your cm and that you're her primary carer? You don't need to say that the wife is just being a spiteful cow, that'll be implied by you being positive about the cm I reckon!

oldsoaksally Fri 25-Oct-13 19:51:02

That's good advice. Thank you.

I have a horrible feeling that right now, cm is making plans to let my dd go.

There was an incident at the childminders months ago, and dd revealed something to her that involved her dad. (Can't go into too much detail, nothing serious though) Cm told me straight away.
Ex and sm said mx had a duty to tell ex and that she broke confidentiality by not doing so. Sm is also furious because she believes that cm 'sides' with me, as it were, throughout our conflict. This is rubbish obviously- my cm is very professional but she can see that ex and his wife 'hound me' and she thinks I have a lot to deal with.
Are these grounds for complaint?

HSMMaCM Fri 25-Oct-13 19:52:58

I agree MsPickle. It would be lovely if you could send a glowing reference to Ofsted about your CM (and give your CM a copy)

oldsoaksally Fri 25-Oct-13 20:02:38

Do you think when I send the reference I should mention the history or what I think lead to the complaint?
Btw- I know i could garner at least 5 other amazing references from past and present clients. She is loved.

minderjinx Sat 26-Oct-13 07:31:36

Can you not talk some sense into your ex? Remind him that his wife is maliciously stirring up trouble and risking your daughter losing the care of a lady she loves to be with. If he cares about his own daughter HE should be putting the pressure on his wife to withdraw this ridiculous complaint.

oldsoaksally Sat 26-Oct-13 08:08:25

This woman claims to love my child, but I promise you that she hates me more. There is no way ex will be able to talk sense into her. He's afraid of her.

oldsoaksally Sat 26-Oct-13 18:48:05

Does anyone know if my ex can go ahead and allow sm to collect my child give that he had shared parenting?
Also- I know from experience that my ex will now 'turn' on cm- he does exactly what his wife tells him and I've had years of grief to prove it. Legally, can I keep him away as well?xx

HSMMaCM Sat 26-Oct-13 20:42:43

I'm afraid your CM may well say she can't have your child the day they are involved. They are threatening her whole business and she could lose all her income, quite apart from any legal investigation (child protection) which may ensue.

NothingMoreScaryThanAHairy Sat 26-Oct-13 21:04:55

I think your CM would be sensible to refuse to have your dd on the day they are collecting.

Tell your exh HE needs to find and alternative care provider for that day. (if you have shared care it IS his problem. Then your dd will not lose out completely on her positive relationship with her cm.

I would also write a letter of support for the cm touching on the difficulities between yourself the ex and his wife and how the cm has become a pawn.

oldsoaksally Sun 27-Oct-13 01:10:22

ok, thats actually a good idea. I have some concerns though, please will you help me with them?
Firstly and most importantly is my child doesn't suffer with this idea. For example, ex needing to find a new cm for his time could distress her. To be honest though, ex only has an every other weekend and one night in week arrangement, so he wouldn't need to cover a lot of care. Do you think ex will be able to find another childcarer for this time, and do you think it will upset my child?

Secondly for me is that ex will not want to pay for separate care. Suddenly though this situation has hit me and makes me realise that ex has been benefitting from a care service that I PAY FOR and more importantly that him and SM are using it as a chance to attack me through my CM. How have I allowed this to happen?//// Almost now its like the last post has made me realise that using another child carer is the way to solve the problem! ( thank you to the last posters!)

So now I'm thinking how can this work?. I don't want to lose my CM any money so I will continue to pay her the full week, but tell her that her service is not required on xyz days? is that right?
Also, what shall i tell ex? The thing is.....even though he uses the CM on some of his days with dd, sometimes he doesn't - so the problem is that out of a whole month he may only use 3-4 sessions but I pay for it. I realise now that this has been a foolish mistake because both him and sm boss my cm around, demand development reports from her, email her all the time, etc etc and generally give a hard time to her. This feels liberating to me but also scary because i dont want to break any rules and I dont want to upset my child.

BTW I know if i make ex use another childcarer he will cut my childs maintence (is is only 25 per week as it is) but i think i dont care now anyway.

thanks for advice all of you!

redcaryellowcar Sun 27-Oct-13 07:29:49

My initial response is that shred residency shoukd mean you and exh are responsibke for pick ups etc, cant see (as others have said) why step mother needs to be involved at all, if exh isnt available, then can you collect and do a hand over later?
I think on separate note, sounds like sm is prety vile, and i am not sure, especially if i could see my exh was not standing up to her that i would trust my dd is safe and happy in her presence, i had a sm growing up who was fine most of the time, but at others i really disliked her, my dmum was fantastic at making sure i kept a relationship going with my ddad, but think had she known how unhappy my dsis and i were she would have rathered us spend less time there, i cant remember exact details on how it all happened, but i remember my sm shouting at my usualy quite rational mother, which led to my ddad and dmum changing our hand over from mynddads house to a half way meeting point.

HSMMaCM Sun 27-Oct-13 16:58:14

I would get some professional advice on your maintenance payments and Childcare payments, as it looks like you are missing out.

oldsoaksally Sun 27-Oct-13 17:04:32

My cm has just said she will not provide a service for my child on ex's dayssad
Ex is now furious and said he will withdraw our child completely. Can he do this? On my days? Please someone answer me, I am so upset sad

TheDoctrineOfAnyFucker Sun 27-Oct-13 17:11:27

I don't believe he can.

You have arranged child care on your days. You have a contract for that childcare. Just as if he had his mum looking after DD on his days, you couldn't object, even if your exMIL always put her in front of the TV or in some other way made you uncomfortable but still provided a safe environment.

Pachacuti Sun 27-Oct-13 17:13:20

No, he can't (AFAIK, but I am not a lawyer). He doesn't have a contract with the cm. At least, he could try taking out a Prohibited Steps Order to stop your using that childminder, but the chances that he'd get anywhere with that are infinitesimal.

DumSpiroSpero Sun 27-Oct-13 17:14:06

I can't see how he can, but I'd suggest you try and get some fast legal advice so you know you are on solid ground and he can't you.

He and his W sound like a right pair of twats - the more back up you have the better.

DumSpiroSpero Sun 27-Oct-13 17:14:43

sorry...can't bully you.

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