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What defines a primary carer?

(7 Posts)
backtothedrawingboard Sun 04-Sep-11 19:51:19

Right - I've got my planning head on tonight! On the basis that I don't think H will leave the family home, I think I will have to be the one to go (can afford 6 months rent - just!). I want to make sure that my DCs can come with me (15 and 10) although happy for there to be decent level of contact, particularly for DS. Can anyone tell me what might define one parent being the main carer and therefore would it be acceptable for me to expect to be able to leave and take DCs with me?

Background info - H was a SAHD until 2007 when he started a part time job. I was full time until Feb this year. I went part time then and started doing school picking up (always did drop off in the mornings) but I have now given up work completely and intend to do some freelance to fit in better with DCs school times and holidays. For the last 3.5 years I have cooked all main meals, done weekly food shopping, managed the household and all budgets, taken responsibility for DCs health (dentist/doctors etc), taken DCs shopping for clothes, arranged haircuts etc. H still gets the child benefit in his name (which we did when he was a SAHD because of the NI being paid) but I've just made an application to change this.

I'm petrified that someone somewhere would say H is main carer because in theory as he works part time he could still pick up DS from school.

Can anyone help reassure me?

lubeybooby Sun 04-Sep-11 20:37:16

I don't know for sure but think it sounds like you'll be ok. Just bumping for you anyway

OddBoots Sun 04-Sep-11 20:44:17

I think with children of that age it is less about primary carer and more about what the children want.

Lifeissweet Sun 04-Sep-11 20:49:59

Now - I will state straight away that I have no idea legally whether what I am about to say it right, so take with a pinch of salt and ask someone who knows...

Do you think your H is going to argue with you taking the DCs with you? Have you talked about this with him yet? If he does and it ends up in a situation where someone else has to mediate an agreement between you, I doubt that what has gone before in terms of the domestic arrangements you have had in the past will have any bearing on who will end up being the Resident parent. I would assume that, at the ages of 10 and 15, that your DC will get the majority say in what happens. Have they expressed a preference? (I'm not suggesting that you ask them if they haven't - they could probably do without that pressure)

If it helps, my DS's father was adamant that he would not, under any circumstances, be the non-resident parent, so we negotiated that DS spends half of his time with me and half with his father. We split his care exactly down the middle. It does cause a few issues as the system isn't set up for dealing with this kind of arrangement and we are constantly questioned about various things (like why one of us claims his Child Benefit and the other his DLA) but people - and authorities - seem to accept the situation when it is explained.

You will find a way through, but I doubt it is something you can decide on your own without input from your DC and your h.

that probably doesn't help at all. I'm sure someone will know!

backtothedrawingboard Mon 05-Sep-11 13:09:20

I think my biggest concern is what he might be able to do if I tell him that I want to separate and take my DCs to a rented house (assuming that they want to come with me). I was planning on suggesting initial contact once every other weekend + one night during the week and then going to family mediation to try and agree proper separation terms.

The only reason I want to go to a rented house rather than try and live separately in the same house is that he has refused to leave in the past, has told me that he will fight me tooth and nail for the children and will be absolutely unbearable for me and the children because he can be emotionally manipulative, gets angry and controlling when under stress (not physically violent) and I am worried that by me insisting on a separation, this will set him off and make things intolerable for me and the DCs.

I just want to try and find out what my position is before I go ahead so that i don't jeopardise things now or in the future. Does it help to have something from a solicitor or put things down in writing youself?

cestlavielife Mon 05-Sep-11 14:45:14

well the 15 year old is old enough to decide his level of contact and could in f act see dad every day even if living with you. so discuss with him

the 10 year old prob still needs some supervision and cant go as freely - but noentheless will have a view.

the main issue here tho is your fear of what he will do when you say your separating.
if life will be intolerable then contact may have to be stopped.
what happens when he is "set off"?

main carer or not is red herring ehre - 15 year old wil ahve own views.

for ten year old it will be about safety when your h is going mad at you?

cestlavielife Mon 05-Sep-11 15:00:24

have you told h you changing the child benefit?
does he agree?
what have you told him?
whay do you want to leave? have you discussed with him?
document everything that happens.

i ahd to leave family home with dc tor ent, my exP was not working and had been SAHD 2005 to 2007 but there were lots of reasons why I ended up with full residency not least his behaviour before i left (he said it would "be like kramer versus kramer" ) and after including getting violent.

he might not be phsyicallyagressive now but see what happens when you do leave - please be careful and dont hesitate to call police

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