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exH dropping hours /days at work in a bid to get 50/50

(48 Posts)
throwingpebbles Tue 24-Nov-15 16:01:28

We have two young DC. I have always worked part time, been main carer. ExH on other hand worked away a lot and for long stretches and rarely had a day off

He is now seeking 50/50 and drastically reducing his hours in the run up to the hearing. Can he do this? It feels like a race to the bottom to me if the court allow him to do that?

(We both earn very similar amounts)

throwingpebbles Tue 24-Nov-15 16:01:48

(Nb I left because he was emotionally abusive and he still continues to be, including in front of the kids when he collects them!)

Bellemere Tue 24-Nov-15 16:38:27

He can do it. Doesn't mean he will be given 50/50 which depends on a whole host of things.

throwingpebbles Tue 24-Nov-15 16:47:44

It just feels like a race to the bottom, I mean ultimately I am already working part time and always was, but what if I had done more hours, would I have to frantically drop those too? It's going to end up with a situation where everyone is advised to drop their hours?
Sorry, not making much sense, just seems like the grown up thing would be to maintain a career that enables him to provide for the kids as they get older.

My new DP would love to see more of his kids but knows he needs to keep his career going so he can pay their maintenance and house them when they stay with him.

nooka Tue 24-Nov-15 16:48:28

My dh and I did a 50:50 split and we both flexed our hours to be available to our children as much as possible during our time. I'd see that as advantageous to our children really, no point in them being in childcare if they could be with a parent instead.

I think that the abusiveness is the key here. You'd need a lawyer to tell you whether or not your dh has a chance at 50:50. I get the impression that it's a bit of an unusual arrangement though so it's probably unlikely, but he may well get more than the traditional EOW plus a weekday evening. That doesn't necessarily mean you lose out on time with them though if he has your children when you are working for example.

throwingpebbles Tue 24-Nov-15 16:49:24

(Ex currently has EOW plus one night in the week. He is trying every trick going to wriggle out of maintenance and i think this is connected to his wish for 50/50)

Bellemere Tue 24-Nov-15 16:50:56

There isn't a right answer really. I can see your point of view, but can also see (giving him the benefit of the doubt) that he also wants to be there for his children which is also valuable. My exH reduced his hours when we split, it's worked out okay really.

You don't have to do anything different. You've already got the upper hand being their primary carer. How much is your H seeing the children currently? Courts tend to go with the status quo unless it's not working.

RandomMess Tue 24-Nov-15 16:52:50

Your strength is in proving that the status quo is in the best interests of the DC.

You have always been primary carer the DC are happy with the current arrangements. Do they ever express an interest to spend more time with him?

throwingpebbles Tue 24-Nov-15 16:53:18

Yeah I know what you mean. But EX job not sustainable with this as it jnvolves long stretches away. Currently if he goes away I just get nearly no notice

and yes it is really the abusivenwss that is the issue and the fact he is constantly abusive in front of them.

I am seeing a solicitor etc. just shocked by the sort of "race to the bottom" aspect that seems to make it worthwhile him hardly working at all. The kids need stability and security of a stable income too, and neither of us our wealthy nor are our families

throwingpebbles Tue 24-Nov-15 16:54:56

My daughter is a toddler but seems v happy With current arrangements

I overheard my son telljng his friend when he sees his dad and he sounded really happy with the current set up.

nooka Tue 24-Nov-15 16:55:32

Well if you both earn similar amounts and have 50:50 shared care then he'd not be paying you maintenance. In fact if his hours dropped he could in theory claim from you I guess?

I don't see that men should necessarily sacrifice time with their children in order to provide for their children. To me both parents should be responsible for both day to day caring and longer term futures.

Plus for shared care it's more about where the children are than whether you are hands on caring for them isn't it? I can see that if one partner is away they can't be said to be looking after their child, but going to work in of itself doesn't mean not taking responsibility does it?

When we had our care looked at for the purpose of determining the primary carer my solicitor didn't look at when we were working or not working, just when the children were in our households. We did have fairly similar working patterns though so perhaps very different.

Micah Tue 24-Nov-15 16:55:44

You reduced your hours to care for your children, there's absolutely no reason a man shouldn't be allowed to do the same if he wants to.

It's his behaviour which should determine if he gets less than 50:50.

Bellemere Tue 24-Nov-15 16:56:13

There isn't a right answer. You both have the right to decide on the balance of prioritising financial support with "being there". No point stressing about "what if" - this sort of thing is complicated and stressful enough without thinking about hypotheticals.

The courts tend to go with the status quo unless something isn't working. I wouldn't worry too much if I were you.

As it happens, my exH dropped hours to accommodate 50/50. It's worked out pretty well for us (very young children at separation, now 10 years on). The children have a good relationship with us both and we both have the potential to earn a reasonable amount without being reliant on maintenance from the other.

NewLife4Me Tue 24-Nov-15 16:59:00

I would definitely log his abusiveness with somebody, if you haven't already.
Maybe ss or CAB may be able to find an agency to help.
If it comes to court and you haven't done this, you may not be believed as anybody could say their x was abusive.
You need to make it official and give examples of what he was like and why you left him.

throwingpebbles Tue 24-Nov-15 17:00:01

I guess it his behaviour which worries me the most. He is always abusive at hangovers, he constantly says nasty things about me to DS and makes every attempt to stir up trouble and confrontations. despite all this I have never said a bad thing about him to DS

throwingpebbles Tue 24-Nov-15 17:02:36

There are reports to police / SSbabout past abusive behaviour and reports from my Dr about his ongoing emotional abuse as well.
If he was just abusive to me I would try and put that to one side for the kids, it is the fact he does it in front of them / says nasty stuff about me to them when they are at his which worries me
I did have a non-mol for a while but it expired and couldn't justify the cost of going back to court

kittybiscuits Tue 24-Nov-15 17:43:50

Many of the posts on this thread are not relevant to your situation OP. Hopefully you know this already. Is your dlsolicitor well briefed on the history? Do they understand that this is an extension of abusive behaviour at handovers? What stage are things at at the moment?

tribpot Tue 24-Nov-15 17:58:38

Yes, I think there are two separate questions really:
- should men (or to put it another way, not-primary carers) be prepared to reduce hours and make career sacrifices in order to spend time with their children once shared time with the other parent is not an option? Yes of course.
- is that what this man intends to do, and is it in the child's best interest? Probably not.

A good friend of mine has reduced his hours substantially and cut out all international travel (they don't do much work in the UK so essentially all travel) in order to manage a 50:50 split. They live near each other so that school will be manageable and it seems to be working well. I would expect the judge to want to know how the ex was going to manage this complete change of lifestyle - it sounds like a stunt given his history.

I think in general though you need not to see this as a 'race to the bottom' (not even sure what that is meant to mean, a competition to earn the least?) - you think he would be better off maintaining a career in order to provide for his children but you're not doing that yourself. What I would be concerned about is that he has no intention of actually working part-time, will get the agreement he wants that means he has no maintenance to pay and then dumps the kids on you at the drop of a hat when he needs to go abroad. Thus you are still prevented from building up your career in order to provide for your children. How would the court prevent that from being the outcome? (Would be the question I would have for your solicitor).

throwingpebbles Tue 24-Nov-15 20:15:40

By 'race to bottom' I mean this system seems to push both parents to drop their hours more and more. Fine if you are wealthy but not if you are on modest incomes.

I can't see how 50/50 would work where things are so acrimonious. Ex constantly finds ways to cause problems and life is constantly stressful because of this. I understand the idea of 50/50 is that costs are split 50/50 but I can't even begin to imagine how we could do this when ex refuses sometimes to even bring the kids coats/wellies (all of which I bought) back! .
And how would child care costs work? I get tax credits for childcare, but my understanding is I would lose them all if we get 50/50 but there is no way he could afford to pay half let alone would cooperate in paying half.

And worst is the fact he constantky tries to turn the kids against me

kittybiscuits Tue 24-Nov-15 21:21:54

Document everything carefully. That's obviously very poor behaviour and very unfair on the children and you. It's the challenge of being forced into a situation where it can only work with cooperation, with someone who doesn't have a cooperative bone in their body.

throwingpebbles Tue 24-Nov-15 22:14:23

I have emails showing his refusal to pay for childcare even when he decided he couldn't do "his" weekday at short notice (longer notice and i could have booked leave). each time he does that costs me £100 in nursery costs!
Hopefully some of the other emails also show how impossible he has been although he saves the worst behaviour for face to face

Newbrummie Fri 27-Nov-15 17:51:46

Honestly in these situations id be sooooo tempted to give him the kids full time and you have access. If it's so bloody easy let them have a try.

tribpot Fri 27-Nov-15 18:26:32

Ah but the ex is too canny for that. He wants 50-50 in name only, because it means he pays no maintenance. But, as we can see from his previous behaviour, what that means is he expects OP to pick up all the childcare that falls within his time but that he doesn't care to do. She would basically be an unpaid, on-call nanny - and even worse, no doubt would have to pay for other childcare if she herself was unable to do his childcare for him during his time.

throwingpebbles Fri 27-Nov-15 20:59:59

Yep! He is clearly pushing for precisely 50/50
So he doesn't have to pay any maintenance angry. He has already tried several other ways to get out of paying (all while buying the kids extravagant gifts).

And yes, presently if he decides he can't have them he expects me to pick up the tab for extra childcare

If he does get them 50/50 presumably I can ask him to pay 50% of childcare costs? If so that is more than the maintenance he pays!!

Akire Fri 27-Nov-15 21:15:05

Can you both afford to run a home and look after children on only part time work? I presume you can at moment because he pays maintence but a lot of household bills will not reduce that much without maintence. I'm pretty sure only one of you can claim child benefit or tax credits as main carer so if you both counting that in wages could be suprised

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