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Do I need to apply for a Residence Order?

(12 Posts)
honeyandmarmitesandwiches Fri 11-Mar-16 14:29:41

My partner and I have decided to separate. It's still very recent (we talked about it properly this week) but not unexpected and so far, amicable. I hope that we have the basis for being pretty good co-parents and friends in time.
It's hard to know what happens next though. Money is an issue and, as my parents live close by, STBXP is suggesting that I should move in with them and have DS with me some nights, while he stays in our flat and has DS the rest of the time. This would then mean he wouldn't have to rent a place himself separately and would make it easier for us to repay some debt we've got ourselves into (not huge debt but enough to be quite stressful for him). His other argument is that he is more domestic than me and does more of the bedtimes anyway, which is true but at the same time, I have a very close relationship with my son and out of the two of us he relies on me a lot more emotionally. He is only three and I'm worried that if I go to my parents and my partner stays put then a) it would be more emotionally upsetting from DS's pov and b) essentially my partner will become the resident parent and I could end up with only having visitation rights? Does the fact that DP is so hands on mean he could be seen as the main carer?

I can't force my partner to move out (flat is in both our names) and I do see where he's coming from but I would be much happier with him lodging somewhere nearby, coming over to spend time with DS several nights a week (he would also have him every Wednesday during the day and every other weekend, he works alternate weekends so that makes sense), and if he wishes I could stay a couple of nights with my parents so he can stay over with DS at the flat.

Does that sound like a sensible arrangement, and am I being paranoid about the potential to lose custody here?

Heatherjayne1972 Fri 11-Mar-16 16:19:30

Dont leave your child. He needs you. You are his security and stability.
Better that you stay in the flat with your son and your ex moves out - so what if your not domestic
Have you seen a solicitor about where you stand legally.? Maybe speak to the CAB about benefits and housing rights.

honeyandmarmitesandwiches Sat 12-Mar-16 08:38:39

I haven't seen a solicitor yet, I think I'll have to do that.
I'm worried about my partner fighting me on this, I really don't want things to get nasty but although he's a good person he tends to come at things from a very rigid perspective and he's convinced me moving is the right thing to do, he seems to be pretty angry that i don't agree (apparently my suggestion is 'bonkers').
Because he does such a lot for DS (and he is a very good, committed father) I'm worried that he could apply for custody instead of me? He potty trained him while I was at work, does the majority of bedtimes and takes him to his childcare (I collect). On the other hand until September I was at home with DS so was definitely his main carer up until then.
Whatever my partner feels, I know me staying is the best thing for DS emotionally and I'm suggesting a LOT of contact for my partner, close to a 50/50 split really. I just want to know I'm on pretty solid ground with this iykwim? I'm feeling a bit threatened because I know he's getting a lot of validation for his views from a particular friend he's very close to.

honeyandmarmitesandwiches Sat 12-Mar-16 17:23:51

Can anybody give me some advice?

TeaBelle Sat 12-Mar-16 17:30:57

Residence orders no longer exist. They have been replaced by Child Arrangement Orders. They set out where the child is to live and have contact.
Firstly you should be aware that The Children Act has a no order principle attached so the Court will only grant an Order if deemed necessary, not as a matter of course.
Both parents have equal rights , as a mother you don't automatically get trump card, and neither does your ex. Courts are leaning much more towards shared care where practicable.

Fourormore Sat 12-Mar-16 18:08:56

I was in a similar situation to you almost ten years ago. We managed to set up a shared care arrangement, 50/50. We have never needed any sort of court order. We tried a few variations but the most successful has been one of us having Sun, Mon, Tue night, the other having Wed, Thur, Fri night and alternating Sat night. So set weekdays and then one weekend I have them from 9am on Saturday and the other exH returns them to me at 6pm on Sunday.

I would recommend neither of you moving out until you've agreed on a pattern of contact. I would also recommend avoiding court wherever possible. Mediation would be your first step if you can't agree. The worst thing for children in this sort of situation is conflict so it's important to keep that to a minimum. You both sound like good parents so acknowledge that and make sure he gets enough time with both of you.

CalicoBlue Sat 12-Mar-16 18:27:36

As others have said, you do not need to do a residency order, these only apply if there is an issue.You can agree between yourselves with both keeping your parental responsibility.

Things to think about:

Can you afford for your both to pay rent. If you stay in the flat and he rents somewhere else, who is going to pay what.

If you go to your parents will your DS have his own room there, can he stay 50/50 between the two homes. Are your parents happy with this option?

You staying in the flat and staying at your parents when your ex wants to see your DS will not work long term. There will be a time soon where you will not want your ex coming into your home. What about when either of you get new partners.

Don't think that leaving the flat is leaving your child, it is not. As long as you have a stable loving environment for you both, you can do 50/50 share and take half his stuff with you.

When I split with my exh, he refused to leave the house that I owned and wanted me to leave the kids. I did move out and took the kids with me. Then he had contact for eow and 1 day during the week. That continued even after I sold the house.

honeyandmarmitesandwiches Sat 12-Mar-16 19:47:03

I know that long term me leaving the flat whenever my ex wants to see DS may not work but there are some reasons I want to do it that way, firstly my ex (or soon to be ex) is the sort of person it could work with and I don't think I would feel any need or desire to 'pull up the drawbridge'; I simply no longer have 'couple' feelings for him but he's still part of my family if that makes sense? I don't think he could afford anywhere that would be suitable as a second home for DS, he's always just lodged in people's houses before we got together and I imagine he'd be comfortable with that lifestyle.
I'm fine with going to my parents on a weekly basis and they're happy with that too. Any new partners would have to be ok with our arrangement at least for the time being; when DS is a bit older and or/ if any future relationships became more serious then we would look at the whole thing again. I think it's known as birdnesting isn't it, when the parents are the ones who split their time between different places instead of the kids? It's something I would do for the sake of DS particularly while he's this young.
My suggested arrangements are: Monday and Friday ex spends a few hours at the flat and does bedtime etc while I either go out or just keep a low profile.
Wednesday he always has DS so he'd come to the flat in the morning and spend all day there then stay overnight while I stay with my parents.
Every other weekend (ie when he's not working) he can either take DS out all day, be at the flat with me coming and going, stay over/not stay over, or visit his parents.
Does that sound reasonable? To my mind it's close to 50/50 and the least disruption for DS, also means he wouldn't go more than 24 hours without seeing us except every other weekend.

Fourormore Sat 12-Mar-16 20:15:14

Does your ex want to do the birdnesting? It's a big commitment and what happens if one of you decides it doesn't work? If the flat is both of yours, how would you feel if 6-12 months after meeting a new partner, she stays overnight in your flat?

honeyandmarmitesandwiches Sat 12-Mar-16 20:30:57

I guess I'll have to see if he's willing. I agree it's a big commitment but if it doesn't work then moving to a different set-up should be ok, easier than the other way round.
As far as other partners goes, I'm not that much of a possessive person and if it was done properly (after time for any future partner to meet and get to know DS) then fair enough. In practice I doubt it would happen much if at all as there would be other nights available. And if they're moving in together (let's say) then that would be the time to make some changes I suppose?

honeyandmarmitesandwiches Sat 12-Mar-16 20:33:14

Btw we rent

Thisismyfirsttime Sat 12-Mar-16 21:17:52

I'm wondering if you left and stayed with your parents full time with DS 50% of the time how long this would continue for? Would you live with your parents forever? If not you'd need to rent/ buy somewhere eventually anyway so would you be in a better position?
Also wondering about 50/50 staying in your place with DS, what would happen if stbx became unreasonable once he'd got what he wanted in terms of staying put and whilst you were at your parents' one day decided that actually he didn't want you to come back? I think things could break down quite quickly (especially as you say he becomes angry if you don't see his solution as the best one here). You know your circumstances best OP but I'd be very cautious in your shoes.

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