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Contact arrangements between separated parents?

(10 Posts)
Krazylady Mon 13-Jun-16 12:38:19

My sister broke up with her long term partner last year after he was (repeatedly) unfaithful and he now lives with his new girlfriend. My sister and him have a 5yr old child together who lives with my sister.

My sister has had to give up her job as she doesn't have family support nearby (I live abroad) Her job involved a changing monthly schedule and working away for 3/4days at a time. It's not really transferable skills so she is looking to retrain in September.

Her ex-partner currently has contact with the child on alternate weekends (fri evening to sun evening) and one evening every week for a couple of hours.

He pays monthly maintenance to her which contributes to rent&bills; clothing; food and swimming lessons etc.

The problem has arisen around school holidays. The ex-partner does not believe he has a responsibility to childcare during the school holidays, apart from the arrangement already in place. He has agreed to 'maybe a long weekend' and possibly his parents would take the child for one day. Isn't this his responsibility to arrange for 50%childcare in the holidays? My sister would like to start work again but this will be difficult without his support during holidays.

Can anyone advise what the usual arrangement for contact would be particularly through holidays? He has suggested that any childcare costs should be bourne by her out of the money he gives her but this doesn't seem reasonable or fair?

Any advice appreciated or signposting to helpful websites.
Many thanks

FTFOAFOSM Mon 13-Jun-16 12:55:39

Unfortunately, I think that child maintenance is all that is owed financially. If the child care falls within his contact time, then he is responsible for paying for that I believe, but for years my ex wouldn't even pay that. Hopefully someone else will come along with more knowledge, and prove me wrong!

millymollymoomoo Mon 13-Jun-16 13:20:03

'Usual' access would include up to half of holidays - but that is for parents who want that access! Unfortunately if he wont agree to it and doesn't want it he wont be forced to have her - maybe not fair but that's the reality and I think she needs to prepare for that.
Financially, he is only liable to CMS (CSA) arrangements which are % of his salary. Again he wont be forced to pay extra to cover holidays as its based purely on % of salary and number of nights he has his child. Sorry that is not what she wants to hear.
She will need to build up a good network of mums/parents/family etc who may be able to help with holiday cover and of course take her own annual leave to cover this.
Of course, she can ask him to assist both financially and in time but he wont be forced to. It sucks

Andrewsgirl Mon 13-Jun-16 14:15:47

I've had the same issues and sadly any childcare in school holidays that I need, outside normal contact time with their Dad, falls to me. I calculated that if I went back to work full time that wrap around childcare during school time and holiday care would be more than my EXH pays in maintenance. It seems grossly unfair why I should have to burden the cost of childcare, but that's the system and I guess there's also lots of dads out there who are battling for more access to their children because the system still favours mum's in terms of residency etc.

MeMySonAndl Mon 13-Jun-16 14:19:49

Agree, if he doesn't want to have the child around the holidays there is absolutely nothing that she can do. It is unfair both on your sister and mainly on the child but, there is nothing that can be done about it.

JessicaRabbit3 Mon 13-Jun-16 14:23:45

When I worked my ex also worked so it was on my to arrange childcare normally at my DPs but previously my DS was in full time nursery which I paid for by myself. Ex would only have one full week on the holidays I've now managed to get him to have another full week. Only took 8 years

Krazylady Mon 13-Jun-16 15:11:00

Wow seems so unfair!

The ex-partner has booked to go on holiday for 2weeks abroad with new girlfriend, obv without his child, this summer. My sister can't afford to go on holiday and now has to fill 6 weeks of school holiday on a low budget!

This seems so wrong that he is able to get on with his "new life" while my sister is unable to get on with hers because she is looking after their child! She loves her LO and hardly thinks of it as a burden but she does shoulder all the responsibility! She has no family even in the same country and there is only so much that you can ask of friends!

The ex-partner wants everything on his terms. This is not so much about money, but sharing responsibility. Could she withhold all contact until the father agrees to mutually convenient terms?

This is not the road she would choose to go down but unless she gets more support, I don't know how she can reasonably carry on.

Thanks for all your replies x

WavingNotDrowning Mon 13-Jun-16 15:30:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

millymollymoomoo Mon 13-Jun-16 16:40:04

If she withholds contact it is likely she will end up in court and she will end up in all sorts of problems, assuming he pursues it so even though this might seem like a good idea it is not. Also remember, that contact is supposed to be for the benefit of the child not the parent and how would her child feel if she was no longer able to see her dad (despite the fact he sounds like a complete arse!)

Agree it is unfair

MeMySonAndl Thu 16-Jun-16 08:07:03

I wouldn't advise to withhold contact for two reasons:

1) if he is interested to fight for contact, the courts will not take it kindly that she stopped contact and make her pay for it even in detriment of the interests of the child.

2) if he is already detaching himself from his child (and I'm afraid that is already the case given what you say), he will stop seeing his child.

Having said that, I didn't withhold contact when I should and the exh didn't need much of excuse to stop seeing DS but, although I resent having to provide 100% of the care and such financial responsibility when he is so well off, DS is happy nowadays and no longer the messed up, abused and confused child he was when irresponsible dad was in the picture and for that I'm grateful.

She will be ok if she organises herself well, not having relatives in the country is not a problem when you have good friends (and keep in touch with your family by social media). I have been raising DS on my own in such conditions for 6 years and it has been not exactly easy but we have had a great life.

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