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Access and travel arrangements

(85 Posts)
DuchessMinnie Wed 06-Sep-17 12:30:49

Does anyone know where I stand with this? I have been divorced for several years. The contact order was agreed with exH having the children 10 nights a month. This worked well for a couple of years then last year he moved in with his girlfriend who lives 70 miles away, 1.5 hours each way on the M25 on a good day, without Friday night delays in the dartford tunnel. He reduced his contact time to every other Friday and Saturday nights, total of 4 nights a month.

He has been less and less willing to have the children and a 50% share of the summer holidays turned into 3 nights for him and 6 weeks for me. We both work full time.

I've just had a message from him that he thinks it would be fairer if I helped with the travel so I should do one of the pick-ups or drop-offs each month. I really, really can't do this. I am breaking point with juggling school, work etc already and my 4 child-free nights are precious in that I can work late without rushing home and I can meet friends, go swimming and take time for me that I never get usually. If I spend 3 hours on the m25 delivering the children to him that's basically my whole evening gone. I'd rather take my children out bowling for 3 hours and miss out on child-free time than sit on the m25!

He is a bit of a bully and his girlfriend has also made it clear that she hates him doing the travel. Does anyone know where I stand with this? Can he insist that I drop the children off? What happens if I refuse?

OP’s posts: |
MrsBertBibby Wed 06-Sep-17 19:36:49

If you can't agree he can take it to court. Some judges might expect you to do some travel, some won't.

It's a bit of a coin toss I'm afraid.

Friday night is the pits for Dartford. I look at the queue and shudder every week going home from work.

RandomMess Wed 06-Sep-17 19:46:49

I would just reply "sorry I'm not able to"

Has maintenance been adjusted over the years to reflect the massive reduction in overnights he has?

DuchessMinnie Wed 06-Sep-17 21:46:29

Mrs BB that is what I'm worried about- I don't seem to have enough hours in the day as it is with a FT demanding job, homework, school stuff, managing the house etc and if a judge was to order me to come home from work early on his contact days and tackle the M25 something would have to give- I feel I'm at breaking point now sometimes.

Random he pays his calculated CMS rates directly to me and it actually reduced when he moved because his girlfriend has children, even though his contact days went down.

OP’s posts: |
RandomMess Wed 06-Sep-17 21:51:30

Let him take you to court to implement it, you can self rep and you won't end up worse off than you would if agreeing to do it?

How old are the DC now?

user1493413286 Wed 06-Sep-17 21:54:41

It would depend on the judge but actually seeing as he was the one that moved it's fair that she he should have to do the travelling as he should have considered that when he moved.
Also he can't technically decrease CM because he's living with partners children; it only counts for any further children he might have but that could be a bargaining tool if he does say he'll take things back to court as then you can request correct payment.

DuchessMinnie Wed 06-Sep-17 22:12:28

Oh that's interesting user149... I thought it was any children living with him.

Random that is very true. I have replied and said no i can't do that and will absolutely refuse to do it unless forced to by the courts. He is very entitled and has said the children are not his problem, they're mine on similar occasions in the past so he won't take this well.

OP’s posts: |
DuchessMinnie Wed 06-Sep-17 22:14:20

Sort, children are 10.5 and 8. We split when they were 6 and 4. They took it very badly when he reduced contact from 10 days a month to 4 but they cope with it ok now.

OP’s posts: |
DuchessMinnie Wed 06-Sep-17 22:15:06

Sorry not sort obvs- too vain to get my eyes tested...

OP’s posts: |
MrsBertBibby Thu 07-Sep-17 06:54:49

User is wrong, any children in paying parent's household reduce maintenance.

Myhomeismycastle Thu 07-Sep-17 12:31:19

CM gets reduced with any other children living in the house, so her children will be counted as 'dependents' which would reduce CM your ex pays.

I would call his bluff for now & say no I'm not doing that. He decided to move. You work full time & have the DC's all month minus 4 nights.

Is there anyway you could meet halfway? So you miss the worse of traffic & it reduces your travelling time? Not that I necessarily agree you should & he may not agree to it, but it will put you in a good light should he decides to take you to court?.

DuchessMinnie Thu 07-Sep-17 18:40:09

He'd be up for meeting halfway but I commute from Sussex to SW or central London, depending on meetings so it would mean potentially dealing with getting home in Friday evening traffic or trains then getting in the car and setting off again. I can and do work from home but I can't always plan this due to meetings and essential travel to places like our Manchester office which I try to plan for my child-free days. .

Obviously if a court rules that I should do it then I suppose a bit of inconvenience for me doesn't come into it. Thank you all for responding/ I've gone back to him with a simple Sorry, i can't do that. Let's see what happens now- he's picking the DC up tomorrow from my nanny so I won't see him till Sunday x

OP’s posts: |
RandomMess Thu 07-Sep-17 19:10:54

Good for you!!!

donners312 Thu 07-Sep-17 20:05:59

I was court ordered to drive 6 hours once a month to drop my DC at their Dads. I did have a thread about it.

I haven't done it once, he is threatening to take me back to court but tbh i would rather do the jail time if it came to it.

I am not stopping him seeing the DC but he will have to come here (there are a lot of factors like i work, I can't afford the time or train fare, i can't get back if i get there, and the DC also don't want to go) so i can't see what the court will do? Plus i am past caring!!!

Brakebackcyclebot Thu 07-Sep-17 20:09:43

"he can't technically decrease CM because he's living with partners children; it only counts for any further children he might have" - as PP have said, this is wrong.

You are dealing with a bully. I would simply reply as you have, with a no.

Good luck

RandomMess Thu 07-Sep-17 20:31:53


I was wondering how it was going sad

DuchessMinnie Fri 08-Sep-17 08:33:11

Donners312 6 hours! That is awful. How old are your DCs if you don't mind me asking? My biggest problem will be that if I am ordered to do it my DC still adore their dad so I'll probably have to suck it up for their sake.

Just hoping that he can't be bothered to take it to court- he is in lots of debt so hopefully won't want to spend the money.

OP’s posts: |
donners312 Fri 08-Sep-17 12:45:35

My children are 11 and 13. TBH they don't even want to see him so that helps but even if they did i would say well he has to come here.

Mine don't want to be away from their activities and even their friends.

My Ex threatening to take it back to court so not sure what will happen then but I can't afford the travel in terms of time or money so not sure what the court can say to that - i can't magic £300 out of fresh air once a month for hotels and train fairs etc

DuchessMinnie Fri 08-Sep-17 14:00:03

Good luck with that- I completely understand, it's a horrible position to be in.

At the moment mine still prefer time with their dad to parties and activities but I suspect this will change as they get older.

Good luck!

OP’s posts: |
kittybiscuits Sun 10-Sep-17 08:32:32

Have you told CMS his contact has reduced to 55 nights per year?

DuchessMinnie Mon 11-Sep-17 12:42:53

Kitty I don't use the CMS. He pays in the 52-103 nights a year bracket. He's done 37 nights so far this year so will probably stay in this bracket.

OP’s posts: |
danTDM Mon 11-Sep-17 12:55:36

Nothing to add, just to say this is shocking OP. I would just say no.
What a bloody cheek, amazing, move in with someone else, miles away, and demand you deliver the children to him, thus ruining ANY free time you had. sad

I would let him take you to court (bet he doesn't) and I bet you would win tbh.

kittybiscuits Mon 11-Sep-17 16:26:42

Keep counting carefully then.

DuchessMinnie Fri 15-Sep-17 13:41:27

Update: I received an email from him yesterday demanding that I start doing the following once a month- on the Sunday when he has them I need to leave my house st 17.00 to get to his around 18.20 to collect the children. This is so he can have a full day with them instead of having to
Leave his house at 16.00. Then it's a 2 hours journey for me and the children over the dartford crossing to get home. He doesn't want to fight with me, he thinks this is a reasonable request and I should have no trouble agreeing to it.

I'm sure the email was sent for someone else's benefit- solicitor maybe? He goes on about how flexible he's been in the past and if I'd wanted him to do anything I should have just asked. Which is an outright lie- he has never been flexible in the slightest and has made a fuss when I've needed him to drop them an hour later because I've gone out for the day.

He also says in his email that he's asked me previously and I'd agreed to it- again not true.

Anyway, I have said no and please don't ask me again, and he's replied saying he can't have the children next weekend in that case. I feel proud for standing up to his bullying tactics but gutted for my children who'll go a month without seeing their dad, who they still adore as they don't know any of this.

OP’s posts: |
danTDM Fri 15-Sep-17 13:55:05

OP I'm so sorry. You sound like a fantastic strong mother,
Stick to your guns. Unfortunately your ex is a twat.

The DC's will realise soon enough. But it's hard not to just tell them I find! flowers

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