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Custody of kids

(16 Posts)
wannabefree Sun 19-Dec-10 19:14:37


DH and I have been separated for a few months. He wants me to buy him out of the house. Theoretically I can afford this, but I would be sailing really close to the wind every month.

He has seen a solicitor who has told him that he can either force me to sell the house (our kids are 6 and 9) or make me pay rent to him for his half of the house as long as he pays his half of the mortgage. Is this correct?

I thought as long as the kids were dependant, the spouse who left cannot force you to sell the house!

Currently we split the kids half the week each, but this is clearly not working and I hate being a part time parent. I cannot see this going on until the youngest leaves 'home'. How easy would it be for me to get custody? If he contests it, what would be the liklihood of me being successful?

Please help...I'm losing my sanity here!

Thanks X

Resolution Sun 19-Dec-10 19:23:13

A number of questions here;

1. It's all down to needs and what you can afford. If it's the or one of the main homes of the children, you shouldn't be cutting it fine with mortgage payments. Does he earn more than you? If you sold the house, could you get a house that was good enough for the children? What about what your husband can afford, give that the kids spend half their time with him?

2.Whether you get sole residence of the children depends on the facts of your case. Why don't you think it's working?

wannabefree Sun 19-Dec-10 20:31:34

1. I earn more than him, but due to the current financial climate it's not secure. Half the work I do is on contract, and at least one of the contracts is guaranteed to stop in April. Can he still force me to sell the house? If my job was secure and I could easily afford the new remortgage payments, would he be able to force me to remortgage?

2. It's not working because homework isn't getting done, I'm not seeing letters that I need to see and the kids seem unsettled. I don't know how anyone can think that 3 days here then four days there can work. I thought that kids need stability. I know people can say pull your socks up and MAKE SURE that the homework is being done and ask the school to send two sets of letters home, but its getting that done in reality.

So, what are my realistic chances? I am going to phone solicitors tomorrow to see if I can get an appointment this week, but you know what it's like...I can't sleep and I need to know my chances NOW!sad

babybarrister Sun 19-Dec-10 21:26:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cestlavielife Sun 19-Dec-10 23:26:14

realistically homework issues at 6 and 9 are not going to give you sole residence (it is residence not custody) - you would need bigger welfare issues than that... and it has only been a few months.

you may well be expected to try and resolve these minor (if it comes to court) issues in mediation.

can you go to mediation?
it is early days and if you can both sit down with proper mediator and discuss the different issues it might help.

nothing is going to happen overnight - if he tries to force you he will need to go to court - you are talking a wait of two to three months for a first hearing anyway. so you will have time to seek advice and putforward your views.

if you and he are each paying half the mortgage right now then keep it that way and dont pay im any extra until a proper financial agreement been drawn up.

seek advice and dont agree to anything until you had advice and tried mediation.

Resolution Sun 19-Dec-10 23:31:29

If your income is uncertain, don't agree anything until you've got past April. Judges hear all the time people saying either their income isn't guaranteed or their job is insecure, and generally they pay little regard to it. As they can't predict the future they have to work on the facts that exist on the day the case comes before them.

One thing that is important is the need for both parents to be housed, and if you not selling the house means he's stuck renting, you have to have a damn good argument as to why the alternative is just not viable.

As for the children, these things can work if there's better communication. Have you tried mediation? Would you try collaborative law? Check on the Resolution website for details of collaboratively trained lawyers in your area. You may find out works for you.

Truckulent Sun 19-Dec-10 23:34:19

I do shared care. One DC does 50/50 It can work. As long as you can stay amicablish.

But I've not met a single mother who is initially happy to do 50/50. Mainly because of what people will say and think about them.

STIDW Mon 20-Dec-10 00:36:38

The courts have a no order principle so residence is usually only awarded in favour of one parent when for one reason or another it is deemed inappropriate for a child to live with the other parent. These days the outcome of many residence applications is shared residence, although it may be in different proportions and not necessarily 50:50.

Generally it is thought that maintaining a child's sense of security and existing bonds is in the child's best interests. Therefore unless the school is concerned about the children's progress it will be an uphill struggle changing the established status quo.

Children are naturally going to be upset for sometime after their parents' relationship breaks down, but most children do readjust. Rather than three or four days here and there many parents find alternate weeks is a more settled arrangement for primary school aged children.

In England & Wales the financial settlement depends on specific facts - the value of solely and jointly held assets (including pensions) and liabilities, respective incomes, duration of the relationship (marriage + any cohabitation before), ages, any disabilities, the number of children, their ages and the number of overnights they spend with each parent.

Assets are split according to a checklist of factors and usually the needs of both parties is at the top of the list, or near the top. When children live 50% of the time with each parent both parents will require a property of a similar size to accommodate the children. If children live/visit parents in different proportions the parent with the majority of care may be deemed to require a more substantial property.

However, that doesn't mean that the parent with the majority of care and the children can stay in the FMH. If the property is larger than required to house the children adequately it may have to be sold, releasing equity to enable the other parent to rehouse somewhere suitable for the children to stay. There needs to be balance.

Hope that helps.

ILoveItWhenYouCallMeBoo Mon 20-Dec-10 00:43:13

"I hate being a part time parent."

so what makes you any more entitled to be a full-time parent than him? i bet he hates it aswell you know? it's about compromise and the needs of your children. not whether you like it or not.

Tootlesmummy Mon 20-Dec-10 08:46:23

I know it might seem hard and that there are practical issues which need to be resolved however, in a few months hopefully the children will settle and you will be at times be pleased for the me time.

I agree with what others have said that as there is joint responsibility then you need to speak to a solicitor to see where you stand but I would certainly try mediation. If you can sort things out amicably then that has to be best for everyone.

STIDW Mon 20-Dec-10 12:52:49

"But I've not met a single mother who is initially happy to do 50/50."

On the other hand there are a fair number of mothers out there who really are desperate for 50:50 shared care so that they may continue/develop their careers to provide for the children and themselves and some dads can't/won't share care.

I know one case where the dad was a teacher and looked after the children after school and during the holidays when the family were together but now will only see the children two hours a week. His reason is that he is not a babysitter and childcare is his wife's responsibility because she had the audacity to leave the marriage. shock

In another case a father with no history of shared care applied for sole residence. When the application failed and the wife offered 50:50 shared residence it was turned down and he refused any contact. confused

My ex worked away from home Monday to Friday so shared care 50:50 wasn't practical.

There isn't one arrangement that suits all separated families and it isn't possible to tar all mothers or all fathers with the same brush.

Truckulent Mon 20-Dec-10 13:10:08

I'm not tarring anyone with anything.

I've not met a single mother who either hasn't felt guilty about doing 50/50 or doesn't agree with 50/50 being ok. This is work colleagues, family, friends anyone.

I don't want to do 50/50 I don't want to be a part-time Dad, that is not what i want that is why I can understand why the Op doesn't want to. And there is more social stigma, in my experience, placed on women if they do shared care.

As in I'm considered a good Dad for doing 50/50 and in comparison my ex is considered by some a bad Mum as she does 50/50.

ILoveItWhenYouCallMeBoo Mon 20-Dec-10 13:59:05

i have to say truckulent, i would think teh opposite of a mum who had 50/50. i really would. i would thinkk it was great for the kids and great for teh parents that they can be sensible about things rather than see their children as property. then again, maybe i m really naive about that. i am a single parent and my EX works and lives in england so his contact is only when he visits on leave and really only at whatever time in the day he gets up and can be bothered to come in to see them at. so maybe I am seeing it as a "grass is always greener" sort of thing and teh reality is a whole different kettle of fish.

cestlavielife Mon 20-Dec-10 15:46:33

you are never a part time parent though are you? when you go to work you are still a parent.

if you doing shared care and someone says - how many kids you got?
you not going to answer "well on tuesday and thursdays i dont have any, but on alternate weekends i have 3".

it's about the day to day caring/shopping/feeding responsibilities isnt it? not about being a "part time" parent .

the dads/mums in afghanistan etc for months on end - they not doing day to day care but they still the parent right?

so it is about perception ....

my ex used to go on and on that i could not leave him because "i am never going to co-parent/i am never going to be a part time dad" bla bla bla.

it is about teh nitty gritty day to day carein/responsibilities - and yes in an ideal world i would love it if exP was up to taking those on, on up to a 50% basis, because 50/50 shared care makes sense...but he isnt. he is still their parent tho - legally, biologically....even tho he unable to "parent" them.

Truckulent Mon 20-Dec-10 17:58:17

I don't feel a part-time Dad now, I was trying to express how I felt at the start of the separation.

cestlavielife Tue 21-Dec-10 10:56:04

truckulent yes i can see that - and also see it in teh op "I hate being a part time parent.".

i found it really helpful to go to a group session for "separated and divorced" where the faciltiatir was really good about looking at these kind of statements and asking us to say why we felt that way, etc.

what is about the way you feel and what is really, praactically the way forward?

if you separated - well maybe you not going to see them every day, not going to be the 24/7 carer for them. but that doesnt need to make you less of a parent. no one stops being a parent if they send their Dc to the grandparentss for a weekend or whatever. is about perceptions.

this book has lots of good tips

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