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Dad seeks advice!

(80 Posts)
Pluto69 Mon 05-Nov-12 14:20:42

First time here so HI!

Here's the story,

My partner and I have separated although still living together waiting for house sale ( not great but not terrible ) My X is refusing me fifty percent care of my daughter stating that I can have her 167 nights per year. Oddly enough this just keeps me above the CSA discount threshold and means I am a night a month above the threshold! My x will not give a reason as to why she wishes to keep me on 167 nights despite me asking multiple times.

My x also works shifts and has told me I will need to work around a five week care pattern with me having our daughter 3 out of the five weekend so that she can provide a suitable shift pattern to her employer. I have been doing this and love having my daughter. I don't believe it's overly good for our daughter ( aged two and a half) but I have been going with it to keep the peace.

I have now got to the point where I feel extremely angry that I'm not " allowed " fifty fifty care but am expected to work around her shifts in terms of my daughters care. I work 8-4 Monday to Friday and feel like I'm being abused somewhat for doing so.

I am thinking of just refusing to work around her shifts and written to her to say that I intend to change the pattern to a fairer system that doesn't just work around what she wants. I have had no response at all which is the same as my request for 5050 care.

I wanted your views and thoughts as its very hard to see into the goldfish bowl when your swimming around inside it!!

Many thanks to anyone who has read this far


PS. I am on the birth certificate and have had equal contact, care , financial input etc since my daughter was born. I have no criminal record and have no skeletons in the cupboard. I am a professional bloke who just wants what's fair.

Collaborate Mon 05-Nov-12 14:35:59

182 nights is half the year. Does 15 nights a year make that much of a difference? I wouldn't get worked up about it.

I'd also fit the arrangements around her shift work. Helping out like that is the decent thing to do, and demonstrates to your daughter that you can still work together.

What would you think if she had to give up work because you couldn't help out, and then wanted to have your daughter for most of the time because she didn't need you as a carer anymore?

If this came before a judge you'd get short shrift.

TheWizardsWife Mon 05-Nov-12 14:39:57

I think you have had a harsh response there, the extra 15 nights are important when you just want an equal part in your child's life. I have no useful advice as going through similar in terms of agreeing how time is spent, just wanted to add my support.

Probably not a good idea to be awkward, but believe me I know this is easier said than done!

BooyhooRemembering Mon 05-Nov-12 14:42:20

i think it does make a difference if the reason for refusing those extra 15 nights is so the mum can have extra money! there doesn't seem to be any reason why 50/50 care shouldn't happen.

"What would you think if she had to give up work because you couldn't help out, and then wanted to have your daughter for most of the time because she didn't need you as a carer anymore?"

erm, the DD would still be entitled to spend 50 % of her time with her dad regardless of whether her mum was working or not.

BooyhooRemembering Mon 05-Nov-12 14:43:29

the OP isn't a daycare facility. he is the child's parent.

YouSeveredHead Mon 05-Nov-12 14:45:33

I don't see what the problem with shifts is? You can do it, if you were together they'd be no problem, by not doing it you will be affecting your dd one way or another.

OneMoreChap Mon 05-Nov-12 14:46:40

3 out of 5 weekends? I'd have her arm off, mate.
What about holidays?

I'd have asked for half the holidays - I got 3 weeks a year.

It's definitely about the money, and as Collaborate says "Does 15 nights a year make that much of a difference? I wouldn't get worked up about it." I suggest you point that out to your ex.

Collaborate Mon 05-Nov-12 14:54:08

Whatever personal opinions someone might have about it, courts regularly fit contact around a father's shift pattern. A mother unwilling to do this is viewed as obstructive. Same in reverse.

To take to court for the sake of 15 days would be a monstrous waste of resources, and likely to engender distrust and promote less cooperation, not more.

BooyhooRemembering Mon 05-Nov-12 14:59:01

from what i can see, the OP hasn't mentioned taking anything to court.

i agree that he should work round her shift patterns as if he doesn't she may have to get childcare and he would then see less of his DD than if he were to co-operate.

i wonder if it was the OP refusing to give his ex the extra 15 days would you be saying his ex shouldn't get worked up about it? why on earth should she get those 15 days? there is no reason other than the money. it isn't about what is best for the child.

Pluto69 Mon 05-Nov-12 15:14:03

Wow, thanks for ALL the above. I genuinely have no wish to waste a courts time or anyone else's by taking things that far. I Just honestly feel I have a right to see my daughter 50/50 and to be denied a day a month for a few quid seems morally wrong in every way, especially when I'm then expected to work around my x's chosen work life. I am a father and have as much right to my daughters care as her mother in my view. If I told my x I wasn't going to let her have more than 45 percent care of her daughter I would be made out to be a bully??

OneMoreChap Mon 05-Nov-12 15:14:14

BooyhooRemembering the only person with an axe to grind mentioning court and judges is Collaborate.

BooyhooRemembering Mon 05-Nov-12 15:22:04

it's actually your daughter that has the rights to equal contact with both parents. as a parent you dont automatically have a right to contact but your child does. smile

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 05-Nov-12 15:29:20

I have a similar arrangement with my ExP, but we have 50:50 care.
Do you think the primary reason for with holding the 15 days is financial? If so is offering to continue the same level of financial support whilst having the 15 days would help the negotiations?
The other thing that occurs to me as does your ExP see weekends as better quality time and so that you have greater proportion of these that have slightly fewer days leads to some level of balance?
Mediation was suggested to me as a way of not involving court, but having a third party as an umpire/ child's advocate.
I hope you find a solution that makes everyone happy.

Pluto69 Mon 05-Nov-12 15:29:48

Fair point Booyhoo, nicely raised!

TeddyBare Mon 05-Nov-12 15:30:21

I agree with everyone saying that court will not be a good route for you. I think in your position I'd be tempted to try it out and see how things are going after in 6 months or so. You will probably find that 2 weeks per year makes no difference to your relationship with your dc. If that's the case then I think you'd be foolish to kick up a fuss because there are a lot of studies (mainly conducted in Australia I think) which show that separated parents who can't cooperate are really bad for the mental health and social development of their dc. You may think that in principle your ex is being unfair but it is a principle with minimal practical impact really worth potentially harming your ability to effectively co-parent?

AbigailAdams Mon 05-Nov-12 15:31:04

Did you do 50% of the child care before you split?

Not sure why 3 out of five weekends with you isn't good for your daughter.

Pluto69 Mon 05-Nov-12 15:39:38

Lonecat, that's a really interesting idea and at first I thought, that makes sense! Then I thought " if I'm having my daughter fifty percent of the time" why would I be paying anything at all"? Whilst that's the CSA way, my x already has Child allowance, brings equal pay home and This would then, in effect, mean I would be be paying some extra for an extra day a month for my daughter. Please don't get me wrong, its NOT the money, it's the moral principal that really upsets me. I know it's probably the only way I will get the fifty fifty but it really really really seems wrong in every way? maybe I've just lost sight of what's wrong and right but I hope not.

OneMoreChap Mon 05-Nov-12 15:41:52

Ah, so it is about the money... just not from ex sad

TheWizardsWife Mon 05-Nov-12 15:46:24

I don't think that is fair OneMoreChap. It is a fair question why any money should change hands if they have equal costs for their daughter?

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 05-Nov-12 15:47:45

I have learnt over the last 4 months that often to achieve the best outcome for DC you have to swallow a lot of principles and believe you me I have swallowed some whales.
Often there isn't a right and wrong just the way that causes the least waves. You seem so very close to the outcome you would like that just giving a little now might make you happier in the long run.

Pluto69 Mon 05-Nov-12 15:49:07

Abigail, I've always had 5050 of my daughters care and am honestly a very dedicated father. Since splitting up I have taken her away abroad on hols alone and we do all the things a Father and daughter should do at the weekends, swimming, parks, friends, relatives etc etc. I am more than happy with three weekends but it does restrict my income due to the nature of my work which means I am often asked ( and have to refuse) extra hours. I don't mind that but to be then denied 5050 so my x can gain a few more pounds when I already lose some just seems wrong to me. I have to say I'm tired though and will probably end up giving up for my daughters sake.

STIDW Mon 05-Nov-12 15:49:38

Er.. there is no legal right for children to have equal contact.

In my experience parents are more concerned about the living/contact arrangements and it isn't about money. The financial argument is a bit of a red herring because it works both ways. IT could be said someone only wants 50:50 shared care to reduce payments. The reality is the costs of having the children to stay normally outweighs the amount of CM paid/saved.

Good contact for children relies on parents working together or at least not against each other. In 10 or 15 years time it won't matter to children whether or not they spent 15 days a year more or less with a parent. What will matter is that they have two loving parents who put their interests first and compromise and co-operate. Children learn by example and if parents can't resolve their differences constructively children don't learn how to negotiate their own relationships and have dysfunctional relationships in adulthood.

OneMoreChap Mon 05-Nov-12 15:51:02

When I was sorting out my CSA stuff, I got some discount for having the kids on average 2 days a week. XW then very cleverly made up a rota to ensure I didn't get quite 2 days a week. Unable to grasp the fact the 3 weeks holiday effectively added me 15 days back on...

My sad is partly due to being offered 3/5 weekends which I'd have loved.
Isn't it all a bit moot as they are still living together anyway...

olgaga Mon 05-Nov-12 15:51:20

It does seem you are being churlish for the sake of it. Most separated couples who are both working have to take into account each other's work patterns.

I think you'll be shooting yourself in the foot if you are "refusing to work around her shifts".

I work 8-4 Monday to Friday and feel like I'm being abused somewhat for doing so.

I really don't see why! It sounds as though you feel you're being taken advantage of simply because your ex's employer has a shift pattern to accommodate, but the result of this arrangement is that you are getting plenty of quality time with your daughter, and that's what matters.

Try to think about the bigger picture. It's in all your interests for your ex to continue to work! If you find it hard to do fit in with your ex's arrangements on principle, try mediation - not confrontation.

Your daughter is getting plenty of opportunity to continue her relationship with you, which is her right - not yours.

OneMoreChap Mon 05-Nov-12 15:53:23

STIDW afaics, there's also no right for the mother to determine contact either.

What will matter is that they have two loving parents who put their interests first and compromise and co-operate.

Quite so.
And compromise would suggest that maybe OPs' partner should at least give a reason as to why she wishes to keep me on 167 nights despite me asking multiple times.

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