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Sharing the cost and responsibilty of transport for Contact.(5 Posts)
My ex (mother of our 18mth son) is refusing to share in the responsibility of his travel to contact with me.
The facts are: -
1 We lived in London
2 January 2013 she left (taking our son) and moved to SW England to live with her parents.
3 After 6 months attempting to reconcile with her, I had no choice but to petition as it was clear she wanted no further part in a relationship and had committed to a life in SW England and I needed to be seeing my son much more than they were wrongly permitting.
4 Throughout separation I wasn�t working as I�d taken an extended leave from work to be able to spend time with her and our son; however, the moment she left I began to pay GBP1k per month in terms of maintenance despite her living rent free at her parents� house.
5 I have tried to request that she, reasonably, shares the responsibility of travel for contact (every other weekend).
6 She refuses; the distance is 130 miles and I drive for 10 hours every other weekend to collect my son for two nights in London and then return him.
7 She has income equal to earning GBP41k per annum which is provides her with a disposable income which is greater than mine (once I have paid support etc).
8 She has many friends remaining in London and I would have thought the option to see them would have been appealing when she only has no old friends where she has moved to.
9 She has said that she will drive (when convenient to her � so basically never) for 45p per mile which equates to GBP120 per return journey.
10 I have offered to pay her the AA fuel price for the journey of GBP32 but she refused.
11 I increased this to GBP40 but she refused.
12 I wrote requesting that I was being left little alternative and suggested that we go to mediation/arbitration but she refused unless I paid for both of our costs in it.
13 I made a final offer of GBP50 per return journey and that she commits to sharing the travel equally with me ie she either delivers him or collects him with me doing the opposite or we meet half way (I suggested somewhere 20 miles in her favour)
14 She refused so I had no alternative but to issue a specific issue application. I know this will cost me money but, the way I look at it is this, it costs me approximately GBP300 per month in petrol to see my son which equates to GBP3600 per year.
I don�t see that it is neither fair nor reasonable that someone can move so far away, taking a loving father�s son and then refuse to share in the driving of their son to contact with his father.
I would be interested to see what people�s thoughts are; the divorce is all done and all financial matters are settled; I pay full CSA monies, I pay spousal maintenance and I also contribute significantly in terms of clothing, footwear, food etc. As far as I am concerned the divorce is amicable and I try my very best to do what is in the uttermost best interests for our son.
Why are you paying spousal maintenance if she is earning £41k? If this isn't part of the divorce settlement could you stop paying that in order to cover the costs of seeing your son?
I think you can apply to CSA regarding costs of travel and reducing the CSA payments. Getting your XW to do half the travelling.... I think that's a matter for court if you can't agree.
And the longer you leave it the more it becomes the norm.
I agree it isn't unreasonable for separated parents to share travelling and particularly if parent chose to move away. However the court outcome isn't guaranteed. The courts consider all the circumstances and sometimes expect parents to share the travelling but other times it is found the expense involved takes money away from the family or is impractical e.g. when a parent doesn't have access to a car or if they are the main carer to very young children of a second family.
Playing devils advocate, although your ex's income is greater than yours perhaps she couldn't afford to house your son and herself adequately in London and once she has paid for childcare plus other living expenses it's unlikely she will have a much if any disposable income. Also she may be already driving your son from A to B in excess of 10 hours a fortnight. If you pay child support through the CSA the paying parent is entitled to a reduction to cover some of the costs relating to contact.
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