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Panicking As Ex Is Taking Me To Court For Full Custody

(11 Posts)
iknowangels Wed 06-Sep-17 22:16:18

Hello everybody a good friend advised me to look at your site after receiving some very distressing news this morning. It is a long story I'm sure a lot of you will be able to sympathise with it and there's a lot I could mention but I'll try to keep it brief and see if anyone can help or advise.

My ex has tried every trick in the book to avoid paying child maintenance since February. He applied to have Child Benefit as this would show the CMS that he is the main carer and shouldn't pay CMS and that I should. He was awarded it but when I appealed it the decision was reversed but he appealed it so it was taken off me again but they ruled in my favour so I now have the child benefit unless he takes it to a tribunal.

Previously he had demanded that I should sign a legally binding agreement that we have 50/50 care and I will never ask for maintenance ever again. Then he wont have to pay any child maintenance if I don't then he would go to court to request full custody.

Firstly we were to go to mediation due to the nature of my work its minimum wage, support work with varying days, shifts and overnight sleep ins. He is £600 a week Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm. He claims he can provide more stability and that's why hes going for full custody. Sorry this was meant to be short there's so much more I could mention but I'll cut to the chase.

I got my rota yesterday and advised the mediation company I couldn't make the arranged date but supplied 3 days towards the end of the month as an alternative. He advised the mediation company that was unacceptable and to send him the relevant court papers to start proceedings to be granted full custody.

As per reading on here and like a lot of people I'm scared stiff of going to court. He can be very intimidating and with his aggressive style and the money at his disposal he may just win.

My son is 12 years old (Year 8) and definitely wants to see me as well as his Dad (Who told him once he gets full custody he will hardly see his Mum anymore). We previously worked out an arrangement about where my son stays all written down via a mediator. It has been in force for a while despite his Dad putting a lot of pressure on my son to spend extra days at his house so it becomes 50/50 and then he doesn't have to pay maintenance which is what it is all really about. He thought he had reached that stage and this is why this started in February when he stopped paying the maintenance.

My head is currently spinning around like a washing machine on a full spin and I'm terrified of how this is going to go and more importantly what to do next.

Also CMS have still not decided whether he should pay maintenance (the arrears now go back to February) despite me sending in information on three occasions about where hes registered for the doctor, dentist, school, first contact, which house my son has been at between Feb - April and now because hes appealed it for a second time for the period June - August. So I've got maintenance, had it stopped, then appealed and got it back and now had it stopped again and had to send all the information in again. This was despite being told CMS would rule in favour of who received the child benefit and now they say that doesn't apply.

As you can appreciate this is so draining and due to the nature of my full-time work its taking its toll and I never envisioned that this with regards to CMS would drag on so long. Its been 7 months without any money being paid now and I'm beginning to struggle to fight on. I really hope someone out there can help. Thank you in advance.

IrritatedUser1960 Wed 06-Sep-17 22:20:13

My ex did this so I gave up work (for the duration of the court case) and was then eligible for legal aid.
I then won as I was at home with my son all the time. If he's playing dirty tricks then you need to, and tell him nothing.

IrritatedUser1960 Wed 06-Sep-17 22:21:37

Oh yes and the court will not be impressed with his shit, they can see right through that nonsense.

mumoffour1716154 Wed 06-Sep-17 22:31:23

Couldn't advise - but think positive and confidently. Clearly court will see that of the two you're the more stable parent (I'm hoping so anyway)

Merida83 Wed 06-Sep-17 22:32:57

Without trying yo be awkward woukd 50/50 custody not be good for your son. He has 2 patents who love him and want to spend time with him. He, as you said, wants to see you both and often?

Would it not be able to be worked out so the shared custody can be flexible to suit your job type as well? Meaning instead of you worrying about getting someone else to care for your son during your time if you have overnights shifts for example he could be with dad. He wins and you win as no childcare cost for you and he gets time with dad. But you'd both still get overall the same time with your son.

Familylawsolicitor Wed 06-Sep-17 23:56:14

The court will expect your son to be spending significant quality time with both parents unless there are serious proven safety concerns. The court won't be sitting down working out what is exactly 50:50 but what arrangement practically works for your son and your respective working patterns and so on. I query if your ex has really applied for "full custody" because it's a legal term that hasn't been used since the 80s. It's a completely out of date concept too. Children have the right to spend time with both parents and even the terms residence and contact are no longer used, it is now "lives with" and "spends time with".

You doing shift work is not a good argument for him to use to try to limit your son's time with you. The court will be highly concerned with what your son wants at 12. If he says he wants a main home and time with the other parent and not to be shifted around all the time that may be listened to. He will be spoken to. Don't coach your son though whatever you do, that's always really obvious and backfires. The case won't be about who earns more and has a better job.

Make it clear to Cafcass before the hearing you think it's all about the money for hin. Cafcass will ring you a few days before the hearing to go through any safeguarding concerns.

With regards to the money side of things, were you married?

childmaintenanceserviceinquiry Thu 07-Sep-17 00:17:33

I am sorry for your stressful situation. It happens to many of us. I have been discussing with Womens Aid that they need to campaign clearly on the non-physical abuse through the family courts. Most of the judges I have met wouldnt spot it at all. So do contact Womens Aid (centrally) and let know what you think. If no-one does how can they know there is a problem?

It is about the money, always has been, always will be. I dont think Cafcass are interested in that and neither are the family courts. It doesnt necessarily change either when the child is able to express their view? My ex ignores the child's view and the court order - how do I enforce? Only by going back to court.

prh47bridge Thu 07-Sep-17 08:26:59

How else would you expect to enforce a court order? It isn't just a feature of the family courts. With any court order, if someone ignores it the only way to get it enforced is to ask the courts to enforce it.

It is about the money, always has been, always will be

Cases vary. It may be all about the money in your case and the OP's case but in many cases money is not the issue. It is not usually about the absent parent wanting to reduce child maintenance. It is about them wanting a good relationship with their child. But yes, there are some out there who aren't interested in their child and only care about their finances.

iknowangels Tue 19-Sep-17 10:34:58

Thank you everybody for your advice it gave me strength and support. Seems the threat to go to court was a bit of a bluff. I received a letter from his solicitor yesterday listing a series of issues he has with my care of our son and why he feels he should be granted full custody.

Amongst the list is the fact I don't don't feed him and he had to call round to drop off some food. Basically he didn't want any of the three things that were available and called his Dad to say there was nothing in the house for him.

The other accusation was I leave him overnight without an adult being present. It's completely untrue of course and he has no evidence. He also said when he gets full custody he will decide when our son will see me ie times, dates and location! There's lot's more examples but I think you get the picture.

At the end of the letter it stated he was giving me a chance to avoid court which he doesn't really want to do. Even though he has reminded our Son every week for the past two months he was going to court because in his words "I'm going to sort your Mother out". I feel he may have backed down a bit as I've stood firm. Thank you everyone.

dataandspot Tue 19-Sep-17 10:38:47

This situation is awful for children especially in the teen years as they will play the parents against each other to get what they want.

The food situation you described is just the beginning.

Ceto Wed 20-Sep-17 23:17:49

My ex did this so I gave up work (for the duration of the court case) and was then eligible for legal aid.

Just for the record, this wouldn't be possible now as legal aid is not available unless there is domestic violence involved.

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