I will try and keep this brief but don’t want to drip feed.
My marriage broke down when DS was 8 month old. DS1 is now 5. Child support maintenance payments have been sporadic at best and non existent for about the last 18 months. Thousands have been accrued in unpaid support and this is being chased by the appropriate authorities.
I have since remarried and had another DC. We have formally changed DS1 name (with my ExH consent) to reflect the name change.
ExH has had no contact with DS1 for over a year, DS1 calls my husband “daddy”.
We obtained my husband PR and a residence order is in place (both done through the courts) stating if something ever happened to me DS1 would stay with my husband and DS2 in the family home.
Everything has been stable and we have had NC from ExH in a year. Today he made a CSA payment - the first in about 18 months. We are anticipating he will make contact soon wanting access.
Both me and husband have worked so hard to give DS1 a stable family environment. When he was seeing my ExH things were chaotic at best due to my ExH’s nature. DS1 is now settled, doing well in school and very happy. He does not ask after my ExH.
I guess my question is where do we legally stand if/when my ExH gets in contact wanting access?
Personally i would let it go to court and allow the judge to make an order. I wouldn’t waste any time or energy trying to negotiate and renegotiate contact terms for this prick to mess you and DS around again. Which of course he will do. If he is serious about seeing him consistently then he will go to Court. If he gets in touch I would ignore and wait for a solicitors letter or court summons. When that arrives instruct your own solicitor that your only concern is to maintain Stability for DS and that you believe your EX will be inconsistent and cause emotional suffering to your child. With that in mind a court order is the only circumstances under which you will allow contact.
It is something you will have to deal with. A court is highly unlikely to say that he can have no contact just because he’s taken little interest until now. Look at it this way. If you refuse to give him a chance, 15 years down the line do you think your son would regret not having been given the chance to have a relationship with his father?
But do remember that there are very limited circumstances where fathers do not get contact of one kind or another, and if you go for the court order you will be legally bound to follow it, no matter what your feelings on it.
Unfortunately he will likely get contact if you go to court. My DD has had no contact with her father since she was 7mths (now 5); he has full PR but never utilised it. We did allsorts, mediation tried consistent letter writing etc - all showed he let her down. My solicitor then told me that because I was getting CSA from him (even at £1.67 a week) it meant he was still trying & therefore it would go in his favour. Since I cancelled his CSA & he didn't bother to try & get it reinstated - he even agreed to writing off the debt so he didn't have to pay it - i would stand more chance of stopping contact on grounds he hasn't bothered.
If he has had to be forced to pay up then I doubt he will use cash to take you to court-a judge won't look favourably on a df who hasn't been supporting his dc. After all this time I would say supervised contact at best would be offered and a lot of df won't do that.
The payment might just be because the recovery of it is working. Not because he wants contact.
If he does want contact and it goes as far as mediation I would work on the basis that he will get eow/50% of school holidays eventually. This will probably be worked up to over a period of time. So I would try and agree this without court and use mediation as a way to set supervised contact up on timescales that you think your ds can cope with.
We have tried mediation over the years with minimal success. Every arrangement which was put in place he has broken, the mediator commented the last time I saw them that she does not understand how I keep coming back. Contact used to be weekends and then due to a number of issues became supervised and then nothing at all. He has not tried or asked , I have not chased him as I see how much more settled DS1 is when he is not around.
To whoever commented I am happy to take his money but not access - helpful thank you! EXH has made about as many payments as I have fingers in the years since we separated and subsequently divorced. He continued to see DS1 in that time whilst NOT paying. I felt it important at the time that given his age he try and have a relationship with DS1. However as he became more chaotic steps were taken to alter the contact arrangement.
Just booked - I hope you may be right. He has threatened me with court over everything in the past but never followed through. In fact he more often than not did not turn up to court appearances when dealing with the divorce or PR. He also used to cancel on the day of mediation......
My friend in situation similar gets random csa payments into her account. Its just that on rare occaision the csa and the employer get their act together and money is recovered. Stops a month later. I would not read a lot into it. Put it into a seperate account so you can show ds as an adult how much he contributed.