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What would court order?

(54 Posts)
sunsh1necentral Tue 22-May-18 19:54:11

My ex has contact with kids (6 and 4) on Wednesday overnight and Friday to Monday morning overnight every other weekend.

He gives me his childcare vouchers to cover before and after school childcare requirements on his contact days - so Wednesday after school, Thursday breakfast club, Monday before school (eow). I currently drop/pick up from school on Fridays.

He dictates that I keep his full entitlement to childcare vouchers (£243) and that the difference between the vouchers and childcare costs is deducted from my child maintenance.

I wanted to change the arrangements so that he arranged and paid for his childcare requirements directly with the childcarer - i.e., instead of me passing his vouchers to them, he does. And pay child maintenance directly to me. As I do not require additional childcare vouchers now both children are at school.

He is now saying that his contact starts at 6pm and ends at 7.30am due to his work commitments. He has stated that if I go through CMS he will no longer pay for the childcare on his contact days because contact time starts at 6pm and ends at 7.30pm and he is not obliged to pay any further costs other than child maintenance.

Ive been to a solicitor who has written a letter to him to set out our agreement (contact times from school pick up/drop off) with the aim of applying for a consent order. He's going to refuse stating that due to work commitments he can only pick up at 6pm and drop off at 7.30am and I have a feeling it will end up in court.

Will a court deem this acceptable? We only had this arrangement in place as he had originally said that he would be able to collect early/drop off later but that the childcare arrangements were in place as a fall back if he was unable to leave work.

In my eyes we are both capable of picking the children up from school. We both have work commitments. If we're unable to pick up, then it's our responsibility to arrange alternative childcare cover on our respective days with the children. His overnight stays reduces my child maintenance by 100/month which would go some way towards covering his childcare costs if he arranged visitation when he able to fully care for the children with no childcare costs.

Jonbb Tue 22-May-18 23:18:14

He wants to change it therefore he should apply for a variation. Yes, he should be arranging childcare on those days he is having or scheduled to have the children and should not be deducting it from your maintenance. Also it is very disruptive for the children to return to you before you pretty much immediately have to take them to school. You need to work on the basis of the effect his behaviour is having on the children, including unilaterally reducing maintenance for no reason. What effect is cutting the maintenance going to have on the children and cutting the contact time, because that is what he is doing.? He needs to put the children first and think about them. What would a dj say. Who knows? Personally I think he is being unreasonable. Presumably he has a new woman on the scene?

Jonbb Tue 22-May-18 23:21:57

And yes, I would go through cms. Then he doesn't have the power over you.

sunsh1necentral Wed 23-May-18 07:53:08

Well, he's saying that our agreement has always been that his time starts at 6pm and ends at 7.30am.

In reality his contact time has started from school pick up and ended at school drop off and he has the ability to pick the children up from childcare at any time up to 6pm and drop them off at any time at childcare from 7.30am. He has always provided childcare vouchers to cover this.

I don't want to change our arrangement, I just want to make it legally binding because I know that he will pull some stunts as soon as I approach cms - ie cut the childcare vouchers. Or when I cancel the childcare contract on his days and ask that they invoice him, he refuses because "due to work commitments his time starts at 6pm and anything up to that time is my responsibility". In reality, I'm sure that he picks the kids up earlier and drops them off later, otherwise, what's the point in having them, especially Wednesday. He's just created this fictional start/end time to absolve him of his childcare responsibilities.

I ended up going to the solicitor to get our arrangement legally binding. He emailed me on Sunday afternoon before bank holiday Monday saying "why have you packed uniform for me, I'm at work tomorrow." He'd agreed to have the children on the bank holiday Monday (first time this year, everyone was shocked) and we have a yearly schedule so he's fully aware. He said "well you told me that you had no plans so Ive agreed to work". I told him that I had plans and he responded "guess you're taking the kids with you"

Dropped their school shoes and book bags off at 9pm bank holiday Monday - after I called him in the afternoon to enquire where they were (he was at a BBQ) - no homework done! Leaves me to rush around to get it done on Tuesday evening having returned home from work at 6.30pm! My ds also asked me what a "fucking prick" was as his df had called my dp this following a heated discussion in which he called me up to ask me why my dp was collecting them from school - he had come with me one Friday afternoon to collect the kids. Df wasn't happy with this "he's not to go anywhere near the school, he's nothing to do with them, he's not their father"

Which is ironic - as df IS there father and steps nowhere near that school. Not entirely sure what his point is.

I guess, for me, I want it formalising so that we both know where we stand. If it ends up in court and the judge agrees that his time should start at 6pm and end at 7.30am then I'll take it on the chin and pay the additional 2200 in childcare costs. I just think it's absurd - especially the Wednesday contact, what is the point of it?

tomatosalt Wed 23-May-18 08:03:14

How lucky you are to no longer be in a relationship with this knob.
Of course he is responsible for childcare on his days.

sunsh1necentral Wed 23-May-18 08:12:24

You say this but I'm doubting it....I read on separateddads forum that the person in receipt of child benefit is responsible for all childcare costs. That they may get help towards the childcare costs if they qualify (i don't). that the non resident parent provides the resident parent with the times that they are available and the resident parent tells them where collection and drop off is. This is the best bit - of collection/drop off is to a childcare provider, then, all associated costs of this are the responsibility of the resident parent - i.e. The person in receipt of child benefit. Just can't believe that this happens in reality?

sunsh1necentral Wed 23-May-18 08:18:21

My workplace allowed me to do a compressed week to negate childcare costs on a Friday when both children were in full time childcare, however, now they're not in full time childcare I am under pressure to work the Friday. At the moment, on his Friday, I am finishing work at 2.30pm to pick the kids up. He will then let me know what time he's picking them up - generally this can be anywhere between 4pm and 6pm. So I'm basically having to finish work to sometimes have them for an hour before he collects them. Ive spoken to him about this and got the "that's not my problem, I have work commitments" line. Yet when I say that we both have work commitments he says "it's not my fault that you have to work Fridays. this was your choice. You chose to leave me" 🤔

SciFiG33k Wed 23-May-18 08:27:20

If you get a court order it usually has set times. If it's inside your time the childcare is your responsibility. However as a Pp has mentioned it would be very disruptive for the kids to come back to you for half an hour or 10 minutes on a monday morning before going to childcare before school and a judge would most likely say either he has them till school drop off or they could come home at say 6pm Sundays. The same for the Wednesday nights. Either he has them from afters school Wednesday till school Thursday or if that doesn't suit him he could just take them for a few hours Wednesday evening and bring them home for bed. That would mean he has quality time with the kids still but it isn't disruptive to them. Remember if it goes to caught it will be what is in the kids best interest. His suggestion doesn't fit that model.
Looks like you definitely need to go through CMS with this man too. Sounds like getting a court order first would be a good idea thou as the number of night he ends up having may change.

Murane Wed 23-May-18 08:37:33

I'd hope the court would see this for what it is - an attempt to avoid paying for childcare. It's unreasonable to expect you to take custody of children at 7.30 and take them to school for 9.

sunsh1necentral Wed 23-May-18 09:11:30

I'm just worried that he'll say that in practice this is what's happening now - ie, he's picking them up at 6pm and dropping off at 7.30am so what's the problem.

I worry that his argument will be that's it's no more disruptive that me picking them up at 6pm and dropping off at 7.30am which is what will happen if he didn't have the contact.

I genuinely don't want to argue with him. I want contact times to start at school pick up and end at school drop off with us both arranging our own childcare requirements. There are times that we are both able to drop off later/pick up earlier and we can both exercise this with this arrangement but fall back on childcare in place should work dictate.

I just hope it doesn't go to court and we can agree things beforehand, however, I'm not holding my breath. He's so unreasonable.

sunsh1necentral Thu 24-May-18 17:15:12

Letter is being issued tonight......I'm already worried about his reaction!

PinkCherryBlossomTree Thu 24-May-18 18:29:27

* I worry that his argument will be that's it's no more disruptive that me picking them up at 6pm and dropping off at 7.30am which is what will happen if he didn't have the contact.*

That argument doesn't stand up because in that scenario they would be going from school to childcare to you overnight to childcare to school. That is normal and not disruptive. They are clearly with one parent (you) for that whole time.

What he is suggesting is effectively that they go from school to you for a very short period to him overnight back to you for a very short period back to school. In that scenario they are being passed from parent to parent, and spending short undefined times with one parent. Children generally find transition from one (separated) parent to another unsettling.

In any case the precedent that has been set surely is him paying for childcare on his contact days. He is the one who wants to change that precedent.

43percentburnt Thu 24-May-18 18:41:02

So he is annoyed because he currently gets a discount on his maintenance by claiming childcare vouchers. 33% I think. He has no desire to change his work pattern, like many parents do, to drop and pick up his children.

He also doesn’t want your dp collecting, presumably preferring them to be in childcare.

Thank your lucky stars you’re no longer with him.

sunsh1necentral Thu 24-May-18 18:52:57

He says he doesn't pay for childcare on his days. He says he pays above the cms calculation by mixture of cash and childcare vouchers - i.e. He's doing me a favour! - as his time starts at 6pm and ends at 7.30am.

Correct, he doesn't want dp near the school as "he's nothing to do with the kids, he's not their dad"

He wants to continue to pick up from childcare and drop off at childcare - just not pay for it. He's not suggesting he drops off/picks up at mine. So no real change from if I picked them up/dropped them off

sunsh1necentral Thu 24-May-18 18:54:13

He saves 42% on childcare vouchers. He's a high earner but as he joined the scheme pre 2011 he is still entitled to the full 243/month voucher entitlement!

TKBGH190 Thu 24-May-18 20:49:36

I think the way this would be looked at in court would be:

- Right now, if an emergency happened on a Friday during the day, who is the child's resident parent at that time?

- What if a parent needed to go get them on a Friday at 5pm while they were in after school care? Who's officially their resident parent at that time?

- If someone needed to be contacted to collect them at 8am from pre-school care who's job is that? Yours or his?

His argument would be that right now, his "time" starts at 6pm when he collects the kids from school on a Friday (meaning you're still the resident parent up until that point) and finishes at 7:30am when he drops them off meaning that you become their resident parent again as soon as they're back in school.

I think you have to clarify with him the exact time of day yours and his "residency" starts.

sunsh1necentral Thu 24-May-18 21:29:35

He will say his residency starts at 6pm Wednesday and ends at 7.30am Thursday. And then ever other weekend from Friday at 6pm until Monday at 7.30am.

TKBGH190 Thu 24-May-18 22:00:36

Would it be possible for you to say that that wasn't your understanding of the situation though? Have those scenarios ever arisen where one of you has had to be contacted?

Could you say that it was your understanding that due to him paying for childcare thus far, it was your reasonable belief that his "residency" began when you dropped the kids at school on Friday morning, and until Monday evening when you collected them from school? And likewise you considered "his residency" to start from Wednesday morning when you drop kids off until Thursday when you pick them up?

The fact he's paid childcare for this up to now would lead time to believe that he considered that "his residency" rather than doing you a favour?

What I mean is, you could argue that you believed they were under his care from Wednesday morning when you took them to childcare until Thursday when you pick them up from childcare. And EOW from Friday morning when you drop them at childcare until Monday evening when you pick them up. This makes it a straightforward factual dispute over what the arrangement was / is. And your proof for thinking that is that he's paid childcare for them.

Sorry if this isn't clear, it makes sense in my head grin

Everytimeref Thu 24-May-18 22:11:14

This is where the cms system fails down as it counts nights. They would state as long as the child sleeps at non resident it counts a night. It should be made clearer and any discount only applied to 24hr periods of time.

Everytimeref Thu 24-May-18 22:12:15

* falls down

sunsh1necentral Fri 25-May-18 06:17:06

The situations have arisen and how it's is dealt with is dependant on what he wants to do. Generally he takes responsibility but other occasions (normally when he's pissed off with me), he won't.

So, what happens if he says his residency starts at 6pm and ends at 7.30am and everything in between is my responsibility, therefore, he will no longer pay childcare on his days. I'll just have to accept that his nights are reduced for csa calculations by 100, but as he's conjured up timings which make him responsible for the aspects of parenting his does and doesn't want to be responsible for, I have to pick up a further 2220 in childcare costs?

abbsisspartacus Fri 25-May-18 06:24:33

How is he entitled to childcare vouchers when he is nrp?

sunsh1necentral Fri 25-May-18 06:35:34

Anyone with parental responsibility can claim childcare vouchers through work, not just resident parents

TKBGH190 Fri 25-May-18 07:46:33

So, what happens if he says his residency starts at 6pm and ends at 7.30am and everything in between is my responsibility, therefore, he will no longer pay childcare on his days.

Dispute it and say no, your residency starts Xam on said day until Xoom on said day. Therefore childcare is your responsibility as it has always been?

PinkCherryBlossomTree Fri 25-May-18 09:12:49

By the by are you really paying 555 per week for one morning and two after school childcare sessions for two kids? That is crazy expensive for school age kids.

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