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Anyone know how we can arrange contact fairly?

(9 Posts)
BrianAndHisBalls Thu 02-Jun-11 16:38:12

Hello - this is probably a bit long and confused sorry.

My exh moved 200 miles away from where we always lived when we split. We have a 6 year old dd. He originally said he wanted to come up once a fortnight for a day to visit and on each third one of those visits would take her back home with him for the weekend.

He does not do this however. He has had her overnight (for one night) probably twice maybe three times in the last year. He comes up for the day on average once every 5 weeks. He refuses to come earlier (he arrives about 11am) and refuses to leave later (4pm on the dot). We've asked him again and again to come more regularly because dd wants him to but he refuses and says he can't afford to hmm Originally I let him have dd in my house and even sleep here the night to try to make it easier for him. I have also lent him money for petrol countless times.

Anyway, we recently found out that he has been lying to us (my partner and I) for a year over his job situation and has effectively cheated his daughter out of a year's csa payments. My partner has always done the hand overs to my exh and pick ups from him in so far as he meets him at a carpark. My exh is not allowed to our house as he was violent and threatening to me the last time he was here (about 2 years ago). I do not speak with him at all, he arranges everything through my DP and seems to prefer it like this.

My DP has now said that he does not want to do the hand overs anymore as he is so angry over my exh lying to us for a year.

Where do I stand legally? I don't drive and have an 18 month old dd as well as our 6 year old dd. We've told exh he needs to find someone else to facilitate contact (he can ask my parents). Would a court force me to let him come to my house? Could they force me to meet him? Im assuming they can't order my DP to do anything as he is not biologically related?

Could a court force us to do half the 200 mile journey? My DP and I look after dd1 360 days a year and therefore I'm assuming a court wouldnt expect us to do this?

Sorry its so long.

Joelybear Thu 02-Jun-11 17:03:28

Brian Do you ahve an injunction to stop him coming near you? If so that would be a reason for him not to collect dd from your house. Think your responsibility is to make dd available for contact and its up to him to get to her as he moved away.
Not sure what to say what else to say but you could maybe post this in legal section aswell, they are very helpful and may be able to offer advice on legal side or possible implications.

BrianAndHisBalls Thu 02-Jun-11 17:23:28

Thanks for the reply Joely. No, no injunction.

Will post in legal too, thanks again smile

PinkCarBlueCar Thu 02-Jun-11 21:17:21

Were the violence and threats reported to the police?

It's two years hence, has he been well-behaved since?

You seem very concerned that he's going to go straight off to court about contact - that seems unlikely to me, as the court's default setting is alternate weekends and 1 weekly overnight (although for your situation there would have to be consideration for the distance and the age of your daughter).

That said, you've offered more contact than the frankly rubbish once in five weeks he deigns to do at present, even offering to pay his petrol.

So if this were to go to court he's hardly going to look like a parent desperate to his daughter.

I would make sure you tell him by email / letter that he will have to arrange future handovers with someone else (suggest your parents) as you're both so disappointed and upset that he chose to cheat your DD out of a year's maintenance, and are still uncomfortable with him coming to your home due to the incident two years ago.

BrianAndHisBalls Thu 02-Jun-11 22:54:36

Hi, thanks for your reply.

The reason I probably seem concerned about court is because he's a solicitor and always threatens me with court sad

The violence and aggression were never mentioned to the police and as you say, it was roughly two years ago. Since then I have had little to no contact with him so everything has been fine in that respect.

He has contacted a solicitor and had them send me a letter once before. I stopped contact when I found out he was driving without insurance (for the 4th time, he'd already gone to court over it before). He contacted a solicitor and demanded fortnightly access but then sent me another solicitor's letter saying that he couldnt afford fortnightly access so would do monthly but wanted fortnightly when his finances improved! shock that was roughly two years/ 18 months ago. Hes done monthly-5 weekly ever since.

Thank you for your advice, I have asked my parents and they are happy to facilitate, although they also dislike him immensely they will put that to one side and be perfectly welcoming so that dd can see him.

PinkCarBlueCar Sat 04-Jun-11 21:55:03

Don't solicitors have some professional code of conduct? Pretty sure they're not supposed to fall foul of the law, make threats, or generally bring the profession into disrepute.

The man's an arse at best. He's a posturing imbecile. He doesn't want to go to court, as he knows full well what the judge is likely to say, and imo he doesn't have any intention of abiding by any court order.

He just likes to throw his weight around, and his behaviour has "abusive twat" written all over it.

Moving on from that, just the usual advice - go see a solicitor yourself, get info from t'interweb, record all your dealings with him.

gillybean2 Sun 05-Jun-11 09:46:30

So yes your ex is a selfish git, and he's proved it beyond all doubt to your DP now (you already knew I'm suspecting). But he is still DD's dad and she loves him and wants to see him.

I think that your DP needs to put his personal feelings aside here and think about you and your DD. Hard as that is I know, but he will calm downsoon hopefully.

If your parents are willing to help then that is a solution yes, but you and your DP needs to get over his anger for your sake and that of your DD.

If you know your ex is working then simply go to the CSA and get them to deal with it. Bear in mind that they may make an adjustment to their calculation based on his costs to maintain contact, so make sure you keep a diary of all contact, dates and times etc, so you can show how much he actually visits rather than what was 'agreed'. So if he goes for a variation to the standard calculation based on his additional travel costs for contact you can argue that he's not attending the agreed contact and shouldn't get the variation.

You could write and state that you are disappointed to hear that he has failed to meet his financial responsibilities as DD's parent and that you hope he will consider making some contribution for the year's worth of payments he has missed paying. I think you know what his answer will be though so ony you can decide if it's worth the agros.

As to contact - you can't force him to attend contact or to see DD more often. All you can do is facilitate contact.
Have you considered setting up skype calls so your DD can 'see' and chat to her dad more regularly?
Have you suggested he may like to take her away for the weekend camping, or to a b&b near the beach or something?
What about his extended family? Do his parents want contact with DD? Would they be prepared to fill in some of the gaps re contact or do some of the travelling to ensure DD sees them and her dad?

If you're not happy doing handovers a court can't force you too. But you would need to find a third party to help you. As there is no 'proof' or police reports re the violence the court may say it is historic and you need to facilitate contact. In which case it would be up to you to find a willing third party to help you. Your DP would surely step up to that if the alternative was you having to do the contact again wouldn't he..? Hopefully the arrangement with your parents will work well though.

BrianAndHisBalls Sun 05-Jun-11 13:29:23

Lots to think about thank you.

I did contact the law society ages ago about his behaviour and they wanted me to send a letter detailing it so they could act. I decided against it because i didnt want him to lose his right to practice, ironic really as hes let that lapse himself now, something to do with cpd.

He never asks if he can have dd at holidays, eg its just been half term and he didnt even mention it. He knows that DP and I work so that holidays mean dd either has to go in holiday club (expensive), go to my parents or we take holiday. Never offers to have her, even when he was 'out of work' he didnt.

His mum is dead, sisters/brothers live abroad, his dad does sometimes share the driving but this has stopped recently as he (the dad) has a girlfriend.

Im sure DP will calm down soon, he's said he just doesnt want to do handovers for the next couple of months.

Im just bitter but i am trying to get over it, i try not to ever think about it really. The worst thing he did was when we thought he wasnt working he eventually said that his dad would pay the csa amount to me monthly but that i needed to be 'grateful' as his dad wasnt legally obliged to and that i could either have the full amount and he'd come up every 4 weeks or half the amount and he'd come up every 3 weeks. I said the full amount because we were going bankrupt after not having any csa money for so long. He said that you could 'tell the type of person' i was for putting money before him being able to see his dd more often and that before his dad would give me the money i needed to apologise in writing for something i'd said about him (the granddad) a year before shock I told him to keep his money. It was a couple of months later that we found out he'd been working the whole time anyway angry.

gillybean2 Sun 05-Jun-11 13:44:49

If he's not having dd overnight then his maintenance won't get reduced no matter how oftern he comes to see her. The CSA only make a reduction for overnight contact. And that is based on it being on average 1, 2 3 etc a week. So if he had contact every 3 weeks or 4 weeks, and had one overnight during that time, his maintenance wouldn't be reduced as it doesn't add up to 52 nights in the year!
He could ask for a variation for costs associated with travelling for contact, so he may get a reduction for that. It usually would have to be more that 5% of the maintenance he pays though for it to be considered by the CSA.

He doesn't sound like he's going to ask for more contact, so perhaps it's time for you to suggest more. Eg taking dd away for a weekend or skype calls etc. If he refuses that's down to him, at least you'll have put it to him as an option.

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