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Am I alone in this?

(7 Posts)
NotaDisneyMum Wed 28-Sep-11 17:59:15

Are there any other Mums in a shared care arrangement where Dad takes control of every situation involving DC's and does it "his" way using the justification that he has a "right" as their father?

Not sure where i'm going with this really - just feeling a bit alone and uncertain; hoping someone may get where I'm coming from or share my situation (misery loves company wink)

I have a BD10 (year 6) who has an informal (non-court ordered) 50:50 care arrangement between myself and her Dad (exH). We have a parenting agreement in place, which sets out financial and other responsibilities.

exH and I separated over 2 years ago, and divorced within 6 months. It was an incredibly turbulent time; exH behaved chaotically and was quite possibly suffering from some form of mental breakdown; he upset and alientated many of the professionals involved due to his behaviour (including a mediator, who walked out of a session, and who exH subsequently threatened). Other aspects of his behaviour led to my reporting him for harrassment; he considered that I should agree to any and all contact with him, because it was "in DD's best interests" and some of his demands and expectations were bizarre and unreasonable at best! He also involved DD unecessarily - asking her to keep secrets from me, and to provide him with information about unrelated issues that I was unwilling to talk to him about sad

As a result of the issues between us, I have maintained the minimal contact necessary with exH to maintain DD's 50:50 care arrangement. The majority of contact between us is via email, and as DD has got older, face to face contact has been less necessary.

Until now. DD is due to change schools next year, and the application has to be submitted in a few weeks.
The form was send home with DD when she was with exH, who returned it to me, sending me a txt saying the form was "for me". However, it has his address on it, which not surprising, because exH changed DD's address with all the various services & agencies soon after the separation (he also put a Royal Mail forward on her mail, and tried to change her GP, as well). His address places DD in an entitlement area for a totally different school to the one she would go to if her address was here. The guidelines for completion state that in shared care situations, the address of the child will be that where the Child Benefit is paid - which is to me, at present.

I emailed exH and asked him if he wished to take DD to any of the open evenings at local schools, as they all fall on evenings that she is in my care. He replied, thanking me, and stating that he intended to take her to all five of the secondary school open evenings in the region, and after he had been with her to all of them, he suggested that the three of us sit down to complete the application form.

So far, my only response has been to tell him that if DD attends a school outside the town we live in, then I will be unable to pay for her transport. He has confirmed that he would be willing to pay.

I feel as though I am being steamrollered into doing things his way and that DD is being set up for disappointment if she doesn't get the school she chooses, but I don't really want to challenge exH outright because based on previous behaviour, he'll drag DD into the disagreement and get her involved unecessarily. My plan is to leave exH to do his own thing, and then once he actually needs me to participate in some way, then set out my position and opinions - but it's really hard to sit back and be trampled on in the mean time!

Thoughts? Am I being too passive? Should I challenge him at this stage? I don't mind him taking DD to open evenings, I can always visit the schools at another time and I'm happy as long as DD is with this, but I hadn't considered all the schools as possibilities and so far, exH has not even alluded to the fact that I might have an opinion!

balia Wed 28-Sep-11 18:04:19

So - he is saying he wants to visit all 5 schools that she could possibly go to (ie in your area and his?) or are all 5 in his area?

I'd go along if I were you, and wait until you've seen the schools and got a feel for what DD wants and which school might be best.

notsorted Wed 28-Sep-11 19:39:40

Can you contact the council and find out if there is leeway, how the rules work in your situation. If DD and ex or even you set your hearts on a school that she won't get into then it will a real shame.
Then once you've got the catchment knowledge go round them all and be led by DD - it's her schooling after all and it may remove one less stick for ex to beat you with. Also talk about whether it's important to be with friends from primary, where they are likely to go. All arguments other than those purely between you and ex are important. Then worry if ex chooses school right out of way, not her choice, not yours and is being a PITA

mamas12 Wed 28-Sep-11 20:27:09

Bloody what a trial! Get her address back to your for a start. You don't need his permission for that.
Be led by your dd do you know which one she prefers? If so then contact that school and make plans to go there and fill in the forms.
Let him go where he wants as it will be pointless but don't let him take dd with him. Or if she is being stemarollered then you will have go with her.

I was in this position, with dd it turned out ok but ds was miserable in his (ex) choice of school. It took me a while but eventually managed to move him to the school of ds choice and he is a changed boy, focused, does his homework everything, I wish I had done it sooner to be honest because it was just awful knowing he wasn't happy.

Be led by your dd

NotaDisneyMum Wed 28-Sep-11 23:10:22

Thanks all - MN gave me the strength to speak to exH on the phone.

He claims that he didn't know that the LA had his address as primary; says he didn't read the letter before he sent the application pack to me.
He is adamant that DD should view all the schools in the area (she can apply for all five but entitlement is only for one at each address).

I can't decide whether to leave him to it, or get onto the LA, change BDs address back based on CB payments and fill in the form myself, or leave him to it. He is giving DD more say in the decision than I would, so his decision may be led by her BUT, she is very adept at saying what she knows/thinks the parent involved wants to hear and he uses that to his advantage sad

CardyMow Mon 03-Oct-11 01:30:27

ICK. I have this coming up with Ex-H with DS1 next year. We have a shared care COURT ORDER. We disagree MASSIVELY on what his Secondary education should be. DS1 is very clever, and the school have advised me that if I put him in for his 11+, he is very likely to get into the local Grammar school. Which is a very well regarded Grammar school nationally.

However - Ex-H feels that same-sex schools are weird, and DS1 will NOT be going to one. I fear a court battle is in the offing - because I am NOT giving in over something that could make such a massive difference to DS1's education - NONE of the local secondaries have GCSE pass rates of even HALF that of the Grammar (which, admittedly, has 100% pass A*-C including Maths and English...).

I think you ARE being too passive - YOU are the one in receipt of child benefit, and if you use your ex's address for her secondary school application - she is likely to LOSE any place she is offered - especially if it is at an over-subscribed school.

Like I am telling my Ex-H - the Child Benefit is in MY name, so ultimately, I get the final say-so and decision, and if he doesn't like that, he can take that up with a solicitor. I know I will take DS1's views into account, whereas Ex-H won't.

Oh - and WHY haven't you changed all the addresses back? YOU are the resident parent if YOU are getting the ChB for your DD, even if contact IS 50-50.

CardyMow Mon 03-Oct-11 01:33:51

If you don't change the addresses back and fill the form in based on the Child Benefit, YOU are committing FRAUD. You Must must must must MUST change it back or your DD could be left without a school place at all.

If she is offered a place based on your ex's address, and then the school or LA find out that your EX is not in receipt of the Child benefit - they can (and DO) take the offered school place away.

PLEASE stop letting what your ex wants over-ride what is LEGAL.

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