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deciding on child maint and contact

(13 Posts)
ankh Mon 03-Dec-12 14:44:54

Hi all, fairly recently separated and me and ex need to do contact agreement and set child maintenance amount. We were casual about this until now but ex has finally agreed to regular schedule and putting child maintenance amount on paper. We don't want to involve CSA.

I'm thinking of proposing this during school term:
every 2nd weekend from Friday after school until Sunday afternoon
every week Wednesday pick-up from childminder and bring back after dinner (no overnight)

Holidays - 2 weeks with him per year (1 week at Xmas or Easter and one week in the summer)

He lives walking distance from both DD's school and our place so this should be doable in terms of logistics.. however, how should we write this all down, do we need to write down pick up and drop off hours and exact calendar dates? Or just say every 2nd weekend and 1 evening per week during term time plus 2 week hols per year?

With re to child maintenance, I'm thinking of proposing to him 15% of his weekly net income as per the CSA guidelines. (He was paying more than that up until now, as our child care costs were quite high, but starting January they'll go down). The question is, should I include his car allowance (which is a substantial amount) in that calculation, or not?

And how about those 'in kind' one-off payments, should we try to put anything on paper? e.g. agree to pay half-half for major purchases e.g. laptop, summer camp, music equipment etc. Or should we just come up with a yearly amount for these?

Thanks a lot for any suggestions!

OptimisticPessimist Mon 03-Dec-12 14:58:35

I think the holiday split seems quite disproportionate -there are 13 weeks of holidays, yet you're proposing he only gets 2 of those, is there a reason for that?

Also, you might want to write in set arrangements for special days - Christmas Day, birthday, Mother's/Father's Day, any other religious or special days - so that these are clearly defined. A lot of people alternate special days, or split them half of the day each etc, so you might want to discuss with him how you (plural) plan to share those.

cestlavielife Mon 03-Dec-12 15:32:18

if he livess nearby and happy to be involved then two weeks holiday sounds crap.

why not half of all holidays? make him responsible for her and her childcare for half the time

and also building up to say two evenings in the week (or two when he doesnt have her on the weekend)?

how old is dd ?

ankh Mon 03-Dec-12 15:34:50

@OptimisticPessimist Thanks!

the only reason for that disproportion is because he said finds it very difficult to go on a holiday with DD - just him and her for a whole week. He doesn't cook and he doesn't know how to organize her days. This is what he said when I tried to discuss this past half term, upcoming Xmas, Feb half term, and Easter hols. He declined to commit to any of them so far...

However, he said he might be able to do one or two weeks per year when he takes her to see his family abroad. His mum and sis can help with food and organize things for him. So I'm basing my proposed schedule on that.

Re special days, it's a good idea... the only thing we discussed was potentially do lunch or dinnner together the three of us for her b-day and Christmas.

Generally speaking, his agreement so far was 'she lives with you and I do some school pick-ups and she can sleep at my place once in a while, but no schedule. I'll just call you when I'm free'.

It took me months to convince him it's better to come up with a regular schedule and fixed monthly amount...

ankh Mon 03-Dec-12 15:44:14

@cestlavie: he works full time and is enrolled in school part-time as well. One evening per week is more than I'm hoping for... so far it's been less than that. And it was more like one weekend per month... not two.

She's Reception age.

cestlavielife Mon 03-Dec-12 15:50:14

ah ok so it's what he wants ... any reason why he cant learn to cook and organize etc? eg disability?

why does he need his His mum and sis to help with food and organize things for him?

surely coping with a five to six year old is farly easy !!!

OptimisticPessimist Mon 03-Dec-12 15:57:25

Ah, he's one of those is he? I sympathise grin

C'est has a point about childcare - from your OP it seems you both work (you mention childcare costs), and it's really shit for you to be the one left trying to sort out all the holiday childcare. If he's intending going abroad maybe you could push him to take her for a bit longer and have 10 days or a fortnight in the summer?

ankh Mon 03-Dec-12 21:14:17

He could cook and organize. He's just selfish and relies on others to do those things for him. I doubt he will change much since he's perfectly content with that and he doesn't think that's an issue.

I'm happy for my DD that he does want to be part of her life. I offered 50-50 split time at the beginning and he declined. He doesn't want that much responsibility.

And yes we both work full-time...

Does anyone know if car allowance is included in the child maint calculation? It does show on his pay slips.

purpleroses Tue 04-Dec-12 18:55:19

In terms of how to agree which weekends they are, how best to do it depends how amicable things are and whether you want flexibility or stability.

My ex and I sit down with diaries every couple of months and work out who's having them when - we do alternate weekends but sometimes swap them around to accomodate times when either of us want to have the kids (eg for a family wedding or something) or want to do something without them. Gives a bit more flexibility which I like.

My ex is like yours in that he doesn't want the kids for more than a week or two of holidays each year, but if you'd otherwise be paying for childcare you might want to push him to have DD a bit more, even if he just takes leave and stays at home with her, or sends her to his parents or something.

Re special days - lunch together on her b-day might work fine, but you might not want to be so tied down at Christmas.

kinkyfuckery Tue 04-Dec-12 20:34:59

This is an American site, but good starting point and may give you things you hadn't thought about as yet.

http://singleparents.about.com/od/successfulcoparenting/ss/parenting_plan.htm

kinkyfuckery Tue 04-Dec-12 20:35:15

singleparents.about.com/od/successfulcoparenting/ss/parenting_plan.htm

ladydeedy Thu 06-Dec-12 19:04:52

i wouldnt go down the route of doing a joint thing on birthdays etc. how would that work out when one or other (or both) of you have new partners/get married?
Overnights are good and so is more time generally with dad especially as he is close by.
I also would just go by a set amount of money (e.g. CSA amounts) rather than deciding to split larger amounts such as laptop etc as who decides what should be joint? Esp if living mostly with you - this can lead to resentment and argument about what is necessary. As main carer, I suggest you will be the main decision maker and determiner of what she should have. If he Dad's income fluctuates and his circumstances change, you cant necessarily expect half of such expenditure.

purpleroses Thu 06-Dec-12 21:09:58

Re child support - I would just leave it at 15% of net salary and then expect to fund one-off purchases yourself if they're essential. If they're not essential, whoever wants to can buy them for your DD. That leaves things a lot clearer and much less scope for future fall outs if you one of you wants to buy her something that the other doesn't want to chip in for.

I'm not sure about the car - I think the HMRC do count a car as being worth X amount of money and therefore tax you on a notional (higher) salary so presume that the CSA would be the same, but if you don't want to actually involve them in collecting the money I'm not sure how you'd do it. It would cost quite a lot to hire a new car for a year, but your ex doesn't actually have that money at his disposal. I've always bought cheap cars and reckon on about £1000 a year in running costs (including depreciation, ecxcluding petrol) so you might want just to add some relatively small figure like that on.

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