I am not actually lone parent, but I have a "separated parent" issue which has arisen between myself and my ex (father of 2 of my children).
We have a Court order for exactly 50:50 residency, alternate weeks. The children are young (primary) and do not see the other parent during the whole 7 day period. He has always refused any deviation to the Court order even a few hours here or there. It is a consent order and has a written provision in it for us to deviate from the Order if we agree on an alternative solution for any period.
Anyway. I have been trying for ages to get him to agree to having the children overnight once during their week with me and me doing the same. He has always used excuses that we are all too far away etc. We have now moved much closer, so that's not a problem anymore. They are so young I feel alternate weeks may work better for older children but they miss their mummy (and daddy actually!) for such a long period each time!
Recently he has admitted the reason he won't let the children ever spend extra time here over and above exactly 50:50 is he is worried I will claim maintenance from him by notifying the CSA. I reassured him but he still refused.
After much badgering and a failed attempt at mediation he has finally agreed that he thinks it is best for them to not go a whole week without seeing each parent, he agreed to me having them one night during "his" weeks every single week and he would have them on "my" weeks when he could, around work. This was all done via text message a few weeks back. We agreed it would start next week.
He has text this morning to say he's changed his mind. His sole reason is he has called the CSA and found out how much I "could" claim from him, and me having the extra night per fortnight makes a difference. He said he cannot risk having to pay me any maintenance so is now refusing them to come to me as previously agreed. I have never asked him for maintenance or contacted the CSA by the way. He said he is "protecting himself and the children" for possible financial hardship I could cause them. FFS!
Any advice? Anyone had contact restricted / changed to financially benefit the other parent. I just wonder how many NRP's have their contact restricted or lowered so the RP gets to claim more maintenance or doesn't lose any maintenance.
I have texted him back and said " Our children are not pay-per-view! Would you prefer I rented them from you at a pre agreed nightly rate?" as I was so bloody cross! Not my most controlled of moves but I feel a valid point all the same
I am tempted to just say "oh well, agreement already made so tough". But I know he will claim the agreement (by text) is not worth anything as it is overruled by the Court Order and he'd probably call Police and try and get the children returned back to his house that night, and I don't want them upset.
I have no intention of claiming any money off him via CSA or otherwise I might add.
What an arse.
So his so far un-founded fear of having to pay maintenance means he is prepared to not act in the best interests of his dc
Nice, but probably not much you can actually do about it sadly.
Does he have joint residency purely to avoid paying CSA rates do you think OP?
Sounds like on the one hand he is behaving as a model separated parent (shared residency) but then refuses to see that what you propose is both fair and reasonable and most importantly, really good for the dc's. So becomes a selfish parent again. Really odd.
Surely if he is genuinely concerned he would agree to it providing that the agreement ended if/when you sought maintenance? Which is already agreed via court.
Is he generally a controlling person?
Yeah, the fear of "maybe" having to pay maintenance if I go back on my word not to go to the CSA or ask him for money (which I have never done) is now stopping me seeing the children for their overnigth stay as planned and agreed.
He's not controlling as such, but is generally a bit of an arse and very tight with money. He has a decent job and earns a decent wage so he's not poor / on the breadline.
It is really sad I wonder if the CSA/money issue can be drawn up legally? so he doesn't worry and the interests of the DC are best served?
You seem to blame him for being stubborn and putting money ahead of your DC but equally, your reaction isn't likely to help you move forward/come to an agreement. Any gains you made to get him to agree to the mid week overnights have likely gone with that text. Unless you can claw back the progress previously made, I doubt you'll get the midweek overnights back on the agenda anytime soon. How much is the maintenance you can claim, compared to him from you, if it's 50/50?
How did you get to 50/50 agreed in court, if you don't think it's good for the DC? Did you get on before, to agree 50/50, but fell out over something afterwards? I didn't think 50/50 worked when parents don't get on. He doesn't seem to trust you re money, and you don't seem very good at communicating with him in a productive way. That's how it reads to me.
Do you have it documented then that he does not want the midweek contact due to a possible CSA claim. I'd consider thing it back to court again to be honest. The courts really really don't like parents to arrange contact on the basis of money.
mumtobe I know I've said this before but his (and your) understanding of how the CSA works is incorrect.
Under the current arrangement, one or other of you can cause financial hardship to the other because there is
A legal liability for one parent to pay the other maintenance even when the DCs are in a 50:50 areangement.
IIRC, you are each receiving Child Benefit for one child? Therefore, you can claim via the CSA from him, and he can from you. Obviously, the amount paid will vary depending on how much each of you are earning.
The other issue that you and your ex have misunderstood is the way in which the CSA amount is adjusted to take account of overnights with the NRP. It is worked out over the period of a year - not week by week; and what is proposed won't change the number of nights spent with the NRP.
My advice? Call his bluff. Contact the CSA, claim CM from him under the current arrangement and take away from him that reason. To compensate, I suggest you agree to buy all the DCs uniform, clothes, trips, shoes etc - which he is current paying half of - so he no longer has that expense.
I'm sorry mediation didn't work out - well done for getting there so quickly though; I know from your last posts that he had refused several times.
chinacupsandsaucers is correct here OP. if he is earning more than you you are entilled to child support from him and same the other way round! Can i ask to whom is the child benefit paid to? if its you you are classed as the primary carer. aslo who is the first point of contact with doctors and school? if its you again you are the primary carer therefore entilled to put in for CSA.
Clearly if you cant come by a compromise with your ex you could go back to court but it will cost you. with no guarentee for success.
I would also like to point out that both of you have parental responsibility so EITHER of you can collect the child from school at any time! The police would not get involved in a civil matter unless they are led to belive the child is in serious harm. If a parent does this when the child is not in any harm they will get nowhere with the police and a warningif they lie to them about it.
I would suggest that you write a carefully worded letter to him stating that he previously agreed to this change and that you will be implemeting it on such a date. Clearly if he write back dening it or refusing put in a claim for CS, and watch the fall out! you can cancel a claim at anytime! it will certainly keep him busy at any rate.
On the other side do you really want to get into a potential long tem disagreement with him? think carefully before you make ANY decison. gook luck.
China- We haven't been to mediation, I paid for my solicitor to refer me, I attended the initial meeting (MAIM I think they called it) but he ignored the letter the mediator sent him and refused to come to mediation. So I sum that up as a "failed attempt". I can't make him go to mediation.
We do have one CB each. I know I can claim off him and as I don't work I would "win" as his claim from me would get him zero money and I'd get money from him. However, morally I don't think Maintenance should be paid in 50/50 situations. He does pay half for them, covers all costs whilst they are with him and we go halves on joint purchases...so I can't justify calling the CSA and making a claim. However, I have looked on their website after he started moaning just to check if it would make any difference and his reduction would be for 7 nights a fortnight at the moment (182.5 nights a year) whereas if I had the children 1 extra night a fortnight he would have the children 26 nights a year less, which makes his reduction one bracket less. If that makes sense, although its all in theory as I have never had any intention of making a claim!
However, it would take away his "reason" to say no to midweem overnights as you said, except it wouldn't sit well with me morally and I think it would remove the last ounces of trust and amicability there is between us.
Kitty- I know I can just go and collect the kids from school but I am worried he will make an urgent application to Court and report me for breaching the order and it would look bad on me if I have to go back to Court. However, I do have his texts agreeing to the midweek contact and making plans and texts from him now saying he had changed his mind purely due to financial reasons. I wonder if him agreeing to the change (the Court order has provision for us to make agreements alternative to the order as it was a consent order) would overide him later withdrawing that agreement.
However, I have looked on their website after he started moaning just to check if it would make any difference and his reduction would be for 7 nights a fortnight at the moment (182.5 nights a year) whereas if I had the children 1 extra night a fortnight he would have the children 26 nights a year less, which makes his reduction one bracket less
This is all smoke and mirrors.
You said in your first post that he had agreed to have them midweek during your week too; so there's no difference in the number of days.
There isn't any trust or amicably between you - he won't do what he agreed is best for the DCs because he doesn't trust you not to claim CM - presumably he he assuming that once the DCs are in your care for 1 day more than 50%, you'll claim Child Benefit and CM for both?
Anyway - if you think claiming from the CSA will have a detrimental affect on your co-parenting, then you're stuck.
There is no way of resolving this without pissing him off - picking up the DCs, going back to court etc will all have the same affect.
I would wait until the EWO gets involved in the school lateness and then it won't matter how you resolve the midweek night issue as he's going to be pissed off at that and you'll lose any co-operation you may have at the moment anyway. At that point, you can change things all you like and wait for him to take you back to court if he thinks its worth it.
I'm really not sure the 'benefits' to the DCs of one night a week are as great as you think - it took my (older) DD 18 months to settle fully into a week-at-each arrangement, and your DCs haven't had half as long to adapt - during which time they've moved house as well!
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