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Life running smoothly - until the ex tries to cause trouble .......

(16 Posts)
Petal02 Fri 24-Jun-11 09:35:12

Most of you will be aware that DSS is now visiting us on a flexible basis, rather than sticking rigidly to the rota. He?s finished his GCSEs, has left mainstream school and (results permitting) will be going to sixth form in September.

It?s actually been working really well. DSS was very reluctant to embrace any sort of change to start with, and DH was scared to rock the boat ? but all credit of both of them, we tried it, it?s now working well, and it no longer seems to a bone of contention. It?s the time of year where we?ve been away doing things, so has the ex, and DH has also been working away. If we?d stuck to the ?old? rota, DH/DSS would hardly have seen each other, DSS realises this, and we sit down each week and work out the dates for the next week, and it?s all been quite relaxed. The amount of contact hasn?t been reduced, it?s just more flexible. I can?t fault DH, he?s been firm but fair with DSS, pointing out that he?s always welcome to visit us, but life can?t run round a rota any more, particularly as DSS has now finished school.
Of course, there was bound to be a spanner in the works ???..

On a couple of occasions, DSS has come over for his tea, and DH has taken him home afterwards, rather than DSS staying over night. This is because surely not every visit needs to involve an overnight stay, and also DH has had some very early morning starts, and if DSS had been with us it would have meant him being taken back to his mother?s at 5.30am, so it made more sense that he didn?t stay the night.

Yesterday, the ex texted DH, and said that on a few occasions there have been less overnight stays, and if you look at the CSA calculator, this would mean DH should pay slightly more maintenance. A couple of points spring to mind ? firstly, DH/ex don?t go through the CSA, they have a private arrangement; secondly ? if DSS comes to us for his tea and then goes home to sleep, surely the ?cost element? of the visit (ie the meal) has been met by us, and it doesn?t cost the ex any extra if DSS is sleeping under her roof.

The ex has explained all this to DSS, who (understandably) feels his Mum wants him to stay away overnight just so that she may get an extra couple of pounds each week ????. DH is spitting feathers, he doesn?t think the ex will get anywhere this this, but he really doesn?t need the hassle!!!

prettyfly1 Fri 24-Jun-11 09:41:52

If I am not very much mistaken once a child leaves full time education and starts work, or after eighteen, she is not entitled to a single penny more of any support so perhaps she would like to check her facts? If he goes to college then she will still have another couple of years but I vaguely remember you saying dss doesnt want to do that, so if he goes to work she can hang for any extra money. SHe is being a cheeky, offensive witch and I think all you can do is support DSS as much as possible whilst he starts to stand on his own two feet. This is often the age where children start to see "truths" about thier parents behaviour apparently so let him make his own mind up.

nenevomito Fri 24-Jun-11 09:48:36

Oh Petal!

It beggars belief doesn't it. Could you have him to stay for a week and then ask her for a rebate? No! So why does she think that him being dropped off home at 5.30am is better than him sleeping at hers.

Can I offer you this virtual punch bag?

theredhen Fri 24-Jun-11 11:11:56

This is exactly the point that was talked about recently about the obsession with "overnights" because of the CSA. I too agree that the overnights are not the part that costs money. A sleeping child doesn't cost much, if anything at all.

To be honest, I think overnights are quite difficult to prove to the CSA who seem to take the PWC's word if they decide to lie. By the time the CSA actually get their finger out, DSS might have left sixth form anyway!

Technically you are in the wrong and the ex is right. Morally, you are right and I think you know that.

Petal02 Fri 24-Jun-11 13:35:31

Thanks ladies - I checked the CSA website this morning (even though DH doesn't make his payments through them) and it would only make a difference of £4 per week!!!!! I just loved the suggest that maybe we should claim a rebate if we have him for an extra night !!!! Although I still can't believe that any parent would want their child to stay away over night (often being driven back at 5.30am the next day) for the sake of £4????

Mind you, money's only ever the tip of the iceberg with the ex, mostly it's about causing aggravation for DH and I. DH is very wary of causing a big upset over all this, just in case DSS gets caught in the cross-fire, and while I undertand his point to a degree, DSS has got to learn to stand up to his monther, and also to understand the insanity of basing your sleeping arrangements around a payment of £4.

I'm pleased I'm not the only person who questions all fuss about 'overnighting' - as Redhen points out, a sleeping child doesn't cost anyone anything, however giving a child a meal (which we're continuing to do on the nights in question, DOES have a cost).

Over the last few months, DH/DSS/me have all come a long way forward, now that all these silly restrictions and weird pick-up/drop-off times have ceased, we're all getting along much better. We've made such good progress, and I am NOT taking a huge backward step just to because the ex is being so spiteful.

Smum99 Fri 24-Jun-11 14:09:52

Oh the overnights debate - in our case the ex refuses overnights because it could impact her CSA allowance, horrendous attitude and she is more than happy for DSS to be up at silly o'clock at the weekend (saturday morning) to meet his dad rather than agree a Friday night. DSS is at an age when he would like it to change, he has suggested it to his mother but WW3 kicks off and he backs down.

Only comment I would make is - do you think it's genuinely about the CSA assessment or is the ex concerned that you have 'won' i.e the inflexible schedule has become flexible and the sky didn't fall in? If the monetary value is so small, I think the CSA wouldn't make a change for less than a certain amount a month anyway and it would need to be over a sustained period of time, not a few months! (Although if the mother tells the CSA that access is zero that's what they believe!!! the NRP has no recourse at all)

Personally I would not respond to the comment. I realised a while ago that the ex's anger towards DH was never related to him but to where she was in her life. If she was in a "happy" place then all was quiet, if she was not happy then she would lash out. Any response we made to her just fuelled the fire. If you have to respond make it 2 sentences at most.

However do rejoice as you have made progress on the rota and you are within the finishing line of payments smile

PS I have no issue with DH making payments for his son but there is an assumption that the RP becomes the gatekeeper for all child related expenditure rather than accept that the father wants and needs to have disposable income so that they can spend money when the child is with them. We want to do activities with DSS, make books, games available for him, provide him with tutoring, buy him clothes, take him on holidays etc and we need money to do that. With my ex we agree what my DD needs and then agrees who will buy it, it simple and works so well as it's genuinely about what the child needs.

Petal02 Fri 24-Jun-11 14:18:53

Smum99 - I think you might have a point; yes, we moved to flexible visiting, it works better for all concerned, and suddenly we're no longer being controlled by the ex, she doesn't like not having that power over us, so now she's kicking up a fuss about something else.


Message withdrawn

ladydeedy Mon 27-Jun-11 08:08:17

couldnt agree more that it is probably because she has lost the control and power now that you have a flexible arrangement. Exactly the same happened with us when we made that change. The ex absolutely hates it as she used it as a control mechanism but there's nothing she can do about it so finds lots of other things to moan on about. Of my DH's two sons, one now lives with us but the other one is still with his mum. Her latest thing is to try to deter him from visiting, making it difficult, so I guess that's her way of trying to make trouble for the moment. We just dont rise to it anymore... She'll soon try something else, and on it goes... :-)

ChocHobNob Mon 27-Jun-11 08:43:46

If you pay the £4, make sure it's in pennies wink

frantic51 Mon 27-Jun-11 08:58:22

Sorry to butt in, I lurk around access/maintenance payment threads a lot because I am newly divorced and my ex hasn't formalised anything about access/payments etc which leaves me feeling a bit vulnerable atm so just information gathering.

I don't understand the following "The ex has explained all this to DSS, who (understandably) feels his Mum wants him to stay away overnight just so that she may get an extra couple of pounds each week ?"

Probably I'm just being dense but doesn't she become entitled to the extra money if her DS doesn't stay away overnight with you guys rather than if he does ?

Sorry for hi-jack blush

frantic51 Mon 27-Jun-11 09:01:14

Theoretically of course. Not making judgement about whether or not she is morally entitled, in regards to which I am inclined to agree, the cost is in the meal, not the sleeping.

frantic51 Mon 27-Jun-11 09:05:07

Though I suppose if it is flexible access and subject to last minute change it can be confusing and affect the budget. Many is the time I shop and plan for all kids being at here for a weekend and then suddenly, last minute, ex's plans change and he asks them to visit as he is realises that he is then going to be out of the country for a couple of weeks (his work schedule is pants -not his fault) by which time I've already spent the money and much of the fresh stuff has to be binned sad

lateatwork Mon 27-Jun-11 15:41:26

hi frantic- I think it maybe slightly different for Petal as there is one child and that child is a teenager.. and thus they are working on a new schedule which is more flexible than the old one. Her DSS is also involved in deciding when he wants to see his dad which is also different.

It sounds slightly different to your situation where there seems to be more than one child involved and it seems like your ex is calling the shots re last minute changes. That must be really frustrating for you- and of course there is a cost involved.

We have quite rigid access visits for DSS- partly imposed by his mother who cant / wont be flexible. It can be difficult at times, but its only really pushed now in exceptional circumstances. I find with a younger child, this makes it easier for all to manage- but then I am a bit of a planner. blush

frantic51 Mon 27-Jun-11 16:01:16

Hi lateatwork. No I probably should have said contact rather than access as mine are all teens and so obviously have a say in when they go to see their dad. Ex works away a lot and, as I said, his schedule is subject to last minute changes over which he has no control. So, it has happened that we will have made arrangements for them to visit on a certain weekend and then he will ring and say, change of plan can they come tonight/tomorrow for this weekend instead because I find I am actually at home this weekend but now have to fly out to x next Thursday and don't know when I'll be back etc, etc Of course they want to go, they should go, they really don't get to see enough of him and I would never stop them, but sometimes I have already done the weekend shopping and once, had bought tickets for the theatre which then got wasted. I'm not on a very generous budget and I understand that it isn't his fault but I was wondering, do you think it would be fair in these instances to ask ex to share the cost of money lost or wasted?

Thank you

theredhen Mon 27-Jun-11 21:29:30


I can see your point and I remember when the opposite would happen (and often still does) and my ex says he can't have DS at short notice and I had plans to go out and had a babysitter booked. I asked ex if he would pay towards babysitter as he would let me down literally an hour before they were due to come so I felt some sort of loyalty to still pay them, especially if I needed them again.

I didn't get any money out of him but he never paid any maintenance anyway.

Depends on what sort of person your ex is.

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