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Some advice about contact please....

(191 Posts)
SnowWhiteWinter Fri 30-Nov-12 21:19:39

Hello. I'm hoping someone here may have been in a similar position as we are and can perhaps help or give some advice in general.

I have 2 dsc, they are both young (3 and 5). They live with my partner and I 50% of the time and with their mum the other 50% of the time.

My partner is currently having a few problems negotiating contact arrangements with their mum. Basically they have agreed that the minimum number of handovers as possible is best for everyone, as there have been problems at handover time previously. Plus we don't live that close to each other so daily handovers would be difficult for them both. They have agreed the children will stay with each of us for a week at a time and this is already happening.

My partner and I think the children are still too young to not see their mum or dad for 8 days at a time as a permanent setup. They get really upset on handover days because they miss the other parent during that time. Their mum has agreed with this. My partner has proposed that they spend one midweek night overnight with the other parent the weeks they are not with them (hope that makes sense) so they only ever go 3/4 days at a time without seeing their mum or dad. However, due to her new work rota which she has recently had put in place as flexible working she works long hours most days the weeks they are with us and much fewer hours the weeks they are with her. She has said because of this she cannot have them for a midweek overnight the weeks they are with us. My partner has offered to be flexible and help facilitate it for her and change her day each time around her days off or even if she can't do it every week just some, but she has said for that reason she will not be agreeing to the children staying with us a midweek overnight as it's not "fair". Meaning it would not be exactly 50/50.

My partner has written to her and explained it is what is best for the children that counts not what is best or "fair" for the adults. She has said her decision is final and will not discuss it further. sad

So, do any of you fellow stepmums here (or other people on this forum) have any advice?

My partner is considering applying to court regarding this, something we can't really afford if we can avoid it. There is currently no court order at all regarding residency of the children, they have tried to keep away from courts and made informal arrangements until now. However, he strongly feels it would be better for the children and she won't accept that. Does anyone have experience of family court practices? Could he apply to court for this (specific issue order could be what he needs from what we have looked up online) despite there being no current residency order? Or if he applies to court for this issue will the court/Cafcass want to bring about a full residency case? He and dsc mum both agree 50/50 with each parent (roughly) is best for the children so neither would try and go for sole residency or a much greater share of time than they currently have, it's just this one night per fortnight.

Any advice greatly received x

MissKeithLemon Tue 04-Dec-12 19:22:10

Snow, I don't agree with posters being nasty which seems to have happened further up. I don't know or care if you are another poster, and as MNHQ seem to have verified your not - I care even less.

What I do care about though is women being decieved by manipulative men who play the 'I'm the best daddy ever' top trump card to enable them to carry on controlling the woman/women in their lives.

In the long run it is nothing but damaging to the dc. I know this from personal experience and in the end the losers are the children who will eventually come to realise that their father is an arse.

Your posts are screaming such a scenario to me I'm afraid. From all you have said it seems that you are right where he wants you fighting his constantly-shifting battles with his ex over care of his dc's.

You haven't answered about exactly how long it was before you were together with him which also makes me think that it was too soon and you know it

All the drama around the awful way she literally allegedly left her children yet he can't/won't go to court to protect his own 100% devotion to his dc's?

All very shifty. I think you are not being given the whole truth.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 04-Dec-12 18:57:06

snow your DP seems very inconsistent with his decision making - do you find this challenging?

On the one hand he has been reluctant to renege on the agreement made with his ex while they were still a couple regarding saving the CB, but on the other hand, he decisively moved himself and his DCs out of the family home within days of his then (presumably D) W telling him that she wanted to separate and doing a flit to Spain!
Most men wouldn't have needed to move in with their Mum to provide childcare in that situation; they'd be so shell shocked that they'd be given compassionate leave from work and want to keep the DCs as close as possible.
Whatever he may have told you, I would be prepared to place a lot if money on there being more to that particular story - and unless you were involved, you wouldn't know, would you?

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 18:31:11

Dadelion (and others) Actually the CB would pretty much cover the extras that we (DP) pay for the children, which are in addition to the normal; rent, bills, food etc. Hence why he is emailing his EX tonight and asking her agreement to no longer pay the CB into trust funds and to use it instead of her paying maintenance. The problem up til now is that they both wanted it to go into trust funds, she agreed to pay half of all "extra" costs for the children and then decided not to, leaving DP not sure what to do but pay for it all.

Disney... Bloody confusing isn't it. She told him she wanted to separate, she told him she needed to "clear her head" and didn't want to be with him anymore (short version I think this happened over a space of a few days rather than just one conversation). They agreed that he would move out. She packed some suitcases, lots of stuff but not all of her stuff, and left one night. After a week he hadn't heard from her at all. He packed up his stuff and went to stay at his mothers house (children familiar with this house and he needed some help with childcare as such short notice). Nobody knew where the hell she had gone, if she'd gone for good or if she'd be back. DP took staff for the kids to stay with him at his mums but left most of the stuff at he rented family home. Then she came back and announced she'd been in Spain for 2 weeks. She told him to come and get the rest of his things and to take the kids stuff to his mums. So he did, hence how they came to live with him.

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 18:07:31

Mscellophane my opinion would be the same. What is the point of the 'resident' parent receiving child benefit if the cost of extras is be shared equally?

So in the case of the OP's DP. He is receiving say £135pm in child benefit. I would have thought this would cover clothing costs etc adequately. If he insists in claiming cm, he gets say an extra £311 pm. Really, all these extras require that much money?

NotaDisneyMum Tue 04-Dec-12 17:54:54

Actually if the situation was reversed, the DCs mum would be encouraged to apply for residency as their Dad had proved to be unreliable in terms of drop offs/pick ups etc AND he uant paying CM.

Let the court decide (based on all the facts from both parties) what will be best for the DCs.

MsCellophane Tue 04-Dec-12 17:36:15

It doesn't matter how the split happened, it happened.

If this was reversed, there would a completely different set of replies

mum and dad do 50/50, mum gets CB and CM which the dad doesn't pay for 6 months. mum pays for all extras for the children, dad pays to keep and home and feed the children on his weeks - would there really be these questions????

Of course there wouldn't

Some mums don't want the day to day with their children, it happens. They should also pay their way when the Dad is the main carer

I know of one mum who walked out on the children aged 11 &14, she left for another man, She has never paid CM and has little interest in them, seeing them sporadically. Some women do this and when they do, we should show the same support for the family left behind regardless, this is a nasty thread

Daddelion Tue 04-Dec-12 17:26:14

So posters are saying:

If it's a 50-50 split, the parent who gets the child benefit pays for everything and the other parent shouldn't contribute to anything. As they're paying for their own living costs?

They shouldnt contribute to school uniform, school trips, hobbies etc. ?

Doesn't that mean if a NRP pays full CSA they should not contribute anymore but just pay their percentag, as that's fair, that is a view I've rarely heard on MN.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 04-Dec-12 16:58:56

Nope - confused again!

snow if you can see this, can you clarify?
Had your DP already left/moved out the FMH when his ex went on holiday?
Otherwise, how could he move the DCs to where he was living? In which case, wouldn't they have been familiar with it?

I appreciate that you don't think it is relevant but it makes a great deal of difference to the advice people give. Some of us can relate to the experience if your DPs ex and it can only help if your DP has an understanding of where she is coming from.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 04-Dec-12 16:47:43


We know this can be an emotive topic, but please be careful to stay within the Talk Guidelines and not launch personal attacks (including implying that posters are lying about their posting identity - which we have no reason to think this OP is).


bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Tue 04-Dec-12 16:09:53

How about not move out from the home he and his children lived in, just because his now ex disappeared for 2 weeks? Seriously, you can think of nothing else he could have done when she disappeared for 2 weeks? You don't think he should have continued life with as much normality,familiarity and stability as it's possible to give your children when one parent disappears?

OP you really do have some weird ideas about parenting, and thats pretty something considering you paint yourself as some stepfordwife/mother earth type. You and your 'D'P seem so very focussed on just how awful a mother this woman is, no doubt you 'dine out' on the drama this all creates, wringing hands at every perceived sign of her shortcomings as justification for your 'D'Ps awful behaviour himself. It's pretty sickening to read tbh.

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 16:03:03

I guess it does matter if she/he was someone awful who nobody liked. But I have no idea who piratecat was or is!

Thank you for all your opinions here, as I said DP is emailing EX tonight so hopefully we will get some sort of resolution pretty soon. Not sure whether it's the done thing to come back and update? I have some other questions to pose to mumsnet but I think I'm a little scared now! smile

Petal02 Tue 04-Dec-12 15:59:26

Does it really matter if this poster is/isn't/never has been Pirate Cat? Sorry if missing the point here.

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 15:50:34

Bunchy - I don't see what else he could do. She ended their relationship, she left the home and went (she came back after 2 weeks holiday) but she hadn't told him where she was off to or how long. He couldn't just sit there, take some time off work and wait for her to come back, he had to put things into place for himself and the children. He took them to stay with him, as their mother wasn't around. He didn't take their things from their home at that time. When she got back she told him to come and get the kids stuff and take it.

Pingu - WTF? I have no idea who piratecat is! I give up means I give up.

pinguthepenguin Tue 04-Dec-12 15:00:37

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Tue 04-Dec-12 14:49:48

he "removed two small children"

Actually, what he did do was pretty awful looking at it from the childrens' prespective. Their mother disappears on holiday for 2 weeks, and then he uproots the children in her absence, from the place they understood was home. What on earth possessed him to think that was the most logical, considerate thing to do when the childrens' mother disappears for 2 weeks? How fucked up does a father have to be to think that he should just clear out of the only home his kids have ever known, after their mother has disappeared without contacting those kids? This happened right at the beginning of all this mess, and yet you OP still have nothing but rose tinted views of him and his 'intentions' when it comes to what is best for those children. You aren't the only one who 'gives up'. <shakes head>

MissKeithLemon Tue 04-Dec-12 14:45:06

If you were around soon after they split then you are part of the problem I'm afraid.

May help you to understand the behaviour of his ex more if you could only see that and acknowedge tbh.

MissKeithLemon Tue 04-Dec-12 14:41:30

And now your use of the word we has crept in to the story of how it was when she allegedly abandonned her own children.

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 14:37:59

I give up.

MissKeithLemon Tue 04-Dec-12 14:36:43

She might have been told that the only way to rid herself of his control is to not engage with his mindgames Snow.

Like I said, its like reading a script but from your perspective as the new victim partner rather than the dw/dp/ex of a controlling twunt.

You should step back and really look at your life and how much control of it you have handed over.

If your ex withdrew his generous maintenance tomorrow, what would happen? Who suggested that you should 'blend' <<yuk>> your families so soon after meeting? Do your children see their dad only when his are with his ex? Why are you doing so much of the running around for the children of such a devoted father?

If finances are all so tickety-boo and no-one wants for anything, then how come we have pages and pages of you defending his finances? Why not concede that money only matters when one or another of the parties doesn't have enough? Why so strenuously deny any wrong doing by pursuing a claim for csa deducted maintenance if there is enough money to go round for everyone?

It all sounds like he has you hook, line & sinker.

pinguthepenguin Tue 04-Dec-12 14:27:49

Ahhhh how many more times? she IS contributing to their upkeep- for 50% of their lives FFS! And you cannot take the moral highground as someone else pointed out, about why she went on holiday. YOU shacked up with him when the youngest was a small baby, and YOU moved your own kids in with a man they hardly knew

Double standards much? Argggghhh!

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 14:24:54

MrsKeithLemon. Of course, we often get the same response... there is no way a woman could possibly walk out on her children unless she was mentally unwell. Well, there is ... She left, then she came back and asked him to take the children. She refused to see them for a while, then agreed to one night a week, sometimes two (but then dsd's usually spent at least one night at her parents). We had to drive them to and from her house mostly, she'd often not turn up and we'd rearrange our plans to have the handover the next day, or she'd turn up as late as she liked.

BUt my DP is the bad man, he "removed two small children".

SnowWhiteWinter Tue 04-Dec-12 14:21:28

She was happy to walk out on her kids, she was happy for my DP and I do do almost everything for them until 6/7 months ago, when she moved in with her new boyfriend and decided now she was ready to assist in looking after her own children. She agreed the 50/50 was a trial as all new for the kids and now it's not working for them she states she refuses to agree to any changes to it as she's changed her work pattern permanently. She agreed to go 50/50 on all costs for the girls but has now decided not to (this was before DP put the CSA claim in of course) The CSA aren't "hounding" her, they've sent a few letters, which she has ignored.

It's not "I'll pretend to engage with you" she ignores almost all communication from DP, which is always and only ever about the DSD's. She never communicates with him about them. "punish you if you don't agree" It's not punishment, paying towards the upkeep of your children isn't a punishment is it?

MissKeithLemon Tue 04-Dec-12 14:20:45

Oh Snow I think its fairly safe to say that he is. Your defence of him only confirms that ime.

At best, he removed two small children away from their mother whilst she had a breakdown "cleared her head" and then far too quickly shacked up with another mother for them woman with children.

At best that is.

sanityseeker75 Tue 04-Dec-12 14:19:20

I have been quietly reading through this and a thought for me is - what are the contact arrangements for your children to see their dad?

allnewtaketwo Tue 04-Dec-12 14:06:44

Why is he so willing to 'propose' about use of CB money and get her approval, but at the same time is happy to involve a government agency to hound her for money? It doesn't make any sense. And sounds controlling. Like 'I'll pretend to engage with you, but punish you if you don't agree"

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