DSS wants to live with us(12 Posts)
Sorry there is quite a bit of background for this.
So DSS is 8. DH and his ex were together for 2 months before she was pregnant they split up whilst she was still pregnant but DH has tried to support them as much as possible.
We got together when DSS was 2 we are married with 3 DCs together and another on the way.
The original contact agreement when I first met DH was every other weekend and one afternoon a week but DH tended to have him for a few extra days a month. Once he started school we also had DSS for half the school holidays.
This has gradually crept up throughout the years and we seem to be having DSS every weekend and we pick him up from school 3 afternoons a week give him his tea and take him to an after school activities as well. We also had him all of half term and most of the two week holidays.
We all have a great relationship with him, it became a bit rocky when I married DH and when our first DC was born but we have worked really hard and he is a great big brother and I have a great relationship with him too and we love having him with us.
So for at least a whole year he has been asking if he can live with us and visit his mum. He keeps saying he isn't very happy there. When we ask him about it he says that he wants to live with us because he spends more time with us even though lots of his stuff is at his mums. His mum doesn't take him to activities and she won't let him have friends from school over to play and she doesn't like taking him out to do things.
Now we have issues with his mum, we suspect that she doesn't use the money DH gives her for DS she is always asking for more money for extra shoes or outfits that we have never seen such as when DS came to ours in his old football boots for an activity and we ask where are his new ones he says that he doesn't have any and when we ask his mum to send some of the new stuff for something there are always excuses.
We also had an incident were she was asking for money to pay for school trips for DSS which he seemed to know nothing about and one day DH made a joke to the class teacher that he wasn't sure he should pay for more trips because DS didn't seem to remember going to them and it then transpired that most of the trips didn't exist, so now we have the teacher give us letters for school trips and letters to his mum so we know what we are paying for.
She also refuses to take him to any parties or activities because she doesn't have a car even though most are in walking distance and those that are further away have a reliable bus service to and from them.
DH has offered to change the contact times as we have him so much anyway including offering to continue to pay some child support even though he would be with us for more time or to split our time with DSS fifty/fifty but she is very reluctant to change things and DH isn't sure what is the best way forward as he has had problems with her saying that he is not the father meaning he had to take a DNA test and her reporting us to SS (they were totally happy with us) and apparently she posts all over Facebook and tells anyone who will listen how horrid we are .
We have offered her the two nights a week that she currently has and Sunday and then half the holidays which is more than she currently sees him and reducing maintenance by 30% and we will still pay for any extras but she says this is unfair and she wants to keep our current arrangement
We really aren't sure what to do next. We would love to have our current arrangement official but she is very reluctant to change anything and we worry that one day she will take against us and stop DSS coming or change the arrangement further.
So has anyone been in this sort of situation before or could advise us on where to go next please.
Until the age of 16 your dss has no choice to live permanently with you.
After that he can choose to live with you permanently.
Ex sounds like a pain and a bad mum.
Is the money an issue for you?
If not, then just have him there as much as you can but don't change the money. Just suck it up.
What was the financial settlement? Can it be revisited? There is some final thing which means you can't (consent order?) but if they don't have that it might be able to be looked at again. But she will just refuse formal extra visits if it means her money is cut - dp's ex did that, but like you we simply have him way more (and pay for extra stuff as well).
If you end up in family court they do take the kid's views into account on where they want to live and there is no specific age for this, the court decides whether the child is mature enough to contribute to the discussion, I know of at least one mother whose kids chose not to see their father this way and they were both well under 16. Usually CAFCASS would be involved.
So, your options are really - live with it, do your best, try not to get wound up (but also try not to give her extra money, maybe just buy what the boy needs?), or go back to court for contact to be formalised and maybe the court would involve CAFCASS and the child would be allowed to have some input.
I agree with Melonfool. If you can, don't change her maintenance but continue to have your DSS with you as much as he wants to be there and you can manage it.
If you can't afford the maintenance payments then I'd send the CSA / CMS a diary of how often you have had your DSS over the past 12 months with supporting evidence if possible and see if they'll reassess your payments. You can also send them receipts for everything else you're paying for like uniform, school trips. Only overnight stays will be taken into consideration when it comes to contact though. Make it clear to Mum that your DH will only be paying her what is legally required of him and will pick up any extras himself in addition to that directly with school, buy him any football boots or whatever he needs when he's with you etc.
I don't think it's correct that your DSS has no say until 16 btw. My DH was told 10 / 11 was the age Cafcass start taking the views of the child into account when a court is asked to decide who should be the resident parent. Obviously that's not a path to be taken lightly though...
ESS now lives with us full time and visits his mum, but we haven't reduced maintenance.
It's not particularly fair, but if we'd done anything about money she'd have fought it and made things difficult for ESS.
Suck it up if you can afford to.
Not true that your DSS has no choice. At 13 cafcass and the courts allowed my DSStto choose to live with us. Do you think his mum might be open to discussing this with you OP ?
I agree about the money - although it's not fair, if you can leave it alone then she may be more inclined to agree to him being with you more.
Our situation is somewhat similar. DSS had gradually been with us more and more until now at age 11 he lives with us full time, and sees his mum once a week and sporadic weekends (his choice). There has never been a formal agreement, it just seems to have happened naturally, and everyone seems happy with the situation.
We weren't even planning to mention the money as we didn't want to rock the boat, and never thought she'd want to give it up, but last year she surprised us by saying that as DSS now lives with us we may as well stop paying it, which was a huge bonus!
Well the problem is that we are paying his mum quite a lot now which would be fine if it was all for DSS but he is with us so much we are pretty much paying for two lots of food for him as well. We don't have many treats and our other DCs have never been on holiday so we could use the money.
I see what your saying and maybe we should wait a few years as DSS is only 8 so I am not sure whether they would take his perspective into account plus having to go through sorting contact again could be difficult and we may lose out on time with DSS which would be awful.
Yes, annoying - but maybe when he's 10...?
I'm afraid these issues are just the issues that split families, have, maybe the ex really couldn't live on less than she gets, who knows.
It's good that you are providing the child with some stability.
I don't know if she really couldn't live on less she has a job and we live in the same area so we have a vague idea. Plus in theory the money is supposed to be use on DSS.
I know the money is for dss, but she needs a house for dss to live in or visit, and a house doesn't suddenly cost less because he's not there as much, for example. And he wouldn't need fewer clothes. We buy clothes for dss, I spent £87 yesterday on his summer clothes, and he has another full set at his mother's - if he lived here neither sets of costs would change.
If she won't agree, other than going to court, I'm not sure there is a whole lot you can do about the money side.
Hello. I am in a slightly different situation from OP - DS (7) and DD (4) are reluctant to see their dad. The legal advice I've had is that the courts/authorities will listen to children's views from around 8, with more weight being given to their opinions the older they get.
It might be worth talking things over with a solicitor - mine always has a slightly different perspective on things.
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