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What's reasonable?

(29 Posts)
makingmiracles Fri 13-May-16 10:48:17

So dcs have been staying overnight on average 2wkends a month for a few years now with exp and his wife, there are 3dcs and 1in their household, till recently when they've had another Dc.

On Fridays I pack enough clothes for the weekend and on Sunday get three big bags of dirty laundry back- this is because a few years ago they were washing some of it but kept ruining clothes/dying/shrinking etc so I told them to just put it all bk in bags and send it back as I couldn't afford to keep replacing stuff.

They pay a much much reduced amount of maintainence, due to the fact their are other children in his household and because of the amount of overnights per year he has them, to put into perpective my neighbor has the same amount as me from her ex for ONE child, albeit he does not have his Dc overnight ever. The exps are are on similar salaries.

Now the whole maintaince calculation being much less when they have them weekends is surely because they in the eyes of csa are expected to feed and clothe them whilst they are in their care, no? They buy no clothes for them and feed them at exps mums 1night almost every wkend they have them.
The only thing they've helped with is going halfs on a secondary school uniform-and even then they made a huge sing and dance about that.

I'm getting increasingly fed up with the arrangement and due to changes in my life am getting overwhelmed by washing each Sunday when they return, it then takes me till tue/wed to get back on top of it. They are also having one child only 1 night out of each weekend now due to the dcs other commitments, this happens to be the oldest most expensive dc.

They won't increase the cm as I have asked in the past about it, they claim poverty each time despite me knowing this isn't the case so would I be unreasonable to ask them to buy some clothes for dcs at their house that get left there for them to wash, I was thinking outfits and wellies, possibly shoes and that the only thing to transfer each weekend would be coats and a pair of pjs to return home in on the Sunday's?

They've never helped me out in any way, on the very few occasions I've asked and I just feel like I'm being taken for a mug, and letting them get away with lots.

Interested to see how other people arrange things on contact weekends...

Lunar1 Fri 13-May-16 11:33:10

Your ex needs to either buy clothes for use at his or do the washing, replacing anything he ruins in the process.

Oswin Fri 13-May-16 11:39:20

I would just give him a few weeks warning what you are going to do then just send them in the clothes they are wearing nothing else.

makingmiracles Fri 13-May-16 11:54:14

Yes I was going to give him warning of my intentions and say that I will continue up to end June with the current arrangement with them only taking a small bag with pjs to come home in, from beginning of July, that's a month and a half for him to get them some clothes and pjs ready, I feel that's a reasonable amount of time?

MyKingdomForBrie Fri 13-May-16 12:14:26

This is what we used to do with my ex - the kids had whole wardrobes at each house and then no one had any extra stress or extra laundry. Current arrangement is v unfair to you.

deVelvet Fri 13-May-16 12:34:04

If I were you, I'd send a stock of clothes to be kept at dads. And say the following:

'Hey EXDH, This weekend I'm sending a bag of clothes/shoes/jammies etc for dc to be kept at yours - don't send them back but just keep them in a drawer for them and you can add to them when you see fit. The dc should really have 'stuff' at both their houses tbh - saves all this packing nonsense every weekend. They can just come as they are and know they have appropriate clothing at both homes. Cheers'

deVelvet Fri 13-May-16 12:36:12

If they ruin the clothes by the way they wash them etc then he will find himself having to replace items really quickly.

Also, I would only send what items you consider to be less new, as effectively they have lost their value and longevity...

lalaloopyhead Fri 13-May-16 13:05:02

I have never been keen on the idea of dc having things that belong to a certain house tbh. It would definitely be sensible for NR house to have things like wellies and other occasional use items (and PJ's). The problem with having outfits at both houses is that surely that means dc need to get changed before coming home?

My dc has swimsuits and trainers at their Dads but other than that they take their own clothes from home and they bring them home to be washed, I hadn't really considered another way to be honest - and this is from someone who hasn't received CM for the past 9 yrs (ex doesn't work due to MH issues).

If you're ex wasn't sending clothes back that would be another matter.

makingmiracles Fri 13-May-16 13:35:47

That's the thing laloopy, some things take weeks to return back here, it is disproportionately unfair at the moment as I have to pack on the Friday and wash all the stuff that comes back on the Sunday. Some things I've sent over have never returned or been broken but not replaced. He is having the kids on his weekends but not having the responsibility to clothe them, it's still falling on me.

Whatever they wear on the Friday can be chucked in a bag dirty for me to wash on their return and I suggested I send pjs for them to return home in on the Sunday evening in the hope they will have a shower or wash before getting pjs on and returning home- a bugbear of mine as the last few months they have not been having showers at all from fri-sun whilst at his, which I don't like as teens stink after not washing for 3 days.

AnneLovesGilbert Fri 13-May-16 13:51:04

It's mad they don't have clothes for your DC, I can't believe you've put up with it for so long, and it's about time your ex stepped up.

We have a full set of everything for my DSC, wellies, gloves, swimwear, loads of PJS, dressing gowns, slippers etc. We have them every weekend so anything less would be unsustainable. My DP's ex gets child maintenance and sizeable spousal maintenance but they're still my DP's children and when they're with us they're his/our responsibility.

Special clothes from their DM or us that were gifts tend to go back to where they came from but day-to-day clothes move freely between the two houses. She takes the piss sometimes by sending them in school uniform or sports gear so we've gone through phases of losing an outfit a week to hers but it mostly evens itself out. Why should the DC suffer because she's being awkward sometimes? We'd certainly never send them home with dirty clothes for her to wash, she's doing their laundry all week, she's busy, and it wouldn't be fair to send her ours as well!

This issue about child maintenance is daft as well and it's horribly unfair you're having to ask them for what your DC are owed. Is the current arrangement a private one or through the CMS? If it's the latter just get them to check the calculation and make sure the amount you're owed is correct and up to date. While it will make deductions for the children living in your ex's house, if the number of nights he has your DC have changed then you need it to be reassessed. Making comparisons with other people's arrangements probably won't help as there are so many variables, but you should be getting every penny your DC are due and your ex needs to stop being a prick about it.

lalaloopyhead Fri 13-May-16 13:56:20

That is fair enough then Making, its not on to keep hold of things or not replace broken things.

I think I have probably just got so use to providing fairly much 100% for my dc (in every way) that I have become to think of that as the norm!

CantWaitForWarmWeather Fri 13-May-16 14:35:10

I think you've over used "they" a bit.
I get that they are a partnership, but ultimately he is the children's dad and it's just him financially responsible for his children, and if maintenance doesn't get paid or he doesn't pay as much as he should, then it's him who's shortchanging his children, not his wife too. If she is doing things in the background to manipulate him in to paying less, then he needs to put his foot down.
Even the clothes thing- how difficult is it for him to just sort them out, bag them and get them back to you? It's ridiculous. But again, they're his kids and he needs to take responsibility for them including getting clothes back to you. No point in blaming his wife because he'd be the same whether he was single or not.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Fri 13-May-16 14:48:34

I'm not sure that I have any solutions, but I sympathize!

My DS loses half his clothes at his Dad's, it drives me mad. I also get back everything unwashed too, so lose both ways. Luckily it's not very often that he stays otherwise he'd have no clothes left. In the summer he stays longer, sometimes 3 weeks and my DP goesn't give me maintenance for that month. Also drives me mad. But I am so sick of feeling cross about these things that I just ignore them, have more stuff in my life to spend my energy on. He also has a GF who does suck a lot of money out of him, but that's his responsibility.

If you can, I know it's hard, but try not to get cross about it. Create your own good life.

swingofthings Fri 13-May-16 19:52:30

Surely the easiest way is for your to buy very cheap clothes and send them in these so that if they are ruined in the wash there (surely that doesn't happen every time), then it doesn't matter so much?

Frankly, as a resident parent, I think that you are expecting a lot of them. They were washing the clothes (and yes, accidents do happen as I know myself!), then you said you wanted them returned dirty and they obliged. Now because it is a problem for you, you expect them to yet again make other arrangements to suit you. I expect they will tell you to get lost and that would be understandable.

navylily Fri 13-May-16 22:18:00

I've always assumed that as the resident parent it's my job to buy clothes - that's why their dad pays me maintenance. It's his job to feed them etc on the nights he had them.

If your ex used to wash clothes in the past, and you asked him not to, then presumably he's prepared to do so again. Just make sure you don't send anything that can't be washed at 60° or that's particularly valuable.

If they're teens then they're old enough to know to shower themselves. Tell them they smell and should wash at their dad's without having to be reminded by him.

I don't think it works to have separate clothes in each house, especially for teens it's not fair on them feeling that the clothes don't really belong to them.

StereophonicallyChallenged Fri 13-May-16 22:38:43

Teens OP? Surely teens can sort their own clothing out, and if it takes you ages to catch up on washing you need to teach them how to use the machine! Also, teens getting into pj's before coming home is odd too.

In fact, now I think about it, you surely made a typo there?

makingmiracles Sat 14-May-16 00:45:52

Well 2 are pre teens then to be precise and one with "problems" so yes def need to be reminded to wash! Why is having a wash and getting in pjs before home weird? Seriously they have very early mornings on school mornings and as he brings them back fairly late Sunday's that's reasonable in my eyes.
The arrangements have been in place years but the whole washing thing is getting too much. The clothes aren't expensive in the first place but that's not the point, the point is I can't afford to keep replacing when he ruins them/loses them etc whilst I support them and raise them day to day and he only has to for 4 nights a month.

Can't really see how that's asking too much of them/him as I say for 4 nights a month.

swingofthings Sat 14-May-16 07:09:33

The problem is that you want them to adjust yet once again to their way of doing things because it is too much for you. That's not their problem. You've asked for something, they accommodated, the fact you are finding it a problem now doesn't make it theirs.

I'm sorry but you are coming across as trying to find excuses to justify the resentment you feel because of the reduced amount he pays towards maintenance.

My advice is, don't take that downward spiral way as it will only bring on problems to you, but more importantly for your kids. He is paying what he has to pay, if you think it isn't fair, that's an issue with the State has set the rules, not his.

Look for solutions, not troubles. Your kids are old enough to learn to do a wash themselves. There are many items of cheap clothing you can buy that won't shrink and pick all darker colours. You don't have to make this an issue if you chose to. If however you've decided to be confrontational when you don't need to, be prepared to face the consequences.

navylily Sat 14-May-16 07:22:36

You think it's OK to tell a teenager to change into their pjs to be driven back home on a Sunday night? shock

And to tell them that they have to go to their dad's every other weekend, but can't take any of their clothes with them?sad

They're not toddlers ffs who wear whatever you dress them in.

And yes, a child over about 10 should be able to know when they need a shower without reminding.

cannotlogin Sat 14-May-16 10:43:50

Surely the easiest way is for your to buy very cheap clothes and send them in these so that if they are ruined in the wash there (surely that doesn't happen every time), then it doesn't matter so much?

but it does matter. I have similar issues with clothes not being returned until they have been ruined or too small. I spend approximately £60 every 6 weeks on new clothes which fit my children which I only see again when they are unfit for wearing. It is not acceptable - whether they are cheap clothes or not - and is a deliberate attempt to keep some kind of bizarre control over my household and my household finances.

Fortunately, I can afford it. Although god knows, I shouldn't have to.

navylily Sat 14-May-16 11:26:25

I can see why people get upset about these things with very young children, who rely entirely on their parents to return their clothes with them. But I can't see how with a teenager and two preteens you can't just expect the DC to take responsibility for their own clothes. "You left your favourite hoodie at dad's did you DC1? well that was careless of you, you'll have to make sure you bring it back with you next time" Or show them how to put a wash on on a Sunday evening when they get home and make that part of their routine.

And if they do leave some clothes there, then suggest they don't need to pack very many the next time.

swingofthings Sat 14-May-16 12:24:31

£60 every 6 weeks? For how many children? That sounds like a large budget for children's clothing.

You can find cheap but decent things on ebay or charity shops, and Primark is fine for week-ends. Kids don't need to go with tons of clothes and surely it's not that hard to check that things are coming back if it really is an issue. I expect the main items of bother are coats and shoes, and that's not hard to notice if they are left behind.

I agree that a pre-teen/teen can start to learn to take responsibility for their own clothes. Mine were packing themselves by the time they were 8. Yes, the first few times, they were things forgotten, but they quickly learn not to and by the summer, they could pack their own suitcases for holiday.

I'm a resident parent and I have bought things that I didn't see again, or not until they were too small. Instead of making a big fuss about it, it was my cue not to send them in anything that I would be upset about if not returned and put my efforts in teaching them to be responsible for their things.

swingofthings Sat 14-May-16 12:28:29

By the way, it goes both ways. My ex then made indirect complaints that the kids were coming to him in too small clothes tatty clothes. He never said directly because he wasn't paying any maintenance, so he knew what the responsible would be! What he didn't know though is that I too would be annoyed that those were the clothes the kids would pick (more DS than DD), but trying to get them to change into more decent clothes came with a threat of a tantrum. One time I bin a lot of it when he was away and he came back in tears that I had done so and I had to go and retrieve them (thankfully still in the bin).

Then I asked myself why I was making it my battle when he was going to his dad, and that he was free to take it up with them, and use the opportunity to take them once shopping, which happened maybe 3 times in 10 years!

BlueberrySky Sat 14-May-16 14:26:32

Is the amount of washing any more than it would have been if the kids were at home with you that weekend?

I have three teens that go back and forth from ours to their other parents. They go EOW, so about the same as yours. All have a washing basket in their room and they are responsible for putting the dirty clothes in there. They also manage what clothes they take with them and bring back. They have been responsible for their own clothes for the past few years.

If one of them wants a pair of jeans, top or something that they have left, then they have to do without it or arrange with their DF to get it back.

For things like toiletries, PJ's, dressing gowns etc they have a set which lives at their DF, and he pays for them.

A couple of times a year, ex used to give me all the clothes he had accumulated at his. I would sort out what did not fit any more. Now they are teens I do not need to do that.

I think that you need to give your kids some responsibility for packing and sorting the clothes they take and bring back. Also teach them to do the washing too.

Roseformeplease Sat 14-May-16 14:35:29

If the children are old enough, then give them a small clothes budget (not for uniform) and get them yo manage it themselves. Mine get £50 a month for all clothes, shoes, phone, pocket money etc. We don't have school uniform so their clothes are for all week.

They take good care of everything because they would have to replace it.

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