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Access being changed by residential parent

(45 Posts)
SteppingOnToes Tue 03-Jan-17 16:54:01

Before I get a bad reputation for asking the question can I please say that I would be happy with 50:50 residency.

DSC currently stay every Weds and every other weekend from Fri to Sunday evening. DP pays £50pcm more than the amount that has been deemed appropriate. Over the years DP has asked for more access but has been refused as his ex has said that it would result in payments falling and as she doesn't work she would struggle financially. He has accepted this.

Recently his ex has said that she now wants him to have the children for half of the school holidays. DP is of course delighted about this but hasn't thought through the childcare arrangements. We both work full time and if he were to use all of his holidays now for covering the holidays he would still come short on time. The school does not offer a holiday club and his parents have health issues so cannot help with childcare.

Does anyone have any ideas on how we can do this? We cannot afford for him to reduce working hours or take unpaid holiday, to be honest we can't even afford childcare and doubt we would qualify for assistance.

Matilda2013 Tue 03-Jan-17 16:59:15

I know it's not your child but would you consider using some of your holidays? Otherwise he needs to find some sort of childcare i imagine. Do any nearby schools have holiday clubs for at least some holidays?

SteppingOnToes Tue 03-Jan-17 17:06:46

Matilda - it is not up to me to use my own holidays to sort childcare. I'm not comfortable being left in sole charge of children who I have no say in the discipline/upbringing of. As step parents 'we' are repeatedly being told that we have no say, so I'm not sure why anyone would expect me to give up my holidays?

elelfrance Tue 03-Jan-17 17:09:38

How does the resident parent usually manage the holidays ? SAHP ?
There must be other couples that work fulltime in your area that have school aged children, ask around and see what people do ?

SteppingOnToes Tue 03-Jan-17 17:13:01

Elelefrance - RP is a SAHM so does not have to organise childcare. I do not have any local friends who have children and as I have never had to manage childcare myself I would not have any idea where to start.

SteppingOnToes Tue 03-Jan-17 17:14:10

Hit post too soon. I am new to the area so do not know anyone yet.

galaxygirl45 Tue 03-Jan-17 17:18:26

If she's a SAHM, then she's taking the piss expecting their dad to cover half of their yearly holidays when he's working. She must realise that he would have to take unpaid leave if even able to, and it would affect his ability to pay her maintenance?

Matilda2013 Tue 03-Jan-17 17:38:12

I didn't expect you to just depends on the setup of how you and your dp work. I am a step mum and I sometimes use holidays but then I'm also supported by both parents that she has to do as I say as much as them. But no I don't expect you to use them was just checking how you both work things

Matilda2013 Tue 03-Jan-17 17:39:13

And personally SAHP id probably expect to be doing childcare

TataEs Tue 03-Jan-17 17:49:48

look for holiday clubs. i assume it's 6-7 weeks across the year? so possibly 5 weeks of holiday club?
tell the resident parent he is happy to do this, holiday club will cost x for z weeks, he will take 2weeks holiday in the summer, and subsequently he will reduce payments by HALF of however much this is up to the value of the £50pcm he pays on top to cover it. (so say holiday club for the year will cost £500, then deduct £250 from the "extra" £600 a year he gives her, then decide the remaining £350 across 12months) ensuring he keeps his legal obligation to his ex. but childcare is paid for by both parents. is she wasn't a sahm he'd have been paying half all along/taking holiday to cover it... arguably he's had it easy. he's never covered a sick day, never had to pay for wrap around care, never paid a holiday club... all of which he'd have to contribute to if she was working. maybe he should suck it up and pay for it? i dunno, either way i'd present a few option that work for you, and let her review what works for her.
possibly he could do every weekend in the holidays? and 2full weeks in the summer? but she could keep her money as she's covering the childcare?

i don't get 'he'd see them more but he'd pay her less so really he's doing her a favour' attitude, if he really wanted to see them more he'd pay her anyway and see them more... but that's not relevant, just a bugbear.

titchy Tue 03-Jan-17 17:57:41

You do what every other working parent does and source some childcare. There are lots of other sources of childcare apart from school clubs. Child minders, nanny share, au pair, holiday club, camp Beaumont type places, leisure centres etc etc.

Ilovecaindingle Tue 03-Jan-17 18:04:17

This is where the nrp is a piss taker. Step parents have no say on the stepchilds upbringing /discipline etc - but handy when child care is an issue!! And she wants the same money?? Priceless!! Keep the £50 overpayment +a £10 deduction per day less she has them to cover a childminder?

CocoaX Tue 03-Jan-17 18:08:33

If 'you' as a step-parent are repeatedly being told 'you' have no say, and the solution does not involve your holiday time, then suggest to your DP he posts for advice?

50-50 in the holidays is a normal arrangement so I am sure he would get helpful advice. The working status of DC's mother is irrelevant.

Bluepinafore Tue 03-Jan-17 18:15:29

We have my partners children EOW and half the school holidays - always seemed fair. Their mum works 2 days a week and we both work full time. I usually take a week off and do things with them in the day and then my partner takes a week off. The last week they usually go to his mums which they love doing - I suppose if we didn't have that option then we would seek childcare/clubs for that final week.
Must be a solution as others have said, most people with children at school work full time smile

Starla268 Tue 03-Jan-17 18:32:38

I'm a SM and very happily 'give up' some of my holiday to do stuff with my DSD in school holidays as I love spending time with her. DH also takes holiday and we always have some that overlaps for whole family time but taking separate leave allows us to cover most of the holidays without having to pay for childcare.

If I wasn't willing or able to take the holiday then we would use childcare/holiday club type options. A bit of a Google should help you find some holiday clubs locally or alternatively our local areas facebook page is a good place to ask for stuff like that - might be worth a try if you are new to the area.

I'm a bit confused about your reason for not wanting to be left with the kids (not wanting to be in sole charge of kids you have no say in) as surely they are able to behave for any adult looking after them? For example you would expect them to do as they were told by the the adults at a holiday club or a childminder? I don't have parental responsibility for my DSD but I would still tell her off if she did something naughty when with me.

Underthemoonlight Tue 03-Jan-17 19:05:44

I wonder if she's in the process of trying to get back into work hence why she's asked to cover half the school holidays. Most people are lucky if there ex shares the holidays as someone who worked my ex had one week out of 12 weeks. He's now got 2 weeks a year. I paid for the childcare for DS and didn't contribute.

BlueClearSkies Tue 03-Jan-17 20:16:58

I have always shared the school holidays with ex. I used annual leave and holiday clubs. Sometimes I would pay an older teenage sister of my DD's friends to look after DD at my house for the day and pay about £50. There should be lots of options for you.

I would look after DSS if he was at home when my kids were, but no way would I have used my holiday to look after him without my kids.

mrssapphirebright Wed 04-Jan-17 11:20:57

I am confused why your dp/dh is really happy about getting the supposed extra access when you say he doesn't have enough leave to cover the half the holidays that his ex is offering? Surely if the dc go to a childminder / holiday club etc he isn't going to get much extra time with them anyway?

If his ex persists, like others have said, maybe she is going back to work, or wants some more 'me' time extra then if i were your dp then i would just caluclaute the extar nights that dc are with you and reduce the maintenance accordingly.

i don;t think thinking of dc as 'pay per view' but both households shouldn't suffer. Surely the dc would prefer to be with their mum / friends etc in the holidays then being palmed off to a holiday club as dad is working?

Evergreen777 Wed 04-Jan-17 13:48:28

Have a look online for holiday clubs. Or ask in your local mumsnet site (under Local Talk) I'd be surprised if there really aren't any. Or search for local childminders as many of them will do holiday care. Your local council should have a list.

Personally I think if you're a SAHP yourself or already taking leave to care for your own DC then in most situations it would be fair enough to offer to look after the DSC too. But if you work full time and don't have your own DC it would be unfair for you to have to take leave.

Have a look at the dates too. Half the school holidays is about 6-7 weeks in total but some of them include bank holidays, and presumably your DP will be taking the DSC on holiday for some of the weeks so it may not work out as all that many weeks you need childcare for.

SteppingOnToes Wed 04-Jan-17 21:42:34

Thanks for all the suggestions. The whole reason his ex doesn't work is she doesn't want "someone else raising her children". She lives in my DP house (he owned prior to meeting her), rent free to allow her to stay at home. She volunteers one day a week but has no intention of working she hasn't worked since before her eldest was born 24 years ago as she wants to be at home with the kids.

Holiday clubs and time away sound great but sadly he has no spare cash to fund this (not been on holiday in 9 years) and there are no ways of reducing outgoings, other than cutting maintenance based on how many more days he has them which he doesn't want to do.

It's all very confusing as she has been so reluctant to allow contact to the point he had to go to court to get it, yet now she is offering it.

Kids are staying over tonight - first ever mid week stay. His DD sent us out of the room and organised the lounge with loads of pillows and LED candles so we could have a group snuggle on the sofa. DSS5 has been my little shadow, to the point of even helping me hang and fold the washing. I do like having them around and it is going to be lovely having them around more smile

Evergreen777 Wed 04-Jan-17 22:03:57

If he's paying more than CSA levels anyway, and it's more than you can afford, would it be sensible to reduce it down to CSA levels? But don't make it tied to how much you have them. Then you can just say yes to having them more without stress and put the money saved to towards a holiday club. Even if you can't afford to go away, your DP could take some leave to spend some of the holidays with them couldn't he?

SteppingOnToes Wed 04-Jan-17 23:09:33

He won't reduce payments as he doesn't want to see them without. He only gets 2 weeks hols plus bank hols so doesn't go anywhere near covering holidays. He tries to do the right thing financially by them but the cash only goes so far - two mortgages is only just manageable sad

WiseUpJanetWeiss Thu 05-Jan-17 10:57:29

Am I reading this right? He pays the mortgage on the house she is living in rent free, and pays more than the CSA requirement, and she's now expecting him either to take unpaid leave or pay for childcare during the approx. 4 weeks' school holidays he can't cover, yet she chooses not to work because she doesn't want anyone else to look after the children??

Petal02 Thu 05-Jan-17 11:53:43

If she’s a SAHM, then she’s taking the piss expecting their dad to cover half of their yearly holidays when he’s working. She must realise that he would have to take unpaid leave if even able to do, and it would affect his ability to pay her maintenance.

Indeed – sounds like she really wants to have her cake and eat it.

Evergreen777 Thu 05-Jan-17 14:14:27

Sounds to me as if your DP needs to do some thinking about what kind of a father he wants to be - does he see his role essentially as the breadwinner, working as much as he can to maximise the income of his ex, so she can be the main carer of the children and be a SAHM? You say that his ex thinks this is what she should be doing, but does your DP share that view? Or does he want a more equal role, where he cares more for the DC, maybe takes some unpaid leave or cuts his hours a bit to have them more? Doing so would make it easier for his ex to work, but would reduce his ability to earn as much money as possible for them and may damage his employment prospects.

He also needs to discuss with his ex how she sees things. Her views on being a SAHM may have changed with the youngest now being 5 and presumably at school full time. Or maybe they haven't. Yes she can't have her cake and eat it, and nor can your DP. He can't have his kids for half the holidays and spend more time with them, or send them to holiday clubs (which are often fun, as well as being useful childcare) unless he's prepared to cut back his financial support to them - so his ex would have to find work, buy him out of the joint house, or reduce her spending in return for him taking on a bigger childcare role.

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