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It doesn't seem fair

11 replies

Eatcabbage · 03/02/2019 13:29

My friend's wife had an affair and then decided, several years later, to leave him altogether, saying she needed independence.
He was devastated, particularly as they had 3 children and he felt it was in their best interests to stay together until they left home.
He was also very sad to inevitably see less of his children and requested he have them 50:50 from the start. His wife refused this, though the difference has always only been one night a fortnight that she has them more. He has repeatedly asked for this to change to exactly 50:50 and each time she refuses.
She gets all child benefits and he pays half of all child related expenses, in addition to having paid her a large lump sum when she left him.
Now she is saying that she wants him to pay child maintenance to her and to back date it by 5 years.
She is not exactly struggling - she has just bought a large house and is mortgage free as far as I know. She has also just been on a £3,000 holiday, (without the children). Her parents are very wealthy and also support her financially. She chooses not to work more than a few hours a week as she says it is too stressful to combine this with looking after children, (the children are all in their teens and one lives away at university), and instead claims benefits.
Meanwhile, my friend does work full time and looks after his children for an equal amount of time during the week, despite having had a total breakdown as a result of what she did to him.
This doesn't seem fair. None of this was his doing and, I may by cynical, but it seems that her refusal of complete 50:50 child sharing is purely financially motivated.
He does have a solicitors appointment booked, but in others experience, what grounds does she have to refuse a true 50:50 split? He just wants her to leave him alone to get on with re-building his life which she destroyed.

OP posts:
millymollymoomoo · 03/02/2019 13:41

2 separate issues here

The 50:50 -if it’s really only 1 night a fortnight difference I’m not totally sure that’s something worth stirring up a load of trouble over

The costs and maintenance. Plug it into the cms calculator. That’s what he should pay to her. She won’t be able to back date a claim.

From your post it sounds like not paying her maintenance is also driving the 50:50 request (I’m sure it’s not but don’t mAke it sound like it’s all about the money)

millymollymoomoo · 03/02/2019 13:42

And if they are teens then tbh it’s orobably largely their choice on where they want to spend time

xzcvbnm · 03/02/2019 15:04

How old are the kids?
How long has the current routine been established?
How were the current arrangements agreed (or prescribed)?

If he takes her to court over it, it will be a) expensive, b) fractious, c) difficult.

She would likely argue the children are settled into a long term routine and changing the status quo isn't in their interests, but is financially motivated. She will also likely say that as she doesnt have a full time job she is best placed to cater for their needs, that she has always been the "primary caregiver" and that he hasn't played as big a role in their lives through choice.

Family courts are notoriously sexist towards the mother in these situations - at least he currently has them for a large chunk of time already, believe me it could be worse.

But I disagree that it's a trifling difference - a day a fortnight over 10 years is, after all, 260 days.

xzcvbnm · 03/02/2019 15:05

Also distance to school, extra curricular activities, etc might also be argued as a factor.

user1493413286 · 03/02/2019 15:18

I’m slightly uncomfortable with how tho gs have been described and him having a breakdown “because of what she’s done to him”. Obviously her affair is awful but presumably he decided to try and forgive her as they stayed together and the fact that she left him is not a crime in itself. I would also say two happy separate parents is better than unhappy parents together although unfortunately it sounds like it’s now just him who is unhappy rather than her.
I know on mumsnet there is a lot of talk about 50:50 child care but to be honest based on professional experience I don’t agree with it and I don’t know anyone in real life who does it. Having said that it seems that essentially that’s what he has anyway.
Anyway she can’t make him backdate the child maintenance; it can only be backdated once a CMS is started and it’s essentially up to CMS and their guidelines if he does have to pay. The fact that it wasn’t his choice to separate and he’s been left so upset by it doesn’t really have any impact on whether the “guidelines” say he should pay or not.

abbsisspartacus · 03/02/2019 15:20

They are teenagers why is he treating them like babies? All court would do is talk to them

user1493413286 · 03/02/2019 15:23

Also if he’s currently paying half of all child related expenses that is surely his maintenance? If she wants to be the main resident parent then those become her responsibility (ie. clubs, pocket money, clothing etc rather than the food he provides) so he could say that he will start paying maintenance but stop paying for those things and probably be about the same in what he pays

WhatASmashingBlouse · 03/02/2019 15:45

How has she been able to buy a large house AND be mortgage free AND hardly work AND claim benefits? This surely isn't true, if that's what your friend has told you about her then he's embellished it.
Most of what you've said is completely irrelevant to the situation and if she's entitled to claim child maintenance from him then she is entitled to it regardless of how upset his is. She's also (as I'm guessing she's the resident parent) fully entitled to all child benefits so I'm not sure why you've mentioned that.

There's 3 children involved here and presumably they are all biologically his. He should be thinking about what is best for them not about how much it will cost him.

xzcvbnm · 03/02/2019 16:24

"How has she been able to buy a large house AND be mortgage free AND hardly work AND claim benefits?"

Why can't that be true? Exactly how my ex wife lives, except she doesn't work at all.

Eatcabbage · 03/02/2019 18:13

Thank you for your answers.
I mentioned the child benefit, as if the split was 50:50 as requested all along, neither would be the resident parent and so would equally be entitled to the child benefit.
As far as I am aware, the house was bought with a combination of:

  • what he paid her as a lump sum when she left
  • she inherited a lot of money early in their marriage , which all went with her (much of it was in the jointly owned house that was sold)
OP posts:
2boysDad · 04/02/2019 12:18

No it's not fair. It's blatantly unfair.

The fact that 1 day a week (or even 1 day a year) can have such a massive financial implication is one of the reason that parents fight like lunatics when they separate.

Your friend has my sympathy.

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