I am a divorced father of 2 fantastic kids, 6 and 9 yrs old. We’ve been split with my ex (she) for around 4.5 years now and divorced for 3 of them. The problem I am having is knowing the best course of action in relation to childcare and work commitments. We currently have a 50/50 shared care family based arrangement, so there is no maintenance payment. I pay for childcare (mainly so my ex can work) and bits and bobs for the kids as and when, so really its not truly 50/50 in that sense. She works but is on a much lower income than me, although I am not earning that much to be splashing cash as it were.
I can work away from time to time with my job and she is demanding that I pay her for the time I am away, her loss of earnings. I’ve come up with compromises (re childcare plus loss of earnings for a few of those hours), even suggested a week on week off scenario, which would give us both space to work. She will not budge though and is very difficult about the whole situation. She wants the whole money. She has recently started working strange shift patterns in her job and, from what I know, doesn’t really work much in the day. Without going into too much detail, this has been my job for the last 14 yrs and I love what I do.
We’ve tried mediation a couple of times and I am trying so hard to not take it down a legal route if I can.
Anyone been in a similar situation and can give me some words of advice.
Apologies in advance if this is a slightly harsh response, but:
As a single mum with shared care of my kids, I don’t expect their dad to look after the kids at times they’re set to be with me. If I can’t care for them myself I do what most single mums have always done: call in help from friends, neighbours and family when possible, and pay for childcare when not.
You mention your ex is on a lower income than you: I have no idea but I wonder, if she’d spent the past 14 years building her dream career full-time would that still be the case? The comparisons you draw should not even be relevant to the question of how you take responsibility for your childcare.
You pay for childcare mainly so that mum can go out to work, have I got that right? And aswell as paying for childcare mum now wants you to pay her for loss of earnings should she be looking after her own children to help you do your job like you help her do her job? Sorry but she cannot have it all ways. She needs to show some flexibility and if you did go down the legal route that’s what the courts would expect from both of you. If she is not going to be flexible and work with you on these issues in your situation I would be taking the stance of only paying for the childcare that I need for my children and not covering the cost of childcare for my ex to go out to work. That would be something she would need to work out for herself. If she is on a low enough income she will be able to claim help towards the costs of childcare.
As far as you needing childcare for when you work away, like Red23 has said, call on family and friends to help out if you can.