Contact and money

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  • #20044 Report



    Not sure where else to turn and feeling a little defeated. My ex wants to change contact arrangements to improve his finances. He pays child maintenance and has our child 3 days a week, which equates to 2 nights. We share weekends, a day each, he has our child from Thursday after school until bedtime on a Saturday and I have our child from bedtime on Saturday until Thursday morning for school drop off. Dad has stated that he no longer wants to pay child maintenance and also wants to be able to claim benefits for our child so wants equal nights. Due to his working pattern, the only way he’d be able to achieve the full 50/50 nights is to have part of my only day with our child, every second Sunday. I’ve refused, but have agreed to add Wednesday nights (so contact will be 3 nights and 3 days) and have offered a considerable reduction in child maintenance ( more than 50% of what I get from him) as he plans to put our child in after school club on this extra night. Dad has refused, saying that he’s a day short of his 50/50 every 2 weeks in my proposal. My child is 6 and struggles with change, so I feel routine is very important and I don’t feel that dad’s reasons for wanting to change contact arrangements is in the child’s best interest. All the communication I receive about changing contact is about money, not the child.

    Dad is a good dad and our child enjoys the time with him, but I don’t think that my proposal to him is unfair, the week would be split on a 4 day 3 day basis and each parent gets a full weekend day with our child. Most importantly, adding the extra Wednesday doesn’t change the current routine much at all and I’m confident that our child will manage the change with very little impact.

    Today I received another email, Dad has decided that we will be following his new rota… It’s a 5 day/ 2 day rota  that repeats on a 4 weekly basis. The rota isn’t a consistent 5 day 2 day rota, sometimes I have 5 days, sometimes he does and there are 2 days fillers in between but it’s not consistent each week. I’m not stupid but I struggled to get my head around the rota, there is no chance our child will be able to follow it considering they have just gotten the hang of the days of the week and which day they are with which parent. Dad has given me a start date for the new rota and advised me the date he intends to start claiming benefits from. He’s also already spoken to school to tell them about the new rota too.

    Needless to say, I’ve messaged back to say I don’t agree with the rota, it’s too complicated for our child and intend to speak to school tomorrow. I’m sure this hasn’t gone down well and I’ll either get another message arguing with me, or he’ll take me to court. Dad won’t agree to any rota that doesn’t give him his 50% so he can stop paying CM and claim benefits, and I won’t agree to any rota that causes too much disruption to our child. I have no financial stake in this argument, as CM is not relevant to my reasons for not being willing to upset our child’s routine for the wrong reasons, for all I care, he could stop paying CM altogether and stop trying to mess with the child’s routine. I feel very despondent about the whole situation, I can’t seem to appeal to his better nature as he is motivated by greed, and this arguing will either continue, which is really upsetting me, or he’ll take me to court to get what he wants.

    I’m not opposed to a more complicated rota, but not at this age, and not for money.

    Has anyone else been to court over such a small amount of contact ( in essence, 1 day every 2 weeks)  and what was the outcome please. I have loads of written communication evidencing that money is the primary reason for wanting to change contact, would that be taken into consideration? I’m so sorry for the lengthy message, and many thanks to anyone who made it to the end!

    #20046 Report



    I have no experience of going to court over one day, but I do have experience over managing a 50 / 50.

    My erason for wanting 50/50 is so I have as much time as possible with my children.  The CM side of it was secondary but also good for me as my ex was a liar and a cheat, so I didnt really want to subsidise her.

    Anyway.  After a few discussions and the fact the children did not want to do a week on, week off etc… we arranged a rolling 2 week schedule which meant 4 nights one week, 3 the next, which the children 12&9 were very happy with in the end.

    So week 1 was Monday Wednesday Thursday Saturday, week 2 was Tuesday Friday Sunday.  Each Sunday either party dropped the children off at 5pm.

    I know this may not fit or work for all, but for me, it was then no more than 2 nights away at once and we each got a weekend.

    I think he has no right to call the shots, you have just as much of a say especially as they are with you in this routine now.  If you dont want to change he would have to go to a mediator first and then through the courts.  Obviously you have said the money is not the issue, but if he gets 50/50 then CM becomes zero and if there is any child benefit claimed and only one child, then the Child benefits Agency would decide who that went to.

    He sounds like a bit of a bully and quite controlling.


    #20048 Report


    What does your child want?

    #20073 Report


    My eldest of 12 is now living with me permenantly but that is due to his mum’s behaviour.  At first he wanted to do 50/50.  My youngest of 7 at the time, didnt want to be away from either parent for more than 2 nights and that has been the same since.

    #20090 Report


    Thank you for your replies, really appreciate you taking the time to comment. Our child is only 6 and finds comfort in routine. I’ve not asked directly what they want as I feel they are too young to understand fully the implications of any response they might give. I have email after email from dad saying that he doesn’t want to pay CMS anymore, so therefore he should have 50% nights so he doesn’t have to. All our communication since he’s broached this topic has been financial from his side in nature, and I have only spoken from the child’s perspective. I feel we’re never going to reach an agreement as we have 2 very different objectives but the constant arguing is just so wearing. He did take me to mediation but then decided he didn’t want any further sessions after the first one as he said we could sort it between ourselves. It was only later I found out that he stopped mediation because he felt the mediator was biased towards him as she didn’t think him wanting part of my only weekend day every fortnight was fair. I am trying to stand my ground, I’ve offered a compromise by adding a night which I think my LO will cope with, and a huge reduction in CM, but it’s not enough. He won’t compromise and I suspect he’ll drag me to court. Not looking forward to that stressful process at all and I’ll fight tooth and nail to protect our child’s current routine, which dad did admit in mediation, works very well for our LO! I have nowhere else to go with this for a resolution so I’ve decided to just wait dad out and see what he does. My compromise is still on the table and I’ve invited him again to consider this as an acceptable option, but it’s unlikely he’ll go for it and I’m wearing myself out by worrying about what he’ll do next.

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