20 February 2018 at 7:37 pm #7910
Hi. I am an unemployed single dad of 3. The children’s mother left home some 6/7 yrs ago now and has now said she wants to have them overnight 3-4 nights a week after I contacted the CSA. We have just had a joint mediation session that did not resolve anything. It now looks to be a court matter which the mediator advised me that I wouldn’t be entitled to a free solicitor and I would either have to foot the bill myself or represent myself in court. Is this right?20 February 2018 at 7:46 pm #7912
Yes, but don’t worry. It will cost you £215 to set that up with the court and then you can represent yourself but it’s not a court of LAW, it’s a family court which considers the case of the children ONLY and is <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>legally binding</span> on both parties so you absolutely don’t need a solicitor. You may find you’re eligible for some legal support for the court costs depending on your income. What you will need before court is a MIAM, which needs a special mediator who can sign it for you. That costs about £100 and you won’t get help with. Once you have that, you fill out the court papers and CAFCASS contact you and start preparing the documents based on your two statements, etc. So, at best £100, at worst £315. But bear in mind that what she asks for how you described it is not unreasonable unless there are other circumstances. They may say only one night a week every fortnight to begin with and see how things develop. When you sign on see if they have relevant benefits to suggest for legal assistance.
Good luck.20 February 2018 at 8:50 pm #7924
Anonymous is right that you could ask her to pay for access (though that might go against you, though equally in this case maybe not). M Friends do charge, not as much as solicitors.20 February 2018 at 9:34 pm #7927
I don’t think Anonymous was saying mum should pay for contact but that if she wants to suddenly change what has been the status quo she should pay the court cost.
I suspect if you have contacted the CMA about maintenance from her she has looked at what brings that down and that is overnight stays with her for the children.
There is nothing wrong with you asking her why she wants to change contact. Also ask your children what they want if they are old enough.21 February 2018 at 7:56 am #7940
Looks like I will have to go down same route to see my son as his mother is blocking all contact. Reason she is blocking is that CMS have recently re-assessed the amount of Child Maintenance I have to pay and there has been a big drop as I do not earn anywhere near what I earned in the past.
Your business, but can you share why the mediation failed? Is there a reason you do not want your wife to see Children or was there a disagreement over which nights children would stay with whom? Or are there travel costs involved?
My understanding is that Courts will base their decision on what is considered best for the Children. If the Children are considered old enough to understand the Courts may take into account their wishes too?
Good luck21 February 2018 at 6:38 pm #7961
Hi. Thanks for all the replies. You guys all seem pretty clued up on all this stuff. Let me fill you in a bit more on what’s happened. The kids mother has had contact all the while. This has varied between 2 and 3 overnight stays a week. Because of the inconsistency of this I suggested that she just stuck to the two nights so the kids and I knew where we stood. Coupled with the Cms contact this didn’t go down well and that’s when the mediator came in. Initially we both had an individual MIAM session followed by the joint session. We failed to see eye to eye during the meeting and nothing was resolved. I had attempted to come to a compromise by suggesting a 1 week 2 overnight stays and the next week 3 nights. This was refused and her initial request for 3 nights each week was increased to 3 to 4. Naturally I declined this and although I was toying with the mediators proposal to 3 nights this was also refused by the mother. So the session was brought to a close by the mediator who advised us on the court procedure and what or what not I was entitled to. Naturally I don’t want this as this would be both expensive and stressful not only to I but for the children too. I have as you see attempted to come to an agreement but mam seems hell bent on getting her own way. What do I do????22 February 2018 at 2:51 am #7969
To Twingirls1 boy,
Seems odd that your ex wife refused a 3 days per night deal? Wonder what is so important about the extra 1 night to make 4 nights per week? Wonder why the mediator did not suggest 3 nights one week and 4 nights the following week? That way both parents would overall have equal time with children.
I not sure if Courts will take into account what was said at mediation as recommendations made by mediators are not binding.
Courts can award costs if they think one of the parents has been obstructive and unreasonable.
Please post the outcome as I may be going down the same route soon.
Good luck22 February 2018 at 8:33 am #7971
Traveller123, I’ve been lead to believe it is unusual to award court costs on family cases as my ex partner has been nothing but obstructive and unreasonable, I’ve managed to obtain a prohibited steps order and I’m currently awaiting CAFCASS assessment for child arrangement order. I’d be interested to know whether costs can be passed?22 February 2018 at 11:12 am #7975
Traveller123. The mediator did suggest the 3 and 4 nights arrangement but I would not agree to this one. The reasons being that I had already provided 2 possible arrangements which mam refused. By agreeing to the 3/4 night I would be just giving her what she wanted with nothing in return. I strongly believe that she is doing this purely for financial reasons and that if I had just sat here and let her continue to pay the small amount of £60 a month we wouldn’t have been to a mediation meeting. Not this year or the next the same as we hadn’t done any previous years. The CSA had forced her to pay almost £240 per month from now on and I believe this to be the true reason for her appeal and not because she wants more time with the kids.22 February 2018 at 11:14 am #7976
Anonymous. I am not currently working so she wouldn’t get much maintenance from me22 February 2018 at 12:33 pm #7977
Also Anonymous. Her shift patterns at work changed 5 times in as many years. From 5 eight hr shifts to 4 ten hr shifts then back and forth to where we are now. This is why I got fed up and suggested just staying with 2 overnight stays per week. She claims that she wants to see them more but never contacts me at any other time to arrange this.23 February 2018 at 5:33 am #8010
Cost orders do not happen often, but in my case I was awarded 2 cost orders. Ex had not prepared her Emergency Application (MPS) for maintenance correctly and all the figures she stated were grossly over exaggerated and not supported with receipts. More importantly judge concluded that there was no emergency as ex was living in Matrimonial home at my cost and she paid nothing even though she was working. I also provided a fully expensed car.
However, the cost orders related to Child Maintenance as opposed to Child Contact which has not yet been resolved. Keep records of all your costs as if your ex is deliberately being obstructive there is an argument for your costs to be paid by ex. No guarantee that Judge will agree, but without records your chances are small.23 February 2018 at 5:47 am #8011
If you are not working and your ex is working variable shifts it would make sense for you to have the children more than ex as you can devote more time.
If your ex is trying to increase her time with children for the sole purpose of reducing maintenance payable to you it makes no sense as the more time she has with children the more she will have to pay herself anyway? Food, days out, extra consumption of gas, electric, hot water, etc.
Child maintenance and contact are separate subjects other than adjustments made to amounts payable for shared care. They can not be traded off against each other. Courts will decide what they consider to be in best interests of children first. If in past your ex has been seeing children for 2 nights per week, but now wants to make it 50:50 she will have to give a good reason.
If you are not working make sure you receive your full entitlements such as; child benefit, child tax credits, JSA. There are online benefit calculators you can use to work out what you may receive.16 January 2019 at 2:11 pm #19748
17 January 2019 at 2:02 pm #19758
- Hi again good people. Been a while since my last post but things haven’t really improved, although I thought they might.
- Anyway, after 2 mediation meetings the court proceedings were avoided. However things soon returned to normal with Promise’s that were made quickly broken. The CSA payments were made but then drastically reduced when the Cms took over. My question is this time is this. Because my ex makes these payments she refuses to pay anything else. All school uniforms and equipment is paid for by me. School bus fares are all paid by me. School trips etc ….you get the picture! She claims that because she pays cm she is exempt from paying for any of the above. Is this right in any way?? She has the kids 3 nights a week now so I would have thought that she had a duty to provide whilst the kids were under her care??
Your ex is paying maintenance through CMS and she has the children 3 nights a week? I take it that the 3 nights are known to CMS?
Usually when 1 parent pays maintenance they are not required to pay any more. Therefore all the monies for school uniform etc comes out of the money you receive from your ex.
Whether she should may morally, that’s another question