Joint custody to avoid payments

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  • #19718 Report



    My ex is taking me to court to fight for equal custody of the kids, he has threatened this in the past and is proceeding now. On both occasions he has made it clear that he is doing this to reduce his payment to me and gain a greater share of our joint assets. On the first instance I backed down and he let child custody issue go. This time I am not backing down and he is taking me to court.

    He currently has the children 2 nights a week and it works well, I have never refused a request for him to see them more (until now) but he has never wanted to. In the holidays he takes 2 weeks off a year to have them but takes a further 4 weeks off and doesn’t see them at all. This has all been his choice.

    It is clear that the only reason he wants equal share of time is for financial gain. Will the courts see through this? Has anyone been through a similar thing. I recognise the importance of them having a good relationship with their dad but in the beginning he did abandon them and it has taken a long time to get to an arrangement where he sees them regularly and the children are happy.

    Any thoughts would be welcome, I appreciate it is a sensitive subject but I am not trying to deny him access to the children and I have been willing to take a lot less financially than I am entitled to (both in terms of assets and monthly payments) but as he keeps withholding maintenance whenever he feels I ‘need to be taught a lesson’ I have been forced to go through CMS which means he has to pay more than before. He has been open about his motivation.


    #19754 Report


    Thanks for responding. Answers to each point are

    1- Yes, last year he had them 93 days and he wants to move this up 182.

    2 – I don’t have a record of him refusing contact but that was quite a while ago so not sure if it would carry much weight. I do have written records of me suggesting he has them more in the school holidays and him declining. I also have a record of all his cancelled and moving around his nights with the kids.

    3 – As for him only using 2/6 weeks of annual leave to spend with the kids we have never actually had a discussion about this but he books holidays without the kids and tells me he can’t have them (which there are records of). Him not having them in the holidays has never been a logistical issue as I have to commit to childcare 52 weeks a year whether he has them or not (although this will change when they are all at school).

    3 – The divorce proceedings have just started so nothing has been settled. We have left it quite late, wishing I had sorted earlier!

    Do you think he would get the 182 days custody a year or close to that? The two nights a week work well, I don’t have a problem with him having them 50% of the time in the school holidays but the sleepovers during the term time can be quite disruptive.


    #19759 Report


    Dippy, it’s worth pointing out to him that if he has half custody for 182 days, he will pay for childcare on those days, so 6 weeks school holiday cover per year, afterschool clubs, food, clothes etc. So he may find himself worse off. He will have to provide clothes, toys, bikes, food, holidays and shop for all their requirements. He will also have to take time off when they are sick or have inset days.  And I’ve never met a child minder who will take a sick child so he has to be prepared to miss work at no notice. Can he do that?

    He really needs to understand the reality.

    #42136 Report



    I am in a similar situation now. How did it all plan out for you please?


    #42191 Report


    I had this at the beginning. My ex walked out a couple of weeks before we were due to go on holiday. The day before the holiday (I still went with our child) he advised me our child would live with him when we returned. The reality was it took him two months to have our child overnight and a further 5 months to actually get a regular overnight contact pattern. The delay was so he could have holidays. It lasted 3 months before he dropped his weekends for another holiday! He too still takes weeks and weeks off when he doesn’t have our child so he can have child free holidays.
    Well done on keeping all the records. I’d hope he will be seen through and that this is all financially motivated. I think it will help to demonstrate how the sleepovers will be disruptive during term time (is he further from school, after school commitments, etc) Good luck!

    #44906 Report



    I haven’t logged on in a while but seen some interest in this post via posts and DM’s.
    This all worked out in the end. The records helped, the courts prefer not to rule for you and encourage you to come to an agreement. They stated that they felt my concerns were legitimate and my proposal was fair and asked us to see if we could work something out. Them saying that helped enormously and my ex backed off. I know not every story ends like this.
    good luck to anyone else in the same boat.

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