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1 yr separated but ex is showing true intentions
#1
hi all, 

its my first time on here and only time in this situation so excuse the blurting out.  compared to some this is a gentle scenario but its still doesn't feel good.

I retrospect after we split i should have applied immediately for CSA custody for 3days/nights as that is what i have always wanted.


Everything we arranged previously was done through verbal agreement and I am new to the csa process and looks like we are going down it because my kids are 1 yr old and 4 yr old, both in nursary until the 4 yr old starts school in sept this year.

My ex has been on antidepressants well before we met, and because of her need to belong she always wanted kids (not a good reason but she later told me she wanted 2 kids, and it didn't matter who it.

We split up a year ago (and several times before then when she felt she couldn't cope)..... no violence, abuse or affairs on my side (yes to affairs and mental abuse on hers).

She works 2 days per week and i work full time.

She will only allow me to see them 2 nights per week (because she misses them and threatened self harm otherwise) so i agreed, and till now have paid 80 childcare and half all costs including taking on payments on her old car even though its not worth the fees.

So now she is threatening csa unless i pay £50 per week on top of all other help which I would have to stop all pension contributions to afford it and still be £50 short. 

So my position is:
- i have had to buy and do out a property quick a year ago at massive cost
- i have kitted out a 3 bed house and bought all toys/clothes and essentials 
- i have little to no expendable income

- i have the kids 2 days and nights a week even though i want to see them 3+ and they want the same.  I also pick up and drop off 2-3 times per week outside my normal custody times
- I pay all costs related to them being with me ... i.e. nappies/food/clothes/days out/medicine etc... and survive with no support from ex
- I buy half clothes/shoes/educational
- I take them out every week to museums/educational/fun etc...

Financials
- I have her old car @159 ppm (my credit is v good so it was a favour and not because i was scrounging)
- I pay £80 per month towards childcare plus HALF ALL living costs like clothes/food/days out....etc

She can afford expensive food, a new car, lots of savings and to only work 10 hrs per week because she getsfree healthcare/dental/CTC/WTC/family allowance and related benefits.  She does not earn a lot from work.  It is all because of benefits and money.

I am unfortunately not that lucky as I have had to buy a cheap house in a cheap area (nothing wrong with that as its peaceful and family orientated), i receive no benefits because she has them all even though I have the kids 2-3 times per week and am happy to have them more. 

Kids are very happy at both houses, and ask to goto mums/dads when they know its time.


Is there any advise people can give me on approaching this as if it goes to CSA my ex is prone to lying to get what she wants, so it will be nasty (out of spite she didn't introduce kids to their grandmother because they fell out before they were born).

I am worried that if i dont just agree and play along that this will not only stress kids out but i may lose what i already have.  but on the otherhand, surely I am entitled to half the custody?

Which means should i be fighting this aggressively?

Any thoughts (even if its to say stop being silly and just pay the extra as thats the way the system works)?

STeve
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#2
Hi Steve, welcome.

Sounds like you have a lot of issues rolled up into one. Lets break them down a bit.

Child contact and Child Maintenance are two entirely separate things, although the level of contact will have an effect on the level of maintenance to be paid. Using the link below, put in the relevant figures and it'll give you a sum which you should be handing over in CM to your ex. Remember this is the minimum, you can hand over more if you want and can afford it, but your ex can't demand you pay more than the minimum figure.

https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-child-maintenance

If you can't agree between yourselves regarding contact/residency then the usual route is mediation, and if it doesn't work, or one of you refuses to engage in it then you would be able to apply to the courts for whatever you deemed reasonable. Remember you may not get exactly what you want, just as your ex may not get what she wants if it gets to court. The court's only concern is "the best interests of the children" taking into account all the factors involved.

Now be prepared for a bit of a shock.....Regarding your children you are entitled to absolutely nothing. However your children are entitled to a decent relationship with both parents. A subtle, but important difference. You have responsibilities to your children, but no rights.

Assuming you have PR getting some contact officially wouldn't be too difficult, but it will take time. Whilst the process is ongoing there is nothing to stop your ex blocking all contact with you if she wants to be difficult, so there is always the risk that things will get worse before they get better.

Only you can decide whether or not to call her bluff on the money and only pay the minimum required. Your ex, assuming she gets CB, will already have a certain level of income provided by the state so anything you hand over is extra to what the law says they need to live on.

How do you see your children's future working out? That is what do you consider to be best for them, taking into account all the factors that involve them. How far different are your thoughts from your ex's? Could you compromise between you and stick to it, or is the level of trust so low that neither of you believe the other? If you can discuss it then that's the simplest and cheapest way, but know myself that some ex's just can't manage it so that's when you start getting into the official route.
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#3
(05-21-2016, 02:11 PM)Norfolk n Good Wrote: Hi Steve, welcome.

Sounds like you have a lot of issues rolled up into one. Lets break them down a bit.

Child contact and Child Maintenance are two entirely separate things, although the level of contact will have an effect on the level of maintenance to be paid. Using the link below, put in the relevant figures and it'll give you a sum which you should be handing over in CM to your ex. Remember this is the minimum, you can hand over more if you want and can afford it, but your ex can't demand you pay more than the minimum figure.

https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-child-maintenance

If you can't agree between yourselves regarding contact/residency then the usual route is mediation, and if it doesn't work, or one of you refuses to engage in it then you would be able to apply to the courts for whatever you deemed reasonable. Remember you may not get exactly what you want, just as your ex may not get what she wants if it gets to court. The court's only concern is "the best interests of the children" taking into account all the factors involved.

Now be prepared for a bit of a shock.....Regarding your children you are entitled to absolutely nothing. However your children are entitled to a decent relationship with both parents. A subtle, but important difference. You have responsibilities to your children, but no rights.

Assuming you have PR getting some contact officially wouldn't be too difficult, but it will take time. Whilst the process is ongoing there is nothing to stop your ex blocking all contact with you if she wants to be difficult, so there is always the risk that things will get worse before they get better.

Only you can decide whether or not to call her bluff on the money and only pay the minimum required. Your ex, assuming she gets CB, will already have a certain level of income provided by the state so anything you hand over is extra to what the law says they need to live on.

How do you see your children's future working out? That is what do you consider to be best for them, taking into account all the factors that involve them. How far different are your thoughts from your ex's? Could you compromise between you and stick to it, or is the level of trust so low that neither of you believe the other? If you can discuss it then that's the simplest and cheapest way, but know myself that some ex's just can't manage it so that's when you start getting into the official route.

thanks for the reply.

some really good info and questions as well..

in short we are very different.  the best way to explain it (and in no way an attack), is i am very logical in how i like to think and work through things, where the ex wants to live life like she is on eastenders (and believes thats the best way).

in terms of trust... there is none as i feel i am being manipulated into a position where she gets maximum financial gain and as part of her mania she "has to be the victim", so i am pretty sure that things will get nasty if taken further......after posting this i was called by ex whos mother has been lying to her about the qual of my care with kids.. (i.e. stating i dropped kids off with dirty clothes and not fed etc).... and while it isn't effecting current situation i have told ex i will photo bfast/baths/books before bed etc.... so to defend myself in future...
(her mum and dad split for exactly this reasons 20+ years ago because her mum lied constantly.......)

my ex is the example where she has large disposable income levels due to low outgoings but high benefits payments and since childcare past 15hrs per week is paid by me she is definitely enjoying an easier life. (jealousy is definitely there but feeling i have no rights is more upsetting.

I work in home office and residency entitlement so i know very well the biases that exist when PR and uk benefits uk/citizenship/rights comes into play.

your absolutely right.  i suppose am i fighting for the kids or for myself.... since i can't see physical or mental harm then the fight is money and rights based... and my need/want to see them 3 rather than 2.

lots off things to think about.
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#4
(05-21-2016, 12:21 PM)splreece Wrote: hi all, 

its my first time on here and only time in this situation so excuse the blurting out.  compared to some this is a gentle scenario but its still doesn't feel good.

I retrospect after we split i should have applied immediately for CSA custody for 3days/nights as that is what i have always wanted.


Everything we arranged previously was done through verbal agreement and I am new to the csa process and looks like we are going down it because my kids are 1 yr old and 4 yr old, both in nursary until the 4 yr old starts school in sept this year.

My ex has been on antidepressants well before we met, and because of her need to belong she always wanted kids (not a good reason but she later told me she wanted 2 kids, and it didn't matter who it.

We split up a year ago (and several times before then when she felt she couldn't cope)..... no violence, abuse or affairs on my side (yes to affairs and mental abuse on hers).

She works 2 days per week and i work full time.

She will only allow me to see them 2 nights per week (because she misses them and threatened self harm otherwise) so i agreed, and till now have paid 80 childcare and half all costs including taking on payments on her old car even though its not worth the fees.

So now she is threatening csa unless i pay £50 per week on top of all other help which I would have to stop all pension contributions to afford it and still be £50 short. 

So my position is:
- i have had to buy and do out a property quick a year ago at massive cost
- i have kitted out a 3 bed house and bought all toys/clothes and essentials 
- i have little to no expendable income

- i have the kids 2 days and nights a week even though i want to see them 3+ and they want the same.  I also pick up and drop off 2-3 times per week outside my normal custody times
- I pay all costs related to them being with me ... i.e. nappies/food/clothes/days out/medicine etc... and survive with no support from ex
- I buy half clothes/shoes/educational
- I take them out every week to museums/educational/fun etc...

Financials
- I have her old car @159 ppm (my credit is v good so it was a favour and not because i was scrounging)
- I pay £80 per month towards childcare plus HALF ALL living costs like clothes/food/days out....etc

She can afford expensive food, a new car, lots of savings and to only work 10 hrs per week because she getsfree healthcare/dental/CTC/WTC/family allowance and related benefits.  She does not earn a lot from work.  It is all because of benefits and money.

I am unfortunately not that lucky as I have had to buy a cheap house in a cheap area (nothing wrong with that as its peaceful and family orientated), i receive no benefits because she has them all even though I have the kids 2-3 times per week and am happy to have them more. 

Kids are very happy at both houses, and ask to goto mums/dads when they know its time.


Is there any advise people can give me on approaching this as if it goes to CSA my ex is prone to lying to get what she wants, so it will be nasty (out of spite she didn't introduce kids to their grandmother because they fell out before they were born).

I am worried that if i dont just agree and play along that this will not only stress kids out but i may lose what i already have.  but on the otherhand, surely I am entitled to half the custody?

Which means should i be fighting this aggressively?

Any thoughts (even if its to say stop being silly and just pay the extra as thats the way the system works)?

STeve



It appears no formal arrangements what can be proved are in place, what often causes issues when either party wants to change things, or you can not prove what they was at a later date.

I think you should not of backed down with her threat of Self Harming. The fact she said it, you have grounds to by pass Mediation and go direct to court, under the "Other Conduct" rule.

She is trying to take advantage of you using the children, and I am sure any court will reinstate the first arrangements, 3 nights a week. I would also ask for as much of school holidays as you can do work wise.

Your ex has reduced staying contact only for financial gain, as you have to pay more Child Support.

She can claim all benefits she can, and since Welfare Reforms any Child Support you pay does not count for means tested benefit, therefore she has what the law of the country says she needs to live off. With regards Dental treatment etc, you can still get this if your on a low income. Me and my ex got an exemption card while I was working full time, and getting Working Tax Credit.

She is playing the system by only working 10 hours, as her benefit takes this earning into account, its only a small amount, so Job Centre staff are less likely to get on her case when signing on, or reviewing a support back to work plan.

It is expected for the None Resident Parent to bear the costs of contact (and staying contact) and this is why reductions are made (just if staying contact) from Child Support. Its your ability to pay (income), if you are supporting any children you or a current partner get Child Benefit for, and how much staying contact you have.  This works out a fair inclusive amount for you to pay her, to "better" her position.

Note that your ex is getting help from the state 365 days of the year, regardless on the amount of days the children are with her. It is up to her to provide everything and in this case the state has gave her the funds to do this.

While legally ex partners can not force paying over the calculated amount, often none resident parents will help out with things like,
a, School meals (if they need paying for), Uniform, Trips and any after school clubs.
b, Pocket money paid direct to the child (or put into their bank account)
c, Toys, Games etc (in my case my son outgrew his bike, and my ex claimed she could not afforded to replace it, so I did)
d, Provide clothing (what they keep at their house) for contact, but where is extended periods like school holidays, the Resident Parent should also send some, but ensure it goes back after contact.

She has no right to ask you to pay for shoes, cloths for when with her.

The childcare bill is her problem. The fact is your paying £80, so she can earn about that, so the state reduce her means tested benefit by £65. Your liability is what the calculator says. If she wants to have child care, she pays for it. If she works 16 hours or more, and is using "approved" child care, then Working Tax Credit will pay 70% of the cost. The law of the country does not consider her to need help paying for it when working just 10 hours a week.

You should of ended all joint contracts/bills. If anything at the house she lives in is in your name, for example Gas, Electric then give them notice, and tell your ex, so can arrange to be their customer, or pick her own company. When giving her means tested benefit, the state is providing the cash for this, its not up to you to pay half the bills.

If the car payment contract is in your name, you have to pay it. However, that also means you have title to it (unless the contract states it belongs to them until is paid), regardless of who the "registered keeper" is on record with DVLA.

Take a look at the calculator, http://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-child-maintenance/y  and she how it compairs to what she is asking, based on current 2 nights. Then redo it, taking into account 3 nights a week, and what school holiday nights you want.
Posts made by me are my opinion and any factual information should be checked out. If you do not have a Solicitor, often your local CAB can get you some initial advice.
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