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Cao Advice
#1
Hi

My wife and i seperated 3 months ago , have a 5 year old dependent and she left marital home at first taking daughter then bringing her back some 5 days later and staying for 6 weeks before leaving again but leaving daughter with a loose contact arrangement in place.

I was carer for daughter from 6 months old whilst she pursued a career (35k year ), now earning very good money but left me on benefits, is covering mortgage for now and minimum payments on large unsecured debts but hostility is looming as im feeling reliant on her which feels like control still. Married 13 years and was homemaker the majority of that time. She took two University degrees in that time.

I have all week care she has one night midweek sleepover and fri to sunday 2 weekends of 3 and works full time. Am claiming no maintainence as she is covering bills on debt whilst i have normal household bills (starting to strruggle quite badly )

As no divorce proceedings have started yet am in limbo and seriously considering putting c100 in and going for alt weekends (dont think its fair she hogs so much leisure time ?) holidays split 50/50 i would like that less too but dont know if thats fair to do so. Terrified of getting less access than i have now if it goes to court and really in a quandry wether to just continue as i am now hoping it becomes the status quo which i understand judges are reluctant to change?

I obviously also worry if the house is forced to be sold to cover the unsecured debt (30k) there will only be a few thousand left over and i will feel hard done to moving into the private housing market with benefits whilst she will be debt free on her salary. Obviously i worry then she will make claim for taking over from me as she will be in cachment area for education etc whilst i would be forced to move further afield disrupting our childs routine.


CB  and Tax creds are in my name not hers and i am still in the home where little one was born, legally i think im in a strong position i(i think and the legal advice seems to point at me being primary carer) but she says there is no primary carer , child has two homes and this is shared care, makjes threats of i will lose if court action taken, intimidates me with her full knowledge of the court system.

Opinions/advice very welcome
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#2
Hi singledad49, and welcome.

You are in a much stronger position morally than you think you are. On the face of it, if you can back up your claims of caring for your child in the past and considering the fact you get CB and CTC now your ex should be paying you 15% of her net income as child maintenance if you were to seek that via CMA. You've stayed at home to care for your child whilst your ex worked,presumably as she wanted the career and salary that came with it, whilst you've forgone your ability to earn so your child could have a stable home and upbringing.

Don't be browbeaten by your ex saying she'd win a court case. Mother's don't always get their own way despite them wanting you to think otherwise. If you are properly prepared you don't even need a solicitor to fight your corner. With evidence and confidence you should be fully able to deal with this on your own, combined with some behind the scenes help from people like us and the separated dad's website.

Something to be aware of, if no court order currently in force there is nothing stopping your ex from not handing your child back to you which if the situation between you gets worse is something she might do. By the same reasoning you don't have to hand her over either, which would then force her to take action to regain some contact.

If you were to block contact she wouldn't be able to take it straight to court, she'd have to have exhausted other avenues first. See some of the other posts on this forum to gain extra knowledge of what these steps are.
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#3
Hi thanks for the reply Smile

She works in child protection and if went to court i would also apply to have it taken out of the local jurstriction for fear of Bias and her having lots of contact with caffcass.

Obviously the fact the current loose agreement is in place she has no concerns (even though she claims she will create a case of mental abuse within the family home leading to her having to leave)

Never in 13 years has any complaint been made to any authority or poilice either so i know its hot air but still the threat of it turning into a bickering fest concerns me greatly.

We did attend one Mediation session and she got me to agree to this ridiculous arrangement that i know wasnt worth the paper it was written on but just wanted to get out of there to be honest , I have an FM1 (signed c100 too) Just worried a Judge might think i was being greedy.

Claims she will get older children to give sworn statements i did nothing for my child whilst she worked and they did everything (again if that was the case would her in her role have left me caring as i did without a break?)

Maintainence is a tricky one dont you think whilst she is covering some 450 a month payments on cards plus mortgage at the moment although i am having to stum up around 250 a month from my benefits also to help cover this too , seriously considering enetering an agreement with creditors but am reluctant as it will batter my credit rating for 6 years?


Massive thanks for the advice , means a lot and the solicitors advice has been 700 already and not much real use

What grounds could i possibly block contact on , could you point me in the right direction please?

Morally She loves her very much so doing that would feel harsh but i have to do what is best for us.

I feel kind of reliant and almost blackmailed/controlled by finances and the roof over my head right now

What exactly establishes the primary carer in solid legal terms, can you advise on this? again massive thanks
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#4
The mental abuse angle can easily be disproved solely on the fact she's been able to continue her career and progress accordingly. If she was being mentally abused by you surely there would be some prior history of poor performance at work, medical intervention etc?

Ultimately only you can decide what you think is best, but you're welcome to air your thoughts and concerns on here and we'll offer all the help and support we can

Just remember you're only on your own in this if you choose to be. There is help available, both via forums such as this and other external agencies that exist. For example, gingerbread and fathers for justice.
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#5
So can i just say for instance give an ultimatum of I'm changing this to alternative weekends one weeknight and if you have a problem with that take me to court and sit back and wait?
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#6
If you do that and she agrees, what is there to stop her handing your child back?....give you a clue...absolutely nothing, and then you are the one who would have to fight for access and given her field of work you'd have a fair old battle on your hands.

Sadly in the situation you find yourself it would appear you either have to accept things as they are or stop contact and force her to do something just so you can stabilise your own position. Remember.....no existing order then no legal reason why either of you have to hand the child over to the other parent.

Given what you've written so far, if it got to court a judge would have to give serious consideration of giving you a residence order and your ex a contact order. Nothing is certain except death and taxes, but you've got a better chance of a residence order than most of us.
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#7
So i guess sit back tonight watch this thread and dont make a hasty decision right now Smile

I think given she works full time and i am 2 mins from the school she may have trouble firstly keeping hold of our child and secondly being in the position to be there at the correct times to pick up also without abandoning the precious career
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#8
Just spotted the additional stuff you added to an earlier post.

What reasons could you stop contact?....emotional abuse on her part, which is putting a strain on you and providing a safe and meaningful home for your child.

I'm sure you both dearly love your child, but neither of you can have it both ways.

In terms of giving you a legal definition of primary carer, it would be established by looking at the whole situation overall, not just one fact. However as you get CB and CTC does put you in a very strong position to back up your assertions.

NB...please be aware the information and help I give is based solely on my own experiences and thoughts and should be taken as such. I'm not legally trained, just a doting Dad who's happy to help others as best he can. Smile
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#9
Hi Singledad49 - Firstly the fact you have only been separated for three months, means it is still early days and you are both trying to negotiate your way through a split. Therefore, there are bound to be some teething problems. I'm of the view that you should both try and work together for the sake of your daughter and not pull in different directions. From what I can see, and tell me if I'm wrong, the  access split is fairly evenly matched. Yes, your ex may have more leisure time with your daughter, but if she works full time, then they are the only days she has free (akin to 'weekend dads'). While you should definitely not let her bully you into any agreements, it would be in both of your interests to try and come to an amicable decision and not let it degenerate into a bitter fight. You say you have 'older children' too? I'm a bit confused as you mention your daughter in the first thread and older children in one further down. If you have older children (11+) then they will be able to have a say in who they would prefer to live with. However, I think it is dangerous ground if you start keeping your children without mutual agreement. I personally don't think you have started off on a bad footing for a newly separated couple (apart from her threats, but these could be put down to a knee-jerk reaction) and the more you can keep the arrangements on equal ground the better. The difficulty may come with regards to financial arrangements and the house. However, if it went to court and you are the primary carer, then the chances are a court would rule you could stay in the house until your children ceased being dependants with your ex contributing financially. I suppose your consideration would be whether you can afford to. In your case, I would advise to continue trying to negotiate the way between you, but in order to do so, there has to be a fair amount of compromise on both sides.
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#10
SD speaks wisely, intelligent conversation and a desire to do the best for your kids is always preferable to conflict, both for the effects on the parents and the effects on the children's self esteem in the longer term.

However, given the sphere of work that the ex is involved with, any threats regarding allegations that could be made by her need to be taken seriously. (IMHO) Knee jerk reactions aren't just the preserve of conflicting parents, official organisations can also be prone to this and the ex is in a position where she'd know what to do or say to get the result she wanted.

Rational discussion is always better, but given the nature of things it doesn't hurt to ensure you've protected yourself as best you can.
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