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MOTHER NOT STICKING TO SHARED CARE
#1
Hi,

Final court order was agreed by consent in October for a shared care arrangement which is nearly 50/50 overnight stays. In the last month the mother has done quite a few things that I think are outside the spirit of shared care and I believe she is doing these things to get back at me. She has:

1. Applied for our 4 year old daughter to attend a school without my consent and against my wishes. She kept this from me. I only found out from the council. They subsequently suspended her application because she doesn't have the legal right to make a unilateral decision.

2. Despite agreeing in writing to make a contribution to nursery fees if I took on the direct debit payments (which the nursery has just introduced as mandatory) she has refused to actually pay me anything and I'm stuck paying the whole lot.

3. It was agreed that my daughter would spend christmas eve/day morning (the first since separation) with me and her mother would have her in the afternoon to open a second lot of presents and have dinner. When I picked my daughter up on christmas eve from her mother I found out her mother had told her it was christmas day on the 24th and the 23rd was christmas eve so she had had a full christmas with her. When I tried to tell my 3 year old it wasn't christmas yet she became confused and had a full on melt down which ruined christmas eve.

4. Last week I agreed to change our schedule so her mother could take my daughter to visit her parents. There is no requirement for me to do this but did so because I thought it was in my daughter interest. I subsequently found out she had lied and was actually taking her away for a week with her new boyfriend whom my daughter has not met yet. She has only been with him for a couple of months and by her own admission only see him twice per month. She did not discuss this with me and lied about it when I asked.

I know she is doing this out of spite but I don't know whether there is enough here to go back to court and say she is not sticking to the shared care arrangement. Any advice on what I can do would be massively appreciated.

Thanks
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#2
No, this is the sort of stuff the courts expect you to sort out between you. Would it be possible to mediate with her over this?
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#3
I think obviously she is not playing nice. But that is why shared care is not easy with a difficult Ex. My advice would be to expect that she will be difficult and try not to get too wound up, as long as it doesn't put you in a disadvantage contact wise.

1.she couldn't change the school, so that is a lesson for her.
2. not sure what you could do, as it is a financial issue, and breach of contract. other than trying to reminding her of the written agreement. May be threaten cancelling the direct debit might work, or may be some sort of civil action as a last resort, but I have not idea about the legalities.
3.very crafty of her. Try to not upset yourself, but I think you are gonna have to learn to accept she will play games and not let it get to you.
4.you agreed with the change in contact in this instance and what she does with her child (as long as there are safeguarding issues) is up to her. the fact she lied to you is irrelevant and you would do well if you to completely ignore what she does with her life , unless that is you have serious concerns about your child when with her.
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#4
" I believe she is doing these things to get back at me." Sounds like she is - maybe just try and ignore her as long as child keeps coming as she's supposed to.
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#5
Go to the small claims court if she agreed in writing. What are these fees? Are they for extras rather than actual nursery costs?

If she gets benefits and this is an approved ofsted nursery she can get help with up to 70% of costs of nursery fees (not extras)

That was NOT a nice thing to do at Xmas but it is outside the scope of the contact order.

Now that you have seen the kind of things she may do you should be always prepared for similar incidents and it would be best to get yourself into a position where it doesn’t upset you or you simply just don’t react. Reaction is what they want. What matters is your contact with your child above all else.

If she does the same again next Xmas you’ll be ready for it, if she wants you to pay for something and she’ll pay you back or pay a percentage obviously you’ll say no so you’ll learn from these things too.
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#6
I would say it isnt enough to take it back to court at this stage. Courts want to see you sort things out between yourselves.

It would need to be a serious breach for it to be considered. I wouldnt be in a hurry to do her any favours again swapping days as she lied to you( she would need to earn trust back)

Xmas is over now but you may need to consider going back to court nearer the time if she carries on to have it put in court order.
They stop you seeing children over xmas once they normally continue doing the same thing on a yearly basis.

Log everything down she does that she shouldnt but remain calm towards her at all times as hard as it may seem
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#7
(01-16-2018, 09:30 PM)Pdaddy Wrote: Hi,

Final court order was agreed by consent in October for a shared care arrangement which is nearly 50/50 overnight stays. In the last month the mother has done quite a few things that I think are outside the spirit of shared care and I believe she is doing these things to get back at me. She has:

1. Applied for our 4 year old daughter to attend a school without my consent and against my wishes. She kept this from me. I only found out from the council. They subsequently suspended her application because she doesn't have the legal right to make a unilateral decision.

2. Despite agreeing in writing to make a contribution to nursery fees if I took on the direct debit payments (which the nursery has just introduced as mandatory) she has refused to actually pay me anything and I'm stuck paying the whole lot.

3. It was agreed that my daughter would spend christmas eve/day morning (the first since separation) with me and her mother would have her in the afternoon to open a second lot of presents and have dinner. When I picked my daughter up on christmas eve from her mother I found out her mother had told her it was christmas day on the 24th and the 23rd was christmas eve so she had had a full christmas with her. When I tried to tell my 3 year old it wasn't christmas yet she became confused and had a full on melt down which ruined christmas eve.

4. Last week I agreed to change our schedule so her mother could take my daughter to visit her parents. There is no requirement for me to do this but did so because I thought it was in my daughter interest. I subsequently found out she had lied and was actually taking her away for a week with her new boyfriend whom my daughter has not met yet. She has only been with him for a couple of months and by her own admission only see him twice per month. She did not discuss this with me and lied about it when I asked.

I know she is doing this out of spite but I don't know whether there is enough here to go back to court and say she is not sticking to the shared care arrangement. Any advice on what I can do would be massively appreciated.

Thanks

If your ex gets the Child Benefit and therefore Child Tax Credit, cancel the direct debit for nursery fees. Inform them that its her bill.

As far as the law is concered, you pay Child Support, what is considerd to be a fair contribution towards her normal day to day costs, as well as having the costs when the child is with you. 

In effect, your paying twice for the same thing.
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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#8
Thanks to all of you for the brilliant advice. Really helpful. I have a few comments:

Mediation: I tried to arrange a meeting with her to discuss these things but she point blank refuses to talk about anything. She does what she wants and I have to deal with it. How can a court expect the parents to sort things out if one keeps doing this and refuses to talk or compromise?

CMS: I don’t pay any CM because we have near enough 50/50 shared care. She has also had her benefits suspended because HMRC don’t believe she’s entitled to child benefit. They are considering if I am the prime carer given that I take care of EVERYTHING else.

Court order: Christmas is in the court order and it was agreed that this year was with me and next is with her. I feel like she has reneged on this so, as far as I’m concerned next Christmas will be with me as well but there will be no split time so she can’t do what she did last year.

Nursery: The small contribution she paid was for core hours. I paid everything else for any additional hours.
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#9
If she refuses to discuss anything at refuses to attend mediation what are my options?
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#10
The fact that she spent Christmas Eve and Day with you, regardless of her Mother telling her Christmas had already gone, is not something that is a breach of an order as she did come for Christmas. As your daughter gets older she will know things like that aren't true (ie being told 23rd and 24th are Christmas or whatever). I wouldn't sweat over that one right now.

Even if she's not entitled to child benefit, who gets the child tax credits? All parents get those for up to two children. I don't think they split them between two separated parents, so one of you will get them presumably.

I would say whoever gets the child tax credits should pay the bulk of the nursery fees or it should be shared 50/50. Meanwhile I would write to the nursery and inform them you have amended your direct debit to x amount (the amount you agreed to pay for) and they should bill the remainder to child's Mother, as that is the agreement. How much difference does it make? Between paying the full amount or the amount if she contributed?

Agree - don't agree to adjust or swap dates again. She is entitled to go where she wants with who she wants, but she got your agreement by saying she was visiting her family, presumably thinking you wouldn't agree if she said she was going on holiday with a boyfriend. Or did she visit her parents as well so it was a sneaky way of doing both? I don't see why a visit to family needs an adjustment of dates anyway - she can go in her own time.

I would stick to the arrangements without such things now, and only agree a change in exceptional circumstances (eg a family wedding or funeral) or anything that is in the order already (eg a one day adjustment for a parent's birthday or whatever).
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