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Don’t give up.
#1
Hi all.

This forum has kindly helped and advised me over the years so I wanted to post a quick update to say after a tough few years I have finally been awarded shared care of my children. My ex (like many) tried every trick in the book to unfairly swing things in her favour, she would create horrible lies firstly to gain access to legal aid, and then fabricate pure nonsense to try and make CafCass and the courts look dimly on me as a person in a pathetic hope it would sway their decision.

It was a horrible time because there is an unfair bias that women/mothers are always right and us males/fathers are liars and perpetrators, but thankfully I kept to facts, I kept records and copies of everything, I focused on what is best for my children, and the courts saw through her attempts to lie away my access.

Keep strong and never give up, we deserve to be our children’s lives and the spiteful mums that try and hinder that should (in my opinion) face charges of child cruelty because that is what it is, keeping children from their parents because your bitter is using them as a weapon and it’s disgusting.

Onwards and upwards now for me, and I wish you all the best with your cases.
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#2
I'm really glad to hear this. I'm much newer to the forum that you.  My ex hasn't quibbled about shared care and we have an informal arrangement in place.  We cooperate, are flexible and we try to help each other because life is tough.  To be honest, she wanted more freedom in her life so I'm not surprised she's relaxed about it. And I know a few single mums that get virtually no help from their ex partners/husbands and they are miserable because of it.

So I'm genuinely intrigued.  Why do so many women want to limit or control the time that their kids have with their dads?  Is it purely cynical, i.e. for more maintenance or benefits?
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#3
(01-21-2019, 01:34 PM)Fatcat1980 Wrote: I'm really glad to hear this. I'm much newer to the forum that you.  My ex hasn't quibbled about shared care and we have an informal arrangement in place.  We cooperate, are flexible and we try to help each other because life is tough.  To be honest, she wanted more freedom in her life so I'm not surprised she's relaxed about it. And I know a few single mums that get virtually no help from their ex partners/husbands and they are miserable because of it.

So I'm genuinely intrigued.  Why do so many women want to limit or control the time that their kids have with their dads?  Is it purely cynical, i.e. for more maintenance or benefits?

From what I can tell, the ones that do try malicious attempts to stifle contact with lies and other tactics do so for:
  • Revenge. No matter how good their life might be, they simply can’t allow the father to also move on.
  • Money. It’s a cold hard fact that due to the rules of child maintenance if they can restrict the number of nights a child stays over then they get more money.
Either of the above is putting their feelings ahead of their children’s needs, and that for me is an abusive parent. Sadly, although our law has come a long way and us Dads do stand a better chance than ever before, we do still have the deck stacked against us because women can exploit many loop holes by simply lying to get an advantage.

For me the law should be changed that says:

Any parent with parental rights automatically has legal rights to shared care on separation. If shared care cannot be arranged without negatively impacting the children due to work or accommodation, then you work backwards to what can be achieved. However, if shared care can be achieved further down the line all parents have that automatic right.

No one (other than those with certain criminal convictions) should have to legally fight to gain access to their children.
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#4
Yes, I'm inclined to agree with you.  50/50 should be the default starting point where there are no concerns for the safety of the kids or either parent.  I see my kids less than I used to through no fault of my own, other than my relationship failed, and that was because my partner never truly wanted to settle down. It just wasn't her thing. I didn't want to see less of my kids and they didn't want to see less of me.

That said, when I am with my kids it's a full-time job so I do need my evenings and weekend off or I'd have zero life of my own.  50/50 just about feels like it's working for me.  I don't know what my ex thinks.
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#5
Hi Goetia,

This is great news and I am ever so pleased for you. I really liked your post as it has given me some hope that things are slowly changing and we (men) are slowly getting more rights. Its crazy to think that's its not equal in this day and edge.

I would like to ask you a question in regards to what top tips you would give us Dads that are just about to embark on this journey? Is there anything that you see as very important? Or maybe something you wish you had done that might have made your journey easier?

Once again - congratualtions. It seems like you put in the hard work and have been rewarded accordingly.

Chester
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#6
(01-22-2019, 11:03 AM)Chester Copperpot Wrote: Hi Goetia,

This is great news and I am ever so pleased for you.  I really liked your post as it has given me some hope that things are slowly changing and we (men) are slowly getting more rights.  Its crazy to think that's its not equal in this day and edge.

I would like to ask you a question in regards to what top tips you would give us Dads that are just about to embark on this journey?  Is there anything that you see as very important? Or maybe something you wish you had done that might have made your journey easier?

Once again - congratualtions.  It seems like you put in the hard work and have been rewarded accordingly.

Chester

Thank you, Chester.

These are the types of things which I’d recommend:

1. Stay calm. This one is very hard when lies are being said about you, but it is vital you never lash out or attempt to play their game, the courts like to see parents who put the children 1st and do so in a sensible way.
NEVER let your children down. No matter what you MUST keep to any agreement which is in place, never agree something you can’t do because the courts will look dimly on you if they see you have failed to turn up, or cancelled access with your children. Not to mention the impact it has on your kids.
2. Only communicate via text or email. It is important you have and keep a record of all communication, evidence is key. If you do make an agreement in person face to face, follow it up with an email as soon as possible to reconfirm the agreement.
3. Don’t respond in anger. Bit like above, but if you get something you don’t like, stop, walk away, calm your mind. When you feel more centred draft a response and then send both the original message and your response to someone you trust who is honest, ask them to make sure what your saying is unemotional and factual with the focus on what’s best for the children.
4. Pay. Only pay what child maintenance tell you to pay, but always ensure you do pay. The courts look very dimly on those that do not financially support their children. Go half on things outside of child maintenance such as school trips etc if asked, but resist full payment unless you can clearly afford it over and above your ex.
5. Don’t settle for poor access. The courts are a tough slow process at times, but go for the maximum access you can actually support. I was lucky as my employment allowed me to play with my hours to do shared care, but if that can’t be done, look at what you can do and go for that because you have every right as their father to be with them as much as their mum.
6. Be part of the children’s school and activities. Not only does it help you deal emotionally feel more part of your kids’ lives after separation, the children will love it, and the courts definitely love fathers who take time to go to parent’s evenings, sports day etc. Remember you have a right to be there, never feel as though you do not, and speak to the headteacher first if you need to as most are supportive and understanding.
7. Keep records. As much of a ball ache as it can be, record and keep evidence of everything, emails, texts, lateness by the mother, things that happen and why, detail everything. The courts do not always want to see this evidence, but it helps you with the next and final one:
8. Notes for court. Go prepared. You need to be calm, polite, and well dressed in court, that should be a no brainer. However you should also where possible make meticulous notes to support your statement, and in defence of hers. By being prepared you will not get flustered as easy and will show you take this seriously and are focused on the children.

Sorry its long but hope it helps
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#7
I've made the mistake of overpaying on maintenance by just over £100pm.  My costs are about to increase and I want to back out of it.  I have always identified this as an extra amount and warned her a couple of times that it isn't forever, but I'm still worried about it and am not looking forward to telling her. Even then, it's arguable that I'm overpaying because I cover school lunches. She is meant to cover clothes.  We go halves on everything else, just about.
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#8
(01-22-2019, 12:02 PM)Fatcat1980 Wrote: I've made the mistake of overpaying on maintenance by just over £100pm.  My costs are about to increase and I want to back out of it.  I have always identified this as an extra amount and warned her a couple of times that it isn't forever, but I'm still worried about it and am not looking forward to telling her. Even then, it's arguable that I'm overpaying because I cover school lunches. She is meant to cover clothes.  We go halves on everything else, just about.

I was paying ‘an amount’ by way of mutual agreement, but was asked for more. I was happy (ish) to pay the increase because at the time money was ok for me, but due to a few immediate expenses asked for the increase to be delayed by 2 months. Next thing I heard from Child Maintenance because she started a case on me, however it backfired because she ended up with less than the original informal agreement.
 
I would suggest you call CMS and go through your agreement and access so they can calculate you a figure, at least that way your know that’s the min you should be paying. As for other things like school dinners etc that is at your discretion, but under the rules of CMS you should only pay when they are under your care, as the figure they calculate is to cover/support those costs when they are with the mother. School trips and activities are different again, but I find splitting the cost as the fairest way.
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#9
Thanks Goetia.  

These are great tips - I have actually printed them off.  The staying calm one has taken me some serious amount of time to master!  Its really difficult when you are filled with emotion and upset.  I think I have nailed it now.   I actually get some (sick) enjoyment out of watching my ex get stressed whilst I remain perfectly calm!

Thanks again brother.
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#10
(01-22-2019, 01:22 PM)Goetia Wrote:
(01-22-2019, 12:02 PM)Fatcat1980 Wrote: I've made the mistake of overpaying on maintenance by just over £100pm.  My costs are about to increase and I want to back out of it.  I have always identified this as an extra amount and warned her a couple of times that it isn't forever, but I'm still worried about it and am not looking forward to telling her. Even then, it's arguable that I'm overpaying because I cover school lunches. She is meant to cover clothes.  We go halves on everything else, just about.

I was paying ‘an amount’ by way of mutual agreement, but was asked for more. I was happy (ish) to pay the increase because at the time money was ok for me, but due to a few immediate expenses asked for the increase to be delayed by 2 months. Next thing I heard from Child Maintenance because she started a case on me, however it backfired because she ended up with less than the original informal agreement.
 
I would suggest you call CMS and go through your agreement and access so they can calculate you a figure, at least that way your know that’s the min you should be paying. As for other things like school dinners etc that is at your discretion, but under the rules of CMS you should only pay when they are under your care, as the figure they calculate is to cover/support those costs when they are with the mother. School trips and activities are different again, but I find splitting the cost as the fairest way.

Thank you.  Great advice.  I'll put that on my list of things to do.
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