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Should teacher Ex have more time with kids
#1
Hi, I haven't seen this question answered anywhere else, but apologies if it has.

My ex and I have an informal 50/50 arrangement during term time.  But she has set a precedent of having them a few extra days over some of the school holidays (although not the summer).  She justifies this by the fact that she is a teacher and is able to look after them more easily than me who has to take time off work, or have the kids with me while I work (I work from home).  They are 5 and 8.

I have never liked this, but I went along with it for a quiet life.  Now I want complete 50/50 over the year.  I suspect she may also be doing this so she can claim child maintenance from me when the spousal support runs out (long story).

I work from home and my life choices mean I'm pretty much always available to have the kids and I resent having to hand them over and potentially pay my ex to have them when I want them and can have them.

Does anyone know if her teacher-status is likely to make the courts rule in her favour regarding an uneven split over the school holidays?

Thanks in advance for any advice,

Mike
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#2
(07-28-2020, 07:54 AM)mikec Wrote: Hi, I haven't seen this question answered anywhere else, but apologies if it has.

My ex and I have an informal 50/50 arrangement during term time.  But she has set a precedent of having them a few extra days over some of the school holidays (although not the summer).  She justifies this by the fact that she is a teacher and is able to look after them more easily than me who has to take time off work, or have the kids with me while I work (I work from home).  They are 5 and 8.

I have never liked this, but I went along with it for a quiet life.  Now I want complete 50/50 over the year.  I suspect she may also be doing this so she can claim child maintenance from me when the spousal support runs out (long story).

I work from home and my life choices mean I'm pretty much always available to have the kids and I resent having to hand them over and potentially pay my ex to have them when I want them and can have them.

Does anyone know if her teacher-status is likely to make the courts rule in her favour regarding an uneven split over the school holidays?

Thanks in advance for any advice,

Mike

Hi, just a thought. Can you not flip it to your advantage and agree to her request, on condition that you care for the children over additional days (whatever number of additional days she would like to have them over the holiday) during term time to support her 'intensive teaching role'. 

This way you avoid courts and come across flexible, non-combative, pragmatic - even optically demonstrating concern for your ex's commitment to her profession.
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#3
It’s just an excuse because as a teacher she gets all the school holidays and presumably wants to make the most of them. It is supppsed to be equal quality time (holidays and weekends) even if it isn’t 50/50.

Teachers do work really hard during term time and long hours so in a way I can understand her wanting more time but a compromise could be good. Eg have a full half term each and a split half term. A week each at Easter and her have the extra few days (it’s usually about 18 day’s at Easter. And 3 weeks each in summer with her having the extra few days. I would suggest this is a compromise. If term time weeks are already 50/50. You both need to have adequate holiday time and the opportunity to book holidays.

I doubt she would let you have extra time midweek but it’s worth a try in lieu of her having the extra few days at Easter and Summer.
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#4
Thanks for your responses. That's a great idea to suggest we redress the balance during term time. If quality time is really what she is worried about she would be contradicting herself if she refuses (which she probably will). At best I will get what is fair, otherwise it will highlight her true motives. I was going to say I'm surprised I didn't think of that, but I'm not surprised. I can't see the wood for the trees half the time with all this!

If the court agrees with her, will I be liable for Child Maintenance payments if there are only a few extra days in her favour? This seems ludicrous to me.

I'm aware that this is a small issue compared to what most are putting up with, but we all have to chip away at the broken system to bring fairness for Dads!
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#5
So at the moment it is an informal arrangement of 50/50 during term weeks. Do you have that in writing in any shape or form? Even if a while back saying which day’s they’d be with you and which with her.

Arrangements are supposed to be in the child’s best interests but also work for the parents as well. Eg if your ex had a job that meant she had to take four weeks leave a year over the summer holidays you could agree that she has first choice if summer holiday weeks with notice by a certain date, with you having two consecutive weeks and all the Easter holidays or something. Ex’s never want to agree to anything if they are difficult, but you can show that you tried to agree something reasonable if it goes to court.

In your case your ex has leave over all school holidays! So there are advantages to her as well in that she can book a holiday in any school holiday period whereas some people have to keep working when their kids are there for a week, or only take holiday weeks at set times etc.

I think you’d need to think carefully before going to court and have mediation first. Ideally you’d come to an agreement mediated by a mediator which could then be drawn up by solicitors and submitted to court as a consent order. You would need a bottom line and if she wouldn’t agree to a consent order it would just be a written agreement- but that can be useful if you ever do need to apply to court.

I think if it went to court there is a risk that they would agree with her having slightly more time in holidays and it being a 60/40 rather than 50/50 but it could still be “lives with both parents” shared care. If you specifically ask for it to be that. It is uncertain. Obviously you’d apply for 50/50 but.

So how much extra time in holidays are we talking about because the children also have a right to significant quality time with you also.

So if she is just taking the extra few days in the summer holidays I would accept that providing the other holidays are equally split. But if she is wanting more than half of all school holidays that is not on.

The standard in court is every other week end, one midweek night and half the school holidays- (two midweek nights and a 3 night week end is then 50/50). But they will take people’s working patterns into consideration.

Another option for shared care can be 4/3 but would probably need to be by agreement rather than court ordered.

So they spend four midweek nights with you and a 3 night weekend with her during term time. But that means she has all the week ends. To make it 50/50 she would then have some extra time in the holidays.

I would think about what you want and what she is likely to agree to but the important thing is that you have an email or something agreeing that the children live with you both 50/50. If it was verbal you could say that in a court application.

The danger at the moment is if it becomes accepted and a precedent that she has more holiday time then it is not 50/50 any more and she can argue that at court.

If you can avoid court it’s better but it has to be workable.

You could maybe write her a polite email saying you wish to draw up a parenting plan for ongoing time with the children and any other arrangements and send her your version to see if she agrees.

There is a very good parenting plan template I have used (and they always ask for a parenting plan when you apply to court although usually you both send your own in - often wildly different- because there is no agreement.

It’s at the bottom of the page on this link and you can download it and edit it so it says what you want. Eg I didn’t like some of the wording and removed some headings and added others. So it fitted what I wanted in a parenting plan. It is actually a useful exercise in looking at things that might crop up in the future. Eg who buys school uniform, whether any Cm is to be paid etc.

The bit I like is it assumes that the children live with both parents.

So at the top you set out that the children live with their Mum every Monday and Tuesday and every other week end from Friday to Monday morning and live with their Dad every Wednesday and Thursday and every other weekend from Friday to Monday. And the holidays are shared equally as follows)

(That then makes it a 50/50 arrangement)

You could then set out the holidays so it’s equal but she gets more time in summer and you get more time at Easter eg.

She is not likely to agree to the equal holidays. But if she is agreeing to the 50/50 term time then it is definitely shared care/lives with because term time is care time and holidays are quality time.

So you could have - May half term with Mother, October half term with Father, February half term to be split equally with changeover midweek, four weeks in Summer with Mother who has first choice of holiday weeks - dates to be agreed by 1st January of that year. Remaining summer holidays with Father with consecutive weeks. The first two weeks with Father at Easter with remaining days of Easter holidays with Mother. The first or second half of the Christmas holidays with Christmas week alternating between parents each year.

All holiday weeks to commence from school on the last day of term and to end on return to school at the beginning of term (that way she can’t take the first week end to make the holidays shorter).

You can have things like agreed bed times for school nights if you want and under finances any agreements over who pays what. Eg Father buys school shoes, Mother buys sports trainers for school, the rest of uniform costs shared equally. School trips up to £200 automatically agreed with the cost shared.

That kind of thing

What the above does is keep it as equal holiday time but her having more in summer and first choice. But you getting more time at Easter.

She isn’t going to agree if she wants more holidays than you. But you can then send her a polite email saying you think discussing it at mediation to reach an agreement would be the way forward. And go for a MIAM. If she refuses to go to mediation then you apply to court and have your parenting plan ready. Which is reasonable.

If it goes to court though she will almost certainly not want it to be 50/50. I am not sure what would happen there if she wants 50/50 midweek but not in the holidays.

Yes CM is payable if it’s not 50/50. Unless you have a private arrangement and that is documented - eg sharing costs and no CM to be paid. But if that is ever not agreed then it would be as assessed by CMS. She would be a bit stupid not to just share costs though as CM could be a lot less.

https://www.separatedfamilies.info/home/...greements/
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#6
Thanks Charlie for your considered response. I've been "scared" of her and what she might do since our split 2.5 years ago. Something changed recently, and I've decided to assert my position and go for what is right. At best I will get complete shared care, at worst I will have a legal document which she will have to stick to (although I understand some of them don't), but I think she will.

I also agree that "lives with both" is important.

Thanks too for the link.
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