I am about to contact my solicitor again regarding my ex''s responsibility for collection and delivery of our daughter after his contact every second weekend.
For the past 2 years, as per a court order, my ex has picked up our youngest daughter from my house every second Friday (he doesn''t want contact with our elder daughter - don''t get me started on that one:angry: ) I then make the 160 mile round trip to go and collect her on the Sunday.
My ex has his own business and claims he only earns £34 a week and so is supposed to pay £20 a month through the CSA, which he only ever pays when I phone the CSA to chase him! I am spending £60 on fuel every month going to collect my daughter after his contact and I have now decided that enough is enough. He arrived to collect our daughter in a brand new BMW last week - on £34 a week, really???
I have been going along with this arrangement for the past 2 years because I don''t want the relationship my daughter has with her dad to break down like her sisters did but I am sick of being taken for a mug! I am raising 2 kids on my single wage - he sopmetimes pays the £20 a month but other than that he pays for NOTHING, no school trips, no clothing, no shoes, no lunch money, NOTHING!
I have asked him to pay me the £60 for fuel and I will keep this arrangement in place but he ''declined'' this offer - I won''t repeat his actual response!
Is there any way I can get this sorted without going back to court to change the order? I have been putting off dealing with this as I know it is just going to be a complete nightmare (as everything usually is where he is concerned) Also, I don''t qualify for Legal Aid (or at least that is what I have been told) as I earn just above the limit to qualify. He on the other hand, appears to be able to claim Legal Aid and so I have much more to lose by going back to court - I am still paying off an £8000 solicitors bill from the whole residency/contact/divorce fiasco!
Both parents are responsible for ensuring contact is facilitated, which is what is happening here.
As I understand it, the issue for you isn''t the actual contact arrangements but the expense involved in collecting your daughter every other Sunday? I would think that such expense is almost unavoidable for both of you, and that you have almost equal travelling expenses. It seems (to me) to be unfair that one parent should be entirely responsible for all the travelling costs.
child maintenance is a contribution towards the daily costs involved with children, and would cover the things you have mentioned: shoes, lunch money, clothing etc. Additional extras such as school trips can be shared by mutual arrangement, but the bottom line is that he is not required to pay any more than the CSA rate. If collection of the CSA money is an issue, then you can ask them to collect the money directly from him, which they will then pass on to you.
In Scotland, courts prefer parents to either work out an amicable arrangement, or with the aid of mediation where required. As your issue is over money rather than the actual contact arrangements, I would suggest that attempt mediation before thinking about returning to court, and I can''t see a Court ordering him to be solely responsible for the travelling expenses, when the travel is shared equally, and he is on a low income.
He moved away about 3 years ago. Before that we only lived about 17 miles apart so contact was so much easier.It was his choice to move. He was running his business near my home but he decided to move lock, stock and barrel 70 miles away from his kids, then a few years later moved another 10 miles further away again!
At the time I agreed to share the travel, I assumed he would be paying some kind of maintenance but alas, that has never happened.
Rubytuesday, thanks for you comments.
I understand your point that travel expenses should be shared between parents and I would not have a problem with that if my ex was being honest about his income and actually contributing to the upbringing of children, not only financially but emotionally and practically as well!
He has 2 holidays a year, neither of which my kids are invited on. The kids and I have not been on a holiday abroad for 5 years cos we can''t afford it. He drives about in a brand new BMW where as my car is over 10 years old and will probably not pass another MOT, yet I am funding £60 a month facilitating contact between my ex and our daughter........does that seem fair?
The CSA payment that my ex is supposed to be making has been arranged to be paid through the CSA already but the payments rarely go to them and so are not passed on to me! It is not right that our kids suffer just because he is trying to make my life as uncomfortable as possible!
I still maintain that 2 people create a child so it is up to both of those people to provide for that child, equally!
It does sound as though he''s rather extracting the Michael with regards to his income declaration. I''d go back to CSA and say that with a new BMW & 2 holidays a year he should be contributing more to raising his daughters.
However as a self-employed person myself I know there are many expenses which we can legitimately claim which reduce our income - these are legitimised as we are taking a riskier path than standard employment (among other things if we''re off sick we get no income, we have to organise and pay our own national insurance, pensions, tax, etc.) It could also be that the new car is classed as a legitimate business expense too, but unlikely holidays can be claimed as such!
I am aware of all the ''expenses'' my ex can put through to make his income look like nothing however my issue is that I am out of pocket with regards to facilitating his contact with our daughter.
I have come to terms with the fact that I am single handedly going to provide for our kids til they are old enough to stand on their own two feet but I do object to paying for fuel each month for doing something that benefits him when he can''t even pay regular Maintenance!