I''m looking for any advice on the following situation which I know is not unusual.
During divorce proceedings my solicitor advised that I contact CSA for maintenance as she thought my exhusband may not be paying enough for my one son, 13 years old.
Therefore in early April I applied. CSA contacted my ex who said he had contact 3 nights a week. He then increased contact to 3 nights a week from 1 or 2 nights. CSA asked us both for our diaries to confirm. It seems our diaries differ so they have based their assessment on his diary from the one week where he had our son for 4 nights (second week of Easter holidays) which was AFTER they contacted him. Because he was on annual leave that week he did not have overtime. CSA had asked me for two months of my diary which shows, apart from Easter hols, my son is normally with me 5 or 6 nights a week.
Anyway as far as CSA are concerned a dispute has been raised because they have not referred to my diary and he lied about his pay to them.
The CSA advised that as he has manipulated the situation on a number of occasions that I should get legal advice for a court order.
He is generally controlling and bullying (think gaslighting). Whilst our son has been spending more time with his father it is horrible to see the effect his father''s manipulation has on him. He is telling our son that I don''t want to see him at the weekend and is drip feeding him all sorts of things about me which aren''t true. I do have lots of evidence on his controlling ways. The biggest being that he kept the house because "he did all the decorating". While we were married he often threatened to keep the house and our son because "the law is on my side as the mother". In reality he has kept the house and now I am scared he''ll manipulate our son to get him too.
Anyway I do have an appointment on Tuesday with a solicitor to see about a court order so does anyone have any advice or suggestions as to what happens next?
Normally the courts have no powers to make an order for child maintenance. I assume the CSA mean you should apply for contact or residence so there is evidence of the amount of time you have your son.
Apart from a few exceptions parents are expected to attend a mediation Information and Assessment Meeting before the court will hear a case. If mediation is inappropriate or doesn''t work parents will usually meet with a CAFCASS officer to see if any agreement can be reached before seeing a judge at the first court hearing. If no agreement is reached the judge will decide if any further information is required in the form of reports to assist them in making a decision, sets a timetable for future hearings and may make an interim order for contact.
When during proceedings no agreement can be reached the judge will refer to the Welfare Checklist in s1 Children Act 1989. At 13 years of age your son''s views will carry considerable weight but that doesn''t necessarily mean that he makes the decision if it isn''t deemed to be in his best interests.
Thanks for getting back so quick. I wonder if it will make any difference that I offered him mediation 3 times which he has refused and my solicitor is aware of? I think he knew that the settlement wouldn''t go the way he wanted! It''s all about money with him. This is a man who wants full custody, for me to relinquish all responsibility and all because he believes the law to be on my side as the mother... My son has been quite happy with twice a week although he believes his dad is right when he tells him it''s 3 times. I have shown him my diary, both a note one and a page a day journal and have shown him proof of where dad has lied. For example there was one night where my ex told my son I wasn''t home so he couldn''t come back.
mediation and finances are nothing to do with the csa, they only want to know who has the child and how often, and the income of the nrp. Your ex being on leave when the application was made wont make the slightest difference as the csa look at the net income for the previous 12 months when calculating a figure.
Having a contact order will help as you can show this to the csa as evidence. We used my husbands contact order as proof when his ex contacted the csa to say he had less contact. However, the risk you run in taking it to court is that your ex will fight back and may well get his contact increased anyway.
Yes I am worried that he will manipulate it further and increase contact. It is what he always threatened to do. And you do hear of mothers loosing their children and that is the point he wants to make, in an ironic kind of way.
The CSA have not based their assessment on a year though. Are they supposed to? I have been advised by CSA that they have based their assessment on one week of contact and one week of pay. A dispute has been raised where I have asked them to look at my evidence that they requested I send in as it has not been referred to. It was CSA that recommended I go for a court order as they are well aware that there are occasions when a NRP increase contact just as CSA get involved. CSA have said that the Court Order will over-rule any decision currently made by CSA. I presume that means by way of evidence?
Is there anyone out there who went through this? It really is horrible to see my son being treated in this way. He was crying last week saying he knew he was being bullied and he didn''t know what to do. I just don''t know want to loose contact with my son and I am so scared that my abusive ex will be believed.
I don''t think you would lose your son, so please don''t worry about that. A court would not change the main residence unless there were welfare concerns, or the child wanted this. It is possible your ex will get an increase in contact, but that just depends on what he would ask for and the way he presents his information.
I cannot believe the csa have just looked at one week, you must ave got a real incompetent on your case. The standard, as they cite on their info, is that they look at the last 3 months pay. But in my husbands case, and many others on here, they look at the whole year so they can include bonuses and overtime.
Yes, there are many times the nrp will increase contact, but there''s also many times the PWC refuses contact to increase their maintenance. The csa have seen it all before, it might be best to get things set out in an order to avoid future problems.
An update to what has been happening if no-one minds a bit of my rant...
I went to see my solicitor for advice. Before going down the court order route she suggested a letter. She wrote to him saying we were aware he had deliberately increased access further to CSA intervention.
Since then my son said his Dad was texting him to confirm which 3 or 4 nights he would stay with him. My son (13) didn''t want to.
He admits the only reason he did at the beginning (August 2011)of the split was because Dad kept the family home, had broadband (for xBox live) and Sky Sports and Movies, both of which he upgraded to after me and my son moved out. Whereby me and my son moved into a rented flat. I earn £1000 a month + TC + CB, the rent was £530. I received no maintenance from ex until November 2011. He was paying the mortgage on the family home which was £220 a month. He earns around £2000 a month. My ex bought me out in December 2011 because I wanted to rehouse my son properly. He paid me, by his admittance, 50% of the equity, my solictor worked it out to be around 40%.
At the time we were in the flat my son stayed with me 4 or 5 nights and his Dad 2 or 3.
Once I bought a house (February 2012)and got Sky broadband, TV and phone my son was much more settled. It''s been a tough few months for us moving twice, all things that my ex doesn''t consider. He would twist that anyway to say I''m not coping and he''ll have our son full time. He only said last week that he wants 4 nights so that he can claim CB as PWC.
Anyway he has responded to the solicitor''s letter with a very damning letter. Apparently he is the most reasonable parent going and he is struggling with the damage and upset I cause my son. (This is the man who did sign the Petition stating that he often threatened that if I didn''t follow his rules then he would keep the house and son....) Also, allegedly according to my son, I leave him home alone regularly and frequently while I go out socialising, often until late into the evening. I really can''t imagine that my son has told him any such thing because it hasn''t happened!
If there is anyone out there who has taken care of a teenager, moved house twice in 6 months, managed a full time job, Open University and Meniere''s Disease would know that on a £1000 a month salary of £530 a month rent (now £420 mortgage) would know that a social life regularly and frequently until late into the evenings is a rare and exhausting event.
Since he wrote the letter he has called to my house and spoken to my son. My son has told him he had only originally said 3 nights back in August because Dad had the house. He said that now that we were in our new house he felt much more settled and wanted to continue to stay here.
Verbally over the months ex has refused mediation but I have no proof - his word against mine however in his reply he has said he agrees to mediation.
Since I have been asking him for mediation since August it would be churlish to refuse. I have a few questions about mediation though.
1) Would mediation cover all aspects including fair split of assets? Possibly not if he has already bought me out, which would be sad given how I wanted to buy a house and get us settled.
2)Would mediation include care of our son and does he have a say?
3)Would the mediator make suggestions? I''m worried if I did go down the mediation route the ex would railroad me and paint the picture he has begun in the reply to the solicitor.
4) Would we have to attend together?
Quite a rant and a few questions so thank you for reading... Please understand I am not trying to stop my son seeing his Dad. I lost my Mum when I was 6 and my Dad when I was 14. Both parents and children should be treasured.