My partner had a conversation with his stbx last night and was informed (with no choice on his part) that he was not having his children for the 3 hours that he normally has them on a Wednesday. I understand from him the reason for him having the kids was so that his stbx could work and this has been a regular arrangement for over a year. The reason she gave was that it was too disruptive for the children to be back and forth for a short period of time (they live on the same estate and walk between the two houses).
This has happened following another conversation he had when he was informed that the children would no longer be going swimming on a Monday (he has always taken them) as this was her evening and she wanted to spend more time with them.
So in the course of about 2 weeks, she has effectively reduced his contact by about 6 hours.
So, when we spoke about this last night, we were both trying to work out her motive as we both instantly (and independently) thought that she would be using this reduction in contact as a reason to try and claim spousal maintenance from my partner (she has threatened this in the past). However, in the conversation, he offered to have the children for 3 hours another day in the week and this was flatly refused.
I would appreciate your thoughts on whether this would be reasonable grounds for a claim of spousal maintenance bearing in mind that she has decided to restrict her working opportunities, that she earns approx the same as my partner (when taking into account all the benefits she receives), that this arrangement has successfully worked for about 1.5 years and that their court hearing is about 3 weeks away....