Would welcome opinions on this draft letter I am just about to send to my ex-wife.
All quite self explanatory but am I being fair ?
Eventually received your letter regarding maintenance and would like to first of all point out the following issues :-
(1) You left the UK of your own volition, there was no pressure from me for you to move away
(2) When you left the UK, you were informed that the CSA could not get involved with collection of child support, as you did not meet their criteria of working abroad for the armed forces or for a UK based employer etc
(3) I waived my right to attempt to stop you taking NNN and MMM abroad although I had a strong case based on being a loving father, having regular contact and maintaining regular child support
(4) I only gave my written authorisation for my kids to remain in Bulgaria to provide them with access to education and healthcare. This of course is revokable should I feel that things are not working out in the best interests of the kids
(5) I have so far waived my right to pursue the forcible return of my kids to the UK, under The Hague Convention, as they do appear settled in their new environment
(6) You have never received a UK Court Judgement against me for child maintenance as these arrangements were specifically left out of the divorce proceedings and financial settlements as were to be agreed reasonably between ourselves
(7) Every pound I would pay to you would be a pound less that I could spend on visitting my kids or sending them locally unobtainable goodies
(8) I have researched about REMO and EU legal jurisdiction on the internet and have taken advice from my local Citizen’s Advice Bureau
(9) I agreed a heavily biased settlement on the old family home in your favour to maintain a stable environment for them to grow up in, until you probably saw ‘A Place in the Sun’ on TVand decided to sell up and emigrate !
(10) I feel that you are now only pursuing this as an avenue of income as you have failed to generate any viable streams of income yourselves. You cannot live off your savings for ever, even in a poor country
Now I have got all the bitterness off my chest, I will now tackle your letter using the logical part of my brain.
I can wholeheartedly agree with the principle that the blood father should help financially provide for the roof over his children’s heads, clothes on their back and food on their table. I always did when you were in the UK and if required I always will now,even though you are 1000’s of miles away which naturally restricts my contact with them.
If you were still in the UK, I would be liable to pay £59 a week child support (based upon 20 % of my £350 nett weekly income, after allowing 15% for my other relevant child, YYY).
That rate of payment would be based upon UK mortgage/rent rates, UK clothing prices, UK food prices and my reasonable UK travel costs for regular access to children.
This obviously bears no resembelence to your current circumstances of living in Bulgaria mortgage/rent free, with drastically reduced local clothing/food costs and my now unreasonable European travel costs for access to my children. The remoteness of your location is now fully apparent to me following my visit in November 2007 and it means that I will require two travelling options (1) for when I bring XXX and YYY and (2) when it is just me :-
(1) premium journey – drive to Manchester airport (two hours) and direct flight to Sofia (four and a half hours) then hire car for the three hours + drive to your mountain village
total travelling cost approx £800 return for easy 12 hr journey each way = 24hrs return
(2) low cost journey – drive to Glasgow Airport (one and a half hours), flight down to London Gatwick (one hour) then an eight hour wait till check in opens for the Sofia flight (four and a half hours), a bus journey to Veliko Tarnovo (six hours) then local taxi to your village (40 mins)
total travelling cost approx £250 return for harrowing 22 hour journey each way = 44hrs return
I suggest that bearing all of these factors in mind, that I can make an offer of £15 a week in support of my children and that would then allow me to fulfil my wish of visiting them 2-3 times a year (including once a year with XXX & YYY as their main family holiday) and for me to continue to regularly send them english magazines, DVD’s, Bisto gravy granules etc that you are unable to purchase for them locally.
Whilst this offer may appear derisory compared to UK cost of living etc, I hope that you will consider it using the logical part of your brain in that the cost of living in Bulgaria is drastically cheaper than the UK and my unreasonable travel costs cannot be ignored. No court will award anywhere near the UK rate in these particular circumstances.
I am willing to start paying this immediately but I must point out that I am not offering payment of any arrears from the date you left the UK with my children.
I await to hear further from you when you have had chance to consider / take advices from Durham Legal Services.
Just a reminder that I am now booked to come out to Bulgaria again by myself on the 31st March 2008, to coincide with the school holidays, for an eight day visit and I will advise full itinerary details closer to the time.
Mike, first of all, a word of warning. I would refrain from using your ex-wife and children's names when posting, using asterixs instead. Just to protect yourself really.
As for the letter; I think it sounds more than reasonable. At first I thought it was a bit cold and matter of fact, but the more I thought about it, I guess that is the way it needs to read.
It must be so hard for you not seeing your children, but I feel you had little choice without dragging things through a long court battle and what would that of acheived? Heartache for the children.
Anyway, back to the letter. I think the money you are offering is reasonable taking into account all the things you have detailed. I also think it is important that you can send them things from the UK that they can't get in Bulgaria, they need to stay in touch with their English roots.
I really think you have written a hard letter, without getting too emotional about things.
Doh ! I never even gave it a second thought about publishing names as just cut & paste....admin have editted for me thankfully. Thank you Admin...
I tried not to get over emotional or over personal as there is loads of stuff I have left out but it would just get her back up as the truth hurts. Also if she passed onto her sols then they would think I am concentrating on the wrong issues.
(for reference she is a near alcoholic, had several affairs, left kids in house unsupervised, has attempted suicide and was beaten up by her third husband just before they were married, she even had a restraining order out against him BUT she appears to have calmed down a bit now!!)
I joined wikivorce as ihatecruella but you wise people have already taught me to concentrate on the positives hence the name change.
Thanks for your reassurance. Much appreciated.
Don't think she will accept as she has ££'s in her eyes.
Most important thing is kids are ok and I go out in 5 weeks. Can't wait.
Assuming you have sent the letter now, which looked al right to me - can't imagine you got a very positive response though!
Just a tip which may help in any future negotiations: We too have the issue of using the CSA calculator to work out child support - how about asking her what her needs are rather than trying to work it out. They do not take into account the first £15 every week of travel costs - which you may need to factor in to your calculations, but after that the payments are reduced (not sure how yet though, still waiting for assessment)