I told you before about how I wanted to co-parent without a lawyer. I still do. My vision for the future does not involve protracted adversarial litigation and a bitter relationship with my ex, my co-parent. I feel my ex is pushing the boundaries of what is reasonable and fair and I certainly don’t believe that he is acting in the best interests of our son who is only 10 months old. I went to see a family lawyer to get advice. I wanted some reassurance that I am being reasonable and that I am not letting my emotions and hormones cloud my judgement as my ex claims. This is what the family lawyer said.
Our son needs to know where his home is.
I think I am seriously failing here and last week was really bad. I am living with my parents until I finally move into my new flat. Last week Baba has spent Monday night with me at my parents’ house, Tuesday night with his Daddy, Wednesday night with me, Thursday night with his Dad at his Granny’s house, Friday and Saturday nights with me and then Sunday night with his Dad. I know that I don’t actually have a home to give him yet, but if I had, he’d have spent three nights away from it, but not three consecutive nights. He must feel like Paddington Bear, always with a rucksack on his back. Indeed, he often has a packed lunch when I send him off to his Daddy. This cannot be good for his feelings of security and for his cognitive development.
Poor Baba also had two days at his old nursery and three familiarisation sessions at his new nursery last week. Grandma (my Mum) has been the most consistent person in his life this week. He doesn’t know whether he is coming or going. Being passed from pillar to post and his teething pushed him over the edge last week.
I should be asking for a decent sum of money in maintenance from Baba’s Dad
My ex earns £87,000 a year. This is a very good wage and significantly more than I am earning. When you put this in the government run child support agency website (www.gov.uk/child-maintenance/overview) based on Baba spending 2-3 nights a week at his house he should be giving me £116 a week for our son. This would be more than fine, in fact this would be more than Baba costs in terms of food, drink, clothes and nappies etc.
Unfortunately, what the website doesn’t make clear is whether this figure is before or after nursery fees. Baba spends two days a week at nursery at £70 a day. His Dad and I have agreed to split the nursery fees (that was the way our relationship worked, we split all costs 50/50). My ex is arguing that the £70 a week should be coming out of the £116, leaving £46 a week. When my ex’s take home salary is £4500 per month, this doesn’t feel very much. The lawyer suggested that I should be asking for £500 a month plus half of the nursery fees. I am not sure how I feel about this. To me, it feels a bit greedy.
The lawyer thinks I am stupid for not claiming half of our jointly owned house.
We were joint owners of our house. When we bought a flat together five years ago my ex had significantly more money than me and therefore contributed significantly more to the deposit. We also had a fairly chunky mortgage which my ex and I split 50/50. Despite my lower salary I have always paid half our mortgage and bills. When we bought our flat, we drew up and signed what is called a ‘Declaration of Trust’ stating that I owned 33.5% of the flat and my ex 66.5%. We never got round to drawing up a ‘Declaration of Trust’ for our next property, the house that we bought together (and recently sold).
I continued to pay 50 % of the mortgage and also contributed a significant sum of money from my savings to the renovation of our house. Upon the sale of our house, I agreed to a 33.5% / 66.5% split of the equity, once capital repayments on the mortgage had been refunded to each and we had each been reimbursed our respective contributions to the refurbishment. I could have asked for more because I was a joint owner on the deeds and was paying half of the mortgage and had contributed the lion’s share of money towards our house renovations. I didn’t though. Some have said that I was stupid, but money is not a big motivator in my life.
My ex has now reluctantly agreed to go to mediation. I need him to come to mediation because I don’t feel that I can raise issues such as the welfare of our child or money without him getting angry and flying off the handle. I’ve told you about his anger and unpredictability right? I find him intimidating when he is angry so I want a third party in the room.
I haven’t yet decided what I will raise in mediation or what I will argue for. I am not going to take all of the advice I received from the lawyer and am certainly not going to push for large sums of his money. That is not who I am. I know I don’t want this to escalate and for us to have to go to court. I know that our son is the priority.
I am doing a lot of thinking at the moment about mediation and my approach. I will let you know what I am planning to say and I will then let you know how it goes.
Watch this space!