My ex and I have had our first joint session at mediation. It wasn’t successful. We weren’t able to agree anything, so I went back to the family lawyer to talk about my options. I first sought legal advice three months ago. You can read about it here.
Pray tell. What happened at mediation?
Well, not much to be honest. We talked about our son’s routine. This was not controversial. We agree that he has lunch between 11:30 and 12:00 and that bedtime is 19:00.
We agreed in principle that we want to support each other to be the best parents that we both can be. Well I said this, and my ex nodded. We agreed that we would seek to always act in our son’s best interest. The problem is that we totally disagree on what is in our son’s best interest.
So what does your ex think?
My ex thinks that:
- It is in our son’s best interest to share his time 50/50 between both of us…even though our son is only just one and is still breastfeeding.
- That £200 pcm is sufficient to cover our son’s care. My ex also pays half of the nursery fees (£140 a week). My Mum looks after our son two days a week for free. My ex takes home £4500 a month.
And what do you think?
I think that:
- Sharing care 50/50 might work when our son is older, but that until he understands the concept of time, can understand that he is spending the weekend with Daddy and that he will see Mummy in two days’ time, 50/50 is not in his best interests. There is also the breastfeeding issue. I express milk when my son is with his Dad. I have suggested that at the moment we limit overnight stays to two nights per week whilst our son is so young.
- That my ex really should be giving me more than £200 a month. I recognise that compared to many single mothers out there my ex is probably being quite generous, some of you don’t get a penny. I am really sorry for that.
So, I went back to the family lawyer.
The good news is…
…that my ex has to take me to court if he wants our son for more than two nights a week at this stage. He may or may not have the stomach. I am not sure.
The bad news is…
…that a court might award 50/50 shared care. There is no guarantee. There is no way to predict. There is just a worst case scenario and that worst case scenario is 50/50 care. The lawyer admitted that it was unlikely when a baby is only one year old, but nonetheless, she stated that it was all down to the whims of the judge. Some judges are pro-Mum. Some judges are pro-Dad. End of.
…that because we were never married, I am screwed financially. I don’t have a leg to stand on. The CSA doesn’t take a view on whether child maintenance should be before or after nursery fees. By law, my ex is only required to pay £116 per week, and in our case, £116 a week less half of our son’s nursery fees. So, a grand total of £46 per week.
…I really should have taken advantage of the fact that, in the eyes of the law, we were joint owners of our house. I was therefore, in the eyes of the law, entitled to half of the equity. I didn’t ask for half of the equity because my ex put more money towards the deposit than me. It felt morally wrong and I wanted to ensure that I could get on with our son’s Dad in future.
Who knows? We have another mediation session. I am not optimistic. I think I need to be more assertive and demanding. This is where I have gone wrong so far. Maybe I need to call upon the good nature of the in-laws to influence him, but to be honest they were never really accommodating and able to see the other side before I left my ex. I am not optimistic about their reaction now. I might need to abandon the moral high ground. The moral high ground is a tough and fruitless path to take. Look where taking the moral high ground with regard to the sale of our property got me. It left me high and dry, that’s where it got me.