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Harris
Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2810
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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I am a divorced dad with a 6 year old child. I live in Kent

Resolved Question:

I am a divorced dad with a 6 year old child. I live in Kent but after our divorce my ex wife moved to Milton Keynes. I see my daughter once a week during the week and every other weekend. For the every other weekend visits I pick her up on a Friday, bring her back to Kent and drop her back home on a Sunday. In total this is 400 miles at the weekend. I've done this for nearly 5 years and have recently asked if my ex wife would meet me half way on a Sunday afternoon. She has refused to do this after asking a few times stating that she should not need to meet me half way as it takes time away from her and her family and it's my fault anyway as I left her in the first place.
Could you please explain my rights here and if necessary if I could take her to court to get this resolved? If so, roughly how much would it cost and what wouldn't chances be of being successful?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Hi, thank you for your question. Without her voluntary agreement, you will need to proceed with a court application for a child arrangement order and for the court to decide whether she should share the journey with you. Technically if she does not assist then you can argue that she is not promoting contact between you. The court fee for this application will be £255 and legal fees will vary depending on how contested it is, and the rate of the solicitor, and whether you are just requesting representation at hearings, or full representation throughout the proceedings.Are you paying child maintenance?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes I pay child maintenance of c. £1000 per month. I am concerned that I've set a precedent by doing it for the last 5 years and now I want to change the plan.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** bit more information required:What is your gross salary and do you have any other children in your care? What is the £1000pm based on? Was there a financial settlement as part of the divorce and has she remarried?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I earn about £190k pa and I've got a son with my wife aged 1. I use the government calculation to assess the amount I'm paying.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Has your ex-wife remarried and was there a financial settlement as part of the divorce? Are you paying spousal maintenance?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She lives with her partner and fiancé, my daughter and their daughter aged 1. I don't pay spousal maintenance and we did a financial settlement prior to divorce at c. 80/20 split in her favour for house equity but I kept my pensions.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for confirming - I was just checking as if you went to court it could risk acrimony between you and her pursuing a financial relief application against you, but if a financial settlement was made with no spousal maintenance (especially a nominal spousal maintenance order - as she can apply to seek a variation if there is one).I have checked, and based on a £190,000 salary, one child in your care and your daughter staying with you (on average) 52 nights a year, your legal liability would be £264 per week, or £1,114 per calendar month.Given that you are paying child maintenance and travelling 400 miles each month for contact arrangements, you have the right to reduce the child maintenance amount by your petrol costs, or 15p per mile. I appreciate that in the grand scheme of things this is not much, but it is something you could use to negotiate but I would suggest that you recheck the financial settlement you reached to ensure that there is no spousal maintenance at all and that there is a clause that ends all claims.If you proceeded to court for the child arrangement matter the court will look at all facts of the case, including reasons for her moving to Milton Keynes and what is in your daughter's best interests before coming to a decision. It might also be helpful for you to consider varying the arrangements to increase your time with, given the amount of distance she travels too.I hope this clarifies this issue for you. If you found this information helpful please provide a positive rating. I will not be credited for answering your question without a positive rating. Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your help. I'll consider the option of further help. From memory there is a clause for £1 a year nominal payment to my ex wife. My maintenance as per government website should be £984 month as she stays 52-100 nights pa with me when holidays and bank holidays are taken into account. My ex wife will fight me all the way on this so I suspect that looking at your response you would consider this to be risky if it drives her to try and renegotiate the financial agreement.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for confirming, I did not take into account holidays, so yes, it will increase to the 52-100 nights bracket.In relation to the nominal maintenance, this will end upon her remarriage, or any other clauses as outlined in the order - such as a certain period of cohabitation. I would suggest you check the financial order and see if any of the trigger events have been met to end the nominal maintenance and prevent her returning to court.
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