How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35052
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Clare is online now

Dear Sir/Madam, My ex and I have two sons- I have parental

This answer was rated:

Dear Sir/Madam,

My ex and I have two sons- I have parental responsibility- as I am named on both birth certificates- our eldest was born in 2005.

My ex and I were never married- but co-habited. Since the split (5.5 years ago) I have paid maintenance- agreed to hand over the (now sold for £100,000 more) house for 1% of the approximate market value when bought (deed signed- although she had a large deposit in the house we had co-habited 8 years)- and I have always been a present and attentive father.

I have always had an agreement with my ex to have the boys alternate weekends and one evening per week.

On my weekend I have Friday (my school pick up) to Sunday evenings- returned to her at 5pm- with alternate Tuesday evenings (the Tuesday before my weekend) and alternate Thursday evening (the Thursday before her weekends) with annual ten day holiday- which this year has increased to fourteen days. We share Bank Holidays and alternate Easter holidays and Spring and Autumn holidays (reasonably evenly).

The boys stay the night and I take to school the following morning on the week night arrangement.

I have supported my ex taking the boys out of school to visit her relatives abroad, swapping weekends or holiday if her family are over- and 'reasonable' swapping out for work or events as necessary. We have alternate Christmases (she had the first after the split)- but I offered (and she agreed) to have the boys over Easter (which should have been mine this year)- as she is returning to work following a period of a years maternity leave with her new child (a result of her new relationship)- I thought it was a nice gesture.

The boys don't have an activity on a Thursday evening. They have swimming on a Tuesday- which I support and agree to take them to- arranged by their Mother.

Their Mother has informed me- that she will be taking Fridays off for the next year- so I 'will have to have a different evening' (to my alternate Thursdays) as she wishes to take them to school every Friday. This means I will lose a 'free' evening with them- to have to swap for an evening when they have cubs or beavers- so I lose quality one on one time with them.

I asked to have the boys Friday to Monday morning on my weekend- taking to school- and retaining my alternate Tuesdays (I have a Kung Fu lesson alternate Tuesdays which I hope to not have to lose). This would mean I swap the Thursday (she is 'taking' from me) for the Sunday of my weekend- so I retain quality one on one with them. She has initially refused- but I have asked her to reconsider.

In five and a half years- I have done all the driving- picking up and dropping off. She has collected thee boys five times in five and a half years (two Christmases and three Sundays)- so has never done very much of the running around.

Can she just change things so I have to 'lump it?'

We have no formal court order and (though she is VERY difficult) we have always managed to sort something out (usually I have to accept quite belligerent behaviour and agree to her terms to keep the peace). Ironically- her partner and father of her new child is going to court with his ex to deal with access- so you would think she may be a little more reasonable.

I pay 10% of my salary in maintenance and have since we split when the boys were aged three and one and a half.

She has a new home with her new partner- who owns property and is successful as a self employed plumber. I live in a shared ownership apartment owned by a housing association- but am moving in with my new partner- nearer to where the boys live.

I don't want to have to go to court for something fairer. But after being dictated to for years and continually being told 'but I'm their Mother......' like it means she can do as she pleases- I am reaching my wits end.

Any advice would be welcome- whether I could get a better access arrangement and what I might need to do next. I would dearly love to see my children more- they ask the same (but one must be reasonable- kids often say to each parent what they think the parent wants to hear).

I do not wish to make any claim on the sale of the family home.

I have little 'evidence' apart from a few emails (she usually rings me to tell me what will be happening, despite my repeated requests that she email me).

Many thanks & kind regards,

Lee Payton
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Just to check - you do know that you are paying less maintenance than the CMS would assess you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare,


I didn't know that- I did the CSA calculator, which on my then salary was about 10% of my salary- as I say I signed my equity in the house over for 1% which was (I was informed then) the binding rate.


That being said I've done all the running around in five and a half years- my ex has her live in partner and new child- and he has property and a successful business.


My ex did well enough out of the settlement- there is no withholding of money by me when the kids holiday with me- I buy them clothes for when they are with me abd they go home in most of them.


Many thanks,



Just to check - there is no proper CSA assessment in place?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare,

There is no proper CSA assessment in place. My colleague went through the process and (as a rule of thumb) said you roughly take your salary after tax, take 20% for two kids- less 25% as they live with my ex and her new partner, less 7% per child per night of the week I have them and weekends.

This came out to me being about on the money for the settlement he has with his two kids.

There is a calculator on the CSA website and I went through that too- which put it at that figure.

Many thanks,


i am not sure where the 25% discount came from - it was never relevant.
Under the news rules you should be paying 15% of your GROSS income less a two sevenths reduction to reflect the fact that you have the children overnight more than 104 nights a year
From what you have said the issue of the former home was dealt with years ago and cannot be revisited.
With regard to contact things are more positive
The law says that children are entitled to contact with both parents and the courts will enforce this if necessary
Neither parent is entitled to dictate the terms of contact
You should try and negotiate with your ex using Family mediation (
If that fails (and I suggest that you ask for Friday to Monday EVERT tuesday and half of all school holidays)
then you can apply to the court for a Child Arrangement Order that reflects the shared parenting that is in place.
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details

Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Clare,
Where are you based? You answered a query for me recently and I am going to have to progress to next steps- mediation (I have someone locally who has been recommended), then possibly court over access to my children via their mother- but need advice along the way.
Can you act somewhere away from where the case is? I am in Berkhamsted HP4 postcode, Herts.
Many thanks,

Incidentally- not sure where the 'okay service' rating came from- I selected 'very good....'
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Clare,
Where are you based? You answered a query for me recently and I am going to have to progress to next steps- ,deviation, then possibly court over access to my children via their mother.
Can you act somewhere away from where the case is? I am in Berkhamsted HP4 postcode, Herts.
Many thanks,
I am in the East Midlands so rather too far away I am afraid
However if you chose to deal with the matter yourself I will be happy to support you via this site