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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35054
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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I have been separated from my husband for 18 months now. I

Customer Question

Good morning. I have been separated from my husband for 18 months now. I moved from the family home. I am still paying my portion towards the house as well as renting a two bedroom home elsewhere. I have two daughters aged 6 and 11. They are currently staying equally between their Dad and myself. We do not 100% agree on the schedule arrangements but are otherwise amicable. Over the past 6 months I have sought help on debt and have as a result become insolvent. I can't continue to pay rent for my place plus pay 100% childcare costs for my children. I have sought help from the government in the form of child tax credits etc but apparently I don't qualify so am getting nothing other that the £137 CHB for both children combined each month. I work full time so my child care costs are high. I need to take a step towards divorce but have heard that mediation first for the children might be best? I need the most cost effective and straight forward way forward as possible to keep stress down for my children. I have met someone else but my children's father is adamant he wants them to have nothing to do with him. I plan to have a future with this man and I feel it will be a positive change for my children and not a negative one. Going forward, if we have joint custody of our children, can my husband dictate who is involved in their lives? If he had to fight for sole custody of our children so that he has full control, is there a chance he may get it? I know I'm jumping the gun here but my children are my main concern. I feel it is in their best interest that we are both shared parents with shared custody but I fear that he may want to take full control so that he can dictate that they don't spend time with my partner which is a pretty bleak future for me going forward. Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

How exactly do the children share their time between you?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare
They stay with their Dad on a Monday and Wednesday evening and with me on a Tuesday and Thursday. We have a "schedule" that has been devised by their Dad for splitting Friday evenings and the weekends between us fairly. However we do not entirely agree on this. I feel the girls should have more block time with each of us but he says no. I keep thinking that we will need someone to help us decide as it will just turn into a big fight and I am trying to keep things amicable for the children's sake.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Every morning I take the girls to school and every evening he fetches them from childcare. We have always done this as it works best with each of our working hours.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Where do the children sleep

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Between us equally as said above. Monday and Wednesday with him and Tuesday and Thursday with me. Fridays and weekends are shared between us equally according to the schedule.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

How much have you been paying towards the house your ex lives in?

How much is it worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgage?

Why are you the only one paying the childcare costs?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We've owned the house for 10 years. He never ever wanted a joint bank account so the arrangement was always that he would pay the mortgage and utilities and I would pay for childcare costs and food. My share has now gone down because both children are now at school and my eldest has just started secondary school. I am currently paying around £800/month on childcare (it fluctuates) and school food plus whatever school outings and activities there are. I also buy the children's clothing. He is now paying more than me for the mortgage which is £1100 but he is living in the house.We paid £232,000. Our names are ***** ***** the mortgage. It is now valued at around £350,000. There is 15 years left on the mortgage and I think there's around £120,000 left on it.He says he can't afford for me not to continue paying my share. He can't afford to buy me out. It was my choice to move out. I feel that as the house is my responsibility too (ownership wise) that I must continue to pay what I always have. My paying the childcare costs is the arrangement we always had. It's my contribution.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

How much would a two bedroom property in the same general area cost to buy?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Around that same price - £350K to £400K. A few have recently sold in the development.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

I do understand why you are doing this - but the simple fact is that you are causing yourself financial difficulty because you feel guilty that you chose to leave.

Do please stop.

You are sharing the physical care of the chidlren equally - and should be sharing their costs INCLUDING childcare equally as well.

He should be paying the mortgage PLUS half of the children's expenses - since you have the cost of renting.

If he cannot afford to remain in the property then he either needs to give you the chance to buy him out OR the property needs to be sold and you will both need to move on.

With regard to your new partner when your children are with you then you have full parental responsibility and the right to decide who the children do or do not meet (provided of course that the person in question is in no way a risk to them).

Your ex will NOT be able to change this -

I hope that this is of assistance please ask if you need further details