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plclegal, Barrister
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 8975
Experience:  Barrister at law
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I have been separated from my wife for four years with a

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Hi, I have been separated from my wife for four years with a voluntary agreement for 50:50 care for our two children (12 & 7). My wife is now refusing to let me have the eldest apart from every other weekend and making a child maintenance claim. I have started mediation process, but am being told by the CMA I'm liable for child maintenance immediately and by my ex that because my eldest is 12 I have to do what she says. My daughter is telling each parent slightly different things, saying to me she wants a temporary break and to go back to 50:50, but to Mum she doesn't want to see me. I don't think my eldest is mature enough to make this decision and likes to be with Mum because she's left alone to get to school and has the ability to truant/be late without comeback.
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in the family court?
Customer: No, all I've done so far is start the mediation process. I have my MIAM meeting on Wednesday. I was under the impression I had to do this first
JA: Family Court normally sits in a local County and Magistrates' Court. Do you know the location of the court? If not, what county do you live in?
Customer: I live in Warwickshire
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I don't think so

Hello and thank you for the question. I’ll do my best to assist you and provide an accurate and speedy response. Please bear with me as this is an email service and not live chat. Also note that the discussions here are for general information purposes only and do not constitute a lawyer client relationship.

I’ll review and come back to you as soon as I can.

Essentially the advice is correct, in that if there is a change in living circumstances, even if temporary, you need to make adjustments in terms of child maintenance payments. It's better to arrange between you without doing this through the CMS as once the CMS are involved, convincing them that things have changed again (if they do) is like climbing a very high mountain of treacle.

You are also correct in the process to argue living arrangements starts with mediation and then a court application. At 12, most children would have a clear voice as to where they want to live, but this is not the only factor that the judge will consider. If there are concerns that mother is not putting boundaries in place or preventing truancy, then this is something thew court should take into account too in the balance.

Is there anything further that I can clarify about this for you?

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** I not have any recourse to get back to the agreed 50:50 without a court order? And my ex has applied to the CMA and refuses to talk to me I assume there’s nothing I can do there either? Seems unfair she can unilaterally change the agreement.

I agree it is not fair, but the only way to challenge a unilateral decision like this is through the court.

You can inform the CMS that you will make a voluntary family based agreement and there is no need for them to get involved at this stage.

As long as you have account details to make a payment in line with the amount set out on the online child maintenance calculator, there would be no role for the CMS in arranging the payments.

I hope that clarifies the points?

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thanks. Yes it does.

Thank you for confirming.

Thank you for your enquiry today. I am happy to answer follow-up questions - please do get in touch with requests for extra information or further queries and I will do my best to help you. You can request me personally on a new question thread saving my profile as one of your preferred experts and by tagging me (@PLCLEGAL) at the start of the new thread. Best wishes, Peter.

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