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SASH_Law
SASH_Law, Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  LLB (Hons)
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I was in a same sex civil partnership when we conceived our

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I was in a same sex civil partnership when we conceived our 2 sons through an informal arrangement with a donor. I got parental responsibility agreement from family court for both children shortly after their births. We divorced last year but separated 3 years ago. My ex wife dictates which nights i can have my children and how much money i give towards the children. I have repeatedly asked her for 50/50 custody as i want to have my children 50% of the time. I have offered to pay half of all their costs (school dinners, clubs etc) but she wants a higher amount each month as she says she needs to pay her bills, mortgage to keep a roof over their head. She earns 35,000 and I earn 27,000. I don't see why I'm having to pay her extra money over and above their costs. I currently have them 46% of the time.Can I make her give me 50% and accept half their costs?
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: No. We have always had a verbal arrangement between ourselves. My guilt from leaving the family home meant that I allowed her to dictate my contact with them. I've had to slowly build up the amount of time she will let me have them. Now we are at a stalemate as she refuses to let me have 50% contact - i think because she thinks it will mean i wont pay her as much money
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 Northwich, Cheshire
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No, just what i said above

Hi, I'm Lea and I have reviewed your query.

Do you pay child maintenance via a personal agreement or the CMS? Are there any court orders in place for the child arrangements?

Please bear in mind this is an email service and not a live chat so responses may not be instantaneous. I am not available for calls, but in all cases it is very likely you can be helped online.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
It's a personal agreement. I use an online child support calculator to determine roughly what i should pay. However, I also pay for their haircuts, items for school, half of school trips, one of my son's mobile phones All of this on top of the full amount the calculator says (£186 per month). Their school dinners, clubs, music lessons etc only amount to £150 at the very most each month so I'm effectively paying everything plus giving my ex wife money on top. I've offered to pay half of their costs only and she says she wont accept it. She claims the child benefit as she has them 54% and I have 46%. However I've asked for 50% and she refuses.No court orders for contact either. Just a verbal agreement also.

Would you be prepared to go to court to get a formal arrangement for the children to spend half their time with you?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I can't have my ex dictating when I see them until they're 18. I need a formal arrangement and 50% contact.

In that case you will need to apply for a child arrangements order on form C100. You will have to attend a MIAM first - mediation information and assessment meeting - and if your ex doesn't engage with mediation, or doesn't respond, then the mediator will sign your form C100 and you can proceed to apply to court.

The cost to file a C100 is £215 - the cost of the mediator will vary according to the area you live in.

Once an application is made to the court, the court will invite CAFCASS to carry out initial checks and speak to both you and your ex to find out what your views are, they will also do background checks (police and social services) and then write a safeguarding letter to the court to make recommendations as to what should happen next. The court will then set a hearing - usually within 6 weeks of getting your application.

If the court decides it is in the children's best interests to spend 50/50 with both parents, that is what they will order - but the reality is that the current split is very close to that anyway, and the court is reluctant to change things unless it is in the children's best interests to do so.

Given your current split, you probably shouldn't be paying as much child maintenance as you currently are. The online calculator is, of course, a mere legal minimum that the law expects you to pay, but where you are having the children for such a large proportion of time, the amount should be reduced accordingly. If you had the children on an exact 50/50 split, neither one of you would pay the other child maintenance, you would both be responsible for providing for the children whilst they are in your care.

Does that answer your query?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
thank you

You're welcome. If you require links to the application form, or how to find a mediator, please let me know.

Please kindly take a moment to rate positively using the five stars at the top of your page as that is how I am paid for assisting you today.

SASH_Law and 6 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you. That really helps.

Mediators can be found here: https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/

C100 here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/734888/C100_eng_0818.pdf

You can find out if you are eligible to apply for the C100 online here: https://apply-to-court-about-child-arrangements.service.justice.gov.uk/?utm_source=formfinder