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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 16049
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I am a divorced father of two girls aged 16 and 12. I have

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I am a divorced father of two girls aged 16 and 12. I have my children 3 nights per week and pay £261 CMS a month on top. My ex wife convinced me in emails that if I gave her my share of equity in our house (approximately £200,000) then that in her eyes would count as CMS payments fortheir future and I would not have to pay anything else. She is a high earner and earns double what I do. As soon as the divorce went through she contacted the CMS and I now pay the above sum. I am angered as she refuses to spend that money on the kids. Both girls have little to no clothes and she refuses for me to buy them any and deduct it from the CMS. With that in mind I would like to officially apply for 50/50 custody so I can pay for things for the girls myself and not have to deal with her. My12 year old has now developed a mental health disorder while in her mums care as she refuses to go to school or get out of bed faking illness. I am a paramedic and knew from the start that she didn’t have any phisical ailment but her mother stopped any of my attempts to get our daughter to school or help that didn’t involve invasive medical investigations. I now think it would be best for the girls to be here on a 50/50 basis because when they with her they are often in childcare but dread the idea of dragging the girls through court and making them express an opinion because her and her family will pressure the kids to say they don’t want 50/50 (the girls told me this in person. The girls tell me they want more time with me but mum gets upset when they mention it). My ex had also assaulted my 16 year old and police and social services got involved but because I didn’t want to stress the girls out I opted to work it out within the family and not take it further. Social services were simply blinded by her wealth and security and didn’t do much. Any advice appreciated: I don’t have any savings and I would need to get a loan out to cover legal fees of court if I need to take it that far. The ex also refused mediation so can’t consider that either.
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: No
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this yet?
Customer: No
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I have clear records of everything

Good afternoon. I will assist with your question - be aware this is an email not chat service.

so what did you get from the financial settlement?

was it through the court?

and your daughters wish to live with you?

are you prepared to get the court involved?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I got a payment of £50k to cover joint debt that I paid off £30k of myself and an endowment policy we were both paying into that I now pay into alone worth around 30-50k. Pensions are left alone. That’s it. The house equity in total was 430k and she’s a high earner so she could have bought me out easily.
The agreement that if I sign the house to her she won’t ask for anymore money was done in wiring via emails etc not court. The court singed off on the divorce and me signing over the house no other agreements went though them.My daughters are adamant that want to be with each of us 50% of the time.Like I said in my question I am not in a great financial position to go though court but I will if I have to as well as worried about our children asked questions in court because her and her family pressurise them and guilt them into saying that what they want them to say.

The Child Maintenance Service will not normally take into account any lump-sum payments so it was probably not one of your best ideas to do what she convinced you to do.

Also, you cannot make payment in kind and deduct it. It has to be money paid by you, the paying parent, to the receiving parent.

The court will not get involved with where the 16 year old lives. The 16-year-old wants to live with you, then just do it.

Courts will not normally separate siblings and with the youngest child at 12 years of age, the court will take note of what the child wants.

I don’t know whether social services have been involved or whether the doctor will provide any evidence that the faking of the illness is related to any neglect by the mother but it may be that they may both be your best friends in supporting your application.

If police and social services were involved then I think you can raise that, but although it was the 16 year old that was assaulted, you are concerned for the 12-year-olds welfare. I can see no reason therefore why you would want 50-50 and you shouldn’t go for 100%. The girls would not get dragged through court. Firstly, as I said, the 16 year old can basically do what she wants and it would be a Cafcass officer that would interview the children and provide a report to support either you or her. It should be independent report.

What you are looking for is a Child arrangement order. At this stage, save your money and stop the process yourself. You only need to go to solicitors if you feel that you are getting out of your depth because you can ask an awful lot of questions on here for just one GBP250 hour that a solicitor would charge.

Here is the link to the Government webpage on Child Arrangement Orders.

There are lots of different Child arrangement orders.

They can include:

A Contact Order which specifies when parent sees a child,

Residence Order to determine who your child lives with,

Prohibited Steps Order to prevent a parent doing something with the child such as moving away

Specific Issue Order to allow a parent to do something specific with the child such as moving away.

Please note that before rushing off to court you have to have tried mediation first, even if it fails

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

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Thank you.

If you still need any points clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.


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