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    • The Maestro
    • By The Maestro 10th Jun 17, 7:09 PM
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    The Maestro
    Child custody when I work full time - advice needed
    • #1
    • 10th Jun 17, 7:09 PM
    Child custody when I work full time - advice needed 10th Jun 17 at 7:09 PM
    Hi,

    I am considering separating from my wife. We have 2 young children whom I would want at least joint custody of. The thing is that I work full time and have a contract which says that I have to be prepared to travel 75% of the time.

    So obviously I am not in a position to be able to pick the children up after day care etc. It would be very difficult for me to find an alternative job in the short/medium term. Also, my wife won't work (has never worked since married even before children, or when children were looked after by others 4 days a week) and has not contributed financially to the marriage at all, so I am in a position where I need a relatively well paid job to keep us all going.

    From what I've been reading this will count against me when it comes to custody decisions. Also the fact that I am not so involved in the children's life due to the long hours and time away inherent in my job. This is not by choice, it's just a practical necessity.

    It's also made much more difficult by the fact that my wife will not discuss anything and will be very obstructive. I would expect that my wife would want to get 70% of the house + custody + large spousal maintenance. From what I read she would probably get that based on 'needs' even though she has been constantly lazy and abusive both physically and mentally. Irrespective of who is at fault (not that anyone considers that these days), the practical reality is that I am not in a position to look after the children, and I'd probably rather kill myself than having to do this job for many more years while having to pay for 2 households and rarely seeing the children.

    I've tried to think of ways to approach this which would have a reasonable outcome but I can't think of any. Has anyone been in a similar situation, or can anyone think of anything which I might not have considered?
Page 1
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 10th Jun 17, 9:38 PM
    • 37,404 Posts
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    Savvy_Sue
    • #2
    • 10th Jun 17, 9:38 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Jun 17, 9:38 PM
    there was a long thread on the main marriages board, I can't remember the name of the chap who started it, and it did eventually reach a happy-ish conclusion. The difference for that chap was that his children were late teens / early twenties, but his wife seemed 'reluctant' to accept any reduction in her living standards or to find work. I hope someone can find it for you ...

    How old are the 'young' children? That may colour our advice. What savings do you have? Do you have any family who could help (even if elsewhere in the country)?

    Why is finding alternative work not an option short or medium term?
    Still knitting!
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    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure, 1 sock ...
    Current projects: 1 shawl, t'other sock (just about to turn the heel!)
    • Caroline_a
    • By Caroline_a 11th Jun 17, 11:06 AM
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    Caroline_a
    • #3
    • 11th Jun 17, 11:06 AM
    • #3
    • 11th Jun 17, 11:06 AM
    I think this is the thread you're talking about here

    OP, talk of killing yourself is silly - what effect do you think that will have on your children? I think you are going to have to accept that as things stand you won't be able to have full custody of the children. So perhaps what you need to do is plan for the future. Staying polite and rational with your wife is a good start - screaming rows do not help the children, and if you argue on every point of the split you will end up with legal bills that will take your every penny and more.

    Perhaps now is the time to look for a new career? Also have you thought that if you are away for most of the time and your wife is caring for her children almost as if she was a single parent, she may be pretty fed up too?

    You need to encourage a situation where you have good, reliable access to the children. If you can manage weekends then that is a good start. Perhaps you also need to discuss the travel amounts with your manager and see if there is some flexibility there. You have lots of options, but you need to plan carefully rather than going for the kneejerk 'I'm off' option.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 11th Jun 17, 11:25 AM
    • 27,596 Posts
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    Mojisola
    • #4
    • 11th Jun 17, 11:25 AM
    • #4
    • 11th Jun 17, 11:25 AM
    I am considering separating from my wife. We have 2 young children whom I would want at least joint custody of.

    The thing is that I work full time and have a contract which says that I have to be prepared to travel 75% of the time.

    It would be very difficult for me to find an alternative job in the short/medium term.

    I need a relatively well paid job to keep us all going.
    Originally posted by The Maestro
    Money isn't the most important thing here.

    It's better for the children to have two parents regularly involved in their care than to have an absent father.

    If you separate, your wife will be entitled to claim benefits. Depending on the age of the children, she may be expected to claim JSA and will have to look for work.

    If you get a lower paid job that enables you to have shared care of the children, you will manage financially - loads of people do.

    Have you checked out websites like https://fnf.org.uk/ for advice?
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 12th Jun 17, 1:48 AM
    • 37,404 Posts
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    Savvy_Sue
    • #5
    • 12th Jun 17, 1:48 AM
    • #5
    • 12th Jun 17, 1:48 AM
    I think this is the thread you're talking about here
    Originally posted by Caroline_a
    that is indeed the thread.
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 1 shawl, 2 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure, 1 sock ...
    Current projects: 1 shawl, t'other sock (just about to turn the heel!)
    • The Maestro
    • By The Maestro 12th Jun 17, 2:41 AM
    • 45 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    The Maestro
    • #6
    • 12th Jun 17, 2:41 AM
    • #6
    • 12th Jun 17, 2:41 AM
    Money isn't the most important thing here.

    It's better for the children to have two parents regularly involved in their care than to have an absent father.

    If you separate, your wife will be entitled to claim benefits. Depending on the age of the children, she may be expected to claim JSA and will have to look for work.

    If you get a lower paid job that enables you to have shared care of the children, you will manage financially - loads of people do.

    Have you checked out websites like https://fnf.org.uk/ for advice?
    Originally posted by Mojisola
    JSA, Income Support, Universal Credit + other benefits are means-tested pound for pound against any spousal maintenance (and anything you give the ex informally - if declared), so to get the non-earning partner any benefits it requires the husband to pay nothing. If you really have a wife who won't work and want to separate, and its done though the courts, then suppose you are ordered to pay them £500 maintenance per month (example only). Your ex will not be able to claim any of the normal benefits.

    For the average Joe it seems best to not come to any 'official/trackable' agreement - they claim benefits and you give them top-up cash under the table every month. Of course this is illegal.

    The government saves millions each year because of this sytem. The whole legal marriage contract and legal framework around it it designed by government to avoid paying benefits to fe-ckless women who managed to ensnare men. We are on the hook for the rest of our lives.
    Last edited by The Maestro; 12-06-2017 at 3:29 AM.
    • The Maestro
    • By The Maestro 12th Jun 17, 3:23 AM
    • 45 Posts
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    The Maestro
    • #7
    • 12th Jun 17, 3:23 AM
    • #7
    • 12th Jun 17, 3:23 AM
    Hi, I'm not going to discuss "Why is finding alternative work not an option short or medium term", just take that as read. Sorry but I don't want to get into a discussion about the job market.

    "if you argue on every point of the split..." I can't argue about the split because my Wife will never acknowledge it even.

    "How old are the 'young' children? That may colour our advice" - they are 4 and 0.

    "What savings do you have?". Some, no thanks to my wife. There will be zero when I start divorce proceedings. For example, I currently drive an old banger because my wife does not contribute and will not follow a budget. This will be converted to a proper car which I can legitimately argue I need for a job. I would not think anyone would blame me for buying a new car for my job rather than currently driving a 15 year old banger and maintaining it myself.

    "Also have you thought that if you are away for most of the time and your wife is caring for her children almost as if she was a single parent, she may be pretty fed up too? " - I am not going to get into this much. If she wanted something different then she had plenty of opportunity to get a job before the first child was born and for the past 3 years our children have been looked after 4 days a week by childcare or relatives, but rather than looking for a part-time job she preferred to watch soap-operas. If she'd looked for even a part-time job I would have had much more flexibility to look for alternative work which would allow me a better work-life balance. As it is, I am limited. Everything depends on me. Even if I could find a less demanding job, you have very few rights in a new job these days and it is too risky when the other partner will not contribute. If a new job went tits-up we could not even get by. She also has assets in another country which she refuses to add into the pot.
    Last edited by The Maestro; 12-06-2017 at 3:26 AM.
    • The Maestro
    • By The Maestro 12th Jun 17, 3:47 AM
    • 45 Posts
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    The Maestro
    • #8
    • 12th Jun 17, 3:47 AM
    • #8
    • 12th Jun 17, 3:47 AM
    I work 11-12 hours per day and when I come home my daughter is jumping all over me because during the day she is just sat watching cartoons while my wife watches soap operas. So all evening I have to entertain them. I've recently been on paternity leave (for which I get paid about £10 a day) and my wife and the new child was in hospital for a week (nothing serious), so I was looking after my 4 year old daughter. It was extremely easy. I got loads of work done, I just involved my daughter in it. Sure it slowed me down a little but it was no problem. My wife just sticks her watching cartoons when she's at home (1 week day out for 4) and then watches TV herself. What do you do when your wife refuses to put the family above her own leisure and will not contribute?
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 12th Jun 17, 9:18 AM
    • 27,596 Posts
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    Mojisola
    • #9
    • 12th Jun 17, 9:18 AM
    • #9
    • 12th Jun 17, 9:18 AM
    JSA, Income Support, Universal Credit + other benefits are means-tested pound for pound against any spousal maintenance (and anything you give the ex informally - if declared), so to get the non-earning partner any benefits it requires the husband to pay nothing.
    Originally posted by The Maestro
    Who told you this?

    www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/children-and-young-people/child-maintenance/child-maintenance-where-to-start/
    "Child maintenance is not counted as income for means-tested benefits such as Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) and Housing Benefit.
    This means if you're getting maintenance you won’t get less money in these benefits. Other benefits which aren’t means-tested won’t be affected either."
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 12th Jun 17, 1:31 PM
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    Guest101
    You obviously cant have joint custody* if those are your working conditions, so you need to prioritise.


    *50/50 split in contact. Otherwise no idea what you mean by joint custody.
    • Caroline_a
    • By Caroline_a 12th Jun 17, 1:55 PM
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    Caroline_a
    You seem incredibly focused on how lazy your wife is. I really don't think you can judge what her days is like looking after 2 young children (one just a baby) by a week's looking after the older one. Having a baby and a toddler is damn hard work - and there is also the possibility that your wife is suffering from some PND, particularly if you have such a downer on her! Additionally, why on earth did you have a second child?

    With your current job role I would say that full time residency is not possible for you, so you have to accept that should you separate the children would stay with their mother, and you would have to apply for access to see them at weekends, and possibly once during the week if you aren't travelling. Additionally, the court would probably order that the children with your wife can live in the house until the youngest child leaves full-time education. You would be responsible to pay for child care for the children, plus you would also have the responsibility to the mortgage company to continue to pay your mortgage.

    It's not a great outlook for you, I would agree. Perhaps it's time to sit down with your wife to see how you can take this forward, in a civilised and amicable way.
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 12th Jun 17, 2:12 PM
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    Guest101
    You seem incredibly focused on how lazy your wife is. I really don't think you can judge what her days is like looking after 2 young children (one just a baby) by a week's looking after the older one. Having a baby and a toddler is damn hard work - and there is also the possibility that your wife is suffering from some PND, particularly if you have such a downer on her! Additionally, why on earth did you have a second child?

    With your current job role I would say that full time residency is not possible for you, so you have to accept that should you separate the children would stay with their mother, and you would have to apply for access to see them at weekends, and possibly once during the week if you aren't travelling. Additionally, the court would probably order that the children with your wife can live in the house until the youngest child leaves full-time education. You would be responsible to pay for child care for the children - Nope. , plus you would also have the responsibility to the mortgage company to continue to pay your mortgage. - And charge the wife for half the rental value of the property?

    It's not a great outlook for you, I would agree. Perhaps it's time to sit down with your wife to see how you can take this forward, in a civilised and amicable way.
    Originally posted by Caroline_a


    Any reason why you're using scare tactics on the OP?
    • Caroline_a
    • By Caroline_a 12th Jun 17, 2:18 PM
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    Caroline_a
    I was in error when I put 'child care' - I meant child maintenance. I think you'd agree that is correct, particularly if she goes to the CMS?

    Regarding the mortgage, this appears to vary in every case - for example if you read the (very lengthy) thread above, if my memory serves me correctly, the OP there had to continue paying the mortgage.

    I'm not saying it's morally right, I'm just saying this is what could happen, hence why sitting down and discussing things at least to start with may be a good place to start.
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 12th Jun 17, 2:30 PM
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    Guest101
    I was in error when I put 'child care' - I meant child maintenance. I think you'd agree that is correct, particularly if she goes to the CMS? - Obviously.

    Regarding the mortgage, this appears to vary in every case - for example if you read the (very lengthy) thread above, if my memory serves me correctly, the OP there had to continue paying the mortgage. - Define 'had to' - a court doesn't order that. Often they'd pay the mortgage and discount that from the maintenance.

    I'm not saying it's morally right, I'm just saying this is what could happen, hence why sitting down and discussing things at least to start with may be a good place to start.
    Originally posted by Caroline_a


    I'm not making a moral judgement, I'm making a legal point
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 12th Jun 17, 2:35 PM
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    TBagpuss
    Child Arrangements (Custody is an extremely old-fashioned trem and isn't used today) are based on what is in the best interests of the children.
    If you care currently working in a job which means you are unavailable a lot of the time, then shared care, with the children spending similar amounts of time with each of you, s not going to be a practical option in the shport to medium term. I understand that you cannot simply change your job or working pattern overnight but it may be sensible for you to start thinking abut what you might be able to change in the loner term, so that you can be more available, and also about what you may be a able to change short-term so that you can be available consistently and reliably.

    (e.g so that you can commit to having the children at set times on a regular pattern, or at the very least so that you can give reasonable notice of your availability)

    Longer term, in looking at the financial side of things, a court (if the two of you can't agree)have to try to be fair to you both. It is generally reasonable for both parties to be working to become financially independent, and long-term spousal maintenance is very uncommon these days. However, with a small baby, it's unlikely to be reasonable to expect your wife to go out and get a job immediately, although it would normally be reasonable to expect her to be working part time once both children and in school / pre-school.
    Unless either your wife, or one of the children has disabilities or medical needs which require additional care i is unlikely that it would be considered reasonable to expect you to pay for child care if your wife is not working.

    A court has to consider both parties needs as well as the needs of the children - this may mean downsizing to a smaller house so that a mortgage can be reduced or can become affordable.

    Longer term, a court can look at both of your earning capacities, as well as current income, so while they are likely to accept with a child under 1 and with you working away a lot so not available to look after the children it is not realistic to expect your wife to start wrk now, that she iwll, within the next 3-4 years start to have some capacity to earn for herself.

    www.entitledto is useful in working out waht benefits / tax credits she might be eligible for in different situations.

    If you have not already done so, then do see a solicitor.

    Also, although you are clearly unhappy with you wife, try to look at things from her perceptive as well. Being a lone parent is very hard, and caring for a 4 y.o and an infant is incredibly hard work, even if you have help. Does your baby sleep through the night yet? Is it you, or your wife, who gets up to care for it? Given how much travelling you do, how much are you able to do around the house? Or is your wife also doing all/most of the housework and cooking as well as caring for the children? What emotional support does she have? Being effectively a single parent can be very lonely and isolating.
    Have you talked to her about how she feels? Is it possible that she may be suffering from Post Natal Depression (depression can look a lot like laziness)

    those questions may not bring you to a point where you change your mid about ending the marriage but if you stop and think about the responsibilities she is taking on, as well as the ones you are carrying, you may be able to start any discussions with her with an open mind, both about where the relationship is going and hpow you manage the new situation if you split up.
    What attracted you to wach other to start with, and when did things change? Think about whether thereare things either of you (or both of you) could do to improve the relationship, whether it turns out to be a continuing marriage or a split where you both continue as good parents to your children.
    Also - consider your own health. Are you well? The type of job you have sounds quite stressful, and feeling that you are solely taking responsibility for all four of you must create a lot of pressure, too. If you are stressed or even depressed yourself, that will have an effect on how you behave and also on how you perceive your wife's behaviour, so do consider whether you might benefit from speaking to you Gp before you take any other steps.
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