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TOPIC: 52 Nights a year rule - CSA

52 Nights a year rule - CSA 2 years 9 months ago #81832

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I'll try and keep this as short and sweet as I can...My ex and I went to court in May last year to sort access as she was being quite stubborn. A court order was agreed for at what appears to be the minimum allowed which was 1 week in the summer holidays, alternate Christmas and birthday's, time with both children in the Easter Holidays (my company shuts down at Easter) and alternate weekends. The ex stated that although she was OK with the agreement, she didn't want the children to stay over 2 nights straight away on my weekend as our daughter would be starting full time school in the September and she was worried it may unsettle her. Fine. Whilst everything has been good with the access since court, my ex won't discuss giving me the Friday night back now that our daughter is settled into school. And then I get the call from CSA saying that I'm not having them for at least 52 nights a year so I have to pay more? My court order states I should have access from Friday-Sunday on alternate weekends so why, if the ex is refusing to let me have them, has she got CSA involved again? I'm also intrigued to know about travel costs and the CSA. My ex refuses to collect or pick up the children from my new house so on my weekends, I have to drive over 60 miles. During Xmas I had to do even more at times because "someone" had told my daughter that "things" go into her room at night at my house so she refused point blank to stay. I'd collect the children on the Saturday morning, return them Saturday night and then collect again on Sunday morning. Nightmare. This whole 52 nights year thing is crazy. I have the children 2 full days - Saturday and Sunday and 1 night. If I made sure I had them two nights and picked them up Friday night and dropped them back first thing Sunday morning, the ex would be fuming. What difference does an overnight stay make exactly?

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52 Nights a year rule - CSA 2 years 9 months ago #81834

My partner had something similar to this recently as he was pushing into the next bracket of overnights. He just sent a copy of his court order stating he has the overnights that they set him, along with a calendar that we marked out all the overnights with a total at the bottom and sent this to show them how We got the total we did. The CMS went with what the court had ordered. I'm guessing whether or not you actually had your children is the question here but that would be for her to prove otherwise, if the court order states you have an amount that totals over the 52 then I would sent it in,

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52 Nights a year rule - CSA 2 years 9 months ago #81841

Yes - this is the correct approach especially as you have a Court order stating as such. Create / mark the dates on a spread sheet (or otherwise) send in the court order and then your ex will have to "dispute" no doubt.

Cms rules state that when parents are in dispute - the should assume 1 overnight per week.... anyway. Given you have a co - the 'dispute' should not last very long...

If you search the legislation (child maintenance 2012 for 'dispute' you will find the rule which you can cite to cms..

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52 Nights a year rule - CSA 2 years 8 months ago #82215

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So I dropped the children off with their mother yesterday after having them since Saturday morning. I asked their mother about picking them up next time on a Friday as the court order states but I was told that "it won't be happening because I have to force the children to see you anyway and it's only because you dont want me having more money" So there it is. I was heartbroken. She is now saying that the children get upset about staying with me and she has to make them. Yet when I pick them up, they are all smiles and we have a brilliant weekend. How can five and three year old fake being happy? If they don't want to do something I am pretty sure I would know about it? She also said that the children don't even mention me when I am not there. I know I can go for a C79 form because she has gone against the court order but I want the children to be happy. I'm feeling completely stuck and so depressed. If she was really concerned about the children not wanting to come to mine for the weekend then wouldn't she discuss it with me first or even the court? Going straight to the CSA almost looks as if she is only interested in the money. I pay everything I am meant to pay every month by direct debit as CSA decided but now she is saying she wants them to take it straight from my wages? I don't know what to do next

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52 Nights a year rule - CSA 2 years 8 months ago #82218

First, it is probably a good idea to get some perspective. While each person has their own circumstances - bitter ex-wives who use children as weapons.... are quite predictable.

AJP83 wrote: I asked their mother about picking them up next time on a Friday as the court order states but I was told that "it won't be happening because I have to force the children to see you anyway and it's only because you dont want me having more money"


I interpret that as "I'm keeping them from staying overnight with you due to the 52 night rule." The only thing you can do here is to enforce the court order - there is little to gain by having "it out" with her directly. The one good thing about CMS is that you don't have to deal with the other party directly. So don't take the bait and enter into non-constructive discussions with her about CMS payments.

I see you have previously asked about the 52 night rule and the CMS - where did you get with this? Your best bet is to raise this with the CMS and simply say I do have them 52 nights as per the court order....they will say 'mother says otherwise'....you will say "What are your procedures when there is a dispute?"

AJP83 wrote: She is now saying that the children get upset about staying with me and she has to make them. Yet when I pick them up, they are all smiles and we have a brilliant weekend.

Interpretation. Either a flat-out fib...designed to guilt trip...or the children may well be upset, because this suits a bitter-ex's 'warfare' mode with you (see below). Unless there are compelling reasons to do otherwise - simply ignore such hot air. When parents separate - each one has a responsibility to facilitate (and encourage) a relationship with the other parent (works both ways). Parents serve the child's needs, in this regard. When one parent uses the children (and their irrational and fleeting immature emotions) to impair this relationship - it is an example of a parent using a child to further their own needs.

AJP83 wrote: She also said that the children don't even mention me when I am not there.


This is a classic. Interpretation: The ex has almost certainly made it clear (either verbally or non-verbally) that "Daddy is not a topic of conversation in this house..." or something along those lines. Children are perceptive (in a different way to adults), and generally want to conform and fit-in with their environment. If this environment is negatively-charged with 'anger towards daddy', children will quickly pick up on this. And adjust. This sort of behaviour can cause all sorts of emotional difficulties - and is widely considered to be an example of incredibly poor judgement on the part of parent. Ideally, children should feel free and able to discuss anything and any topic - especially those topics that may be causing them upset and distress or to worry. When a parent closes this resolution route down, because of their own feelings, they are (again) placing their needs before that of children.

So - don't take such comments to heart. I know this version of events is perhaps no more "pleasing", but be aware many of us have been in your place, hearing the same old excuses... good luck.
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52 Nights a year rule - CSA 2 years 8 months ago #82220

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Thank you for that reply. You're right in the fact that it's very easy to only see it one way. I needed another person's perspective on it all. I have now printed off a C79 form and will try and get it all sorted and sent this week. I only want the children to be happy but I can't see past all this hatred she is throwing my way. I know I need to ignore it but it's much easier said than done. As for the payments, I haven't discussed it with her. I will wait for the court enforcement to be sorted and see what will happen from there

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52 Nights a year rule - CSA 2 years 8 months ago #82221

No worries.

Yes, it is easier "on the outside" so to speak (although I am not saying my interpretation is the true one - it is one that is quite likely...given the circumstances and the fact that many other dads go through almost exactly the same thing).

It can be incredibly frustrating to feel like one parent has all the 'power' and decides to exercise that power in a child-unfriendly way... my advice here is remain child-focussed and, yes, do try to ignore the negativity from the other parent (easier said than done, though). But in the long term, your ex will (possibly) realise how counter-productive this sort of behaviour is, and the children will eventually be old enough to realise what is going on...and which parent cares more about fighting the other parent than focussing on their needs.

Thanks

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