I'm not really asking for any advice, I just wanted to highlight my brother's situation as an example of how someone can be bl**dy minded and difficult even after the CM arrangement has been put in place. I'm sure that isn't a surprise to many of you on here.
OK my brother has a 12 y.o. daughter and is separated from her mother. Mum has claimed CM which he pays on time every month. He does have his daughter live with him for some number of nights and I assume that has been correctly accounted for in the CM case. Incidentally agreeing access times with his ex was intensely difficult and he had to go through a lengthy and expensive legal process to get a somewhat agreeable contact arrangement in place.
After many years by himself (I think probably 8 or 9 years after separation) my brother now has a new partner who also has 2 children from a previous relationship. She is a lovely person and that relationship will in my mind only enhance any time that my bro's daughter spends with him. However, in the legal tussles about access my brother's ex raised objections about his new partner, and subsequent interviews had to take place to establish that in fact there were absolutely no grounds for access being denied on this basis.
Anyway, although my bro pays his CM payments on time each month, his ex refuses to accept that she is now solely responsible for stuff like school uniform etc and still wants my bro to pay half. He has of course pointed out that as long as he pays CM he is not compelled to pay for anyhting like that, but for example she simply refuses to hand over the school uniform on transition of the daughter from Mum to Dad - forcing him to buy a second set of uniform so his daughter can at least go to school in the right clothes.
So she's been as difficult as possible in regard to access rights, my bro's new partner, and even exerts what control she can in order to make my bro's life more difficult in areas like school uniform (without any perceivable benefit to herself). I guess she's just a very controlling person where being dominant is more important to her than having an easy life for herself but more importantly for her own daughter. Shame some people are like this.
You're right - it is a shame. People who are secure and happy don't behave in this manner - they don't have to, they just want to get on with their lives and get on with people. Insecure and/or unhappy parents on the other hand can choose to behave this way, not even caring that their children are getting caught in the crossfire of vindictive pettiness.
It's sad really.