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Sharing the travelling

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Hi.

I am wondering where I stand on one particular issue. My ex and I live about 45 - 50 minutes from each other and we are about to start negotiating care for our baby.

Considering it looks like soon I will be having full day care of our baby, am I expected to drive each way 4 times in the one day? This is if she refuses to do any driving.

This would be a total of 3.5 hours driving in a day (240 kms), while she has to do zero. She has a car and I pay my child support.

Is this something I should expect her to meet me half way?
I believe it should be the responsibility of both parents.

Not only should the amount of travel be taken into consideration,( being time and cost.) but also time shared with the child in this situation has enormous benefits to the child.

One question that will be ask is who moved away and why.

In my case my daughters mother moved away and the court thought reasonable to order travel be met halfway by both parties.

For a forty fine minute trip you may consider a full trip by each parent, you pick up from babies mums and babies mum picks up from you, it's still sharing the responsibility and reasonable.

Is this going through the court system or mediation ?

If it is going through mediation you need to think whether it is worth the risk of going through court especially if you can deal with the travelling, just something to think about.
Thanks for your reply. We always lived this distance apart, as we didn't actually live together. So it's by default, nobody moved anywhere.

There is no court case at all, and we are just at the beginning of negotiating  things like this. We both don't want to go to court but at the same time, she is definitely not one to be generous with me seeing my son.

It's good to know where the limits are and what expectations I should have, travelling in this case.

Thanks
D4E said
I believe it should be the responsibility of both parents.

Not only should the amount of travel be taken into consideration,( being time and cost.) but also time shared with the child in this situation has enormous benefits to the child.

One question that will be ask is who moved away and why.

In my case my daughters mother moved away and the court thought reasonable to order travel be met halfway by both parties.

For a forty fine minute trip you may consider a full trip by each parent, you pick up from babies mums and babies mum picks up from you, it's still sharing the responsibility and reasonable.

Is this going through the court system or mediation ?

If it is going through mediation you need to think whether it is worth the risk of going through court especially if you can deal with the travelling, just something to think about.

Hi there,
I realise this is an old topic now and have read a couple of similar topics I could have added to, but chose this one to jump into as I don't really know where else to start!

Im sorry if this ends up being long winded!

When I got married 15 years ago, we bought a property 350kms away from where we had both grown up. His family eventually followed, as they are all farming people. 10 years later when our relationship had deteriorated and he was unwilling to seek counselling or even accept any responsibility for the state of our marriage - I made the heartbreaking decision to leave.
We had 3 boys by then and I wanted to share custody so they had equal time with both of us. I moved out of the family home, took my personal belongings and a few bits of furniture we had stored in a shed. I left him with everything else, and basically started again with some help from my family.
The shared care worked pretty well, the only problem being I was now in a town where I knew no one (the farm is 50kms away from the town where the children go to school, and this is where I relocated to). I had not worked in paid employment for over 10 years and had to find work that would suit a single mum one week and a single person the next. Not easy. I ended up getting work at a roadhouse and found myself getting mostly graveyard shifts. The hours were very difficult to fit around the boys but I really wasnt qualified for anything else. Small towns can be brutal if you are new and alone, and I could feel myself spiralling downward, drinking too much to ease the loneliness and feeling desperately sad most of the time. I was no good for anyone in that state of mind.

I made another heartbreaking decision to move back to the city where my family are. I tried to discuss arrangements with him about the boys without much success. It became apparent that after nearly 2 years of shared care I would not have a leg to stand on legally if I took the boys with me. My ex also let me know in no uncertain terms that it would not be in my best interests to take his kids away from him. I couldnt tear my kids away from their dad anyway, irrespective of his veiled threats, so I decided to leave them with him and see them as often as I could. They have a fantastic life in the country and what I could offer them in a city just didnt compare.
That was 3 years ago and it still breaks my heart every day that Im not with them. I have them once a month for the weekend and for half of the school holidays. We haven't got any court order or formal arrangement in place, it works because I fit in with his plans.
I get to as many of their school activities as I can, but having a full time job and living 3 hours away makes that difficult. A lot of people judge me for the choice I made, and I guess that's to be expected - not many mums leave their kids. I know in my heart it was the only option, the boys are happy and settled and they know I adore them. We have a great relationship and they have adjusted to this really well, Im very proud of them. They are 14, 11 and 10 now.

Until now I have predominantly done all of the travelling to pick them up and drop them off. This is a 6 hour trip to get them from school on a friday, and then 7 hours on the sunday to take them home. On the odd occasion he has bought them here if he has to come to the city for something, and on those occasions I only have a 2 hour trip to get them! In 3 years this has literally been a handful of times. Of late I have been asking him to meet me half way when I bring them home. He has agreed to do that a few times, but it's always a last minute decision (sunday morning) and it will be a case of leave now and I will meet you or bring them all the way.

Im intimidated by him, I can admit that, even after all this time. He has the most precious thing I have ever loved and he can call the shots and does….but it's wearing me down. I have so little time with the boys and end up spending most of my weekend driving. The 3 hour trip home after I leave them is horrendous, and tears flow.

I have decided to try mediation with him to come to a resolution that is amicable and workable for both of us. I know his argument will be that I moved away, so I should do the travelling.
My argument is that if he had come to marriage counselling, we may not be here!! Is his argument valid? Do I have any rights here? I am quite lost at the moment.
Is it wrong of me to want him to share some of the travel? The mediator I spoke to advised me to get legal advice about this before we actually have the mediation session….
I had a brief discussion with a family lawyer, and asked him if I had any right to suggest he travel some of the way. He said it would almost certainly NOT be an order that a court would grant, seeing as how I had moved away.  :o  I find this quite hard to believe in this day of equal parenting etc etc….
I understand that other parents move closer to their kids…that isnt an option for me, I cant go back to that town and live the life I was. Does this mean I have to suffer in my jocks (that was humour :) )?
I pay my child support out of a wage I struggle to live on while he happily buys holiday houses, boat, jet skis and so on…but earns no income on paper (yes that is a little bit of resentment coming out - I know he has a creative account) It costs me about $120 in fuel to see the boys, I buy them clothes that they take home, get their hair cut almost every school holidays - none of which I claim as child support…and yet I cant ask for a little consideration when it comes to pick up and drop off? It all seems very unfair to me, and after hearing this from a lawyer I am feeling rather defeated and might even have a little pity party later :P

If you have managed to get through reading this I thank you….if nothing else Ive purged a little, but hope maybe someone can give me some advice/a suggestion that doesnt cut me down at the knees!
:)


Unfortunately, I think what you've already been told has probably hit the nail on the head. I can't say it would be an impossibility for you to get orders for shared travel, but from all the similar instances I've come across, it's usually the person who moved who does the travelling and/or pays for it. Sometimes it's halved, but I think often that by agreement rather than order. Your argument about marriage counselling will hold no weight in a court. I mean, if it were to come down to issues like that, he could argue back that he didn't go to counselling because you withheld affection from him, and you could argue that was because he never did the dishes, and round and round we go. So I'm sure you can appreciate that will be of little value in a legal sense.

You say that you can't go back to that town and live the life you were living, and be that as it may, that's a choice on your behalf. Your ex is still living the life that you and he had mapped out for your family. Whatever the reasons, you are the one who defaulted on that so he really can't be expected to pay for your choices. When we have kids, we all make various sacrifices, and I guess it comes down to a lifestyle choice for you. Yours was to move away to somewhere that was better for you but admittedly not the best environment for them, and therefore, you chose to leave them where they were. You knew when you made this decision it would mean long, frequent journeys in order to keep contact, and you obviously felt that was the lesser of evils at the time. So probably, yes - you, jocks, and suffering. :P

The child support is a whole separate issue. Your resent is understandable if you know he's earning more than he's declaring, but unless you have proof, it's unfortunately out of your hands. Therefore it's of no use to you in this situation.

But don't take my word for it, I'm only basing my opinion on what I've seen and heard of here and in case law. Wait and see if anybody else thinks differently, and also you can get on to the Australian Legal Information Institute site and search up similar cases to get a feel for the kind of decisions made and what might influence those. Good luck.
With regards to travel costs and creative accounting you could apply for a change of assessment under reason 1 (high costs in enabling a parent to spend time with, or communicate with, a child) and/or reason 8 (a parent's income, property, financial resources, or earning capacity). The problem is that the CSA have a record of using change of assessment in order to wrongly inflate the CS collected so you could easily end up paying more CS.
I'm the original poster on this topic and here's an update on my situation.

She has agreed to drop our son off to my house of a morning, and I return him in the afternoon. There was no argument about this at all. The only thing is that even after child support, she sometimes can't afford fuel so I just transfer $30 into her bank account as an extra contribution to make it work, and the appreciation I get from her is worth it.
Thank you for your replies :) I especially appreciate that you made it through my novel!!

I can't say I agree with the idea that if you move you pay….if a parent feels compelled to move to a place where they can find work/have a life of some kind, then it seems very unfair to be punished for this considering it takes both parents to make or break the marriage in the first place.

I can say now - what a difference 24 hours makes (although the proof will be in the pudding!)
My ex got a call this morning from the mediation service I had contacted and he called me. He has always been incredibly hard to talk to and since our split that has worsened, most discussions would end up with him criticising, yelling, reminding me what a terrible mother I am and so on. I have enough guilt and pain over this without having him stick the knife in at every opportunity so I avoid talking to him as often as I can!
He was ok this time though, asked if we could just talk about it and not involve mediators…..I bought up a few issues that were bothering me and I may have made some headway - but again - time will tell! For now though I hope we can come to some sort of mutual arrangement, and he has said he would meet me halfway on the return trip as often as he can.
I dont think I'll ever get any joy about his earning capacity….he will start showing a profit the day the youngest isnt eligible for child support - I'd put money on that!! I looked into the CSA's criteria for claiming high costs of travel etc, and basically I dont even come close to qualifying! The criteria seems to only apply if you are interstate.
Again, thank you for responding - it's really helpful to know other people's opinions or experience and I appreciate that no one told me what a horrible person I am :P
ds80 Im really glad you have something workable in place :)
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