I have been separated for a year now. When we separated I was working full time and my ex husband had been studying full time for many years and just completed a double degree at that point. We originally agreed that my 3 children (all in school) would spend 6 nights with me to begin with as I was working full time, and revisit that once he had a job and I could change my working times.
So at the time I was the primary earner and continued to be after our marriage fell apart. He never went back to work afterwards, so I am also paying support to him. A year later he has announced he is going back to study a diploma in a completely different field than his other degree claiming he cannot find work.
It has been really difficult and we have been into court over the children and property and there just seems no way that he will accept any offers at all and so nothing has changed. We have a final court hearing in november. But I am just wanting to move on, and keep trying to arrange a settlement. But it all seems to be getting more more and vicious the more I do.
I recently went part time, 7 days a fortnight as looking after all my kids and trying to work every day just became too stressful and I was relying on too many friends for pickups etc, and the kids were beginning to hate afterschool care. I love being able to take my kids to and from school, and also being home over the school holidays. It also lets me do the shopping, washing, cooking, and I can actually keep my house in order.
My Lawyer bills were getting too much as well, and so I stopped them representing me so I was no longer billed for every email or letter, and Im now trying to do things myself as much as possible.
I just received a letter from my husbands lawyer, saying that the parenting arrangements would have to be revisited because I have gone part time. They say that the current arrangement is unsustainable as having the children for as long as I do means I am not able to continue working full time! We only have a notation about the existing arrangement in a court document but no actual parenting orders. I think I'll be receiving some form of court order to change the arrangements, especially as our negotiations over the school holidays was really difficult. He even objected to my CSA reassessment because of my change of income now I am working reduced hours. They rejected it though thankfully, because I reduced my hours to look after my children, which of course is sensible and just part of being closer to my kids! I wish I had never agreed to fewer nights at the start as its just stayed the same, and I want to see them more, at least 50%.
I cant believe that a lawyer would make such a threat! Is this even realistic? I dont want to outsource my children's care but I am being threatened by his lawyer that if I don't continue to work full time they will make a claim to reduce my access! It just seems every letter from his lawyer contains a threat of some kind. Surely this is rubbish, and even harassment.
I am trying to respond to these things myself now to keep my bills low, but I dont know what I should say back, or just ignore it as it is so outrageous. Couldnt this be seen as attempts to bully me in some way, or can a lawyer say anything without repercussions?
I want to go part time for my kids, but I cant afford to keep paying lawyers if I do. Then I spend more time writing and responding and worrying about whether I will lose access to my kids or have to go back into court to even keep the current arrangement.
I just want some help. I earn just enough so I cannot get legal aid, but I owe $50k in lawyers already and am trying to juggle what I can. If this ended I could get on with my life.