Ex is stopping maintenance payments when DD2 leaves junior school

(175 Posts)
Carrie370 Mon 23-Jun-14 16:21:58

I have 2 DDs, 13 and 11. Both have been to private schools since reception, and my younger DD starts senior school in September. Their father and I separated 5 years ago (never married, and he has no parental rights in law as they were both born after Dec 2003) and have had a private financial arrangement up until now. He now maintains that the £400 a month he has been paying me was his contribution to DD2's fees until she left junior school, and that since he didn't agree to sending them to private senior school, these payments will stop in July. We have always had shared care 50/50, although on top of paying the school fees, I have paid for everything else too (music lessons, school trips, uniform, holiday childcare, etc, etc).

My DD2 has organisational issues, and is on the learning support radar; both current and future schools have suggested that this is not helped by the constant change of house during the week, and so I have decided to have them with me on 4 school nights. My ex does not accept that this means he will be liable for maintenance, thinks I am doing this just to try to get more money out of him (he has never read DD's ed psych report or been to any parent's meetings) and still states that he owes me nothing. He earns a good salary (as do I), but he and his new wife appear to have saddled themselves with a massive mortgage, such that he says he cannot afford to pay towards any of the girls' 'extras' (never mind the fees, which I have long-accepted I will have to pay).

I am bristling with fury (and before anyone calls me a privileged rich bitch, yes I am aware that my question may seem trivial to those really struggling). Does anyone know if I can pursue him via a solicitor, or do I have to go via the CSA (or whatever it is called now)?

Sorry for the long, ranting post!

I think you should use your current fury to hunt him down and kick the shite out of him wink

Of course you should pursue him through the CSa, bet you get more than 400 a month.

Are your local schools no good?

needaholidaynow Mon 23-Jun-14 16:26:57

How much does he earn a month?

Notcontent Mon 23-Jun-14 16:29:59

Is he a high earner? To be honest, I don't think £ 400 per month for two children is that much really. I don't think the CSA is much use in cases of high incomes. I speak as someone with a private arrangement.

Carrie370 Mon 23-Jun-14 16:30:32

Yes, Laurie, the schools are OK. My older DD is happily settled and thriving in year 8 in her school, and has just won a scholarship (stealth boast grin ) I really want them in the same place, the hours are better for me to fit around work, and they have both worked really hard to get there. It isn't that I can't afford the fees, I can (just) but do not see why I should pay for everything else as well.

ikeaismylocal Mon 23-Jun-14 16:34:54

If you have 50/50 access he doesn't owe you a penny surely?

Why doesn't your child stay at her father's 4 nights a week and you pay access?

If you can't afford the school fees send her to state school, if you can afford them don't complain and don't expect him to subsidise your choices.

Carrie370 Mon 23-Jun-14 16:35:33

By most people's standards he is a very high earner (>60K). We had a private arrangement that broke down after 5 years, which is what is gutting. I accepted that it was his right to refuse to pay school fees, but not the other basics. Notcontent I had heard that the CSA isn't much use in such cases, that's why I am wondering about a solicitor to get him to cough up. Someone told me that all maintenance cases have to go via the CSA ...

ikeaismylocal Mon 23-Jun-14 16:36:08

Pay child support not access.

Carrie370 Mon 23-Jun-14 16:37:03

Ikea I was waiting for a comment like yours. Just read the post again?

hamptoncourt Mon 23-Jun-14 16:38:32

Have you checked out the CSA calculator? It will enable you to make adjustments for how many nights he is having DDs overnight.

You mention a new wife. You do know don't you, that your payments may be reduced if they have children living with them, even if they aren't his?

CSA calculator is here

And by the way, you don't come across as a privileged rich bitch, just another mum anxious to do the right thing for her DC.

Even if you do have to go through a solicitor, at least you will know what the bare minimum payment should be. Good luck.

Butterflyspring Mon 23-Jun-14 16:40:23

of course you should pursue him for the correct amount of maintenance - if not self employed then via the Child Maintenance Service. What you spend the maintenance on is your choice isn't it. I bet it is more than £400 per month too.

Have you looked at the child maintenance calculator to see what he legally should be paying?

Carrie370 Mon 23-Jun-14 16:41:10

Hampton, thank you, that means a lot. The new wife's Children are grown-up, so that isn't an issue. I've had a look at the calculator, and it would certainly amount to more than £400 a month. I have told him that, but stoney silence ...

Luggagecarousel Mon 23-Jun-14 16:41:29

I don't think you will get awarded much money if he is having them half of the time. I don't think you are going to be able to easily refuse to let him have them half the time either.

I'm sorry you're upset, but I'm struggling to see what you are angry about. He sounds like he has paid well over the odds to contribute to their private junior education, and he is well within his rights to say he now wants them to go to a state school.

I hope you manage to sort out what ever your issue is and calm down quickly!

MimiSunshine Mon 23-Jun-14 16:42:16

Sounds acrimonious to say the least and a number of issues seem confused.
1 if you up to now split residency 50/50 then my understanding is no he didn't owe you any maintenance as you in theory both paid the same.
This would assume that school and extra curricular activities would be agreed and split. The problem arises of one parent doesn't agree with the others choices I.e. Few paying schools.
Did he ever agree and is now denying it or did you just tell him that's where they were going because you thought it was best? I'm not saying you were wrong but I can see why he'd begrudge the money.

2. You have good reasons to suggest a residency change but surely as a co-parent of 50/50 it's not your unilateral choice?
It's something to be agreed together otherwise where does that leave him, having them every wknd to make up for it, would you be happy to never have wknds with them or is now to go from 50/50 to EOW?

I really think you need to sit down and discuss this before you birth get too entrenched in your POV.

needaholidaynow Mon 23-Jun-14 16:42:23

So if he's earning 60k a year he's earning 5k a month which 20% of that is £1000. But then you need to take in to account the nights he has the kids which if he has them 50/50 will knock it down quite a bit I'm guessing. Under new CMS rules though I heard that 50/50 contact means a nil assessment.

MimiSunshine Mon 23-Jun-14 16:44:49

Stupid phone. That post was Typo crazy

Carrie370 Mon 23-Jun-14 16:45:01

I don't have a problem with him not paying school fees. My problem is he is refusing to pay for anything else. They will not be with him 50/50, as I am doing what the learning support teams have suggested and keeping them with me more of the time. I can call the shots on this one, as I have parental responsibility and the backing of the school.

Luggagecarousel Mon 23-Jun-14 16:47:33

I did just out the details you supplied into the calculator. If your ex has no other children, it looks like he would be asked to give you roughly £200 a month.

That does sound like quite a lot to me, I would have expected it to be lower.

Luggagecarousel Mon 23-Jun-14 16:48:59

How can a school possibly have a say? That is just crazy! And will very likely count against you if he takes you to court.

Carrie370 Mon 23-Jun-14 16:52:59

Mimi We agreed to send the kids privately when they started aged 4. He then stated that he 'couldn't afford' to pay for fees for senior school, and it was my decision to bite the bullet and pay for that. He pays for NOTHING else, other than the food they eat when at his house. He maintains that extra-curricular activities and school trips are the product of a private education, forgetting that these have to be paid for whatever school kids attend (unless he wants them to sit at home all day, doing nothing). He is quite happy, for example, for me to pay to renew their passports, then take them abroad on holiday (just one, somewhat trivial example)

henrysmate Mon 23-Jun-14 16:53:14

I wonder if you're being penalised the only way he can because you changed the access arrangements? I can understand why, but I'm not him.
Is mediation out of the question?

Carrie370 Mon 23-Jun-14 16:55:02

Luggage, the school don't have a say; they have advised me, as a result of my DD's ed psych report. As the parent with PR, I have decided that is what is in her interests.

MimiSunshine Mon 23-Jun-14 16:55:11

You have parental responsibility but he's still their dad. It doesn't make you more their parent than him, besides he could go to court to get it, maybe he hasn't until now as he always thought you'd be remade able and discuss things first so never felt the need?

Just a thought. After all you can't ask for equal split of costs while at the same time refusing an equal say well you can but you'd be unreasonable

Does he pay for clothes/activities etc for the 50% he has them?

Or are you footing all the bills for everything?

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