to want to pay less maintainance but I'm worried about the knock on effect

(86 Posts)
cantthinkofadadsname Wed 08-May-13 11:37:21

Been separated for several years. At the time of separation, my ex and I agreed a figure for maintainance. I knew what it cost to run the house and look after DS so I was probably unrealistic as to what I could afford at the time.

I've always struggled to pay it - last year it was almost 40% of pre-tax income. I've been struggling with debt but supporting DS has always been my priority. Work has been difficult - I work as an agency worker and have found it very hard to get a full time job.

Ex has moved to a new house - which is great as DS has got so much out of the new location. Ex also works part time - so she can do childcare and also achieve a work life balance being a single parent. This has cost her financially and I'm more than aware of that. But she relies on my maintainance to pay the mortgage and bills.

I hate that I can't support her and DS. I just can't afford it. I've got debts and a mortage to pay as well as food to pay for. DS stays twice a week. The CSA calculator suggests paying a lot less per month but that's crap.

She can't get more hours at work. But I am wracked with guilt about the knock on effect. She's made sacrifices to bring up DS. And I've let them both down. There are times when I think it would be better to end it as the life insurance would be great for both of them but it's only the thought of DS that stops it.

I've tried to tell her what I'm earning at the moment but she doesn't seem to realise. She's struggling at the moment as well and hates me for everything that happened.

ginnybag Wed 08-May-13 11:45:12

Could you up the amount of time you have your son? Preferably on days when he's currently in paid child care?

That would be a win-win for all of you. You and he would see each other more and she would have less bills, so would need less money.

Congrats on trying to do the right thing. You sound like a great dad, who is really trying.

Also, are you managing your debts properly? I.e. a debt management plan? You may be able to reduce the payments because you shouldn't be paying more than you can afford.

cantthinkofadadsname Wed 08-May-13 11:52:38

DS is at school. Ex moved to be nearer to the school and his classmates but the mortgage is expensive. Even if I had DS more, her bills and mortgage would be crippling.

But she moved for DS. She works part time for DS. She's made financial sacrifices and kind of needs the money I give her. But it's been too much for me and has ended with me being in debt as I just can't get that job that I know would help us all.

I'm also worried that if I got on some kind of debt plan (my credit cards are scary) that I just would not have access to money for day to day stuff. I'm kind of putting off and hoping I will get that job.

I just feel so guilty. Several years ago, things were going fine. Then my job I was in went and the truth of our relationship was exposed and how we really felt. I hate everything that's happened and the way I've fucked up two lives. My ex could have done so much better with her life and DS deserves so much more.

Bogeyface Wed 08-May-13 11:59:27

I can see that you feel responsible but your ex has fucked up too. She took on a large mortgage relying on your maintenance to pay it, knowing that if you are not working then you wouldnt be paying it, or not so much. She needs to accept that if you dont have it then she cant have it.

I am a single parent and because I am struggling I am getting more hours. Its not ideal but its what I have to do just as I would in a relationship. If you were together and struggling for money would she get a different job/more hours etc or expect you to find the money?

I wonder if she is playing on your guilt at your marriage failing to make you pay far more than you can afford.

Who left who? Was there another person involved?

EasilyBored Wed 08-May-13 12:06:41

I feel for your situation; your ex should not have taken on a mortgage based on over the top maintenance payments, even if the location is better. Is she aware of how much the CSA would expect you to pay? I think you're going to have to try and explain the situation you are in clearly and firmly - you can not continue to pay the amount you have been, as your income hasn't matched it. And you can not continue to get into debt because you feel guilty. It will not help your son in the long run if his dad is a wreck and stressed and guilty.

cantthinkofadadsname Wed 08-May-13 12:06:56

No one else involved. It was mutual but I was the one who brought it up. Deep down we both knew we weren't compatible. It sounds a cliche but the love wasn't there. I used to tread on eggshells in the house, thought about everything I said in case "it was wrong" and my opinions or ideas on anything never seemed to count.

I could go on a lot more about our relationship - I think it's probably why I'm finding it difficult telling her about the reality of the situation. She'll probably just have a go at me about work. I hate the fact that she's struggling as this has a knock on effect on DS. I just hate confrontation.

Bogeyface Wed 08-May-13 12:11:01

You may hate that she is struggling but it is still unreasonable of her to expect you to support her life choices at the expense of your own health and well being. You are not together anymore and she needs to accept that and take some responsibility.

If you go through the CSA calculator, print it off and show it too her and then make an offer of reduced payments, but still more than the CSA would award her, then she may realise. Otherwise, you may just have to go through the CSA.

Bogeyface Wed 08-May-13 12:12:18

I should add the child maintenance is awarded at the levels it is because it assumes that the resident parent is also contributing financially to the childs costs. At no point is the non resident parent expected to pay for everything for the child.

Fleecyslippers Wed 08-May-13 12:20:40

Is getting a lodger an.option to help towards your own mortgage payments ?

Tryharder Wed 08-May-13 12:43:46

Can't she work FT? Take in a lodger?

I hate all this 'working part time for the sake of of the DCs' like its not a choice.

You need to talk to her.

cantthinkofadadsname Wed 08-May-13 14:23:36

Ex suggested a lodger in my place. It's a small flat and DS has his own room. I did advertise but no one seems to want to share such a small place with a child in the house. One who makes his presence felt.

Ex can't get anymore hours at work - from what I understand.

I know I need to have that conversation - it's DS that I feel for. I feel so crap about the effect this has had on him and how he's missing out on stuff because of finances.

Bogeyface Wed 08-May-13 15:08:40

Yeah but you know what? ~That would be the same whatever your relationship status, just as it is for me and every one else. There is less money around and it means that a lot of children are having to lose the extras and some are in families in receipt of food parcels just to be fed.

Your son has none of this, but he does have a rather entitled sounding mother who thinks that you owe her a living. You would be doing him a favour by nipping this in the bud as that not a good example for him to learn.

Bogeyface Wed 08-May-13 15:09:41

Oh and she would hardly tell you she can work more hours if she thinks that by laying a guilt trip on you, you will pay for everything.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 08-May-13 15:15:08

You sound like a lovely Dad and co parent. smile

A debt management plan will not leave you with nothing to spend day to day, it will be based on what you can afford. The National debt helpline is great, but their service does require you to be proactive and take control. It's worth finding out what a debt management programme will actually be like before you write it off.

cantthinkofadadsname Wed 08-May-13 15:27:53

We've actually been pretty good at co-parenting and have got on far better than when we were together. We're flexible on arrangements and accommodating to each other's needs. It's just this thing has always been bubbling under and I suppose I've kind of ignored it.

I'm worried about damaging this relationship we have. She can get so angry at times and finds it hard to compromise. I'm getting hassle at the moment about the maintenance even though she knows how hard things are at the moment for me. I know how hard things for her at the moment - she has a funny way of mentioning it in conversation and I do have a massive guilt over how things have worked out for me and her.

She was always very careful with money until we separated and then fucked the whole thing up for her. I do have a massive sense of guilt which is probably why I was prepared to do all I could so DS did not suffer. I don't know how to shake that sense of guilt off and start thinking about me and DS without worrying about her as well.

stopmovingthefurniture Wed 08-May-13 17:35:35

Your DS is very lucky to have such a committed dad! That's what matters, far more than 'stuff', including the location of the house.

Could you move to a smaller place? Or take in a lodger? That way, you could sit down with your ex and explain what you're doing and why. Then, if it doesn't work, she has seen you take the first hit.

In her shoes, I'd be unwilling to move down a house before you.

Viviennemary Wed 08-May-13 17:43:41

You've done your best. It isn't your fault that you ex chose to take on a higher mortgage. I think you should pay what you can afford. And go to the CSA if you think you are paying too much. You are not responsible for somebody else's choice to take on more debt.

makemineamalibuandpineapple Wed 08-May-13 17:51:29

You should go through the CSA yourself and let them decide on the amount. You sound really responsible and that's commendable but you can only pay what you can afford. Perhaps you could take it in turns with your ex to buy school shoes and buy clothes from time to time to help out.

NatashaBee Wed 08-May-13 17:56:51

I'm worried about damaging this relationship we have. She can get so angry at times and finds it hard to compromise. I'm getting hassle at the moment about the maintenance even though she knows how hard things are at the moment for me. I know how hard things for her at the moment - she has a funny way of mentioning it in conversation and I do have a massive guilt over how things have worked out for me and her.

It sounds like the only reason you've had a good relationship thus far is because you've supported her above the level the law demands. I would sit her down, tell her that you need to renegotiate the maintenance, and let her know that if she would prefer to go through the CSA, that's fine. Otherwise, you need to discuss winding it down gradually over a set period to a more reasonable level - maybe over the space of 6 months or a year to allow her to pay off some debts or think about what she can do to increase her own income, or get to a point where her costs will be less (for example, childcare costs reducing as a result of your DS being old enough to stay home alone or starting full time school). Is she claiming everything she's entitled to? Can you help her check that out? Both look into the debt management plans as mentioned above?

BoneyBackJefferson Wed 08-May-13 18:21:15


"In her shoes, I'd be unwilling to move down a house before you."

But she has effectively already moved up.

I would also be concerned about the threading on egg shells posted above.

LineRunner Wed 08-May-13 18:40:39

There are times when I think it would be better to end it as the life insurance would be great for both of them but it's only the thought of DS that stops it.

The insurance wouldn't pay out thought, would it? So why even say that.

I agree about sitting down and talking very realistically about your incomings and outgoings. If mortgages and other bills are unaffordable, then you need a plan.

I gather you left her? Please try to find a way to deal with the guilt outside of your dealings with ExW and DS. The best thing for your DS is a sustainable, realistic, upbeat plan and a viable future. I also agree this might mean your taking on a lot more child-caring so your ExW can resume her previous career or start a new one - but she will have to have reason to trust you to be reliable on this.

Good luck.

LineRunner Wed 08-May-13 18:41:13


iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Wed 08-May-13 18:59:06

Accruing more debt won't help anyone sad

Have you looked on MoneySavingExpert. The forum is great for help with debt management and help with lowering expenditure.

Are you checked if you are claiming any benefits that you may be eligible to?

Do you have any obvious expenses that can be trimmed. Phone, Internet and satalite TV seem to be MoneySavingExpert favourites. Small changes across the board can add up to a lot.

Are you able to sit down with all the facts and figures (bills etc) with your ex so that she can really understand the situation.

The current situation can't be maintained and you have to do something about it. sad. Good luck.

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 20:22:21

Just been on the phone and discussed this. She made the point - and a valid one - that she's lost a lot of money due to drop in salary when DS was born. Which is true. I don't really know how to answer that.

She also made the point about if this carried one, she might have to put the house on the market. She knows money is tight and seems okay to drop the amount but I still feel so guilty. She knows how to press the buttons.

RandomMess Fri 10-May-13 20:27:47

Sometimes life sucks. She has choices to make, it is her choice not to work full time and use childcare, it was her choice to move to a more expensive property etc. Sadly she may have to sell up but if you don't start managing your money, debt and payments properly then you will end up bankrupt and she won't be getting any maintenance from you...

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 10-May-13 20:46:39

Normally I am never in favour of a nrp dropping the amount agreed apon however your situation has changed.

Its not changed because you have started living a extravagant lifestyle nor has it changed because you have produced more children or shacked up with someone with kids and you have not intentionally changed it by controlling your income or diverting it.

You really do need to talk to her about it,you are not much good to her or your son if your having a breakdown due to debt nor if you kill yourself ( most life insurance policies won't pay out for suicide so that's a totally crap idea)

Don't do it over the phone its easier for you to be pressured by guilt and its always better to have serious talks face to face. Work out what you can afford I mean realistically afford make sure its above what the csa would order you to pay and she would be very silly to refuse.

If she has over stretched herself and its not due to actual poverty then its her responsibility to deal with that its not your fault. If you offer more than the csa would then you are doing the right thing if you are paying so much your making yourself ill then that's not the right thing for any of you.

Obviously this opinion is based on you not being silly rich and having a secret stash of money and just not wanting to continue with the arrangement but on you being genuinely unable to afford it ( and not because you have produced several other children or agreed to support someone else's)

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 10-May-13 20:51:57

random even people who are bankrupt still have to pay current or future csa payments its only arrears that can be looked at by the OR

NatashaBee Fri 10-May-13 20:53:35

I agree with Sockreturningpixie. Her income dropped because she opted to work part time, and she chose to buy a house - just as you are worse off since you're paying maintenance. Finances get tighter for everyone when a child is born, regardless of whether the parents are together or not. You are clearly tightening your belt and leaving frugally to assist as much as you can - you can't do more than that.

RandomMess Fri 10-May-13 21:00:42

I meant he would be paying less then he is currently tbh

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 10-May-13 21:02:50

Sorry random I didn't realise that

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 10-May-13 21:10:15

Is she actually pushing your buttons when she says she may have to put the house on the market or is she stating what is a fact and it's your guilt that's making you hear it more negatively than it was said?

I think you should try and agree a new figure without the CSA if poss as I think you'll both be charged an admin fee if you go through them, which is a waste if you can agree.

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 21:10:35

She went part time for "the right thing" - to be able to help bring up DS. It's now impossible because of the current work situation to up her hours. She moved house for DS - again, doing the right thing. Whenever I mention anything to do with money, I get the this is what I'd be earning if I was working full time comment - that's true, but having DS was a mutual decision. But it seems to be my fault she's lost a lot of money because she was the one who went part time.

I can't help feeling guilty. I am trying to do the right thing for me but it's really hard to see the effect it has - the effect separation has.

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 21:12:09

She can push my buttons in many ways - not being able to afford to go out with work colleagues or only being able to afford a starter, not being able to afford this or that. I get that - because I can't do that either.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 10-May-13 21:16:01

But does she say "it's your fault"?

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 21:20:41

When someone tells you they're down 40% of their salary because they went part time to bring up DS, it's hard not to hear some blame in that.

caroldecker Fri 10-May-13 21:20:46

If she earns more than you full time, could the DS live with you, she earns the money and pays you maintenance - financially would be best for the DS.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 10-May-13 21:36:18

You really need to explain to her that even if you and her were still living together you could not maintain the situation.

Have you ever directly asked her about the comments? Try this

"I'm not sure I understand why you are saying that,do you mean its my fault?"
If she says yes then at least you know her mindset.

Pan Fri 10-May-13 21:39:02


TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 10-May-13 21:40:53

But it is a neutral fact too.

I am asking because I am a personal expert in interpreting things DH says (eg cash flow is a bit tight this month) as my fault (oh, I shouldn't have bought x or y) whereas he is really saying it in a neutral way (I know, I've checked!)

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 21:47:02

It's come up before in conversations when we lived together, shared bills and ran the house. How much having DS cost her in terms of salary - and where she could have been if she hadn't got together with me.

So I just hear the message that by being with me and having DS together, I've ruined her life. She could have had a far better one.

RandomMess Fri 10-May-13 21:48:59

You have to remember that she chose to go part time, she didn't HAVE to. She may regret getting together with you but some of that is her own responsibility unless you forced her to stay in the relationship and have a child against her will...

She seems bitter but that is her problem not yours.

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 10-May-13 21:56:46

Dont let her guilt trip you. You ound like a caring parent.

She chooses to work part time, thousands of parents work full time with children. If she is moaning about having a reduced salary then tell her to swap and give you custody.

She needs to rely on herself, shes an adult. Im sure if you work out the usual 15% csa rate, add on the same amount for her contribution plus CB and CTC and its unlikely its not enough to feed and clothe a child.

Pan Fri 10-May-13 22:00:43

Can I ask how old are you, and how old is ex?
And what jobs/occupation you were/are in?

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 22:03:04

Not really - as it would kind of out me.

Pan Fri 10-May-13 22:07:11

Really, OP? No contextual info that would.could be important then?

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 22:10:21

Ex knows I come on here.

She didn't have to go part time, she wanted to. She will undoubtedly be getting child tax credits and child benefit which you don't get (unless she is a higher earner, in which case I am a bit hmm anyway). She's also getting the money from you, and also you are feeding and clothing your son when he is with you.

I'm sorry, but she moved for school and now can't afford it - that's not really your problem, is it? I know it sounds harsh, but it really isn't, and it isn't up to you to make up the shortfall.

It sounds like she knows the ins and outs of your finances but you know none of hers. Tell her you will give up work and look after DS so she can go back to work - I bet she will decline.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 10-May-13 22:12:08


The 15% is the minimum requirement not the bee and end all amount.

Its just the only amount that can be legally enforced.

And great assumption about benefits there.

Pan Fri 10-May-13 22:13:07

Well I'm pretty sure that with the info you have shared already...she would know who you are if she looked at all. Logical?

Is she an MNer then?

True sock, but I think the limits are something like £60k or something before she wouldn't get benefits, and if she's on that on a part time salary and is still struggling, then maybe she should cut her cloth a bit better?

I'm sounding like a right bitch even to myself here, and I don't mean to. Co-parenting is hard, but it seems like only dad is worrying about it and willing to make allowances and hard decisions. You can't just dress every decision up as 'for the kids'.

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 22:18:10

She gets CB but not a lot of CTC from what I understand. I know it's not my fault she moved to a house that depended on my maintenance to afford it. She did it for DS (to do with being nearer school) and DS has benefitted so much. She was worrying about affording it before she moved.

I agree about the 15% not being the amount I should pay. When I saw the CSA payments, I was shocked by how low they seemed. I made a lot of sacrifices over the past few years accommodation wise so I could pay the maintenance.

I just want to do my best for them both so DS is ok.

Pan Fri 10-May-13 22:22:00

Sooo.. is she an MNer, OP?

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 10-May-13 22:26:22

OP weird questions for you.

Is she really really stupid and completely unlikely to actually check out stuff like what you can be forced to pay?

Do you have form for never challenging anything with her?

Did you at anytime before her buying the new house have any discussion with her about the cost of the mortgage and in any way lead her to believe that nothing would change regarding your payments so she should go ahead on the basis of that and buy it?

MoominsYonisAreScary Fri 10-May-13 22:32:31

Stop allowing her to guilt trip you

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 22:34:07

I always found it hard to challenge her on things. That's part of the reason for our break up as I felt my opinion and views never mattered. When she got the house, money was tight for me but I was determined to try and pay so DS would be ok. Then due to work issues, money got tighter.

She's always known things have been tight for me but as long as she got the money, she never really asked or seemed to worry about it. I know she knew that she depended on my maintenance for the mortgage.

I feel like I've let them down. But she was the one who took on the mortgage knowing she'd be relying on me.

comingintomyown Fri 10-May-13 22:40:58

Woulda coulda shoulda

I would explain how things will have to be and stop worrying about what she does or doesnt think

Just keep being loving to your DS and doing the best you can without being so self sacrificing and self critical about it

As has been said lots of couples are in this or worse positions it has nothing to do with your split

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 10-May-13 22:44:03

You need to talk to her. With a neutral third party present if necessary.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 10-May-13 22:45:51

Incidentally, how did she get the large mortgage on a part time salary - did she have a guarantor?

Pan Fri 10-May-13 22:46:22

So ex is an MNer. But MN is a big site.

It really isn't clear what the point of your thread is, other than to magnify your sense of victimhood. What is your point?

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 22:51:09

My point, pan is that I'm worried. Really worried. And I need somewhere to offload on - if that's ok by you?

I have no idea how she got the mortgage. I'm not sure if they take maintenance payments into account when you apply.

Boosterseat Fri 10-May-13 22:59:39

If you have a 3 bed House could you rent it out and get a smaller 2 bed for you and ds?

As someone who's ex pays the absolute minimum for DS, I am a little bit jealous that her sons DF gives a shit enough about him to want to adequaltey support him.

Pay as much as you can afford and also try to save a little for your DS if you can, Ds may appreciate when he gets older that you were planning for his future and thinking about him even if you weren't around as much.

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 23:01:05

I have a tiny 2 bed flat. In the cheap part of town.

Pan Fri 10-May-13 23:01:47

Off loading is fine, OP. But for eg you can find out if mortgage providers allow for maintenance payments anywhere.
And it appears that you are lightly off loading all sorts of responsibilities about how you manage your stuff at the door of your ex. It's fairly inauthentic, and you still can't say if your ex is an MNer.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 10-May-13 23:08:18

OP, it's better that she understands the situation and looks into moving now than she ends up in arrears because you have too many other debts and can't pay after all. At least it won't be a crisis point for her and DS. But the longer you leave it, the more likely a crisis.

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 23:08:29

pan I live on fuck all money. I take great care in my budgeting. Work has not been great - for reasons that I'm not going to go into - but I am doing my best.

Why are you obsessed with knowing if ex is an MNer? I'm certain she isn't but she might well have friends who are. So I'm being cautious. If that's ok with you.

I'm a regular on MN - but have NCed for this.

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 23:09:39

snatch We did have a chat today - she is aware of how things are. I'm not sure what conclusions she's come to.

Pan Fri 10-May-13 23:22:02

OP, I'm not obsessing about the ex MN status, at all. It's fairly common tho' for some blokes to land here and shoot off about the troubles they have had/are having with their exs/partners whilst knowing this is a place where their exs have a bit of respite. As you would know if you are a regular?

So, really, what are you asking for here? An objective viewpoint? A set of convincing arguments to deliver to ex?

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 23:28:30

Are you the thread police, Pan? Or are you doing your usual trick of criticising people on threads?

I'm posting on AIBU for the reason many people post on AIBU. To offload, be heard and to get some points I can make to my ex.

No - she's not an MNer.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 10-May-13 23:58:39

Pan, back off your the one whose coming across as prat not the op.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 11-May-13 00:02:23


Did your knowledge of her knowing she relied on your payments for her mortgage come about in any way due to you giving a assurance that she could rely on it.

Bogeyface Sat 11-May-13 00:38:11

Look guilt or not, it comes down to this.

She wants you to pay £X, but you can only afford £Y so she needs to either accept this or go through the CSA when she will get a lot less.

Whatever way she chooses to react or paint her situation, she chose to take on a mortgage she couldnt service on her own earnings, and you are not earning enough to cover it (even if you should which is questionable). I dont wish to sound morbid, but any one of us could get run over by a bus tomorrow, what would she do then? PLEASE dont tell me that she is the beneficiary of your life insurance. Make your son the beneficiary, and make a will stating who is the trustee (not your ex or anyone with anything to do with her) and that your son will receive it when he is 25 or whenever.

Pan Sat 11-May-13 00:39:16

OP, I really don't care where you post at all. But yes, if you post in AIBU expect some sharp questions?

fwiw, I don't have a 'usual trick' of criticising posters at all, but sometimes querying what it's all about - just a healthy radar?
And tbh you've had some really good tactical pointers given to you on this thread, but you appear to want to revert to 'victim' mode repeatedly. Until you grow out of your 'guilt' phase, your ex will take you to the cleaners, and that will be nothing to do with the best well-being of your dc.

Bogeyface Sat 11-May-13 01:41:33

I agree Pan that until the OP takes advice, things will stay the same. However, there are ways of saying it, you know? And as you know, troll hunting is frowned upon, if you think the OP isnt what it says on the tin, then report him!

EchoDragon Sat 11-May-13 07:59:39

I think you need some advice to sort your finances out. Speak to a charity like Step Change or another voluntary debt management company. They have many ways to help from dealing with your credit ors to helping you set up sensible and manageable budgets.

Your ex takingvon a big mortgage relying on maintenance payments was her choice. She should have made sure she didn't need to rely totally on your payments when she moved. What if you were ill or became unemployed through redundancy or your employer going bust? All a harsh reality of the economic downturn but would have a direct effect on your maintenance payments through no fault of yours. Of course it is reasonable to use your money to contribute to her mortgage. But to rely on it to such an extent she risks loosing her house is a bit irresponsible.

IfNotNowThenWhen Sat 11-May-13 10:03:12

Yup, was just coming on to say Step Change.
You need a debt management plan, absolutely.

On the one hand, I can see Ex's point about moving somwhere better, schools etc. I moved somewhere a bit too expensive because we were on a bad estate, and I wanted ds to live somewhere better (flame away if you must I don't care!)
This was not always easy financially, but I felt it was important.
However, I didn't take on a massive mortgage, and If I did have a mortgage I would make sure I could pay it with my earnings, and not rely on maintenence.
You SHOULD be paying equally for your child, but one of you shouln't be paying more than the other. She may have to downsize , and one or both of you could try and get more work.
To those saying that Ex "chose" to work PT, well yes BUT, when you are a single parent you do everything in the home, you have to be there at both ends of the school/childcare day, there is no-one to help with housework, shopping, cleaning, cooking.
It was really hard when I was working FT out of the home, because a) I was totally knackered, and b) ds really missed me-when your family is just one other person most of the time, it's hard when you suddenly see them so much less.
I actually had to stop WOH full time (can now work some of the time from home-yay) because Tax credits cut WAY back on childcare help, and the childcare costs were making it pointless anyway, despite all the other stuff.
So, It's not always as simple as "tell the sponging cah to get more hours" Also, OP has said that she can't get more hours now. Work is in very short supply these days.
You BOTH have a child, you BOTH need to sit down together and do the sums, and work out what you can BOTH do.
It's no good being all passive and scared of confrontation. Grow up a bit and talk to her, with a mediator if it help, but you need to sort it out together.

Bogeyface Sat 11-May-13 10:17:57

Another point, the CSA say to never rely on maintenance and it is no longer used when assessing benefits. That she chose to go against that is her choice.

middleeasternpromise Sat 11-May-13 11:07:14

Whenever people split up with kids there is going to be an inevitable drop in living standards (unless one or both of you is filthy rich) its just a fact. Moaning about it isnt going to change that. You both appear to be sticking your heads in the sand a little - you are racking up debt supporting outgoings you cant manage; shes gone ahead and set herself up with outgoings based on the idea that you will find a way to continue paying at the amount you guilted yourself into coughing up.

All the stuff about working part-time; who I was pre kids etc is all pointless as the decision was taken by both parties to have a child and the impact of that is big responsibility financially, practically and emotionally. The relationship breaking down is something none of us plan for when we make these decisions about children but if it happens then its a case of getting on with it.

Feels a bit like you and the ex have moved into separate houses but are continuing with the same relationship you had when together. You tippy toeing round not being honest about the facts and her telling you that its your fault things arent as they should be and you need to provide more.

The reality is you say you are getting into so much debt you feel the despair of ending it all. Thats a wake up call, if you think your kid is suffering a lower standard of living because of your split, think about the like he gets when one of his parents disappears for ever. You need to start making your decisions by looking at what he needs now and in the future. If she has to downsize so be it. There are many of us in a similar situation - it sucks but no one promised it wouldnt.

ShellyBoobs Sat 11-May-13 11:23:16

It's fairly common tho' for some blokes to land here and shoot off about the troubles they have had/are having with their exs/partners whilst knowing this is a place where their exs have a bit of respite.

So Pan if OP was a female asking the same questions and making the same points would be ok with you?

Maybe posters should check with you that they're ok to post before they start.

Pan Sat 11-May-13 13:26:43

yes, to everything middleeasternpromise said.

OP, you do make your ex sound like a right ruthless individual, which she may be. If you're racking up debt through feeling guilty, it won't get any better and the only person who will stop this is you. Where do you see this situation being in 6 months/one year's time? You probably 'know' all of the stuff that has been said, but it's worthwhile having people looking in from the outside confirming it all?

The purpose of having the required conversation is to ultimately make life better for your dc. If you have trouble asserting yourself in front of ex, how about preparing a script beforehand and sticking to it, come what may?
The guilt thing? It sounds like she is extending the invitation for you to feel this way, and you are willingly accepting it. You can decline the invitation.

RandomMess Sat 11-May-13 13:37:34

The point I was making about the ex choosing to work part time was when they were still a couple. If her career/earnings were that important to her then she could have chosen to work full time and both parents pay for childcare etc. Mainly stop letting that arguement guilt trip you. It was her choice to take on a large mortgage whilst working part time.

You both seem to be suffering from the economic down turn and sadly that means choices have to be made like many many other families whether single parents or not. Horrible I know but that is the reality somehow you need to stop feeling guilty for things beyond your control, perhaps you need learn and practice some stock phrases to stop you ex piling on the guilt "would you prefer down to CSA route rather than have this discussion again?"

ajandjjmum Sat 11-May-13 13:51:34

Did the OP say that he paid 40% of his pre-tax earning to his ex? Doesn't that mean that he would be left with around £30 out of every £100 earned to live on? Doesn't seem a lot. Ex certainly sounds manipulative.

clam Sat 11-May-13 14:18:26

So, she moved to be nearer to your son's school. But could she not have bought a cheaper property in that same area?

Potteresque97 Sat 11-May-13 14:38:52

You've got to cut yourself some slack, you're doing your best, she must know that and the manipulation is pointless. Go to the debt people and then you might have the breathing space to focus on the job search. Her financial affairs are her own and you need to get the debt under control.

LessMissAbs Sat 11-May-13 17:33:32

Cut your maintenance to what the CSA calculator suggests. Add on a little more if it makes you feel guilty. There is absolutely no point in bankrupting yourself to pay what you are now. And there is no entitlement to it if you are paying over the odds.

Encourage your ex to find a full-time job.

I'm puzzled as to how she got a large mortgage that she cannot afford with a part-time job.

I think she is using you financially.

Go and see a solicitor or debt management company and I suspect they will say the same thing.

Bogeyface Sat 11-May-13 17:53:51

I think she is earning far more than she says, because the mortgage thing flagged up to me too. No mortgage company would give her a mortgage based on maintenance payments that could dry up at any point.

50shadesofvomit Sat 11-May-13 18:15:25

Does your ex have a car? If your son has a place at a great school then it's not going to harm him being driven to school. Lots of people live in an expensive area in order to get a place at a great school then move out to cheaper areas later.

When your ex went part time she made a choice that was presumably right at the time. If her career was important she should have insisted being full time while you went part time. Blaming you is unfair.

If you have your child more she will have more hours to spend increasing her income and its better that she makes preparations to move out now rather than have to do it suddenly out of the blue because you can't get any more credit or cash. You sound like a decent bloke who would increase maintenance if you managed to get a job with more income.

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