Maintenance experience/advice

(10 Posts)
MonicaLewinskisFlange Mon 11-Jul-16 18:59:34

I'm new to this situation so forgive me if this has been asked before.

I'm intending to separate with DH and want to clue myself up before we have "the talk" about child access and maintenance arrangements. I'd like to propose a fair solution that he can hopefully agree to. I'd prefer to avoid solicitors and courts (who wouldn't?).

We have two dependent DC, one preschool and one teen nearing end of formal education. We live in a rented house, have very little in the way of assets, pensions or savings. I earn twice what DH does. He will be moving out and renting. He will prob pay the same rent if not more for a smaller place.
Childcare cost has always been my responsibility, so when you factor that in, my salary isn't as high as it looks. I have seen the gov calculator on maintenance which says Max £450 per month if they stay mainly with me, which they will.
Should I use this figure as a minimum, and ask him for more so DC get a better quality of life, or would that be unfair on him?
I'm thinking whether he should help with childcare costs or is that still just my expense? Would it be unfair to expect him to help a bit with actual childcare (collecting for an hour) so I can keep my job? I would earn half as much if I worked closer to home and my career would be savaged.
I won't need spouse maintenance. Should I suggest a figure and we go halves on big or extra things the kids need, like school trips, uniform, or phone, etc? I want to be an adult about this, and hoping he will to but doubt it somehow
What have others done? Advice on what would be considered fair please!
I'm completely clueless and would love to learn from others' experiences.

LemonSqueezy0 Wed 13-Jul-16 18:10:23

Hi, I think if you can work something out that suits you both that isn't the exact cms figure, you and your Ex (and therefore the children) will be better off in the long run. If you like your job and support collecting the children is what you need, and gives your ex quality time then go ahead.sounds like What you need isn't simply financial - you are both raising children so you could find mutually beneficial ways to do this. Maybe work out what the CMS says, and start an open and honest discussion with your ex. Good luck.

MonicaLewinskisFlange Wed 13-Jul-16 19:16:20

Thanks lemonsqueezy.

I'd love to hear from others as to how they approached this, what they worked out as a viable solution and what factors they considered to reach that.

MonicaLewinskisFlange Sun 17-Jul-16 10:30:29

Is it possible that I might have to pay him maintenance?

PlectrumElectrum Sun 17-Jul-16 10:55:29

Maintenance is/has changed recently with the new CMS set up replacing CSA. You should read up on their 'rules' to get an idea on where you stand. Previously, with the CSA, whoever was in receipt of child benefit was the deemed the resident parent, and they were therefore the parent who could claim for maintenance. How much that was payable was dependent on salary of the non resident parent, and number of overnight stays per week the children had with the non resident parent.

My understanding with CMS is that with 50/50 split on residency no maintenance is payable to either party.

In your shoes, I'd probably approach things by working out my own living expenses, including all children/childcare expenses 1st. If your children will remain with you the majority of the time & you are receiving & eligible for any help with childcare cost, figure that into your calculations too. Check out entitledto website for help with that - I've always found that website really helpful.

Once you have worked out all your costs/expenses/any financial assistance you could have if you are a) in receipt of the CB and b) will have the DC the majority of the time, I'd then start to look at your week & weekends and see where you could realistically fit in time for the DC with your STBXH. Id expect you have a good knowledge of his current commitments re work/after work hobbies/social life etc. You'll know your own needs re childcare/pick ups & drop offs & see how you can try and fit both sides into the pattern in a way that gives the DC time with their dad, time with you & if you can minimise childcare costs by sharing that, that could then impact (hopefully positively) the conversation re maintenance/sharing the children's costs etc.

Your STBXH may well have very different ideas and motivations for the same discussions & as long as you can remain focused on what's best for the DC (and use that as your negotiation tactic rather than what you need/want - avoiding anything you ask for as for you rather than the DC might mean you'll get an agreement rather that not), then hopefully your STBXH will agree with a plan that is fair & reasonable all round.

The tricky part comes if he's done the same & knows what you'll need, and instead of looking at things from the POV of the DC he wants to make life as difficult for you as possible knowing the limitations on what you can realistically 'impose' on the situation.

Good luck, I hope you can work things out in a way that works best.

Cabrinha Sun 17-Jul-16 11:07:45

I'm a bit surprised when you say you don't need spousal maintenance - well, of course you don't! You're a working higher earner, I'm surprised you even mentioned it to be honest.

It's not really possible to say what's fair re maintenance without knowing both income/outgoings. If he earns half your wage but it's still a good income, then £450 might not be too much of a stretch so more is fair.

For the preschooler practical arrangements - you know him best. Can you rely on him in principle? If he has a long history of being lazy and not stepping up, assume he won't change. If he currently does the pick up willingly, then propose it continues. But - has it hampered his career? Maybe it worked for you as a couple, but once single he'll need to prioritise work more? Anyway circumstances change so look at alternatives. Not you messing up your career - I mean alternatives like your older child doing it, or using a childminder. Then aim to have XH do it, but have a plan that doesn't include impacting your work.

I don't take maintenance from my XH for my own reasons (I am entitled to it, about £400). But I did propose that he pay 50/50 on any childcare fees - that is part of our Contact Order, so there's messing about with it. I'd recommend that!

You seem sure the kids will be with you more - do you know he'll agree to that?

middleeasternpromise Sun 17-Jul-16 11:15:52

From personal experience factoring in the X with child care often doesn't work. Many non resident parents take it as you using them to support your decisions I know that's not what it should be but even in a Court arena they see childcare as different from contact. Nos of overnights reduce maintenance proportionally. Unless your stbxh didn't contribute any money expect to be poorer I'm afraid.

lifeisunjust Sun 17-Jul-16 11:16:11

50/50 is how it should be as a starting point.
You will need to perhaps consider still paying maintenance to your husband, given your higher income.
If you put the children's needs first, there standard of living should be as equal as possible in the 2 households, which is why you should do the maths and if you should pay your husband, then so be it.

MonicaLewinskisFlange Sun 17-Jul-16 22:43:58

Thanks for all the advice. I need to process that.

life is unjust by username and by posts! wink if I had to support him, then he would pay nothing to support his own kids. That is unjust indeed. And he is inept and abusive, so if he fought for more access, which he won't because he couldn't cope and is too lazy, then I would dredge up all our history of his abuse, and he would risk having only supervised access. I want the kids to see their dad, no question. But his influence is bad and his parenting skills crap. I'd prefer to limit the damage he can do to them. That's actually why we have to separate.

mrsbrightside3 Tue 19-Jul-16 12:10:33

Me and my exdh have 60 (me) /40 (him) childcare split. I don't take maintenance from him (would only be £200 ish anyway) as he works school hours / term time only so looks after the dc after school (I work 9-5) and half terms. We had an amicable divorce though and worked together to find a solution that was best for the dc and was still 'fair' to us both.

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