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CSA advice for a man.

(171 Posts)
GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 18:27:52


hope you don't mind if I ask a question and get your opinion, I will try to relay the facts without exaggeration and keep it short.

I have a 12 year old son who I have supported financially and spent alternate weekends with him since birth, i have a legally signed PRA form.

For 10 years I have given him mum between £350 and £400 / month till 2011. In addition I pay for his social needs, clothing, educational aids, school uniform, entertainment, Tennis lessons, kick boxing, gymnastics, swimming, theatre, private tennis coaching, mobile phone bills, opened a savings account, started a Junior ISA and saturday language classes.

I am a normal guy on an average London salary, before my own mortgage and bills and expenses.

My son is mad about tennis and so we agreed to cut his other activities and focus on that, he competes at junior level and wants to be a Professional, tennis is not an easy or cheap sport, alot of coaching and matches and ferrying around, which is costly and time consuming, but happily deal with.

During that time, I have been falsely accused of assaulting her, reported to police, her family verbally attacking me, my son being told im irresponsible father, and was never there for him as a baby, I hit her, bullied her, im a liar and unreliable, cutting our phone conversations short, hanging up his phone when I call, not taking him to tennis matches on her weekend, I am not allowed to take him either.

I have put up with this for a long time and decided it has to stop now. I normally just ignore it all and carry on, but im starting to despise her deeply and the image she has portrayed me to be, to my son.

As of this month I stopped the monthly direct debit to her and decided to pay his needs myself to the parties concerned. I Contacted the mediation people and explained the situation, before going to court. I have not taken this step before as I dont want to harm my son. I want her to take up her issues with me not him, I feel she must not involve or attempt to influence his feelings towards me with false accusations.

30mins ago, I received a call from the CSA.

If I pay her directly, all his activities will stop, no tennis, no savings policy, no ISA, no meaningful sport, she has made it clear she does not want him to be a tennis player, but he has his heart set on playing tennis.

If I prove I invest over and above what I should pay her, and he gets what he needs, does this matter to the CSA? Will they be happy with that? I can prove all of the above.

Apologies, no short way to explain.


NatashaBee Thu 07-Feb-13 18:34:13

No, it won't matter to the CSA. How much do they want you to pay them, is it less than you were paying before? If so, can you pay them the required amount and pay the rest into savings/ISA without handing it over to her? Her behaviour sounds shocking - but in fairness, children need a roof over their head and food, as well as tennis lessons. So it's not really fair that you should just pay the money towards non-essentials and leave her short. If you have issues with her behaviour then a solicitor, not the CSA, will need to deal with that.

Tubegirl Thu 07-Feb-13 18:41:03

Hi, I'm sorry but the CSA don't have that kind of discretion. It is completely frustrating but the money has to be paid to her if she requests it through them. I gather from what you are saying that the assessment will be more than £350-400 as you say that all his other activities will have to stop, the implication being that you won't be able to afford them? She can withdraw her request for them to be involved. You could try mediation but it sounds as if positions are a bit entrenched at the moment.

glitch Thu 07-Feb-13 18:48:35

I don't understand why you have stopped the monthly dd to her as you say you pay for the other things on top of this.
If you are trying to dictate how she spends the maintenence money then you are being unreasonable.
Why can you not just continue to pay for tennis lessons as you are now?

STIDW Thu 07-Feb-13 18:53:09

Child support is a blunt instrument and there is no discretion. Under the current rules the non resident parent pays a standard rate, 15% of their net income minus deductions for any overnight stays.

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 19:01:01

Agreed, Tennis is on the proviso he does well at school, and he does. I also provide his clothes, school uniforms, books, pencils, bags, sports clothes, shoes and trainers and pocket money. I also have the school send me separate copies of school reports, to stay informed.

I figured she is working, surely food for 2 is manageable? (she wont reveal what she does or how much she gets paid).

I asked for a detailed breakdown of what his expenses are per month, these are some of them:

Travel £70/Mth (buses are free)
Toiletries £25/mth
School Books/pencils £25.mth
Clothes £50/mth
Food £300/mth
other £50
Hair products £15/mth

I was horrified.....(I think she made it all up).

I got the call from DWP, called them back and it said "welcome to CSA", I hung up.
Doing some research before I call back.

Collaborate Thu 07-Feb-13 19:07:21

Don't try and fight the reasoning behind what the CSA will make you pay. You'll never win.

The only way you could have more control is if you apply for a residence order, and at a pinch a specific issue order, but if he doesn't live with you then you're going to have to pay for tennis lessons on top of child support payments.

betterthanever Thu 07-Feb-13 19:12:25

I hate seeing the good men screwed and the `baddies' paying nothing. It's such a shame after all these years it is like this. I obviously don't have both sides or the full story but would it be better for you to go back to the old arrangement? if so is that possible? I back what has been said about basics being more important than Tennis - why do you not see him midweek?
I have put up with this for a long time and decided it has to stop now. I normally just ignore it all and carry on, but i'm starting to despise her deeply and the image she has portrayed me to be, to my son. so you stopped the payments? Surely you see you can't do that.
She knows the system and ultimately it is hurting your DS. Do what you can for him. How much does he know?

ArtexMonkey Thu 07-Feb-13 19:14:52

Well buses might be free but petrol isn't. Nor is gas, electricity, the rent/mortgage on a property big enough for him to have his own room/ in catchment for decent school. Lots of people find these types of things to be more essential than thousands of activities.

Why are you asking for a detailed breakdown of her expenses btw? You sound like you don't trust her to parent him, he is her son too isn't he?

Csa money is to meet the child's basic needs. In families where both parents are together, you meet your dc's basic essential needs, then look at finances and decide if you can afford an ISA, tennis lessons, trips to the moon etc. I guess that's what you'll have to do.

I think absent parents who refuse to pay towards their dc's basic essential needs are real low lives btw, no matter how they rationalise things.

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 19:15:07

Glitch -

Partly frustration, principle and clearly she has been taking advantage for years. My bills go up like everyone else and she has never offered to help or ease the situation by cutting back on expenses, plus the negative false accusations about me to my son, family and friends....I just cant do it anymore.


I contacted and met mediators, paid for both of us to attend, but her attitude after the session has not changed, so I cancelled it.


I thought as much, Im reluctant to deal with them, as my son will suffer in the long run, if it goes down this route, then she will have to pay for all his needs, which she wont.

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 19:28:55


She does not drive, no mortgage, and I have contributed towards her energy bills since he was born, I am an active and permanent fixture in his life, every day of the week, verbally or in person.

Absent parent, lowlife, selfish, all terms she has used against me over the years, maybe you have a point.

betterthanever Thu 07-Feb-13 19:30:07

I thought as much, I'm reluctant to deal with them, as my son will suffer in the long run, if it goes down this route, then she will have to pay for all his needs, you may not have the option but to deal with them. If she stands firm it is to go down the CSA route you can't choose if you deal with them or not.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Thu 07-Feb-13 19:39:04

How does the £350 - £400 PCM you were paying compare to the CSA minimum?

Pay the CSA amount. If you can afford the tennis lessons after that and you are happy to do so, you can pay those direct. But you and she need to agree about this as a concept as she doesn't want him to become a tennis player (not necessarily unreasonable, plenty out of the top 100 don't earn enough to live on) and you do (and presumably DS does). So perhaps some compromise about it being his main out of school activity but he has to miss a lesson if he has important homework due would be ok (this is too simplistic but hopefully you see what I mean). You are both his parents and this is quite a big decision.

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 19:44:31


Your right, I don't begrudge paying, this is the first time I have taken this action, its not about money, its the emotional blackmail that sickens me, using him to get to me.

I will consider the legal route, as much as I am reluctant to do so, as least then I can ensure its a fair assessment.

I tend not to discuss these issues with him, he loves his mum and does not need to know. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for her, my fear is he will eventually start believing it.

Daddelion Thu 07-Feb-13 19:51:58

I don't see how he's an absent parent.

jayho Thu 07-Feb-13 20:02:56

But what you have done is financial blackmail. The first rule of separated parenting is not to conflate money and access/behaviour which is what you've done.

Whatever she has done to you or said about you the money is 'child support'. You have withdrawn it so she has approached the appropriate agency to get it re-instated. What she does with it is her business.

As many other posters have said, if you want your son to have extra-curricular activities you can pay for them. If the amount you have to pay via the CSA precludes you paying this independently you will have to negotiate with your ex.

Piemother Thu 07-Feb-13 20:05:47

I mean this gently but you are connecting her behaviour with financial support of your son. The CSA/courts won't see it like that and it sounds like your son will lose so much if the CSA route is what hhappens.
I would suggest you try again to talk it over with her.
Ds expenses etc are irrelevant - it's 15% anyway.

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 20:10:47

Hi Doctrine

Average spend past 10years approx £550-£600/mth. He stays with me alternate weekends, summer holidays and some days in-between. Not agreed anything with CSA yet. I have always paid far more than is required and didnt mind doing so. If im paying for schools, education, she does not have to, but she expects me to do both with no allowances on her part.

I must repeat, its not about money and not wanting to pay. I am also thinking about his future.

Whilst im pandering to what i think is her unreasonable behaviour, his needs are increasing, I worry about that. If not Tennis it will be his higher education, or uni fees, I have to deal with that, or what chance will he have?

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 20:17:03


Never thought about it like that, Financial blackmail....its possible I have done that, as its the only thing she seems to care about, regardless of what I do, how much she is getting paid.

babyhammock Thu 07-Feb-13 20:20:18

I don't understand what you hope to achieve by stopping the direct debit? To punish her and teach her a lesson? Surely you can see that your son will suffer too.
If she is as bad as you say, then by doing this you are playing into her hands and becoming the type of person she says you are.

Also its unfair of you to ask for a breakdown of expenses and then to accuse her of lying

jayho Thu 07-Feb-13 20:25:21

She is not 'getting paid' you are contributing to the upkeep of your child.

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 20:33:38

Plemother -

Fair point, it started when I cottoned onto the fact her behaviour towards me improved, coinciding with her wanting something, then switched back after she got it.

And I do the reverse.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Thu 07-Feb-13 20:33:52

The only thing the CSA is concerned with is how much is paid direct from the NRP to the RP, which is determined on a percentage of salary and adjusted by the amount of time spent with each parent.

How did you expect stopping the maintenance payment without notice or saying anything to be received?

SignoraStronza Thu 07-Feb-13 20:37:29

You sound very controlling OP. She should not have had to provide you with a detailed breakdown of his expenses per month at all - especially if she is then accused of lying.

By paying for individual items like this it also seems like you are dictating how the money is spent. Do you shop with him for clothes/school uniform or do you ask his mother to provide receipts?

You say you don't know if/where she works and what her income is - does she know your salary? Perhaps contacting the csa was the only way she could establish the correct amount that you should be paying for his basic needs (15% of net income).

Once the csa has calculated this it can be paid directly to his mother. She can shop for clothes and sundries for him out of this and then out of that you are free to provide extras such as tennis lessons if you wish.

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 20:52:53


I dont know what I was hoping to achieve, knee jerk reaction, clarity? Fair play? Transparency? Its a bad move, fair enough.

After checking with several parents and the school, it does not cost £25/mth in toiletries for a boy, nor does it cost £25/mth for school books when they are free and he goes to school on his own, travel costs are £35/mth max.

I am not rich nor a celebrity, an average parent working long hours to keep on top of mounting bills. How much do I haemorrhage before I question where it is going?

If you don't like the word lying, how about excessively exaggerated? I liken this to the expenses scandal.

There is no need for it, as I have always supported them financially.

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 20:58:54


This has been going on for a long time, these issues have been raised over and over and over with no attempt to ease, understand or assist the situation.

I was not and did not expect it to go down well.

betterthanever Thu 07-Feb-13 21:00:43

She knows how to press your buttons. You are more concerned with money than your son's welfare. Many parents I am sure would love to give their children tennis lessons but they just can't afford it. It sounds like you can't afford it. It is sad when we want to give our children things we can't afford but to push the financial burden of other more mundane things on someone else so you can look like Mr Big Time with your tennis lessons doesn't wash with people who just want their children cared for.

glitch Thu 07-Feb-13 21:02:14

But what she spends is none of your business. The CSA website will confirm how much you need to pay in child support each month and anything above that that you choose to pay for you can do directly.

Daddelion Thu 07-Feb-13 21:04:52

You've been paying for 12 years, you've got probably 6 years left of dealing with your ex, all things pass eventually.

Pay the CSA and pay for the tennis if you can.

Your son will know in the end what sort of person you are.

babyhammock Thu 07-Feb-13 21:06:58

Ok so what is 15% of your salary then? Is it less than the £350 -£400 you have been giving her?

SignoraStronza Thu 07-Feb-13 21:09:13

I can see you are frustrated but the simple answer would be to pay the csa minimum to the resident parent and then decide for yourself what 'extras' to fund. That is what most reasonable non resident patents would do.

If coming to an agreement with the mother, use the csa calculator and work out your monthly maintenance.

If you can't agree (for most employed people on paye it should be pretty straightforward) then she is perfectly entitled to request the csa do this on your behalfs.

Demanding a list of expenditure and niggling over every single item is, quite frankly, ridiculous. I'm not feeling one iota of sympathy for the situation you appear to find yourself in.

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 21:21:25

Whilst I am happy to debate this and hopefully get some clarity i cant help but notice 90% of responses have focussed on this one action, the DD.

Whilst im not expecting support of my actions, interestingly just one person responded to her systematic and prolonged attempt over the years to influence my sons feelings for his father, her appalling behaviour towards me, slander, false accusations of assault and lack of sufficient interest to take him to the occasional sporting event outside school, instead I have been called a lowlife absent parent and controlling.

Some criticism I accept, but where is the balanced view, where is my advice on how to deal with the less tangible matter of money, which is far more damaging to my sons long term wellbeing?

Is that not the definition of unfair and controlling.

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 21:22:04

babyhammock, it works out about £250/mth.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Thu 07-Feb-13 21:31:17

G, you called the thread "CSA advice" so posters are giving you CSA advice. It's horrible that she name calls you but it's a separate issue to maintenance.

mamadoc Thu 07-Feb-13 21:36:03

You posted it in legal not relationships so you are getting advice on the legal position which is that you as Nrp are required to pay her as rp a certain amount based on your income, discounted for the time he spends with you for your sons basic needs.
His actual expenses, her income and her behaviour are not taken into account. She can spend it on what she likes and doesn't have to justify it to you. That's just the way it is.
You really only have two choices reinstate the dd and carry on as before or let the CSa assess you for the minimum and spend the rest in a way of your choosing.

SignoraStronza Thu 07-Feb-13 21:36:59

I'll say it again. You DO come across as very controlling. Certainly from a financial point of view. After all these years you are very bitter. I can't help wondering why exactly you split up when your son was 2 and how much untruth there is in his mother's allegations.

How does your son feel about being denied his sporting activities on the weekends you aren't with him? You keep banging on about your son's welfare but yet there is no indication of how all this bickering actually affects HIM. I do wonder whether he's actually as enthusiastic about all this sport as you are.

If the csa calculator says £250 a month then that is what you should pay. Do it via the csa so that you may feel vindicated that you are paying your way. Pay extra for sporting activies that he can do when you are with him.

Then leave it at that.

babyhammock Thu 07-Feb-13 21:40:32

So you earn £1700 pcm after tax then? Is that an average London wage?

Right, well give her that and then pay for the extra's you would like him to have. If you have been giving her as much as you say then there will be plenty of lee way for that even if you're hoping to reduce your outgoings.

But you can't then ask her to tell you what she spends it on...
And asking several parents at the school how much they spend on toiletries does come across as pretty controlling tbh.

ivykaty44 Thu 07-Feb-13 21:52:23

Why does your sons mother not want him to play tennis or be a pro?

Why or how do you know that your sons mother is talk about you in a negative way to your ds?

glitch Thu 07-Feb-13 22:09:21

I am a little confused as to your issue regarding the child support payments.
If you have put your net salary into the CSA calculator and it comes out with £250 then why not pay £250 a month via them and then still provide the additional things for your son directly?

You will have no need to communicate with your ex directly which may help both of you.

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 22:17:05


Don't mean to be rude but your subjective responses clearly suggest you either didn't ready my post or your choosing to ignore it. We split before Either of us knew she was pregnant, never married.
That probably changes nothing in your clearly one sided opinion. You are happy to judge me, which is fine but question the validity of the rest of my statements. That's fine, but I whole heartedly disagree with you if that's how you would behave in a similar situation.

ArtexMonkey Thu 07-Feb-13 22:24:55

Sorry, sorry, I didn't mean absent parent, I mean nrp of course.

I still maintain that nrps who don't pay for their children are low lives. I never at any point called you a low life. Just pointing that out.

Ad you don't need a breakdown of what she spends, csa amount is 15% of your salary, the end. It sounds like things are very acrimonious between you, perhaps it is best to do everything through the csa after all?

Piemother Thu 07-Feb-13 22:26:53

Re the expense breakdown - see this is why CSA is a flat rate. Can you imagine what would occur if all rps had to supply expenses and then have the NRP judge what they should pay toward them. Sigh. I'm disappointed she complied really. If have told you to bog off.
Yy to your actions sounding like you want to teach her a lesson too.
You should repost in AIBU wink

STIDW Thu 07-Feb-13 22:33:54

Don't delay contacting the CSA. If they can't get the information they require they will approach your employer for the details then again to deduct child maintenance and any back payments from the time they first contacted you from your salary if you don't voluntarily pay the assessed amount.

SignoraStronza Thu 07-Feb-13 22:35:02

Ok, my mistake. You split up when she was pregnant. So let me get this straight.

Your son is 12. For ten years of his life, until 2011, you paid £350 to £400 per month to his mother.

You have recently (last month) stopped the direct debit.

So how much were you paying and to whom between 2011 and the moment you stopped the direct debit?

Who was taking the direct debit from your bank account?

Were you already paying via the csa and suddenly stopped payment?

You came on here for legal advice and your holey story is full of rantings about your ex. People have already given you good advice - basically pay what you are legally obliged to.

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 22:37:24


we had a heart to heart last week, he told me she does not want him to.

ivykaty44 Thu 07-Feb-13 22:39:09

Did he give any indication of the reason why not

Aspiemum2 Thu 07-Feb-13 22:50:30

You checked her expenditure sheet with other parents and the school?
I actually can't believe she wrote one for you, it's really none of your business and if she's as unreasonable as you suggest then it doesn't make sense for her to comply.

I am still to this day terrified of my ex but I would still tell him to sod off if he asked me to do that - what hold do you have over her?

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 22:57:13

Let me ask you a question:

Lets say for example you have a mutual agreement with the father (you were not married or living together) of your child to pay a maintenance fee of say £400/mth.

This amount is based on all his bare essentials, contribution to bills food etc, clothing, school needs, travel etc.

Would you then expect the father to pay on top of this amount for items related to school, PE, books, toiletries, etc?

I am effectively paying twice, why? I have every right to question it, otherwise whats the point in the agreement?

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 23:15:35


He does not know, but I do.

She does like the fact he shares this passion with me, we spend alot of time talking tennis, practicing, going to matches all over london.

The only explanation, considering she has made every effort to discredit me. The sad thing is he is good at it, invited to play for essex county, but he cant as it falls on her weekends.

MikeOxardAndWellard Thu 07-Feb-13 23:30:44

So for 10 years you paid £400 + extras until 2011. What have you paid since then?

The issue is you want her to stop badmouthing you, so you stopped contributing financially towards your son's upbringing, in order to force her to be nicer about you or you would keep witholding it? And it hasn't worked because in fact you are legally obliged to give her some money and the csa are now going to make you pay?

It seems to me you want more control in this situation than is possible. You cannot control what she says about you, you cannot withold payment, and you cannot decide how maintenance is spent. Look after your son, pay what you have to (obviously!), pay for tennis too if you can and want to, and stop stressing about what is out of your hands.

STIDW Thu 07-Feb-13 23:30:54

It's often better for children if separated parents establish autonomy and allow each other to parent in "their" time. CM is a contribution to the general costs of raising a child heating, housing, clothing, food etc etc. It's very unlikely that the £250 CM you are liable for and more won't be spent on your child. It is then up to you to decide if you wish to spend more on your child and if so on what.

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 23:56:40


Missed one payment in 12 years, that was last week. It just so happened to coincide with annual renewal of his Saturday school Classes, Club memberships, Car Tax, Car Insurance usual stuff, and lack of funds, this time I put mine and his needs first. I don't want control and dont care what she thinks of me, I do care what my son thinks.

I will reinstate it, but a fairer split.

millie30 Fri 08-Feb-13 00:02:47

Can I ask how you are putting your son's needs first by unilaterally withdrawing financial support from his resident parent? Maintenance isn't an optional extra that can be stopped on a whim if you are unhappy with your ex. If you think you are paying over the odds then renegoiate the amount or do a CSA calculation, but please don't kid yourself that when your son's mother went to the bank to find money missing that she relies on with no notice, it was in your son's interest.

Piemother Fri 08-Feb-13 00:09:19

He asked other parents!!!! Farking hell. I was about to compare the op to exh but for the meantime perhaps it's slightly unfair on exh!

Ok so that aside, op the thing is, no matter how much of a knob your ex may be (and you who knows) what you are doing is entering in to the argument with your ex. I have seen it called 'hoovering' on here. Letting this happen is not doing the best for your ds. Maintaining the status quo and being a supportive parent is best for your ds.
What the CSA require you to pay is a contribution toward the upkeep of your child. If he lived with you there would be no requirement for you to pay. The costs of housing etc are shared between you and his mother. What you pay for additionally is your choice. It's a good choice and you do sound like a c involved parent which is great but this cash toward him remains your choice.
I think it would be a huge shame if your ds activities stopped because you and ex cannot behave hmm

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Fri 08-Feb-13 00:09:50

G, you have to pay the CSA amount. That amount is your minimum. ,you can't decide To pay for Saturday clubs etc instead of your minimum. If you can afford them on top, great. If not, it's no different than when a family lives together and choices have to be made eg no Saturday classes this term as we're saving up for a holiday.

Is any of this getting through?

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 00:12:05


Described exactly how it has been for some time, minimal contact suits me perfectly, I can just focus on him, regrettably the character assassination continues, but like Mike says, cant control that as much as I want to.


GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 00:33:11


It is not a CSA agreement, I have paid above and beyond what I should voluntarily....(I cant repeat this all over a again).

Honestly, trust me, this is just one momentary lapse in judgement.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Fri 08-Feb-13 00:38:29

I know that you don't have a CSA arrangement.

Are you going to make the regular payment tomorrow, or even the payment you estimate to be the CSA minimum?

RedHelenB Fri 08-Feb-13 07:16:29

If you have been any sort of a father to your son over the past 12 years all the bad mouthing in the world would not turn him against you so put that thought from your head. He will love you cos you are his dad,

Personally I would pay the CSA money & if you can afford more spend it when you are with your son. Also, two wrongs don't make a right but by not paying money you are opening yourself up to tit for tat & his mother witholding contact which i am sure you don't want.

Also, be honest - are these tennis lessons a biggie for you or your son? Does he feel pressured into doing it cos you expect him to?

jayho Fri 08-Feb-13 07:26:00

Reading your last post GHoll I suddenly have enormous sympathy. You've clearly tried to do your best to support your son, not just financially but to encourage his to develop his interests and have access to as wide a range of opportunities as possible.

His mother, for whatever reason and probably connected to the circumstances of your split, wants as little to do with you as possible and probably for you to have as little to do with your son as possible. She probably is jealous of the bond you've formed over tennis. She probably sees it as something that encroaches on her time with her son. Remember she also only sees him every other weekend, with fairly minimal daily contact if she's working and he's at school.

However, given this, she's actually taken the lowest conflict route to ensure your son receives child support. She has contacted the appropriate agency even though she is probably aware it will result in a lower award.

You need to communicate better, can you go back to mediation?

Good luck

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 08:33:59

I see 2 trains of thought here.

The overwhelming majority have focussed on the singular fact she did not get the expected DD this month and my aim to try and stem the possible long term effect her behaviour will have on my son, how he perceives me and most important, how he will treat others in the future. Unfortunately you don't get that.

For example: If I sent some money to her bank today, will she stop vilifying me? Will she stop telling him that his dad was never there for him? Or tell him im irresponsible, unreliable, I don't fulfil my commitments? I assaulted her? Will she stop cutting me off when we talk on the phone? Will she contribute to his extra curricular activities both financially and be more supportive regardless?

Will it make any difference he told me at the mediation session "dad im fed up of lying"? (he was not meant to tell me she bought him a tablet device). Ridiculous as it seems.

Its not about money, I can do that in seconds, but what then?

My advice is to reinstate the payment at the level it was at before, or reduce to CSA equivalent or go down the CSA route.

Your son will know you love him and will continue to grow up knowing this because of your actions and commitment to him and as he gets older will be able to sift through any bull coming from your ex.

I feel for you. Your son sounds like a smashing chap and your ex is vile.

Reduce your contact with her. Comms by email or text where she cannot hang up on you.

Keep daily contact with your boy and spending quality time together

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 08:41:58


Im not looking for sympathy, but you have kind of hit on the same conclusion I have come to (but didn't want to say).

There is nothing in our history, we dated, she wanted a serious relationship, I did'nt, we split, thats it.

I disagree with the sentiment she only sees him alternate weekends, she has the pleasure of seeing him wake up, go to sleep, go to school, his moods, emotions, tooth fairies, bad hair days, I would give anything for that.

You cannot and will never be able to control her behaviour. Not by being the better person and certainly not by withholding CM. One person cannot control another.

Somehow you need to be able to get to a place where you can let it go, not internalise it because it sounds like it is making you sick and miserable.

olgaga Fri 08-Feb-13 09:01:54

I am not rich nor a celebrity, an average parent working long hours to keep on top of mounting bills.

Perhaps you both need to be a bit more realistic about what you can afford.

You need to take all this heat out of the situation. Pay the CM you should have paid this month, and give her notice that in future you will pay the CM you are required to pay via the CSA.

Over and above that, what you choose to do with your respective incomes your business. If you can afford to give her more and choose not to, she will have to manage that but bear in mind it's your son's standard of day-to-day living that will suffer as well as hers. You have no right to question your son's mother about her household expenditure, or dictate to her how she should spend her income, or insist that she does what you think she should do during the weekends your son is with her.

Similarly, what you choose to spend your income on after you have paid your CM, and what you choose to do during his contact time with you, is up to you.

The child maintenance calculator is here. If you are on an average London salary that's about £35,000 - or £26,334 net. If you have your son overnight for less than 103 nights a year, your payment should be £65pw, that's £282pm.

You also need to remember that your son will tell both of you what he thinks you want to hear. For all you know, he goes home and tells her that he much prefers the weekends he spends with her.

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 09:34:50


I agree in part. I must stress, I have no interest in her income, I asked for a breakdown of what I contribute goes towards his requirements:

1) Maybe we can be more efficient and less wasteful.
2) If im not contributing enough, I can also look into it.
3) Duplication, which is common
4) over payment.

I want a FAIR split, im happy to pay more, but reasonable.

I can guarantee he is not making it up, I do not ask or involve my son in any of this, very rarely infact, just so he has no need to lie or make anything up, its unfair to put any child in this position where they feel they have to make a choice.

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 09:48:42


In other words just pay up and shut up.

Would you be okay with someone making false statements about your parenting skills, your character and attempting to belittling your efforts in front of your children?

It is not okay to use children to gain favour, its wrong. Attempting to stop this is not controlling their behaviour. Its a moral issue, right from wrong. not paying is wrong, fair enough. But this is deplorable.

I disagree with this suggestion as that is not whats happening here.

Mosman Fri 08-Feb-13 09:58:56

My advice as a child of parents who split up and parents who couldn't tell the truth if it hit them in the face is don't worry too much about the character assignation, pay what you are expected by the CSA through the CSA and then there is a paper trail.
Then treat your child to any extra's you feel he would enjoy and then when he's an adult he will make his own mind up about who handled the split properly and was the good person.

Mosman Fri 08-Feb-13 10:00:10

Would you be okay with someone making false statements about your parenting skills, your character and attempting to belittling your efforts in front of your children?

If this is all true, it'll bite your ex on the arse in years to come.

NormaStanleyFletcher Fri 08-Feb-13 10:02:52

Gary. However unreasonable your ex is you have to separate the issue of her behaviour and the money. They are two separate issues. You cannot change her through the money.

olgaga Fri 08-Feb-13 10:08:57

I asked for a breakdown of what I contribute goes towards his requirements

But why? This is where I think you are going wrong. If the money you pay over and above your minimum CM is not freely given, and you are trying to place conditions on the way the money is spent, that is needlessly controlling of you and it is bound to cause completely unnecessary aggravation. As I have said, pay what the CSA requires and anything else is up to what you can both afford or choose to do.

That way you keep your communications - and the arguments over who is and isn't spending what - to a minimum. There is absolutely nothing you can do about her character assassinations except do your best not to provoke them! You can only control your own behaviour - not hers.

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 10:21:39

I dont understand the problem with asking? I could have done this so differently, paid her the bare minimum from day 1 and not a red cent more.

There are 2 ways to look at it, what one has to do and what one should do. I chose the latter. If she goes down the CSA route, I will end up paying less, I should be happy with that, but im not.

that old saying if someone tells you your ugly often enough, you start believing it....

None of this is necessary, as I willingly contribute and participate.

MOSMAN - I hear you, but childhood is over very quickly, I cant sit by and watch and hope, I would feel I failed in my duty to protect.

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 10:31:37

Is this how the F4J feel, making them don a superhero outfit and climb city hall?
It all seems to boil down to how much money you pay, not what you do with it.

As long as you pay its okay, partners are allowed to act however they choose, with no thought to the consequences of those actions.

The financial and behavioural issue is linked.

olgaga Fri 08-Feb-13 10:44:48

As long as you pay its okay, partners are allowed to act however they choose, with no thought to the consequences of those actions.

Yes that's right, unless your son is in some kind of danger. You have no right to dictate to his mother how she should parent or what she spends her money on in her own time with her own child. Can't you see that?

There are 2 ways to look at it, what one has to do and what one should do. I chose the latter.

You might think this is what you should do, but parenting apart means respecting each other's parenting styles. Your insistence on controlling her parenting style is creating a terrible situation for all of you.

The financial and behavioural issue is linked, you say. It certainly sounds like it from your point of view. Paying your CM means contributing to the upkeep of your son. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything else - tennis, ISAs etc - is an optional extra. It doesn't give you any more say over your child's day-to-day care than his mother has over activities you choose to pursue during your son's contact time.

I think you are putting way too much pressure on yourself, your son and his mother.

olgaga Fri 08-Feb-13 10:56:59
Mosman Fri 08-Feb-13 11:04:06

MOSMAN - I hear you, but childhood is over very quickly, I cant sit by and watch and hope, I would feel I failed in my duty to protect.

That's right, keep paying, keep in touch and the ex will have minimal influence for another 4 years tops. There's then another 40 years for you and your child to have a relationship.

babyhammock Fri 08-Feb-13 11:07:08

I just don't get this at all.

You said in the OP that you paid until 2011 then say you stopped this month.... What happened in 2012?
You say that you've been paying over the odds yet seem very upset that your ex has gone to the CSA...

You say you're ex had been de-valuing you as a parent, yet throughout your posts you have said that she doesn't put your son first, doesn't care what he want's to do as she won't take him to 'your' activities on the her weekend and haven't said a good word about her even though she is his primary carer. You are doing the same!

Now you seem to be very cross that rather than engage and be bullied by your withdrawing CM she has gone to the CSA instead. How very dare she hmm

You want her to fund the activities YOU want... if she doesn't she's wrong.
She has to 'explain' where her CM is going or it gets stopped!
She gives you a breakdown and not accepting it you start quizzing other parents... come on, seriously confused..

You sound like you are trying to micromanage her life and pretty controlling tbh.

Pay what you are supposed to. What she does with it (tablets or whatever) is up to her. Then if YOU want him to do other stuff that is up to you. Simple!

KirstyoffEastenders Fri 08-Feb-13 11:17:03


ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 08-Feb-13 11:50:03

Whether you like it or not, what you have done is willingly pay over the odds in order to exert control over your ex, your son and their time together. I'm AMAZED that she pandered to your request to know what the money goes on. Why do you think she did that? It sounds to me like she's scared of and fed up with dealing with you and that's why she's gone to the CSA despite the likely drop in income for her and for your son.

Pay exactly what you are asked to pay. Any money over that you want to spend on your son YOU can spend on him, rather than giving to his mother - as though she was in your employ as a 24/7 nanny - and practically expecting receipts! This is not the expenses scandal (as you mentioned early on) because she hasn't been demanding more money and then refusing to account for it. You've been giving it willingly then demanding an explanation as to exactly what it went on. Can't you see how unreasonable that is?

Maybe you could think of more creative ways of using your money to improve your son's life without trying to control his mother? And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

ivykaty44 Fri 08-Feb-13 12:30:31

if someone tells you often enough that the person you love called dad is a twat - eventually you snap and fight back or you listen and weep as the respect for the person telling you your father is a twat diminishes and leads to a wedge being driven between you and that other person - whoever they are .

it is very different from someone keeping telling you that you are ugly as your ds mother is not constantly telling her own son he is ugly she is bad mouthing her ds father, from what you have said. This is where she will drive a wedge and ruin her own relationship with her ds, which is indeed very sad.

If your ds wants to play tennis then it is him that is going to have to tell his mum what he wishes to do, you need to leave his choices to voice his own opinion, as long as you are prepared to take him to all his games etc and not expect her to do this then carry on and let your ds know that if that is what he want you will support him - but only if it is what he wants to do.

PatriciaHolm Fri 08-Feb-13 13:10:55

Look, it's actually quite simple, legally.

She has gone to the CSA; now, unless she chooses to close the case, you are stuck with it. For maximum clarity for all, go with the CSA, pay what they assess, and then she will get a guaranteed level of maintenance for supporting your child.

If she chooses not to pay for tennis lessons - which she may not do - then you can consider paying for those on top. They cannot be construed as "essentials" which is what maintenance is for. The CSA maintenance is never going to be half of what it actually costs to support a teenager (food, bills, clothing, some entertainment etc).

There is little you can do about what she says about you, other than reinforce how much you love your son when you see him. What she says about you and how much maintenance you pay are NOT connected, and if you try to make them, you will just end up where you are now anyway - with the CSA on your back. You don't get to know what she spends the maintenance on.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Fri 08-Feb-13 13:40:04

Applauds Patricia.

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 14:35:24


Im lost, what parenting issue? im not questioning her parenting style or dictating what she spends money she earns, where are you getting this from?

Just so I understand, the rules are I pay without question, voluntarily, in excess of minimum amounts, no ceiling amount, in addition buy school uniforms, clothes, shoes, toiletries, school fees, books, extra curicular activities, phone bills, feed savings .....etc

Then lie down and take the crap too???

I cant, just cant.

PatriciaHolm Fri 08-Feb-13 15:00:02

Oh for heavens sake.

"Just so I understand, the rules are I pay without question, voluntarily, in excess of minimum amounts, no ceiling amount, in addition buy school uniforms, clothes, shoes, toiletries, school fees, books, extra curicular activities, phone bills, feed savings .....etc"

No. The rules are you pay what the CSA assesses. If you choose to spend more on things that you decide your child wants/needs, that is up to you.

Ignore the crap, if you don't engage it may decline. Just reassure your son on a regular basis that you love him. You can't force your ex to change, all you can do is moderate the influence by reassuring your son.

ivykaty44 Fri 08-Feb-13 15:18:46

what crap?

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 15:44:20

Enlightening discussion, never got a response to most of what I asked, the body of discussion weighted heavily towards money, and my action.

But, fair enough, food for thought.


If I don't reply after this point, the account has been deleted, not hiding smile

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 15:45:57


Not you helpful bunch, crap from Son's mum wink

Daddelion Fri 08-Feb-13 15:57:36

You tend to get good legal advice on this forum. Whether you're a man or woman.

But on the more emotional side I've tried to work out why men's posts get picked to pieces and more assumptions made than when a women posts.

And I assume its because it's a predominantly female website, most resident parents are mothers, so I think that's the view point you get

Seeing your child every other weekend and getting undermined as a parent must be horrible. But I think you have to take the high ground, what's the option? None really unless you want to upset your son.

Anyway just think this isn't forever.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Fri 08-Feb-13 16:04:43

Because you posted on Legal Matters and asked for CSA advice.

Repost "my ex is bad mouthing me to our son" on Rrlationships and that is what you will get advice on - quite likely from some of the same posters.

jayho Fri 08-Feb-13 17:35:10

But, if I summarise, what you asked was if it was fair for your son's mother to go to the CSA for a maintenance assessment and award rather than to accept you ceasing direct payments to her and instead making direct payments to third parties for his support and activities.

You have been consistently advised that you have an obligation to pay support for your child direct to his mother and that if you cannot agree that privately the CSA will make a judgement and award on behalf of both of you.

jayho Fri 08-Feb-13 17:39:20

Dadde he hasn't been picked to pieces. He's been pulled up a couple of times when he's conflated money/access/behaviour. I think if you look at other threads along the lines of 'my ex won't pay child support so I'm not letting him see dc' posters will invariably advise that, whilst it's a pisser, you can't do it.

NormaStanleyFletcher Fri 08-Feb-13 17:53:17

Agree with jayho. If a woman posts that she is linking contact with money, she will be pulled up pretty sharpish.

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 18:34:19


I didnt want to say it, and prefer to argue my case than claim unfair bias, but your right, it clearly is.

If the roles were reversed and I did that to her.....?

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 18:37:12


Incorrect summary, I asked do CSA take into account the money I spend outside of what I pay her, thats an entirely different matter.

PatriciaHolm Fri 08-Feb-13 18:47:12

That question was answered several times in the first few posts. What else were you looking for?

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 19:06:17

Voluntary contributions

Split 2000
Birth 2001
Son 12
Full PRA
Alternate weekends, holidays, christmas, birthdays etc
No formal CSA agreement
Never married or living together
Volunteered £400/month for essentials + occasional other requested
School fees yearly
School clothes and shoes
Normal clothes and shoes
Additional saturday support classes
Saturday language classes
Various Sports activities
School away days
School building fund
Mobile Phone bill.
Winter clothes (in and out of school)
Son has fully stocked essentials at my home
2008 agreed to support and finance his tennis lessons
2011 - discussed cutting back what I pay and she contribute more
First and ONLY missed payment January 2012
CSA called yesterday, did not get to speak to them
My original question was do CSA take into account any of the above.....the answer was no.

I will refrain from mentioning anything else or what my son wants or how he feels or tennis, as that so far has largely been ignored.

Hopefully not missed anything out.

RedHelenB Fri 08-Feb-13 19:07:43

No the CSA require the 15% of your net income to go to her. I think the only variation is if you are paying the mortgage.

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 19:08:22


I am merely answering the questions put to me, I respectfully suggest you ignore this thread.

Piemother Fri 08-Feb-13 19:11:55

The CSA don't take into account what you pay for directly except travel expenses.
I think what has happened is that things are so acrimonious that you have exerted control by stopping money which has caused her to exert control by threatening to stop the tennis or whatever and go to CSA. By arguing between yourselves your son will suffer.
However....say your total current financial support is made up of x amount of cash direct to ex and y spent on activities. It maybe be that if x and y went direct to ex that out of her total budget she couldn't afford to spend y on tennis. Who knows but I can see where this would make things more difficult between you.
I think optional expenses can be big contentions in separated couples hmm

Piemother Fri 08-Feb-13 19:17:48

Hmm. This isn't going to help but exh pays a bit more than what the CSA would require him to. Because of that I currently don't ask him to buy additional stuff except for what the dc need at his house (pjs/toiletries etc) it ask for money toward activities etc. looking at it that way and at your list I am somewhat sympathetic.

Narked Fri 08-Feb-13 19:19:23

What is 15% of your net monthly income?

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 19:22:54


I wrote this yesterday, guess how many people answered?

GHoll Thu 07-Feb-13 22:57:13
I am effectively paying twice, why? I have every right to question it, otherwise whats the point in the agreement?

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 19:24:11

I think its time for my spiderman suit, banner and climbing ropes.

STIDW Fri 08-Feb-13 19:26:22

Hang on a sec, you broke the agreement by withholding monthly payment?

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 19:31:09

What agreement, it was voluntary, nothing official, circumstances change, belt tightening, she is working, I will resume payments but a farer split.....

Whats your point?

STIDW Fri 08-Feb-13 19:37:41

You were asking what was the point of the agreement. There is no point to a voluntary agreement if you don't stick to it.

The CSA are only responsible for collecting payments from the time they initiate contact with you so you only need to pay the CSA amount and if you pay twice that is up to you.

STIDW Fri 08-Feb-13 19:38:58

sorry that should be assessing payments. CSA can't back date before the time of the application.

I genuinely do not understand what your issue is here after so many posts. Let me summarize for you.

If you do not wish to continue paying the amount you are, both directly to your ex and for activities, then you will need to pay 15% via the CSA. That maybe more or less than you pay now, I don't know as you haven't confirmed your income.

What your ex does with money that comes via the CSA is none of your business. The money is for maintenance for your son. If she has managed to raise your child for 12 years so far without starving him to death, freezing him to death or them living in a bx then I think you can reasonably assume she isn't spending it all on whisky, shoes or collecting china dolls.

If you want to pay for things additional over the 15% set by the CSA, then you can chose to do that. But it needs to be with good grace, no questioning of what that money is for. Or you could just go with your son to buy the shoes, the uniform and then you know that the money for shoes has indeed been spent on shoes.

I will say this. My parents split up. My mother on occasion badmouthed him, because he had walked away from his children. I continued to love and like my dad, until one year he decided that he didn't need to continue to pay maintenance. I didn't need my mother to bad mouth him to make me dislike him. I could see how hard it was to make ends meet, to pay the bills. I was aware of there being less food in the fridge and cupboards and that we had the heating on less. In the end my dad's actions made me distrust and dislike him. And now we are estranged.

MariusEarlobe Fri 08-Feb-13 19:46:04

she's under no obligation to give you a break down of what she spends on your son each month.

just as you have no right to stop the monthly money to support your son. (at the basic csa calculated level)

Its your son who will suffer by her being £400 down this month. So basically you aren't contributing to his food and dinner money and such this month?

You BOTH need to stop playing games, pay what the csa says you have to pay.

Give him extra when you see him or in an account if you so wish.

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 19:48:02

No, that is not what that was about. Its part of a statement, where I got abuse for asking what the money I contribute is being spent on ....Apparently she can spend it on tablets if she wants to.

Nevermind.... lets not get started on that again.

PaperLantern Fri 08-Feb-13 19:53:19

Gholl - I'm struggling to see your problem.

Pay the CSA and get over it. If you want to contribute directly in addition. Contribute directly in addition, end of discussion.

TBH by the time you take into account rate heating water food etc etc, £400 doesn't go far to supporting a child. I'd be pretty hacked of with a NRP who was prepared to pay for tennis lessons but not contribute directly to the day to day boring stuff.

If my ex told me to write a list of my expenses I'd tell him to naff off too.

You're turning an everyday occurrence (resolving maintenance issues through the CSA) into a drama. That's really unhelpful to your son

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Fri 08-Feb-13 19:53:22

Have you now paid the missing payment, G?

PaperLantern Fri 08-Feb-13 19:55:45

oh and how is it ok for you to miss a payment because it clashes with other payments and you were short of funds hmm

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 19:57:08

For the last time and with all due respect, there has never been a CSA agreement, so please get it straight, when there is an agreement I will honour it.

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 19:59:33

Paper -

see point above, there was IS/WAS NO CSA agreement.

MariusEarlobe Fri 08-Feb-13 20:01:35

It is though, you have an obligation to pay the csa stated amount.

If that amount is £250 a month you give her £250 a month.

She can spend that £250 a month on anything and doesn't have to account for what she's spent as long as your son is fed and clothed. Even if she spent the whole money you gave on her then she would still have to have paid for his food and costs from her money iyswim.

CSa is to account for money for food and the Childs essential needs. All those extras are pointless if he hasn't got money for food/heating etc.

Its like me saying im not paying maintanance because i spend hundreds a month on dance lessons for example (i don't just an example) thats great but if my child hasn't money for basics its pointless.

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 20:01:36


This is all linked to another issue (dont go there unless your prepared to read 5 pages, which you havent) and used as leverage, poor judgement on my part I must add.

Moving on.....

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 20:02:55


This is all subjective theory. There was no......

i give up...........

MariusEarlobe Fri 08-Feb-13 20:06:43

I think people are revering to csa rates because you've now been contacted by them and not that there was an agreement if that makes sense.

MariusEarlobe Fri 08-Feb-13 20:08:23

Sorry by stated amount I meant the amount they tell you you should pay when you call them back.

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 20:18:44

Until there has been a discussion between them and I, why is everyone so heated about an agreement that has yet to be made?

I will happily pay whatever the CSA want, it will halve my current costs, no problem with that whatsoever.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Fri 08-Feb-13 20:28:43

Have you now paid the missing payment, G? The one you stopped that triggered all this and that you have said upthread you shouldn't have stopped.

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 20:43:09


No I have not, now the CSA have been contacted, I will wait for their call and pay her what is due and leave it at that.

ivykaty44 Fri 08-Feb-13 20:50:42

well enid blyton works for the CSA so good luck with that one

MariusEarlobe Fri 08-Feb-13 21:21:01

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 20:43:09

"No I have not, now the CSA have been contacted, I will wait for their call and pay her what is due and leave it at that."

Agree this is right thing to do. If you want to give your son extra then give him it direct or in an account you control until he's older.

Maintenance is for essential needs and rightly so.
It's great to give him extra but not at the cost of essentials.
It's no good having private sports lessons and language classes without food and heating.

In answer to your original question they will want to know he is having his basic needs covered. Unless your ex is in agreement to forgo money for essentials.

It's like if my ex paid for dance lessons for dd but didn't give money for her essential living.

In your OP you say you paid for his needs to the parties concerned yourself. Does that mean you paid or had food and heating and dinner money delivered.

I feel for you as you seem to have done your best to provide and be there for your son but the only one you've punished by stopping money is him.

MariusEarlobe Fri 08-Feb-13 21:34:38

Can I just say in regards to one of your posts though
"I figured she is working, surely food for 2 is manageable? (she wont reveal what she does or how much she gets paid)."

It's irrelevant if she can manage food for two you are responsible for half that food.
She has no obligation to tell you what she does or how much she earns
She has no obligation to tell you how she spends what you give her.

You are responsible for half his essential needs, the government says this is 15% of your wage.

Xenia Fri 08-Feb-13 21:40:05

I think the law has now been explained to you.

Bear in mind that from about 13+ children can choose which parent they live with so there may be a chance if you keep him and his mother hap0py he will choose to move in with you although you have probably scuppered that by cutting off the funds.

In terms of the amounts children need depends on the family. I support ours alone. At one point I paid school fees for five so here is a single parent who paid about £1k a week for a start on school fees. Then add on the full time childcare about £570 a week. Then music lessons, clothes. There are not right or wrong sums. It depends on your type of life or lifestyle.

Next time marry a very successful career woman who like me may have to pay out to you on the divorce! Low earning housewife types are never that much use after divorce due to their financial demands. Make better choices second time round.

Play the longer game, keep in with the child, pay the mother and fund the sport by taking a second job, keep in with the boy and he may well want to live with you .

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 22:22:26


I have a question, based on your comment I pay for half his food bills, presumably you read my list of contributions, does this means she is responsible for half of that list?

MariusEarlobe Fri 08-Feb-13 22:43:38

She's responsible for paying half his essentials.
Food, clothes, dinner money, roof over head, heat, water , school trips etc

She's only responsible for half of the sport lessons and such if you both agreed he should do them and agreed to split the cost and even then she can say she doesn't agree any longer and the lessons stop as they are not essentials.

My ex doesn't pay maintenance but if he did I couldn't just add performing arts, whatever lessons and expect him to pay half.

MariusEarlobe Fri 08-Feb-13 22:58:18

I too made the mistake of not marrying someone with xenias income.

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 22:58:40

My sons cousin 1 year younger, they grew up together so are quite close. Her 40yr old father has paid an average of £0 - £15/ week from day one (currently £6) and sees his daughter maybe 5times a year if that , she is 11 now. Citing he is unemployed, his mum pays for his gym membership, nice clothes, car etc, he told the CSA.

A friend, 2 year baby boy, no maintenance from dad and 1 visit in 2years.

Another close friend with an 8yr girl, father been round 4times, he is not interested, but lovely new Range Rover Sport.

You would never know this is going on, they all found jobs and provided for their kids, admirable qualities.

I detest men who do that, likewise I detest women who milk everything they can get and pretend to be victims.

I have provided for my son above and beyond since day 1, but I will no longer play this game of "keep her happy" or she might make things hard for me.

Its wrong and a bad precedence to set. It encourages people with lesser morals to quit and be absent parents rather than face this crap.

Anyway, its daddy weekend and tennis galore in the morning.


OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 08-Feb-13 22:58:46

Gholl, been lurking on this and I have a certain degree of sympathy for you. Your CSA- assessed child maintenance, 15% of your takehome pay (assuming you have no other dc) is supposed to cover half the costs of raising him; food, a roof over his head, clothing etc. In many cases it doesn't go anywhere near that; if NRP is on Jobseekers for example, it's a flat £5 a week. 12 yo boys eat more than that a day...

In your case, I think you said the CSA expect you to pay £250 pcm. How your ex spends this is none of your business, but as she seems responsible, you can assume he has food in his belly, a roof over his head and clothes on his back.

It is fantastic that you have been paying for extras like tennis, school trips and so on, many, many NRP refuse and imho you get Brownie points.

But it doesn't mean your ex is responsible for half of your discretionary payments.

Look, I think you're doing pretty well so far. One spiteful moment shouldn't wipe out 12 years of responsibility. Can you and your ex talk about this at all? Clearly she was better off when you were paying £400 and the extras, but if she can't depend on you (and atm she feels she can't) then CSA is the way to go.

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 23:02:31


your skipping the point, forget the tennis lessons, if she is responsible for half, why doesnt she pay half, she works, dont ignore this significant point.

if Im not allowed to withdraw my voluntary contributions, why is she??

MariusEarlobe Fri 08-Feb-13 23:19:41

I'm not sure what you mean Gary.

You ARE allowed to withdraw voluntary extra contributions.
You are not allowed to withdraw the 15% of your wage the government says your son needs to live on.

What she spends her money on is legally irrelevant.
She could be on xenias kind of wage and you would still legally be responsible for 15% of your wage.

Do you mean you think she is not paying half of his essential costs?
It really doesn't matter you still legally (rightly or wrongly) have to pay 15% of your wage.

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 23:20:21

Old Lady (can I call you that?)

I have not agreed anything with the CSA, this is an assumed sum made up based on the calculator.

I dont care what she does with HER money, but if im providing towards his supposed essentials why am I still paying additional sums for school uniforms and PE kits, shoes, school fees, books etc?? Where is her contribution coming from which is supposed to be half? According to Marius.

Whats wrong with tennis, why begrudge your child tennis if they enjoy it? its a sport, children need sport, that IS essential, or they wouldn't have PE at school.

If sport is not essential then how about the TV, a computer, a bicycle, a watch, a car, makeup, 6" heels, handbags....

GHoll Fri 08-Feb-13 23:25:04


see my list and you tell me, does that look like she is contributing towards his essentials?

Forget Tennis for a moment, and look at the rest of it. .....

NormaStanleyFletcher Fri 08-Feb-13 23:38:37

Oh for gods sake, just pay for your child. (speaks as one whose mother is dieing)

She cod spend.all of that money on gin for all I care.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 08-Feb-13 23:41:05

Gary (and yes, that's fine, or OLKN if it feels better to you), you are/were paying the additional because you are/were a decent parent. You can, and I think, still want to be that decent parent but your nose is out of joint because of course your ex was bullshitting that £25 pm is spent on toiletries (for a 12 yo boy? Wait for The Lynx Years!) and so on.

But she was bullshitting because really, it's not your business how she spends the £400 you were giving her (in addition to the extras) any more than it's your business how she'll spend the putative £250.

This honestly seems like miscommunication between you and your ex, you both seem like reasonable people and you both want the best for your joint son. Is there any way you can sit down and talk?

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 08-Feb-13 23:45:17

(Ps, in the interests of full disclosure, my son is NRP and his ex is mainly reasonable, but has snitty turns. She went to the CSA and was awarded less than he'd been paying voluntarily, he's now a student so due nothing, but still helps with her grocery shop, gives her lifts, buys clothes/shoes etc. Their Ds is only 3 and the sums involved are tiny compared to what you pay, but the principal is the same.)

MariusEarlobe Fri 08-Feb-13 23:47:53

Ah right I understand what you mean.

Legally you should pay her 15% of your wage so £250 I think you said which pays towards food, daily clothes and any bills that are required to keep a roof over his head.

Generally it is expected you will also give half of school uniform cost as its an expensive amount especially at secondary school and school trips (with discussion if he is to go or not)

Anything else on top is entirely voluntary and entirely up to you.
If you want to give him extra social money, mobile top ups, special particular clothes or such that's your choice and you certainly don't have to.

MariusEarlobe Fri 08-Feb-13 23:52:11

What I'm trying to say is if you pay what you legally have to pay she will be paying half of his essentials.

MikeOxardAndWellard Sat 09-Feb-13 00:01:05

Of course she is contributing, don't be bloody ridiculous. She is doing 90% of the care, providing his main home, bedding, clothes, meals, washing, transport etc. Her working hours and nature of work (and therefore earning potential) are hugely affected by being the main full time carer for your son. She IS paying. You have to pay too, get over it. You have had 10 or 12 years to get used to the idea of financially contributing to the cost of bringing up your son, not sure why you have decided to start all this moany 'it's so unfair' nonsense now. Man up.

prh47bridge Sat 09-Feb-13 00:02:24

You are required to pay 15% of your net salary regardless of whether that is 50% of his essentials, 5% of them or 150% of them.

Don't forget that your son's essentials include a roof over his head, food on the table, warmth, clean clothes, transport, etc. All things your ex provides. Have you thought about how much that is costing her?

You do not have to pay additional sums regardless of what they are for. Anything you pay over and above 15% of your net salary is entirely voluntary.

You have no say in how your ex spends the child maintenance you pay her, let alone how she spends her own money. Banging on about that is not doing you any favours. You say that you don't care what she does with her money. Why, then, do you complain about her buying a TV, a computer, a bicycle, a watch, a car, makeup, 6" heels, handbags, etc. just a few sentences later? That makes it look like you care a lot. Rightly or wrongly it gives the appearance that you want to control how she spends her money.

If she is unwilling or unable to provide something for your son you cannot force her to do so. Either you pay or your son goes without.

You can pay 15% to her and leave it at that. If you are unhappy with things your son is missing out on as a result you can either pay her more or provide those extras yourself. It is that simple.

GHoll Sat 09-Feb-13 00:14:07


Decency has got me nowhere, asking for parity and a little compromise is unpopular with mums I learned today.

Why not, lets try smile

olgaga Sat 09-Feb-13 00:19:15

I've come to the conclusion this is a wind-up and we're all wasting our time.

MariusEarlobe Sat 09-Feb-13 00:22:57

Just to give you a breakdown on what I have spent this month, she is primary so some won't be relevant and my mum's bought some of it as my ex pays nothing. We live North so cheaper. I've put essential bills as they are needed for a roof over her head. Obviously some aren't essential and some costs I won't have ever month but usually replaced by other stuff!

School dinners 48
Council tax 80
Gas 80
Water 40
Toiletries 10
Food 260 (we eat at my parents at weekend)

New shoes 40
New coat 50
Chinese day costume and Victorian costume 26
Violin lesson and hire at school 72
Trip 20
Deposit for residential 20
Tickets for play 9
Raffle tickets 5
Stationery 5

Is 765

That's not counting rent and tv licence and Such.
Neither is it counting bed/bedding/furniture/decorating her room, basic clothes, washing powder, New glasses, any previous child care.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 09-Feb-13 00:30:06

I hope you and your ex can get it sorted, Gary. Night, night.

MariusEarlobe Sat 09-Feb-13 00:30:26

Next month we have another trip, world book day,red nose day, children's charity sale (parents buy, kids sell to raise money for charity)

She's got a residential with a huge list of walking boots, waterproof, waterproofs, outdoors clothes.

In January I had to replace 3 school cardigans at 13 pound each and school trousers, New pack of blouses.

It's never ending tbh.

MariusEarlobe Sat 09-Feb-13 00:33:35

Just to give an idea you ex might not be paying as little as you think.

GHoll Sat 09-Feb-13 00:39:06


Its a shame as many people think going to the CSA means a much more substantial sum, when thats not the case, but once you do, its hard to turn the clock back, its usually too late.

GHoll Sat 09-Feb-13 00:42:39


If I may, why does your Ex not pay anything?

olgaga Sat 09-Feb-13 00:43:59

many people think going to the CSA means a much more substantial sum

I doubt it. Anyone can go on the CM calculator. It's a means of making sure people like you can no longer manipulate the situation, withhold money or argue about how much they should be paying.

Just get on with it will you! Stop wallowing in self-pity and self-regard. It's no excuse.

GHoll Sat 09-Feb-13 00:51:28

Thank you OLKIN,

MariusEarlobe Sat 09-Feb-13 01:01:31

The polite version- He can't afford the recommended £5 per week.

The correct version, he left work in 2002 to go to uni, we agreed, I had a good job and supported him but found he enjoyed playing on the computer at home on online games much better and hasn't worked since (apart from cash in hand jobs recently which he doesn't declare) yet he has the highest broadband/tv package, endless nights out and constant new gadgets. He came into a lot of money last year ( circa 8 thousand) and promised dd all kinds but blew it he had 1500 left, I asked for help with her uniform, he refused as he needed it for clothes apparently.

He hasn't turned up to see dd in over a year, he hasn't sent Xmas or birthday presents last year but he could afford a huge tattoo of her name..... in the end I said pay no maintenance, just use it to meet me half way and see her.

Still no visit.
I set up Skype so he could call free, I changed to same mobile network so he could call free.

MerryCouthyMows Sat 09-Feb-13 01:27:29

Maintenance is totally separate from behaviour.

You pay maintenance no matter what. Behaviour is irrelevant. Even if she is bad mouthing you or anything.

You are paying maintenance in respect of your DS. His mothers behaviour doesn't change the fact that you earn X, therefore you must pay at least 15% of X to his RP as maintenance.

If her behaviour is unacceptable, go to mediation, deal with it in the CORRECT way.

Even if you never saw your DS again, you would STILL have to pay 15% of your income to his RP as maintenance.

I'm NOT saying her behaviour is right. Far from it. She IS causing damage by behaving like this.

However, YOU will be giving her reasons TO cause more damage, by dealing with this the way you have. While you were paying maintenance, she could spout whatever guff she wanted at your DS, but the one thing she was unable to do was accuse you of not financially supporting him.

Now she can (and if I know the type, she probably will). Bit of an own goal there?!

Separate your Ex's behaviour from the maintenance in your mind completely.

Pay her the basic CSA £250. With the extra £50-£150, YOU pay for his tennis lessons.

She gets less money, you get to keep paying for the tennis. Job done.

You don't have ANY rights over how the maintenance is spent at ALL. You only have a responsibility to pay it. If she chooses to use every penny on paying her rent, that's her choice.

You also have NO say in how she chooses to spend her time with your Son. If she doesn't want to sit around watching him play tennis, that's up to her.

She might not be doing what your son wants by refusing to do anything tennis related on 'her' weekends, but that is her choice.

gaelicsheep Sat 09-Feb-13 01:36:55

Hi. I haven't read the whole thread, sorry. You have my sympathy but I just have one thing to say. You can't fight the CSA and win, the path is paved with pain and death. She has all the power. The best you can do is go along with it and thank Christ you're not dealing with the original system.

MerryCouthyMows Sat 09-Feb-13 01:40:08

GHoll - she could spend the money on manicures and pedicures for herself, not even spending a penny on your DS - you STILL have absolutely no rights to know what she spends the money on.

I'm not saying she would be RIGHT to spend the money on herself instead of on your DS, because it wouldn't be, but YOU have no control over that, and no right to know what she spends it on. Once the maintenance has left your bank account, it is no longer your money to question where it is being spent.

If she wants to use it to buy your DS an iPad, an iPhone, 3 pairs of £150 trainers and 5 SuperDry coats, you can't stop her, have any say in that, or even ask her what it's been spent on and expect any answer other than 'get lost' or more impolite variations thereof. It's HER business what she spends the maintenance on, not yours.

Do you have to justify to her what you spend on your DS on things like his tennis lessons and tennis kit - things that SHE sees as non-essential? No? Them why do you think you have any right to know what she spends her money on? And that's what maintenance becomes once it has left your bank account - part of her income that she uses to support your DS.

MerryCouthyMows Sat 09-Feb-13 01:46:51

An agreement DOESN'T JUST MEAN A CSA AGREEMENT (which wouldn't be an agreement, it would be an assessment).


Whether you have a CSA assessment or a voluntary agreement, there is no voluntary when it comes to maintenance. You are LIABLE for paying AT LEAST 15% of your income directly to the RP of your child as maintenance no matter what. If a voluntary agreement breaks down (by, say, the NRP refusing to pay one month), then the RP has redress in that she can ask the CSA to COMPEL the NRP to fulfil his duties and pay the basic minimum maintenance of 15% of his income.

I can't believe that you are so blindly stubborn that you can't see that whether she spends the money hiring a plane to get a sky writer to write 'My son's dad is a bastard', you STILL have to pay her 15% of your income as maintenance directly, with no say in how she spends it.

MerryCouthyMows Sat 09-Feb-13 02:00:31

You don't 'agree' anything with the CSA as an RP!

They TELL you what your maintenance will be, based on a flat amount of 15% of your income. You don't get to haggle with them and lower it, or ask to pay it to third parties.

The CSA look at your income, and 15% of that is what they will ASSESS you as being liable to pay them to pay out to your ex. Nobody else. And no 'agreements' in sight.

The phrase 'voluntary agreement' means that you and your ex had come to an agreement that you paid her that 15% of your income PLUS you were VOLUNTARILY giving her above the barest minimum that you legally HAVE to pay.

I think you misunderstood the 'voluntary' part of 'voluntary agreement'.

There is nothing voluntary about paying the basic maintenance of 15% of your income, unless you are a boil on the backside of humanity, bastard, deadbeat dad. If you are not those things I just mentioned, then that basic maintenance is very much NOT voluntary! It's only the 'additional' maintenance part of your previous agreement with your Ex that is 'voluntary', the money over and above the 15% of your income. THAT is the part that is voluntary, not ALL of it!!

gaelicsheep Sat 09-Feb-13 02:00:37

Gary, My DH would have given his eye teeth to pay 15%. Think up to 40% of imaginary income he hadn't even earned and you'd be closer to the mark. Back in those days the CSA operated in an alternative reality, unaccountable to anyone. Honestly just pay up and get on with enjoying lif e with your son.

MerryCouthyMows Sat 09-Feb-13 02:11:58

Oh God, Gaelicsheep, CS1!


Even as an RP, CS1 was a pile of dogshit!

And it was even more so for the NRP's.

At least CS2 is a set percentage of income, and easy for RP's, NRP's and the CSA to work out!

CS1 the NRP could buy a 7 bedroom house, claim housing costs, and be assessed to pay 75p a week. I should know.

(I'm assuming Gaelicsheep's DH's DC is age 14+, like my DD...)

Then NRP's new partner's wages were taken into consideration too, and the formula was do complicated that the CSA might as well have drawn random numbers out of a hat when deciding how much back pay was owed, because it would invariably be wrong.

Either vastly inflated, leaving the NRP in buckets of debt, or grossly underestimated, leaving the RP in buckets of debt.

I've yet to find one person whose maintenance was assessed under CS1 where the CSA actually got it right!

MerryCouthyMows Sat 09-Feb-13 02:15:51

The biggest favour I ever did my DD father was REQUESTING the CSA to bin any back pay they claimed I was owed, and to swap my claim over to CS2.

I didn't have to. And if I hadn't, then right now he would owe me over £250,000. As it is, he only owes me £14,000.

(He didn't bother to pay for 12 years, even after I requested the back pay be written off and the case moved to CS2, he was an idiot that only wised up 3 years ago!)

SignoraStronza Sat 09-Feb-13 08:09:27

I think there are quite a few things that don't ring true here. On the extensive list of things the OP said he provided, the first one was 'school fees'.

So, if he calculates the csa minimum as £250, that means he takes home just under £1700 pm. So if he is paying out £400 pm he has £1300 left to spend on rent/mortgage (in London or suburb) council tax, food, clothing transport etc for HIMSELF.

Then he manages tennis, clothes, uniform and SCHOOL FEES for his son.

Somehow I find this hard to believe.

Xenia Sat 09-Feb-13 08:28:06

I think he doesn't really realise what it costs to house and care for a child. If they had the child one week on and one off he might get the message and learn what a week's au pair of nanny cost is.

As said above he can pay the 15% CSA and then on top of that can pay a bit more for tennis if he chooses but he cannot force the mother to pay for tennis. I chose eg to fund my daughters' two horses as teenagers after divorce. They got a huge amount out of the hobby and indeed in a strange way it helped one get her pretty well paid City job now in her 20s so may be it was an investment but mostly it was because it was their heart's desire and I was prepared to work 50 weeks a year full time to fund it and the other children (their father does not pay anything and as I said above was paid out to by me on the divorce). So I chose to fund the riding, livery fees about £6000 a year per horse I think from memory plus 5 sets of school fees. Both parents choose what they want to fund of discretionary things.

Also do count what resident parents do every day as a cost. I spend hours each week which could be spent earning with my children. Yes it's quite fun to take a son to football - in 3 minutes I will be doing the same but if you could negotiate things so you had him every other week then you could also do the dross stuff more to make things fair like his washing and making sure homework is done ( I certainly favour 50/50 splits after divorce) and most importantly aid his mother's full time work so she could work longer. Loads of we resident female parents have to pay masses for childcare - our nanny cost £30k a year. I paid all that - their father none of it.

ivykaty44 Sat 09-Feb-13 08:31:40

Gary, you didn't make any payment in jan, so an assessment from the CSa to pay fifty quid a month or two fifty a month and to have it taken from you is more than you paid in jan.

How is a resident parent going to know when and if you are going to pay if you stop paying?

Just because you we're paying more than the csa will award is no good as you paid nothing and any amount is more than nothing unless you give up your job and pay nothing

ivykaty44 Sat 09-Feb-13 08:38:22

SMS I think the story is probably based on some type of fact but the figures are random, more likely he earns considerably more money than he says and has total disregard for how his ds lives in between visits

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Sat 09-Feb-13 09:14:55

Thank you Couthy. I was losing the will to live there.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Sat 09-Feb-13 09:15:01

Thank you Couthy. I was losing the will to live there.

mouldyironingboard Sat 09-Feb-13 13:31:55

Hi GHoll

Your ex sounds like my husbands ex-w.

The only way to deal with such nasty, spiteful behaviour is to have as little contact as possible. Only discuss arrangements (pick ups and drop offs) for your son by email and text message. Any abuse should be ignored and not replied to. Think of it like training a really stupid, extremely ugly dog into good behaviour!

Your son is almost at an age where you can make all arrangements directly with him and your ex will have less control.

Pay whatever the CSA suggest (usually 15%) and if you want to pay for extras make sure that it is paid directly rather than going through the ex. Never give her cash and keep careful records of all payments The tennis lessons can be paid directly to the tennis school etc

You can still be a fantastic father to your son (which you are) while having nothing to do with his mother.

Good luck to you!

ChocHobNob Sat 09-Feb-13 17:45:16

Mouthy, pretty sure with CS1 they DID pull random numbers out of a hat wink

OP, I would offer to go back to the original agreement and ask to have the CSA cancelled (but make sure you get that case closed letter, they are notorious for agreeing to "close" a case but actually keeping it open in the background and just switching to maintenance direct).

Or pay the CSA amount of £250 and explain to Mum that that amount will now cover clothes, uniform, school necessities etc. And you then use the extra £100 - £150 a month to pay for his tennis or what else you believe he needs directly.

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