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this is insane

(81 Posts)
ladyjadey Tue 27-Nov-12 20:09:49

I am a single mum of two. I work 30 hours a week. I have been with my bf for over 2 years and we want to live together. He also has 2 kids who don't live with him. If we live together it seems I will lose all my tax credits because of his wage. He is far from wealthy because he pays a large maintenance payment every month, 600 pounds. Idepend on childcare to go to work which costs between 500 and 800 plus a month, dependingon school hols etc. There is no way I can pay this, a mortgage, bills and everything else on my own without my tax credits. He cannot afford to either.So I am better off as a single mother until my children grow up? Surely that can't be right!

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 27-Nov-12 22:42:41

Of course it's right that you get less as a double-earning couple than as a single-earning parent. hmm If you live together you'd pool your income and your living costs would be far, far cheaper because you'd only be paying for one home rather than two separate ones. Why on earth do you think you would continue to pay for 'a mortgage, bills and everything else on my own'? Is he planning on freeloading?

Work out how much money he'd save by not having to pay rent/mortgage/bills etc. wherever it is he lives now.... I expect it would more than offset any loss in tax credits.

thisisthewayitis Tue 27-Nov-12 23:57:42

Yes, the government expects couples in a committed relationship to pool resources, so the total amount you receive is usually less than what you'd get as a single parent. It can be a real shock changing from being a lone parent in charge of all finances, to having to depend on a partner when you marry or cohabit. I think the amount you save in cohabiting and having a single set of bills/housing costs is not always offset by the loss of benefits/tax credits, depending on how many dc you have and what you currently receive.

I had the same dilemma a few years ago, except I wasn't employed so I lost almost all my income in the form of income support, housing benefit and tax credits. It worked out for us as DH had no dc, though I had one dc who DH was happy to support, and DH could afford to pay for all of our costs and was happy to do so. But I think it's a real problem for single parents with larger families, especially when they blend families with another single parent, and it forces women to depend on a new partner, in a way reducing their status. I think many women end up worse off unless they manage to find a man who is earning well enough to cope with the additional financial burden.

I think your DP will be able to reduce his maintenance payments as he will be seen as being responsible for your 2 dc - the CSA will ignore 20% of his net weekly income. Also, if he starts having his dc staying overnight once you're living together, he can reduce some of his maintenance to shared care rates. It's worth using the calculator on turn2us website to calculate the exact changes which you can expect when/if you move in, and drawing up a spreadsheet to see how the two of you will manage resources.

SavoyCabbage Wed 28-Nov-12 00:06:03

And, as Phoebe says 'when people live together, they split the cost of stamps'

ladyjadey Wed 28-Nov-12 08:25:01

Thankyou all for your replies. We were hoping to buy a bigger house with room for all the kids. He has his two overnight twice a week. His maintenance was agreed through divorce terms so will not change. I was hoping to take the 600 pounds a month I currently burn on rent and pay a mortgage instead, investing in a house for my children's future and as a family home for us all. He would be selling his mortgage free home to do this and putting down all his money in equity. My concern is my childcare costs, I can't pay them and the mortgage. He can't afford to support me and my two kids, on top of maintenance he pays for his te days he is with them, buys clothes and shoes and pays for specialist treatment for his daughters eye condition. He can't support us and although he is willing to take on responsibility for two extra kids why should he have to pay for them too? I'm working, I always have and I'm proud of my independence. I want to live with him, his house is too small for 4 kids and I don't see what we can do. I will have to remain a single parent!

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 28-Nov-12 09:00:52

"He can't support us and although he is willing to take on responsibility for two extra kids why should he have to pay for them too? "

Because they will be his family just as much as they are yours? Because he will be responsible for them, just as much as you are? hmm And even though you are proud to be independent, when it comes to claiming benefits, quite reasonably, couples are treated as if they pool their income and share costs.

He needs to renegotiate the amount of maintenance he pays the other children in the light of his new responsibilities. There are ways round this but you don't seem to be listening to reason.

ladyjadey Wed 28-Nov-12 09:33:10

I am trying to explain our situation and not doing a very good job, I am sorry I come across as being unreasonable, that is not my intention and I am listening, honestly! He will not want to renegotiate his maintenance because his kids will lose out if he does, his ex doesnt and won't work. he is very guilty that he sees more of my kids than he does of his own, although he sees them a lot he feels he has let them down. I am not saying he won't be paying for things too, he will be paying towards a bigger council tax bill and extra food and household expenses, it is not like he won't be doing his share. The mortgage would have been the equivalent of my rent. He does not pay rent and his house is mortgage free, his biggest outgoing us hisi kids. He can't pay my childcare, he simply can't afford to. If he had the money to look after us he would. He pays money into a trust fund each month for his kids, that would not stop. I don't want to take things from his children, but on my own I am able to pay ny rent bills childcare, we eat, put fuel in the car and can occasionally afford the odd treat like a day out or whatever. I am better off on my own and not dependant on him. I am studying alongside work, I pay my taxes and owe no one. I want to better my position in life but I am a nurse so I will never equal his wage. If we stay as we are we are both far better off. If we tried to live together I would be completely dependant on him, that does not sit comfortably with me. He loves me and my kids but his own kids will always come first. I don't think that's wrong, as I feel the same way about mine.

You've given lots of reasons why your dp shouldn't bear financial responsibility for your children but why do you think the state (ie taxpayers) should?

ladyjadey Wed 28-Nov-12 10:03:09

I am a taxpayer, always have been. I workhard in public service and contribute to society. The only benefits I receive are towards the crazy cost of childcare. I could sit at home and not work like my partners ex who is more than happy to take every benefit, maintenance and sit on her bum and complain about it while her kids are at school. I am proud that I work and do not consider myself to be leeching from society. I don't think anyone should have to support me, but nor do I think it should cost so much to go to work!

mamababa Wed 28-Nov-12 10:11:13

No cogito the financial responsibility for her kids belongs with her and their father whoever he is. You hope that he loves being with them etc but I don't see why he should be expected to financially support them and his own? Whilst I agree that the state shouldn't be expected to support them necessarily, the OP seems pretty responsible to me and i'd rather she have the cash to enable to to work rather Han give it to someone who has no intention of doing so.

Yes you could sit on your bum and not work but on that basis everyone who works should get their childcare paid for. It does cost a lot to go to work, but that's a different debate really.

My point is, given that you don't earn enough to support yourself and your children without additional help, why should the state pay your childcare rather than your dp when you live with him?

I am NOT saying you're leeching, I just don't understand why you think you should get all the benefits of living together (presumably you both think it would be a better arrangement or you wouldn't want to live together!) without bearing the responsibilities that come from being a cohabiting couple ie sharing the financial costs of being a family

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 28-Nov-12 10:38:07

"I don't see why he should be expected to financially support them and his own? "

Because that's how the benefits system works. The OP's basic complaint was the loss of Tax Credits and, as far as HMRC are concerned, Tax Credits are calculated on the basis of household income.... not the income of the OP and the father of her children, not any maintenance received from the father of the children, but the income of herself and her new partner.... because partners are deemed to be equally responsible for all household costs.

If the OP doesn't want a financial contribution from her partner that's fine but, as someone else said, why should the state make up the shortfall by continuing to treat her as a single parent household? Simply doesn't work that way

ladyjadey Wed 28-Nov-12 10:42:18

I could earn more if I worked full time, but then I would need more childcare! He works full time so wouldn't be able to help by having them. My point is the whole system is crazy, how does anyone manage? What happened in the days when women didn't work? How did people survive on one income and these days you can't on two! I want to be able to support my kids without anyone's help! How can it be that I can't offer my kids the stability of a two parent family without demanding my partner support me completely and stop some of the support for his two children? The world has gone mad.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 28-Nov-12 10:59:29

You can survive on two incomes quite easily but what you're trying to do is support three adults (you DP and the ex), two homes and four children on those two incomes. As you said before... 'his ex doesn't and won't work'. That's why you're falling short....nothing to do with tax credits or the world going mad.

ladyjadey Wed 28-Nov-12 11:08:42

I might re trai

Lady, am i right in thinking he will not paying paying half the mortgage?

If so there is your issue i think.

Yes he may not have to at the moment, but if he wants a bigger house then all income imo should be put into one pot. Out of which comes mortgage, bills, childcare and maintanance.

Will it work if you do it like that?

Also yes agree his support to his ex needs reassing as situations have changed.
He could offer to have his 50% of the time as well, so no CS payment should be needed.

ladyjadey Wed 28-Nov-12 11:11:26

I might re train as a childminder! Then I can work and look after my kids too! Should have done that in the first place and not bothered with the 5 years of uni..... I could even offer to look after dp's kids so his ex can work!

thats not a bad plan, though my best mate is a childminder and times are hard, they are quite often struggling to fill places in at times. Its not guarented income you have from being employed at all.

Again look at the set up of how your money will work. i think what you are planning is unfair to you

In the good old days there was very limited childcare available and much less financial support for single parents. In those days if you didn't have friends or family to provide free childcare you couldn't work and if you were also a single parents then you eked out a meagre existence on the very limited help you got in benefits. I don't fancy going back to that world, do you?

Under the tax credit system the income you get from your ex-partner isn't counted for tax credit purposes. What you're proposing is that income from your current partner isn't counted either. I appreciate that in your particular situation you can't make ends meet as a cohabiting couple for various reasons. However, I do not see that it is fair for you to be part of a couple with x+y joint incomes and yet receive the same financial help as somebody who only has x income.

ladyjadey Wed 28-Nov-12 11:19:01

Yes if he paid half the mortgage it would work. In the divorce he agreed to pay 500 a month maintenance, in reality he pays 600. He does not pay via CSA, it was done through divorce, he technically has joint custody anyway but his ex would never allow him to have them 50 percent of the time.

ladyjadey Wed 28-Nov-12 11:27:33

I agree, I don't think I should have the same help as part of a couple that I get as a single mum. I just thought that I might get a little bit of help towards childcare, not what I get now, and I thought his payments to his kids should be taken into account because although there will be two living there between us we pay for four.

QuickLookBusy Wed 28-Nov-12 11:27:49

I understand why you feel so frustrated. I think their must be a way round it though.

As someone else said, if your DP were to pay half the morgage, would you be ok? If so I you should rethink the house situation. I'm not sure how, but if your DP has a house with no morgage, that means he must have a chunk of money.

Could you go for a smaller house, so you'd need a smaller morgage. Or cools he put down say half of his money, pit the rest in a high interest account/isa and use the interest to help you with the morgage.
As I said I'm bit sure what the solution is, but I think with the big chunk of money you have, there must be a way round things.

QuickLookBusy Wed 28-Nov-12 11:29:18

Sorry for typos. I'm on iPhone and its shit grin

You can also salary sacrifice your childcare costs which effectively reduces them by up to 1/3 (depending on how high they are and whether your dp is a higher rate tax payer)

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