CSA payments when a full time student?

(54 Posts)
cherryonthetop2013 Mon 22-Apr-13 18:38:21

I've also posted in the student bit but it doesn't seem very busy over there so wondered if anybody in step parents would be able to answer my question.

I'm in the process of applying for a uni place and now DP has caught the bug and wants to do it also.
I'm just number crunching to see whether we would be able to afford for us both to be studying full time and I think we might JUST be able to manage, but I can't find any info online about whether the CSA would consider student loans and grants to be income and how much we'd have to pay for his 2 children to his previous marriage.

Before anybody has a go at me or DP, this is purely a case of whether we would be able to make ends meet if chooses to do this. But if he does then he'll be earning double what he currently does once qualified which is then going to benefit all the children.

There is an old thread here on money savings

forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=3130830

You might be better off to call them for the new CMEC.

Also I'd factor in what you're paying now in your budget to see if it can work out before contemplating a change.

Certainly would have a conversation with the mother of the children to see if she is able to take a cut on their behalf until he is earning fully again.

awkwardsis Mon 22-Apr-13 18:54:25

When xp as a student he was assessed as having to pay nothing. I really think he needs to think hard about his responsibilities here. Is there a reason he can't do it part time? How are you both intending to fund yourselves?

Petal02 Mon 22-Apr-13 19:11:44

Awkwardsis is right, if you're officially a student, then your CSA payments would either be zero or the very minimum, which I think is £5 per week. Not sure if its morally right to voluntarily take a huge cut in income if you've got children to support though ...... But I gather you're just doing the sums at present, to see how/if it all stacks up?

Xalla Tue 23-Apr-13 06:00:01

Yes, my DH studied a few years ago and his CSA assessment was zero. I think you have to be enrolled for a minimum number of hours per week for this to be the case though and I think....not certain ...that when my DH was studying, it was 12 hours a week.

He carried on paying maintenance at the same level he did before regardless and I helped out with other bills so that he could. DSD's Mum would almost certainly have stopped contact if he stopped paying.

Petal02 Tue 23-Apr-13 08:43:27

Her Mum would almost certainly have stopped contact if he stopped paying

Whilst I would never advocate a father intentionally reducing his income if he's got children to support, it's equally questionable for a mother to stop contact if she stops receiving (or receive less) maintenance. I thought that maintenance and contact were two separate issues, legally speaking?

WakeyCakey Tue 23-Apr-13 08:48:30

I don't think it's fair to stop maintenance because you have decided to study. You should factor the maintenance is as to whether you can afford to study. Treat it as a bill that has to come out. It wouldn't be fair on your DP's children if you didn't

allnewtaketwo Tue 23-Apr-13 08:52:09

I'm a little bit on the fence on the morality issue. For example I've read loads of posts on here from pwc's embarking on a study course meaning they will have no earnings for the duration with which to support the child. Doubt whether those mothers discussed it first with the nrp that the child would be making do with a lot less. The responses always given is that the pwc is right to do the course because in the long term the child will benefit. The OP has equally stated that the children would benefit in the medium/longer term as their father's earnings would be much higher. Of course I think it would be good for him to discuss it with the PWC, but don't agree that he should rule out studying per se due to temporary reduced earnings

Petal02 Tue 23-Apr-13 10:10:42

I see what you’re saying Allnew – if the PWC decides to take a drop income to study then no one complains. I suppose it’s because the PWC would usually only make that decision if she can still make ends meet, and at the end of the day it’s her decision. Whereas if the NRP makes a decision to study, that decision could impact on the PWC, without her having had any say in the matter.

In an ideal world both parents would sit down and discuss this. But how many of us live in an ideal world?????????

cherryonthetop2013 Tue 23-Apr-13 10:28:15

Yes we are just working out whether it is an option at the moment and I'm looking to see if we could survive in a 'worst case scenario' ie we both study with no paid work. If we do go ahead and do the courses then depending on how our work load is (neither of us have done a degree before so no idea what to expect) we plan to get some paid part time work even if it is just bar work or working in Asda.
Regarding myself, as I only work part time due to having young children it won't make much difference to our income, infact in will be about the same so I don't feel like I have much to lose.
DP is obviously the main earner and he will be taking a considerable drop in money to study but practically I think if he is to do it it makes sense for us to do it at the same time so that we can support each other, it will be easier to juggle childcare and then in 3 years it will all be over with and we will both be in well paid jobs, we can move to a better area and provide better futures to all our children (4 all together).
Regarding his ex and his 2 children with her, well he hasn't seen the kids for nearly a year now, she has moved house, changed phone number, the only means of contact he has with her is via her work email which remains the same but he rarely gets any correspondence back from her. Financially she would manage, she earns more than me and DP put together. I'm sure she wouldn't be very happy if he quit work to study but on the other hand I don't think he can let his ex's feelings on the matter rule his life and hold him back. He's capable of soooo much more in life and he isn't happy doing what he's doing but it's all his done since leaving school.

allnewtaketwo Tue 23-Apr-13 10:30:36

DH' ex decided to stop working when she had more children a few years back. So despite DH's contribution remaining stable, his childrens' living standards dropped considerably. Of course the children were still provided for (with basics) because of CM and state benefits (as the state ensures that a parent with resident children receives benefits to keep them if their earnings are insufficient).

It's a a tricky one I think

awkwardsis Tue 23-Apr-13 10:40:55

But cherry how are you going to live if neither of you work? I know a couple who found themselves in this situation actually. The woman wanted to study and they found out they'd both be considerably better off if her dp also enrolled, giving up his full time job to study art, which in his case he had no interest in whatsoever. They made up their income from tax credits and grants (and no, I'm not benefit bashing, I am in income support myself and was also once a student with a child). I get the long term benefits of your eh training in something else. But thinkmofnhwnyiud feel if you spilt and he did the same to you. He's actively ok with paying no maintenance for his 2 dc. That makes him a very dubious character in my eyes. If he'll do it to them, there's every reason to think he'd do it to the dc you share if you ever split up. Why not study one after the other? Or do open university around a job?

Galangal Tue 23-Apr-13 10:43:29

What is he doing about seeing his children? A year is a really long time not to have seen them.

cherryonthetop2013 Tue 23-Apr-13 11:22:50

Galangal - it is currently going through solicitors and he has made an application to the courts, we're just waiting to hear back about dates etc.
I tell a lie she has let him see the kids once or twice, she changes her mind every five minutes about what she wants and what she will allow.
She's found it very difficult coming to terms with DP moving on and having a new baby, it's since baby was born that she's found every excuse under the sun to stop/make contact difficult.

Awkwardsis - if we both don't work we would be surviving off loans and grants and child tax credits. We'd get the same loans and grants regardless of whether we are working or not so I don't really see this as immoral or that we are being scroungers. We'd actually be claiming more tax credits if I went back to work as we'd be claiming working tax credits and help towards childcare.
We won't be claiming income support or housing benefits, most of the money we will be living off we will be paying back once we are in our new jobs.
We're lucky that we have a very low mortgage and we're now debt free so our student loans which most 20 year olds spending on beer would be spent paying our mortgage and putting food on the table.

Galangal Tue 23-Apr-13 13:27:03

I agree that it shouldn't be ruled out. I just think he needs to factor in how it is going to affect his other children. How old are they? What are her circumstances with regard to her mortgage and finances? Does she work and have a partner? I realise that's a lot of questions, it's just that these things are never cut and dried. It's all very well saying she'll manage, but if he goes ahead and maintenance stops, then she'll have no choice - she'll have to. This may not be the case for her though, she may not be badly affected by the drop depending on her circumstances.

I would just tread really carefully if it's going to court. At the moment he is only providing financial support and if he took a life choice to stop that and it impacts on the children, then it may well go against him and be perceived as a selfish act. It just might not be the time right now for him to do that and going to court is really stressful and IME polarises the parties involved even more - which is the worst thing possible for the children. It may be wise to wait rather than add this to an already acrimonious situation. That's not necessarily going to be perceived as fair, but like others have said the situation isn't ideal.

cherryonthetop2013 Tue 23-Apr-13 14:10:56

The children are 6 and 8, she works full time, has a very good job and is on a very good wage. her mum is retired so she has the children after school and in school holidays so she has no childcare costs.

She rents a home, no idea what the house is like, where it is or how much she pays for it. I'm guessing it will probably be a 3 bed semi in a fairly respectable area like where she was previously.

We don't know whether she's in a relationship at the moment, the last we knew she was in a relationship with a married guy who lived with her half the time n his wife the rest of the time, whether this is still going on I have no idea.

She's rather partial to designer clothes, handbags, shoes and has a very active social life.

I see what u mean about how it might be perceived in court, and with that pending then yes you're right maybe this wouldn't be the best timing.

I've got a son to a previous relationship and I only get £5pw out of his benefits, despite the fact that he's often working for cash in hand. As annoying and frustrating as it can be I don't think that I really have any power to say to his dad that ge should go and get a proper job and provide for his son. He is a good dad and has a great relationship with our son, money and quality of parenting have nothing to do with each other, IMO.

I do really want DP to do this, we need to move out the area we live in but I just can't see any way we can do that without us both changing career.
Yes we need to think about his other 2 kids but we also need to think about the children we have living with us and whether we want them being brought up across the road from a drug dealer.

mumandboys123 Tue 23-Apr-13 19:02:12

you won't pay 'most' of it back if you both study at the same time - you'll be entitled to most of the grants that are available, possibly in duplicate, as well as support for childcare costs which is a grant not a loan. I have manged perfectly well as a single parent whilst studying and I receive no maintenance but I did receive a huge bursary as well.

If he hasn't seen his children for nearly a year, I struggle to understand how you could possibly know all that information about her and be very sure it was factual. Perhaps most importantly, you can't possibly know the state of her bank account, how much of what she appears to have is paid for on credit, and what the impact losing part of her income will have on maintaining the balancing act that is most of our financial situations.

And it's very easy to say 'money and quality of parenting have nothing to do with each other' when it's you who wants to find a way to make a drop in income work. My ex hasn't paid a penny in 4 years - he's a perfectly adequate father but the simple fact of the matter is he's happy for his children to go without and he's happy to put all of the financial responsibility onto the other parent - the stress of that alone is unreasonable unless you are a very high earner and have a trust fund tucked away somewhere. So no, I don't think deliberately depriving your children of financial support makes you a 'good' parent, even if it trying to do it for the bigger picture/future means that you're not necessarily a 'bad' one. And what you're proposing is making your partner's children live in a one income household for at least 3 years and shrug your shoulders and say 'well, we're doing it for the future'.

I would also say as someone who has just re-trained and has managed to find work in my new profession against the odds, do look very, very carefully at the implication of studying in terms of getting the job you want. Is there a need for the job where you live? how many people are graduating and struggling to find work? will you actually get a job after three years or will there be an expectation that you top up to a Masters before anyone considers employing you? A degree rarely qualifies anyone to actually do anything, despite the fact that you need a degree to do an awful lot of jobs!

awkwardsis Tue 23-Apr-13 19:07:32

I agree mum. I do think op that rather than catching 'the bug' as you put it, you have realised that university is financially unviable for you as you have a dp with a full time job. I think the most you'd be entitled to is a council tax reduction in that instance. With both of you as students you'd get the whole shebang. But with 4 dc to support, 2 of whom he's quite willing to write off? I really don't think that's right. Not to mention, any course that's worth doing is going to take up a hell of a lot of time. Wat abiut when you both have deadlines? What if the dc are ill? School pick up and drop off times when lectures can run from 8 til 6? You have a lot to consider

cherryonthetop2013 Wed 24-Apr-13 03:49:56

Awkward - no regardless of whether dp is studying or not I am doing it. As I previously said it doesn't make any difference whether I'm working or studying, in fact one of things that has spurred me on to go to uni is cos I'm due to go back to work after mat leave soon n when I do I'm going to be working for not very much money. It makes sense to give up work to study at this time in my life when I'm not earning much anyway, n then when I qualify baby will be starting school. So no its not unviable at all.

I can't really be bothered answering all of the points made, I don't need to justify myself or my partner to a load of negative MNers, if we want to better ourselves and provide better futures for our children then we will.
It's taken me years to pluck up the courage to follow my dreams, I've always made excuses and doubted my ability to succeed and now I've finally found the strength and self belief to go ahead and do it. So I'm going to leave the thread before people bring back my doubts.

This is what I hate about MN, everybody is so negative and has to bash everybody down.
Maybe the site just attracts a certain type of person? Maybe if some of you spent more time playing with your kids, talking to your partners, concentrating on your own lives you wouldn't want to bash everybody at every opportunity. I can say that because I rarely come on here.
I just think it should be remembered that you never know the whole picture, so many times people jump to conclusions that are totally wrong. You don't know what else is going on in a person's life or what impact your comments could have on a person.

People putting doubt in my mind could make me change my mind. Do u not already think that I have thought about childcare etc?
So please when u knock somebody down in future just think about it first. Unless u like going to bed knowing that u could be responsible for people being upset, changing their life plans. Does that make u feel powerful?

Every person I've told that I'm applying to do a degree has been so excited for me, offered to support me, told me how well suited I would be in my chosen career.
So quite frankly, I don't give a shit what u or anybody on mumsnet thinks about my decision, u mean nothing to me and clearly your own life is shit.

If my partner chooses to follow his dream too then that is his decision and I will support him every step of the way as will his friends and family, the people who matter to us.
Again, I doubt he will be arsed about what a bunch of women on the internet think of him.
I also doubt that he'll give much of a care about what the woman who kicked me in the stomach in an attempt to make me miscarry thinks about his decision either. If she can't afford to raise 2 kids on 40k a year then she has issues n if she really can't then they can come and live with us.

LookingForwardToMarch Wed 24-Apr-13 04:05:23

Just thought I'd chuck my two cents in...

Go for it grin you only live once!
And same goes for your dp, it will make your WHOLE family better off in the futurr and you cant live your life wondering what a pwc you never see will think.!
Good luck to you both.

ratbagcatbag Wed 24-Apr-13 04:14:36

The very people you accuse of using this site and say should be playing with their own kids are the ones that you asked for advice from, all people are saying that I can see is tat your dp needs to consider this carefully, not one person has said you shouldn't follow your dream.

Don't ask for advice then cry about the responses given and fwiw I'm up as I have a 6 week old dd, we could easily justify reduces my DSS already high maintenance but we haven't done that as we don't feel it's fair, why should he lose out because we have chosen to have another child. Same applies for your dp children.

Xalla Wed 24-Apr-13 05:06:23

I thought that maintenance and contact were two separate issues, legally speaking?

Legally speaking, contact and maintenance are supposed to be separate. In reality many NRP's have found that it's not.

My DH has 50/50 shared care of his daughter (crucially by mutual agrement, not court ordered) but is still paying maintenance at the same level he did when he had EoW and every Wednesday. He also pays for all his DD's school dinners, after-school activities, uniform, parties and anything else school related such as trips. Mum collects all the CM and tax credits.

Why? Because if he stopped it one week, he knows damn well he wouldn't have 50/50 the next week!

It's not an uncommon scenario.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 24-Apr-13 07:32:50

Cherry I'm not going to get involved in the debate as to whether it is mrially reprehensible for your DH to reduce maintenace or not (my DP paid nothing for over a year after redundancy so I'm not in a position to judge) BUT - I did support my DP through his Family Court case when his ex withheld contact and you can expect it to be physically and emotionally exhausting as well as very expensive (not only the fees but the additional costs incurred by the household such as travel, food/coffees out etc)..

If I understand you right, you have had a baby quite recently, you are going to Uni to study, and your DH is thinking of doing the same - all the while there is a Family Court case rumbling on in the background. My feeling is that will put a HUGE amount of pressure on your family; which won't be allieviated when contact with your DSC us finally re-established because they will need a great deal of support through that process.

I understand all the reasons why this seems right for your family right now - but your court journey will be a lengthy emotional rollercoaster which you can't fully appreciate until you've lived it.

Kaluki Sun 28-Apr-13 22:05:49

Cherry I think your decision to study now is a good one for you and your dc. Your DP however has other responsibilities than you and should factor his other dc into the equation when making his decision.
It is irrelevant what his ex earns and what she spends her money on. They are still his dc and he has a financial duty towards them.
It is disgusting that she assaulted you when you were pregnant but that is still no reason for his dc to suffer - I expect with a Mother like that they are suffering enough shock
And finally - to start a thread asking advice then kicking off when you don't get the advice you want is just petulant and childish. Nobody here has been rude or abusive to you.

nicknamegame Mon 29-Apr-13 01:13:45

The quickest way to read this thread is:

"DP has two kids he'd like to financially relieve himself of, and I'm happy to support him with that. Please MN, will you make sure you agree with us on this, because I'll kick off if you don't!"

( my fave bit is the part where she says the kids can go live with them if mum can't live on 40k)

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