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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

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

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

Sorry random I didn't realise that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

But it is a neutral fact too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

She seems bitter but that is her problem not yours.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not really - as it would kind of out me.

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

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

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

Ex knows I come on here.

JackieTheFart Fri 10-May-13 22:11:55

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

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

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

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


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

Its just the only amount that can be legally enforced.

And great assumption about benefits there.

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

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

Is she an MNer then?

JackieTheFart Fri 10-May-13 22:17:08

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

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

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