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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.

50shadesofvomit Sat 11-May-13 18:15:25

Does your ex have a car? If your son has a place at a great school then it's not going to harm him being driven to school. Lots of people live in an expensive area in order to get a place at a great school then move out to cheaper areas later.

When your ex went part time she made a choice that was presumably right at the time. If her career was important she should have insisted being full time while you went part time. Blaming you is unfair.

If you have your child more she will have more hours to spend increasing her income and its better that she makes preparations to move out now rather than have to do it suddenly out of the blue because you can't get any more credit or cash. You sound like a decent bloke who would increase maintenance if you managed to get a job with more income.

Bogeyface Sat 11-May-13 17:53:51

I think she is earning far more than she says, because the mortgage thing flagged up to me too. No mortgage company would give her a mortgage based on maintenance payments that could dry up at any point.

LessMissAbs Sat 11-May-13 17:33:32

Cut your maintenance to what the CSA calculator suggests. Add on a little more if it makes you feel guilty. There is absolutely no point in bankrupting yourself to pay what you are now. And there is no entitlement to it if you are paying over the odds.

Encourage your ex to find a full-time job.

I'm puzzled as to how she got a large mortgage that she cannot afford with a part-time job.

I think she is using you financially.

Go and see a solicitor or debt management company and I suspect they will say the same thing.

Potteresque97 Sat 11-May-13 14:38:52

You've got to cut yourself some slack, you're doing your best, she must know that and the manipulation is pointless. Go to the debt people and then you might have the breathing space to focus on the job search. Her financial affairs are her own and you need to get the debt under control.

clam Sat 11-May-13 14:18:26

So, she moved to be nearer to your son's school. But could she not have bought a cheaper property in that same area?

ajandjjmum Sat 11-May-13 13:51:34

Did the OP say that he paid 40% of his pre-tax earning to his ex? Doesn't that mean that he would be left with around £30 out of every £100 earned to live on? Doesn't seem a lot. Ex certainly sounds manipulative.

RandomMess Sat 11-May-13 13:37:34

The point I was making about the ex choosing to work part time was when they were still a couple. If her career/earnings were that important to her then she could have chosen to work full time and both parents pay for childcare etc. Mainly stop letting that arguement guilt trip you. It was her choice to take on a large mortgage whilst working part time.

You both seem to be suffering from the economic down turn and sadly that means choices have to be made like many many other families whether single parents or not. Horrible I know but that is the reality somehow you need to stop feeling guilty for things beyond your control, perhaps you need learn and practice some stock phrases to stop you ex piling on the guilt "would you prefer down to CSA route rather than have this discussion again?"

Pan Sat 11-May-13 13:26:43

yes, to everything middleeasternpromise said.

OP, you do make your ex sound like a right ruthless individual, which she may be. If you're racking up debt through feeling guilty, it won't get any better and the only person who will stop this is you. Where do you see this situation being in 6 months/one year's time? You probably 'know' all of the stuff that has been said, but it's worthwhile having people looking in from the outside confirming it all?

The purpose of having the required conversation is to ultimately make life better for your dc. If you have trouble asserting yourself in front of ex, how about preparing a script beforehand and sticking to it, come what may?
The guilt thing? It sounds like she is extending the invitation for you to feel this way, and you are willingly accepting it. You can decline the invitation.

ShellyBoobs Sat 11-May-13 11:23:16

It's fairly common tho' for some blokes to land here and shoot off about the troubles they have had/are having with their exs/partners whilst knowing this is a place where their exs have a bit of respite.

So Pan if OP was a female asking the same questions and making the same points would be ok with you?

Maybe posters should check with you that they're ok to post before they start.

middleeasternpromise Sat 11-May-13 11:07:14

Whenever people split up with kids there is going to be an inevitable drop in living standards (unless one or both of you is filthy rich) its just a fact. Moaning about it isnt going to change that. You both appear to be sticking your heads in the sand a little - you are racking up debt supporting outgoings you cant manage; shes gone ahead and set herself up with outgoings based on the idea that you will find a way to continue paying at the amount you guilted yourself into coughing up.

All the stuff about working part-time; who I was pre kids etc is all pointless as the decision was taken by both parties to have a child and the impact of that is big responsibility financially, practically and emotionally. The relationship breaking down is something none of us plan for when we make these decisions about children but if it happens then its a case of getting on with it.

Feels a bit like you and the ex have moved into separate houses but are continuing with the same relationship you had when together. You tippy toeing round not being honest about the facts and her telling you that its your fault things arent as they should be and you need to provide more.

The reality is you say you are getting into so much debt you feel the despair of ending it all. Thats a wake up call, if you think your kid is suffering a lower standard of living because of your split, think about the like he gets when one of his parents disappears for ever. You need to start making your decisions by looking at what he needs now and in the future. If she has to downsize so be it. There are many of us in a similar situation - it sucks but no one promised it wouldnt.

Bogeyface Sat 11-May-13 10:17:57

Another point, the CSA say to never rely on maintenance and it is no longer used when assessing benefits. That she chose to go against that is her choice.

IfNotNowThenWhen Sat 11-May-13 10:03:12

Yup, was just coming on to say Step Change.
You need a debt management plan, absolutely.

On the one hand, I can see Ex's point about moving somwhere better, schools etc. I moved somewhere a bit too expensive because we were on a bad estate, and I wanted ds to live somewhere better (flame away if you must I don't care!)
This was not always easy financially, but I felt it was important.
However, I didn't take on a massive mortgage, and If I did have a mortgage I would make sure I could pay it with my earnings, and not rely on maintenence.
You SHOULD be paying equally for your child, but one of you shouln't be paying more than the other. She may have to downsize , and one or both of you could try and get more work.
To those saying that Ex "chose" to work PT, well yes BUT, when you are a single parent you do everything in the home, you have to be there at both ends of the school/childcare day, there is no-one to help with housework, shopping, cleaning, cooking.
It was really hard when I was working FT out of the home, because a) I was totally knackered, and b) ds really missed me-when your family is just one other person most of the time, it's hard when you suddenly see them so much less.
I actually had to stop WOH full time (can now work some of the time from home-yay) because Tax credits cut WAY back on childcare help, and the childcare costs were making it pointless anyway, despite all the other stuff.
So, It's not always as simple as "tell the sponging cah to get more hours" Also, OP has said that she can't get more hours now. Work is in very short supply these days.
You BOTH have a child, you BOTH need to sit down together and do the sums, and work out what you can BOTH do.
It's no good being all passive and scared of confrontation. Grow up a bit and talk to her, with a mediator if it help, but you need to sort it out together.

EchoDragon Sat 11-May-13 07:59:39

I think you need some advice to sort your finances out. Speak to a charity like Step Change or another voluntary debt management company. They have many ways to help from dealing with your credit ors to helping you set up sensible and manageable budgets.

Your ex takingvon a big mortgage relying on maintenance payments was her choice. She should have made sure she didn't need to rely totally on your payments when she moved. What if you were ill or became unemployed through redundancy or your employer going bust? All a harsh reality of the economic downturn but would have a direct effect on your maintenance payments through no fault of yours. Of course it is reasonable to use your money to contribute to her mortgage. But to rely on it to such an extent she risks loosing her house is a bit irresponsible.

Bogeyface Sat 11-May-13 01:41:33

I agree Pan that until the OP takes advice, things will stay the same. However, there are ways of saying it, you know? And as you know, troll hunting is frowned upon, if you think the OP isnt what it says on the tin, then report him!

Pan Sat 11-May-13 00:39:16

OP, I really don't care where you post at all. But yes, if you post in AIBU expect some sharp questions?

fwiw, I don't have a 'usual trick' of criticising posters at all, but sometimes querying what it's all about - just a healthy radar?
And tbh you've had some really good tactical pointers given to you on this thread, but you appear to want to revert to 'victim' mode repeatedly. Until you grow out of your 'guilt' phase, your ex will take you to the cleaners, and that will be nothing to do with the best well-being of your dc.

Bogeyface Sat 11-May-13 00:38:11

Look guilt or not, it comes down to this.

She wants you to pay £X, but you can only afford £Y so she needs to either accept this or go through the CSA when she will get a lot less.

Whatever way she chooses to react or paint her situation, she chose to take on a mortgage she couldnt service on her own earnings, and you are not earning enough to cover it (even if you should which is questionable). I dont wish to sound morbid, but any one of us could get run over by a bus tomorrow, what would she do then? PLEASE dont tell me that she is the beneficiary of your life insurance. Make your son the beneficiary, and make a will stating who is the trustee (not your ex or anyone with anything to do with her) and that your son will receive it when he is 25 or whenever.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 11-May-13 00:02:23


Did your knowledge of her knowing she relied on your payments for her mortgage come about in any way due to you giving a assurance that she could rely on it.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 10-May-13 23:58:39

Pan, back off your the one whose coming across as prat not the op.

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 23:28:30

Are you the thread police, Pan? Or are you doing your usual trick of criticising people on threads?

I'm posting on AIBU for the reason many people post on AIBU. To offload, be heard and to get some points I can make to my ex.

No - she's not an MNer.

Pan Fri 10-May-13 23:22:02

OP, I'm not obsessing about the ex MN status, at all. It's fairly common tho' for some blokes to land here and shoot off about the troubles they have had/are having with their exs/partners whilst knowing this is a place where their exs have a bit of respite. As you would know if you are a regular?

So, really, what are you asking for here? An objective viewpoint? A set of convincing arguments to deliver to ex?

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 23:09:39

snatch We did have a chat today - she is aware of how things are. I'm not sure what conclusions she's come to.

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 23:08:29

pan I live on fuck all money. I take great care in my budgeting. Work has not been great - for reasons that I'm not going to go into - but I am doing my best.

Why are you obsessed with knowing if ex is an MNer? I'm certain she isn't but she might well have friends who are. So I'm being cautious. If that's ok with you.

I'm a regular on MN - but have NCed for this.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 10-May-13 23:08:18

OP, it's better that she understands the situation and looks into moving now than she ends up in arrears because you have too many other debts and can't pay after all. At least it won't be a crisis point for her and DS. But the longer you leave it, the more likely a crisis.

Pan Fri 10-May-13 23:01:47

Off loading is fine, OP. But for eg you can find out if mortgage providers allow for maintenance payments anywhere.
And it appears that you are lightly off loading all sorts of responsibilities about how you manage your stuff at the door of your ex. It's fairly inauthentic, and you still can't say if your ex is an MNer.

cantthinkofadadsname Fri 10-May-13 23:01:05

I have a tiny 2 bed flat. In the cheap part of town.

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