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Any solutions to this maintainance argument with my ex?

(160 Posts)
user1466355845 Sun 19-Jun-16 18:28:42

Hi, I am a male 54 years old, been divorced from my ex for 12 years, separated for 19 years. Two children 21 (just graduated) and 18 Just finishing A levels. Technically my maintenance of £625 (voluntarily and more the CSA level) ends in October because my daughter has finished her A levels but wont be going to Uni till Sept '17. She has a job and is working part time but earns net £500. My son graduates then will be out of work (so can claim JSA) until he goes on an internment in China from October.

The problem is my ex simply cant afford to live without my maintenance and is piling emotional pressure on me to continue - she is genuinely worried and upset and I have been trying to help her by talking, advising on actions etc but she doesn't seem to be prepared to make changes to help the position. She has not met anyone since we split 19 years ago, has a part time job with O/T 30 hours and is very worried about her position especially working tax credit and child maintenance ending. I can see her huge income loss and genuinely feel sorry and guilty that I was responsible for a lot of this (I left).

My side is I remarried 7 years ago but have made sacrifices financially, I have a mortgage but can only afford to pay interest only, have credit card debt and have been sort of looking forward to being "maintenance free" and getting my finances back in order. My wife works part time only.

I have suggested to my ex that she can save money by repayment plans with her credit cards, she is paying way over what she can afford, finding a full time job and also perhaps switching to interest only mortgage for a year or so (over £200K equity in house). She cant get access to equity that isn't an option.

I feel helpless and stuck without a solution here, my wife is keen to ensure I don't pay more maintenance (understandably) but I will have to pay some to avoid my ex and children being unable to survive, but how long will this go on for? Am I being unreasonable? Why cant she find the drive and courage to become financially detached from me or at least not totally dependent. I am very worried and guilty over wrecking her life (she likes to play this card a bit) but simply cant afford to continue spending on maintenance at the £625 level a month nor have this go beyond another 6 months or so. I need to pay my mortgage or I am out in 10 years!.

Mums, Wives, ex wives and step mums - any suggestions?



SouperSal Sun 19-Jun-16 18:35:30

Your ex wife should have been preparing for this. It's not your responsibility to help her with her bills once your children have become adults.

Cocoabutton Sun 19-Jun-16 18:39:08

Did you leave her when she was pregnant and had two year old twins?

Did she bring them up as the main carer - because £625 maintenance suggests your career went okay?

These are my questions, though I am typing slowly on phone so maybe they have already been answered

Zarah123 Sun 19-Jun-16 18:41:37

I think you have paid your dues and shouldn't let guilt play a part any more. Regardless of how you left her, it's been 19 years.

Options are :

- I know you said ex can't access equity but why? Can she not sell up and move to a smaller place or cheaper area.
- ex gets full time job
- 18 yo gets full time job until Uni starts
- 21 yos get jobs (what is the other 21 yo doing?)

Between the 3-4 of them, they should be able to manage!

Out of interest:

- how many years left on her mortgage?
- what are her credit card debts made up of?

ApostrophesMatter Sun 19-Jun-16 18:42:03

Your daughter can pay her mother board but I honestly think your obligation has finished. Pay her half for a year as a favour and make sure she realises it will finish and she'll need to sort herself out.

cannotlogin Sun 19-Jun-16 18:43:07

I agree. Shit happens. I've been single for 8 years now. Not what I planned but everything I do is with a single future in mind. She needs to find a full time job as a minimum.

I would say that if your children expect to use your ex's home as a base whilst at uni then making some kind of token contribution would be fair and reasonable but she could never enforce that in law.

canyou Sun 19-Jun-16 18:44:13

We are in the same position. DSD finishes college this year DSS has quit college. DP's ex Wife is totally reliant on the €250 a week but tbh it is cripling us, to the point that after a very serious car accident I went straight back to work against medical advice. We are torn as to what to do but the reality is we cannot afford to keep paying indefinatly esp as DP also pays the debts from the marraige. I am awaiting my insurance pay out and a bill for a new laptop has arrived from DSS angry

TheseLittleEarthquakes Sun 19-Jun-16 18:45:02

I think Op means he has two children, a 21yo and an 18yo. (You must have left her when she was pregnant, nice).

kitchenunit Sun 19-Jun-16 18:45:07

She should have been getting ready for this day and making sure that she was not financially high and dry.

Did you not have to pay any spousal maintenance as part of the divorce settlement? If you did, presumably this will continue. Either way it will have been abundantly clear to her for years how much she'd have to live on once the kids left home and it's not your fault that she's made no provision.

I think you need to disattach in all honesty. Any payments to the kids can be going to them directly (whether court ordered support or private financial support) and I think you need to be clear to your ex that you've been more than fair. Now it is time for her to stand on her own two feet.

Honestly, 19 years later she's had time to retrain AND be mid way through a career.

You've been super fair. Now you need to play a bit harder with her. She can't play the victim card forever.

(I say all this as a divorced single parent who provides every penny for my children)

Baconyum Sun 19-Jun-16 18:45:30

Can't help but think that part of the reason she's in debt is because £625 does not cover half the costs of 3 children!

Also as youngest is taking a gap year are you saying you're not going to pay maintenance for that child even though you did for the twins while they were at uni?

Allalonenow Sun 19-Jun-16 18:46:15

Well she has had nineteen years to prepare for a reduction in income. hmm

From what you say about credit cards, she has been spending beyond her income, rather than being frugal.

She will need to start earning more money with a better/full time job, sell assets, downsize the house as the children are adults, and start eating a lot of baked beans on toast.

kitchenunit Sun 19-Jun-16 18:46:33

Whatever the circumstances of the divorce and separation, it's been 19 years!

Time for ex to put her big girl knickers on.

user1466355845 Sun 19-Jun-16 18:47:16

Hi all thanks for your reply. No I didn't leave when she was pregnant. My son was 4 daughter 8 months. Terrible situation of course and it was not an easy decision believe me. Love my children have been living near and seen them regularly, ex and I have generally got on Ok and been friends, no issues there - but money is the constant thorn and the monkey on my back. I have done well in my career but only in last 10 years or so.

EveryCloudhasl Sun 19-Jun-16 18:47:37

You split 19 years ago and she still expects you to pay her £625 a month?!?!! I would tell her where to go. CHILD maintenance is exactly that- to help with costs of bringing up a child. They are now adults so this obligation has finished. You shouldn't be sending money to a woman you split from 19 years ago because you feel bad. She should have organised herself better and should not be relying on you financially. After all she has had 19 years to prepare for this..

MollyBloomYes Sun 19-Jun-16 18:48:42

My husband left me six months ago, we have a toddler and a six month old. Even though I'm right at the start of this road I'm aware that once they're 18 then he doesn't have to pay me anything. I'm therefore making steps so I don't have to be reliant on this money as quickly as possible. She has known this day would be coming for quite some time, I'm not sure why she hasn't planned for it? Are there circumstances you haven't mentioned?

If it's going to screw your children then perhaps a courtesy 'tiding over' type arrangement with a finite end could be put in place but honestly she does need to be making steps to be independent of you, it is after all child maintenance rather than spousal I'm assuming?

kitchenunit Sun 19-Jun-16 18:48:43

I understood OP as meaning there would be a gap in maintenance payments whilst youngest was working, then possible support through uni.

Once youngest is in uni the payments should be made direct to DC anyway, which leaves the mother in the same position.

She should have been preparing for this from the day you got divorced. More fool her for sticking her head in the sand.

Becky546 Sun 19-Jun-16 18:50:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PeppasNanna Sun 19-Jun-16 18:51:23


You've met your financial obligations to your dc. You have none to your ex.

I would reduce the payment initially. Set a date say January when you will cease maintenance totally.

Seriously, its called being an adult.

user1466355845 Sun 19-Jun-16 18:52:18

Actually we split 18 years ago hence why I left not when my ex was pregnant. Just to be clear on that.

PeppasNanna Sun 19-Jun-16 18:52:48

My ex didn't pay a penny for or to our dc whilst they were at uni! They were 19.

Toocold Sun 19-Jun-16 18:52:52

I don't think you are being fair at all, whilst I appreciate where you are coming from, I don't think you've put the whole of your ex's side across, £625 a month is tiny in comparison to what it costs to just feed and clothe a child, pursuring a career would have cost childcare, and there would have been less childcare in the past, she wouldn't have accrued the same pension rights as you due to bringing up your children, I could go on and on. Is there a reason she cannot access the equity in the house? , are you the reason?

TwatbadgingCuntfuckery Sun 19-Jun-16 18:53:06

The rules are very clear RE CSA payments and your Ex will have known this. You are no longer liable to pay this now both children have completed FT education and gained A-levels.

I'm sorry but she had plenty of time to prepare for a significant drop in income.

I would make a plan when to stop these payments. With the last full payment being in Oct perhaps give your ex some grace with a reduced payment in Nov and Dec so it is not much of a shock. You are not legally bound to do so however.

This might give her the kick up the backside she needs to straighten out her finances by either asking for extra hours, searching for more work, applying for working tax credits, getting the children who still live at home to contribute to household expenses and good old fashioned belt tightening.

Toocold Sun 19-Jun-16 18:53:43

And why the hell should a dad not okay towards there child at uni if the mum is?!

Toocold Sun 19-Jun-16 18:53:57


ElspethFlashman Sun 19-Jun-16 18:55:20

So....what's her suggestion? How long more does she suggest you keep paying?

One year? Two?


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