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Child Maintenance and getting more quality time with my daughter

(74 Posts)
ChrisN2 Sun 27-May-18 17:59:50

Dear All,

I am a male and wanted to get the opinion of this forum rather than a 'forum for dads'. Here are the 2 situations I seek your advice on:

1st situation:

I had an unplanned pregnancy with a woman that I had been dating - we never lived together or had any shared assets. Our daughter is now 4 years old and has been with the woman all that time. We have a reasonably good relationship- it's cordial at best. I am named on the birth certificate and see the little one every weekend for usually the whole day (Saturday or Sunday) and treat my ex and daughter to lunch/dinner. I spend approx upwards of 160 per month on weekly travel to where they live and restaurants, museums, the zoo etc. I have also paid for some large items- cots, TV, scooters, items of clothing etc etc.

We haven't come to an agreement re-maintenance money however I've been paying £500 per month into a savings account for the little since she was born. I was asked for £800 per month initially by my ex however that's beyond my budget. I have a meeting with her in a few weeks to finalise the maintenance amount but I just know she's not going to agree to an amount I suggest and she will ask me to forward her the money in the savings account to hers. I want to do things properly and fairly. What do you think I should do?

2nd: I really want to change this situation and spend more quality time with my daughter but I don't know where to begin. Last week I mentioned taking my daughter to see her grandmother (my mum) but the child's mother said that she needs to accompany us in case my daughter needs to go to the toilet! I found that a slightly bizarre excuse and it revealed how much she is looking to control the situation. As I write this, I sometimes find it hard to believe that I've let things get to this situation!

Thanks for your time reading and getting back to me- it's very much appreciated.

Chris

ChasedByBees Sun 27-May-18 18:02:18

I can’t advise on money. You are also her parent though so you should be able to see your DD without your ex, although it’s great that you have a cordial relationship.

Could you explore mediation?

BumpowderSneezeonAndSnot Sun 27-May-18 18:02:28

It used to be 15% of your income was the recommended maintenance amount I think. Go through mediation or a solicitor if you cannot come to an amicable agreement about contact.

BumpowderSneezeonAndSnot Sun 27-May-18 18:03:27

Heres the child maintenance calculator

Thehop Sun 27-May-18 18:03:35

Oh dear

1) I would offer what you feel is fair maintenance based on the cms online calculator and show her how you’ve come to that offer. Then suggest you use cms to make payments official. If she sulks then tough! Tell her you want to do things properly.

2) has she always tagged along in contact days? This seems unnecessary at 4 years old! Have you asked to have dd on your own? X

thethoughtfox Sun 27-May-18 18:03:58

You need legal advice. You can work out on the child maintenance calculator how much you owe which depends on how much you earn. The fact that your time with your child includes meals and time spent with your ex isn't really 'normal'.

Idontbelieveinthemoon Sun 27-May-18 18:04:14

If you've been apart for 4 years how and why haven't you resolved the maintenance issue before now?

Go via the CMS calculator and work out what you 'should' pay. If you can afford more, pay more.

AS for paying for cots, scooters and various other large items you'd pay for them regardless because that is what being a parent is.

Cheby Sun 27-May-18 18:07:24

Wait, so you haven’t paid any maintenance in 4 years?

Rocinante1 Sun 27-May-18 18:07:41

It doesn't matter how much you put into a savings account. You still need to pay your ex what the CMS say. Use their calculator; if she doesn't accept that figure, then just call them up and open a case. She will have to accept it then. You can continue putting money in your child's account, and your ed can't asknfor any of it. Stick to what you legally need to give.

For contact, see a solicitor. You have equal parental rights so you can see her without the mum hovering over you. If she won't agree to give you contact, then get a solicitor involved.

rainingcatsanddog Sun 27-May-18 18:07:44

The maintenance calculator will suggest a minimum amount so use that as a starting point.

Yanbu to want more contact. I'd talk to the mum before taking legal action.

As she's 4 (and presumably in school or going in September) and you live quite far away I think it would be totally reasonably to work towards getting half school holidays.

AnathemaPulsifer Sun 27-May-18 18:10:20

It's not up to you what maintenance is spent on, it's your contribution to the cost of raising her. As a PP has said, for one child it's usually 15% of your take-home pay.

Who has paid for her food, nursery etc for the last 4 years? If you want to save for your DD that's your choice and is on top.

You probably should also have time with your DD without her mother present, as long as you have an ongoing relationship with her and have never been abusive to either of them. Assuming you are a good guy, you can surely help her if she needs the loo at your mum's. However, if you haven't paid child maintenance for the past 4 years your judgement may be (very) questionable.

agentdaisy Sun 27-May-18 18:11:57

1) Don't transfer the money in the savings account. Set it up as a trust fund for your daughter for when she's 18/21. Use the CMS calculator to work out how much you should be paying in maintenance and start paying that now. If you wanted to you could keep saving the difference between the CMS amount and the £500 you're currently putting in savings for your daughter.

2) Get legal advice and go to court. You have a right to time with your daughter without your ex being present. Your ex sounds like she's ridiculously controlling and won't like it but your daughter deserves time with her dad as much as time with her mum.

AllMYSmellySocks Sun 27-May-18 18:12:02

It's massively unfair for you to be paying into a savings account rather than supporting your DD's upbringing. The other stuff (zoo, TV, meals out etc) is lovely but you need to contribute towards the essentials. You can't be the big hero showing up with nice gifts while the mum struggles to pay for the stuff your DD actually needs!

In terms of custody of course you should be able to take your DD to see your mum. You're her parent.

Isleepinahedgefund Sun 27-May-18 18:19:38

With both situations:

First you try and come to an amicable agreement
If that doesn’t work, you use the official channels - CMS for maintenance, family courts for access arrangements.

I’m surprised you haven’t sorted out maintenance before now, and I’d be pretty pissed off if I were the child’s mother. It’s lovely you save for her monthly, but maintenance is supposed to account for the day to day costs of having the child Right Now. Why haven’t you been giving her the £500, or at least a portion? Did you decide not to? Paying for lunch or the zoo or a cot is simply not good enough.

A friend of mine was recently taken to court by her son’s father. Father’s demands were ridiculous, would have meant my friend had no quality time with her son as he wanted him every single weekend. My friend had rejected that, but offered every other weekend. It was a simple application and no one had a solicitor. He made the application, they all turned up at court, the court decided that every other weekend was reasonable. Job done.

ReanimatedMuse Sun 27-May-18 18:20:05

Are you saying that you gave never paid any money direct to the mother for maintenance of your child? That's appalling!

It's very unfair to be putting money into a savings account and not paying directly to the mother who has daily expenses relating to the upbringing of your child.

Figure out 15% of your income and then figure whether that's really all you can afford. Child maintenance calculation is a minimum not a target.

Re spending more time with your daughter have you asked the mother? If she's not permitting you time alone with your child then you may need to go to court.

Nikephorus Sun 27-May-18 18:53:54

Are you saying that you gave never paid any money direct to the mother for maintenance of your child? That's appalling!
For starters if the mother wanted money she could go the official route. But also OP says that he's paying £500 (into savings account) and straight after says mother wanted £800. So presumably she's happy that the £500 counts as maintenance, just feels she wants more.

ReanimatedMuse Sun 27-May-18 19:00:21

nikephorous how you extrapolate "presumably [the mother] is happy" when the OP himself states they're still sorting out maintenance is anyone's guess hmm

PrettyLovely Sun 27-May-18 19:26:51

Four years and you havent paid maintenance?, Paying into a childs bank account is not paying child maintenance, You are leaving your childs mother to pay for everything for your child and not contributing you are out of order.
You should have sorted this out years ago.
Its your responsibility to sort it out not your exs responsibility to chase you down for the money!

Nikephorus Sun 27-May-18 19:27:22

If the mother viewed the £500 as extra to maintenance then OP would have said that the mother had asked for £800 on top / more. By OP associating the £500 and the £800 it's obvious that the mother is seeing the £500 as being a maintenance contribution but thinks that £800 is a more realistic figure, hence why the amount is being finalised.

PrettyLovely Sun 27-May-18 19:30:52

Nikephorus, He isnt contributing to his daughters UPBRINGING, A trust fund is not maintenance.

notapizzaeater Sun 27-May-18 19:32:32

You need to pay your ex maint - not put it in a savings account, if mum wanted to use the money for that it's her choice, not for you to decide.

You would be allowed to see your daughter without her being there - I'd get legal advice and get visits sorted legally.

PrettyLovely Sun 27-May-18 19:57:41

Another thing that is really cunning about paying into a trust fund and pretending its maintenance is when the child is older you can look like the "generous father" who gifts his child thousands of pounds whilst Mum has spent all the childs life paying for everything doing all the hard work.
You sound really manipulative op.

Rocinante1 Sun 27-May-18 19:57:57

@notapizzaeater

He can do both. Pay the maintenance he is supposed too, and also put whatever he wants too in a savings account for his daughter. He is allowed to save for his child's future and gift it to her when she leaves high school or whatever.

ChrisN2 Sun 27-May-18 19:59:03

I appreciate your thoughts.

yes i'm keen on mediation.. i’m just hoping she agrees to attend with me.

ShawshanksRedemption Sun 27-May-18 20:08:09

Have you been seeing DD since she was born? I guess if so, the mum was there each time, and this has just stayed the same. Were you fully involved as a dad, changing nappies etc, or did she do it all and you were "fun-time dad" doing the zoo visits and paying for them both? Have you been there when your DD has been ill, handled it when she had a tantrum? In short, does the mum trust you to parent your DD?

If not, then you need to address this with her and suggest you gradually build up to this with each weekend visit. So first visit, take DD for an hour to the park for example. DD can then get used to just you being there and you can also get used to be solely responsible for her when in your care.

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